The stock price of United Continental Holdings Inc. fell dramatically on Tuesday as the fallout continues over the airline’s handling of a passenger being dragged from one of its US flights.
The market drop follows an incident in which a United passenger was forcibly ejected from an overbooked flight from Chicago to Kentucky.
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Footage shot by other passengers showed the man screaming and struggling as airport police removed him from his seat and pulled him down the aisle of the aircraft. Later videos showed him back on board the aircraft with a bloodied face and appearing disoriented.
The airline came in for widespread criticism over the incident online with social media users expressing disgust at how the passenger was treated and pledging not to fly with United again.
The incident was particularly poorly received in China where people claimed that the man was discriminated against because he appears to be of Asian descent. The video was the top trending item on Chinese social media site Weibo on Tuesday.
In a letter to employees United Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz said that the passenger had “defied” security officers.
“We sought volunteers and then followed our involuntary denial of boarding process (including offering up to $1,000 in compensation),” Munoz wrote. “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.”