United Airlines CEO Responds to Shocking Video of Passenger Yanked off Flight

What to Know

  • The shocking video of a passenger being dragged over an overbooked United flight at O'Hare has caused international backlash
  • United Airlines' parent company CEO Oscar Munoz sent a letter to employees saying he stands behind them, but lessons should be learned
  • The ensuing fracas has brought questions about travelers' rights on flights to the forefront of national conversation

Shocking video of a passenger being dragged from a United Airlines flight has prompted a major backlash on social media, with some vowing never to fly the carrier again. Top officials are defending airline employees, while acknowledging the disturbing nature of the footage.

Here is the full text of a letter United Airlines' parent company CEO Oscar Munoz sent to employees after the fracas at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. The summary of events below the letter was compiled by United:

Dear Team,

Like you, I was upset to see and hear about what happened last night aboard United Express Flight 3411 headed from Chicago to Louisville. While the facts and circumstances are still evolving, especially with respect to why this customer defied Chicago Aviation Security Officers the way he did, to give you a clearer picture of what transpired, I've included below a recap from the preliminary reports filed by our employees.

As you will read, this situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help. Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.

I do, however, believe there are lessons we can learn from this experience, and we are taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding this incident. Treating our customers and each other with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are, and we must always remember this no matter how challenging the situation.



  • On Sunday, April 9, after United Express Flight 3411 was fully boarded, United's gate agents were approached by crew members who were told they needed to board the flight. 

  • We sought volunteers and then followed our involuntary denial of boarding process (including offering up to $1,000 in compensation) and when we approached one of these passengers to explain apologetically that he was being denied boarding, he raised his voice and refused to comply with crew member instructions. 

  • He was approached a few more times after that in order to gain his compliance to come off the aircraft, and each time he refused and became more and more disruptive and belligerent. 

  • Our agents were left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight. He repeatedly declined to leave. 

  • Chicago Aviation Security Officers were unable to gain his cooperation and physically removed him from the flight as he continued to resist - running back onto the aircraft in defiance of both our crew and security officials.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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