Saturday, April 15, 2017


United tried to bump passengers out of First Class during a Christmas flight from Aspen to make room for CEO Munoz and his family and 'threatened another with arrest for not giving up his seat for a higher priority passenger'

By James Wilkinson

Daily Mail
April 13, 2017

As United Airlines' continues to be haunted by its botched attempt to eject Dr David Dao from one of its planes at the weekend, others are coming forward with stories of mismanagement.

One of the most confounding was when staff tried to shame a family of five out of their first-class seats during a Christmas flight from Aspen because more important passengers had arrived.

Those passengers? United Airlines' embattled CEO, Oscar Munoz, and his family, the LA Times reported.

The story - which was confirmed by a company spokesperson - begins last Christmas, during a weather-stricken flight from Aspen, Colorado.

According to Chicago lawyer and first-class passenger Steven 'Sonny' Ginsberg, after the plane was forced off the runway and back to the gate, a family of five in first class decided to disembark.

That family? Munoz, his wife Cathy, and three of their four children.

With space up front and economy passengers on the 'bump up' list, the now-empty first-class seats were quickly filled and another attempt made to fly.

That was foiled again by snow - or so United said, though Ginsberg doubts that claim - and the plane returned to the gate.

After two more hours of waiting, the promoted passengers were asked to give up their plush first-class seats because the Munozes wanted back on board.

Ginsberg - who spoke to the promoted passengers afterward - found out that the Munozes had attempted to fly from a different airport.

When that failed they had returned to the United plane.

The passengers refused to give up their seats for the family. The staff were not pleased.

'The gate attendant repeatedly tried to shame the standby folks into vacating the first-class seats, shaking her head and making comments about how they should show respect,' Ginsberg said.

'The standby folks stood their ground. They knew it was Munoz, were bothered by them being the cause of an extra delay and did not feel they should be moved up and then back.'

The united spokesperson said that Munoz was not aware of the staff's actions, and that he decided to move his family to the economy section when he found out.

She argued that the staff were 'bending over backward to make the CEO happy.'

Unfortunately, it made paying customers unhappy.

Ginsberg isn't the only passenger who complained to the LA Times about his treatment.

Geoff Fearns, 59, president of TriPacific Capital Advisors, a business managment company, claims that he was threatened with arrest for not giving up his $1,000 first-class seat to LA.

Fearns had to return early from a conference in Hawaii, he said, so splashed out on the pricey last-minute seat.

But just before takeoff an attendant told him he had to get off the plane because a mechanical fault had seen the original plane replaced by a smaller on, he claimed. He says he refused.

'That's when they told me they needed the seat for somebody more important who came at the last minute,' Fearns said.

'They said they have a priority list and this other person was higher on the list than me.'

'I understand you might bump people because a flight is full,' Fearns said. 'But they didn't say anything at the gate.

'I was already in the seat, and now they were telling me I had no choice. They said they'd put me in cuffs if they had to.'

Fearns was downgraded to an economy seat and placed between a bickering couple. He requested a full refund and a $25,000 donation to the charity of his choice.

After a week a rep agreed to refund the difference between a first-class seat and an economy one, and give him $500 credit for another trip on the airline.

Another passenger, Mickey Levy, said that her seat on a flight from New Jersey to LA last month smelled of urine and the floor was damp.

Staff gave her another cushion to sit on, but that didn't stop the smell, she claims, and when she complained she was told she 'could go to the lavatories, get some water and soap, and wash my seat if I was really bothered by the unsanitary smell.'

And Rita Nethersole said that a flight from Hong Kong to the US turned into a nightmare when her claustrophobia was triggered by a change in seats.

She claims that she had specifically requested an aisle seat, and that she'd confirmed it 24 hours before the flight, but was put in a middle seat just before takeoff.

'I questioned it and was brusquely told that my seat was changed, she said. 'I begged for a change and was still denied. I told them I was afraid I might have a panic attack but got nowhere.'

She ended up standing in an aisle, medicated, trying to remain calm, she said. 'No one attempted to help me. No one should have had to go through this.'

United has been contacted for comment.

EDITOR’S NOTE: United did not take Dr. Dao's bags off his plane after he was dragged off. That left him and his wife without any belongings while he remained hospitalized in Chicago with a concussion, broken nose and two missing teeth. Then they fucked up on top of that by sending his luggage to his medical practice address in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, instead of to his home in Louisville.

Don’t fly the unfriendly skies of United!

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