United Airlines is in the hot seat again, just two weeks after #LeggingsGate. The airline is facing backlash on social media after a video went viral of law enforcement violently ejecting a passenger from his seat on a Louisville, Kentucky-bound plane last night.
The disturbing footage shows three men wearing security uniforms dragging a customer by his arms and his legs out of his seat and through the aisle.
United’s initial statement on the matter attempted to provide context, explaining that the plane, traveling from Chicago to Louisville, was overbooked.
"After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate," the statement said. "We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities."
Police are telling media outlets the department was not involved in the incident. The officers and security personnel are with the Department of Aviation.
On Monday, United CEO Oscar Munoz followed up in his own statement.
"This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened," said Munoz.
The airline has also been issuing canned responses to customers on social media who are voicing concern about what happened.
@Cbaumann8 Oh dear. Will we see you on board with us soon, Cheryl? ^MD— United (@united) April 10, 2017
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, who sparked a debate last month after she tweeted about witnessing United Airlines not letting young girls in leggings board a flight due to their attire, has been tweeting out her advice to the airline after its latest faux pas.
PR pros, members of the media, and celebrities are weighing in on social media about the incident and how United’s comms team has been handling it.
By definition, "volunteers" don't "refuse" 2do things. They agree to do them. But for United, failure to volunteer means refusing to agree. https://t.co/7tzSB8xIKG— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) April 10, 2017
*throws man out of plane* ah my bad https://t.co/HzL8BXvaUO— Ed Zitron (@edzitron) April 10, 2017
Hey @united, might be time to find a new crisis communications team. That 'statement' from last night = malpractice.— Samuel Garrett-Pate (@sgarrettpate) April 10, 2017
Flying United? You have to drag me onto the plane.— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) April 10, 2017
If only he had a Pepsi— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) April 10, 2017
Look on the bright side, United Airlines. After this incident, you'll never have to worry about a flight being overbooked again.— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) April 10, 2017
So @united sucks. But the Chicago police who dragged the man off the flight are also monsters. Police using unnecessary force, again.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) April 10, 2017