United Airlines' CEO Said Ejected Passenger Was Being 'Belligerent' and 'Disruptive'

A letter CEO Oscar Munoz wrote to his employees was leaked to the media Tuesday.

Apr 11 2017, 3:30pm

In case you missed it, aviation security officers forcibly removed a man from an overbooked flight on Sunday while other passengers filmed the shocking altercation.

The man—who has since been identified as doctor David Dao—was dragged from his seat on a United Airlines flight headed to Louisville, Kentucky, from Chicago, and appeared to have been knocked out, his mouth full of blood. The security officers proceeded to pull his body down the length of the aircraft's walkway and off the flight. 

United's CEO Oscar Munoz responded by sending a letter to his employees that was leaked to the media. While Munoz said he was "upset to see and hear about what happened," he added that the passenger was "disruptive and belligerent."

Ultimately, Munoz stood behind his employees, saying that the passenger refused to voluntarily leave the plane, with staff "left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight."

The airline earlier said that it was investigating what happened after videos of the incident provoked an angry response on social media. 

One of the passengers, Jayse D. Anspach, who posted a video of the incident to Twitter, has defended Dao. "#United overbooked and wanted four of us to volunteer to give up our seats for personnel that needed to be at work the next day," Anspach tweeted. "No one volunteered, so United decided to choose for us. They chose an Asian doctor and his wife. The doctor needed to work at the hospital the next day, so he refused to volunteer. Ten minutes later, the doctor runs back into the plane with a bloody face, clings to a post in the back, chanting, 'I need to go home.'"

Ironically, the trade magazine PRWeek named Munoz 2017's "US Communicator of the Year" last March.