By Lee Han-soo
Major U.S. carrier United Airlines is facing heavy criticism after dragging a passenger from an overbooked plane on Monday.
It was criticized when it recently barred two teenage girls wearing leggings from boarding a plane after deeming their dress inappropriate.
The incident was called intrusive and sexist, but the company stood by its decision and refused to apologize, saying the passengers violated the company’s dress code.
“It’s not that we want our standby travelers to come in wearing a suit and tie or that sort of thing,” United Airlines spokesman Jonathan Guerin told the New York Times. “We want people to be comfortable when they travel, as long as it’s neat and in good taste for that environment.”
The company faced a severe backlash after refusing to apologize for the overbooking incident.
“We sought volunteers and then followed our involuntary denial of boarding process (including offering up to $1,000 in compensation),” Munoz wrote in his letter, which Reuters acquired. “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.”
Netizens quickly seized on the incidents, mocking Munoz for receiving an award for “Communicator of the Year” earlier this year.
Hashtags included #dragginggate, #leggingsgate and #banunited.
United Airlines has a history of treating its passengers poorly, including refusing a can of Diet Coke to a Muslim-American woman in 2015, during which a crew member allegedly yelled “You Muslim, you need to shut the … up. You know you would use it as a weapon.”
Another incident that showed poor customer relations was the breaking of musician Dave Carroll’s guitar in 2008, which led to three viral hit songs in 2009 after United initially refused to pay compensation.