Video of a United Airlines incident in 2015 when a passenger's fall appeared to have been caused by an airline employee has created yet another public relations black eye.
The surveillance video from George Bush Intercontinental Airport two years ago showed Ronald Tigner, 71, apparently being pushed to the ground by a United Airlines customer service representative in front of a United ticket counter, KPRC-TV reported.
The Washington Post wrote that the incident resulted from an argument over a ticket on July 21, 2015. Tigner's lawsuit against United and two of its employees is asking for more than $1 million.
The video showed that United employees appeared to ignore Tigner on the ground while he laid motionless and it took nearly a minute before a passenger came to his aid, KPRC-TV noted.
"This is just one of the most inhumane things I've ever seen in my life," said Tigner's attorney William Hoke, who has filed a civil lawsuit against United. "He violently shoves a 71-year-old man to the ground."
Hoke told the television station that his client was knocked unconscious during the incident.
"He lies there lifeless for minutes," Hoke told KPRC-TV. "Not one employee comes to check on him. No one even went to check his pulse. They literally left him there like a piece of garbage."
According to the lawsuit, Tigner asked for a new boarding pass because the one he received from United was so illegible that Transportation Security Administration personnel refused to let him enter its checkpoint, wrote the Post.
Tigner encountered United employees Alejandro Anastasia and Ianthe Phillips-Allred, who allegedly refused to assist Tigner and cursed at him when the passenger insisted on being helped, noted the Post. The lawsuit charged that during the exchange Anastasia "suddenly, unexpectedly and violently injured" Tigner.
The lawsuit said a United employee eventually called 911 and Anastasia was later charged with a felony of injuring an elderly individual, KPRC reported. The employee was fined, ordered to attend anger-management classes, and apologize to Tigner.
"We have seen the video from 2015 that shows completely unacceptable behavior by a United employee," the airline said Tuesday in a statement, noted KPRC-TV. "This employee is no longer with our company. The conduct shown here does not reflect our values or our commitment to treat all of our customers with respect and dignity. We are taking a thorough look into what happened here and reaching out to our customer to profusely apologize for what occurred and to make this right."
United is still trying to bounce back from an April 9 incident where David Dao, 69, was dragged off of one of its planes at Chicago O'Hare International Airport by airport security after refusing to give up his seat involuntarily so other United employees could board, noted NBC News.
That incident created a wave of negative publicity for the airline, forcing its chief executive officer Oscar Munoz to issue several apologizes and develop new policies against using law enforcement to remove overbooked customers from planes.
Dao and United reached an undisclosed settlement in late April after suing the airline in connection with the incident, NBC News noted.
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