United Airlines in fresh imbroglio with Indian-origin man
12 May 2017
In yet another public relations nightmare for United Airlines, an Indian-origin man in the US has claimed that the airline cancelled his reservation because he filmed an employee during an altercation over baggage charges.
Navang Oza, 37, told local TV station KNTV that his reservation was cancelled after he began recording the incident on his cellphone. He was checking in Monday for a flight home to San Francisco from New Orleans when he complained to a United Airlines agent that he was being charged $300 for his luggage when he had paid only $125 to check the same bag on the first leg of his trip.
Unable to get an explanation, Oza said he decided to do what many other frustrated passengers have done and film the dispute.
Oza posted a clip of the lengthy interaction with the ticket counter worker in New Orleans.
The clip begins with the agent pointing her finger at him, saying, "You did not have my permission to videotape."
Next, she appears to instruct an agent to her left. "Cancel the reservation," she says.
"I want to know why," Oza asks.
"Because you did not have my permission," she says.
"I was shocked because I didn't know she had the right to cancel my flight because I started recording," he said.
About a minute after ordering his trip cancelled for taping her, the United agent is seen recording Oza. "I'll do the same thing," she says, pointing her smartphone at Oza's.
Oza said the United agent eventually called airport police. Oza was still recording when an officer appeared.
"Can I at least keep this recording?" Oza asks the officer. The officer replies, "Sir, you have the right to do whatever you want; it's a public space."
The California resident said that he ultimately re-booked his flight on a different airline.
United said it was investigating the incident. "The video does not reflect the positive customer experience we strive to offer, and for that we apologise. We are reviewing this situation, including talking with Mr Oza and our employees to better understand what happened," United said in a statement.
United has faced a series of PR scandals in recent weeks, including the violent removal of passenger David Dao, who sustained injuries after being dragged off an overbooked flight to make room for airline employees. The issue even reverberated in the US Congress (See: Shock waves over United Airlines' violent 'bumping' of passenger).
In another incident last month, a giant rabbit, which was expected to grow into the world's biggest rabbit, died in transit under the care of United Airlines last month (See: United again: Giant rabbit dies en route from London to Chicago).
Also last month, an engaged couple was removed from a United Airlines flight to Costa Rica after an altercation over seating, as the airline refused to upgrade them despite their willingness to pay (See: United again: engaged couple booted off flight after seats row).