Businessman Claims United Staff Told Him He'd Be Hauled Off in Cuffs If He Didn't Give Up Seat
Geoff Fearns says he was being bumped for a "high-priority passenger."
When this businessman watched the notorious video of a United Airlines passenger being dragged off a plane, he was relieved he didn't get the same treatment when he was asked to change his seat from a recent flight for a VIP.
Financial advisor Geoff Fearns was on his way back from Hawaii to Los Angeles on a United flight last week when crewmembers asked him to give up his seat.
"That absolutely would have been me," he told Inside Edition as he watched the video of Dr. David Dao being dragged down the aisle of the United plane during Sunday's flight from Chicago to Louisville.
Fearns was already in his seat waiting to take off when he says a flight attendant told him he had to get out of first class because that cabin was full and someone else, identified as a "high-priority passenger,” was being given his place.
“When they called for the first class passengers to board, I boarded with the rest of the group,” he recalled.
Like Dr. Dao, Fearns refused to get up.
He recalled that the crew member “got very preemptory at that point and said, 'If you are not going to give up your seat voluntarily, I will summon security and I will have you escorted off the plane’ in handcuffs."
Fearns gave up his seat, and now that he's seen what happened to Dr. Dao in Chicago, he's glad he did.
Airlines can bump passengers for a host of reasons, including intoxication, being barefoot, body odor or even being overweight.
The so-called VIP that needed to get on the plane, according to Fearns, was "just some other some other aging guy like me."
He added: "That wasn't the place to fight it out. I am fighting it out now."
United told Inside Edition in a statement that they are sorry for Fearns' travel experience, adding that they are training their employees on how to handle similar situations. Fearns was allowed to make the trip to Los Angeles but in a middle seat in coach.
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