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FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2015 file photo, a United Airlines passenger plane lands at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J. The parent company of United Airlines will pay $2.4 million to settle civil charges by securities regulators over flights that were started to help an official who oversaw one of the airline's hub airports. The Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, that shareholders of United Continental Holdings Inc. paid for a money-losing flight that the airline approved only after disregarding its usual process for evaluating routes. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

United Airlines said the flight a passenger was dragged off of wasn't actually overbooked


UPDATE 2:12 p.m. EST:

A United Airlines spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Flight 3411 from which a man was dragged from his seat was not overbooked.

Jonathan Guerin said the flight needed to accommodate four crew members who were needed in Louisville the next day.

“They were considered ‘must-ride’ passengers,” Guerin said. Four passengers were selected to give up their seats, and three did so willingly.

UPDATE 1:54 p.m. EST:

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called the United Airlines incident "clearly troubling" but declined to "get ahead" of United's and law enforcement's reviews during his daily press briefing. 

"I don't think anyone looks at that video and isn't disturbed," Spicer said. 

I deplore the violent removal of a passenger from a United Airlines flight this weekend.
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton

UPDATE 10:45 a.m. EST:

Lawmakers weighed in on the United incident, with multiple members of Congress calling for more information.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) called for a hearing regarding the United Airlines incident. 

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) also called for more information.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) linked passengers to a list of their rights while flying.

UPDATE 10:16 a.m. EST:

Additionally, CNBC reported that United CEO Oscar Munoz had been named "Communicator of the Year" by PR Week. His statements in the wake of the incident have drawn ire from critics and comedians, particularly the use of the word "re-accommodate." 

UPDATE 10:12 p.m. EST: The doctor dragged off a United Airlines flight was reportedly convicted of drug charges in Kentucky in recent years.

The (Louisville) Courier-Journal identified the passenger as Dr. David Dao. Dao, who studied medicine in Vietnam before moving to the U.S., was arrested in 2003 and ultimately convicted of drug-related offenses after an undercover investigation. According to court documents, he gave fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances. His medical license was suspended in February 2005 and restored in 2015.

TMZ reports Dao is also a former World Series of Poker player who made more than $234,000. The WSOP site lists a David Dao from Elizabethtown, Kentucky who won $234,664 and once finished second in a tournament, but the site did not provide a picture.

UPDATE 7:57 a.m. EST:

John Klaassen and Jayse Anspach, passengers on United flight 3411, told CNN Tuesday morning the officers who boarded the plane to remove the passenger were in plain clothes and didn't identify themselves. 

They said they did not know what happened to the passenger after he left the plane and before he returned. 

It wouldn't have taken much more convincing to get passengers off that plane.
John Klaassen, United flight 3411 passenger

Klaasen said he did not see any "negotiation" after the passenger was told he had to leave. After he refused to leave, police arrived shortly after. 

Klaasen said he would take "the alternative" rather than fly United again. 

UPDATE 7:24 a.m. EST:

The Associated Press published the full text  of the email United CEO Oscar Munoz sent to employees. 

Munoz reiterated that employees "followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this" and commended his employees. He also said the company must always remember to treat "our customers and each other with respect and dignity." 

ORIGINAL STORY: United CEO Oscar Munoz didn't back down from the backlash his company has faced after a video of a passenger being dragged off a plane went viral.

In an email to employees, Munoz said the passenger was "disruptive and belligerent," CNBC reports. The passenger's actions, according to Munoz, left the crew "with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers." 

When the passenger returned to the plane, Munoz said, he defied the crew and security team to do so.

I emphatically stand by all of you.
Oscar Munoz

Munoz said there were lessons to be learned from the incident, but he supported his employees.


We've all been there when a flight turns into a nightmare.

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Here's the original video that sparked the controversy.

Here's another angle.

Americans often say they have democracy and human rights, but they can't even respect people who have different skin colors.
@Nanchigirl on Sina Weibo

The fact that the passenger was Asian has drawn criticism in China. The video was far and away the top trending topic on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, The Washington Post reports. Many said it highlighted a gap between America's talk of human rights and actual practices.

The security guy beat him until his face is covered in blood. Is this the so-called American democratic society?
@_tua on Sina Weibo

A witness told the Post the man dragged off the plane said, "I'm being selected because I'm Chinese." 

United's stock took a hit after the incident. Pre-market trading on Tuesday showed the stock fell nearly 6 percent, despite ending Monday with a 0.9 percent gain, CNN Money reports.

WATCH | Jimmy Kimmel roasted United on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," prompting a flood of new slogans on Twitter with the hashtag #NewUnitedAirlinesMottos.

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