This week’s video of a man being dragged off an overbooked United Express flight has triggered outrage online. But it’s far from the first time an airline has forcibly removed a passenger from a plane or been criticized for how it treats customers.
These confrontations are getting more attention now because of ubiquitous cell phone cameras and the growth of social media.
“Everybody has a camera and everybody is using it. So we’re going to see it more often,” said Dean Headley, a marketing professor at Wichita State University and co-author of the annual airline quality report that was released earlier this week.
Here are a handful of past examples:
— Last Thursday, a Lufthansa plane flying between Frankfurt, Germany, and Toronto made an unplanned landing in Manchester, England. The Manchester Evening News reported the plane landed so that a drunken passenger could be removed from the flight.
— United Airlines refused to let two teenage girls board a flight from Denver to Minneapolis last month because they were wearing leggings. The airline said the issue was that the teens were flying under an employee travel pass that includes a dress code. United said customers were welcome to wear leggings on flights.
— A woman was removed from a flight in Baltimore, Maryland, following President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January after she berated a Trump supporter who sat down next to her. Videos of the confrontation were posted online.
— A University of Michigan professor was removed from a Delta flight in Detroit on Dec. 12 after a confrontation with airport security. Rhima Coleman later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. Video of her removal was also posted online.
— Seven passengers were removed from a Spirit Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Dallas in November 2015 because the flight crew determined they were being disruptive. The passengers, who were all black, raised concerns about discrimination afterward. The New York Daily News reported that they were all rebooked on other flights.
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