LOS ANGELES — A former United Airlines customer claims staff threatened to handcuff him if he didn’t give up his seat to make way for a “higher priority” traveler last week.
High-flying businessman Geoff Fearns came forward with his story after the forcible removal of a passenger from a United plane on Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Fearns paid $1,000 for a first-class ticket from Hawaii to LA but was then told to get off the plane.
The finance executive said United staff told him somebody more important showed up at the last minute, and if he didn’t budge they would remove him by force.
Fearns was eventually downgraded to economy, and placed between a married couple who refused to sit next to each other and argued for the entire 6-hour flight.
Back at home, Fearns asked United for a full refund and a $25,000 donation to the charity of his choice.
United turned down both requests. Instead they offered Fearns the difference between the first-class ticket and an economy ticket.
The airline then got in touch a week later to offer a $500 credit for a future trip, but Fearns said he would never fly United again.
This latest PR blow to the airline comes in the wake of the forcible removal of passenger Dr David Dao from a Chicago to Louisville flight on Sunday.
On Wednesday, United offered a full refund to everyone on that flight and said it would no longer get the cops to remove passengers from planes that were too full, the New York Times reported.
Chicago’s Department of Aviation said two more officers involved in the removal of Dao had been placed on leave, pending an investigation. Three officers in total have now been placed on leave.
Meanwhile, attorneys for Dao filed an emergency request with an Illinois state court on Wednesday to force United to preserve video and other evidence related to the removal of their client from the plane, according to Reuters.
Which in all likelihood means the lawyers are preparing a huge-ass lawsuit for damages against United.