United Airlines customers cut up frequent flyer and credit cards in protest at passenger dragged off flight

Footage of Dr David Dao caused outrage after being circulated online 

Will Worley
Wednesday 12 April 2017 14:58 BST
Man brutally dragged off United Airlines flight: "Please kill me"

Long-time United Airlines customers have been cutting up the company’s frequent flyer and credit cards in response to the forced ejection of a passenger.

The removal of Dr David Dao, 69, from a United Airlines flight by security officers earlier this week sparked outrage after video of the event circulated online.

Dr Dao, of Kentucky, was a paying passenger who refused to leave the overbooked Chicago to Louisville plane to make space for a United employee.

Man brutally dragged off United Airlines flight: "I want to go home"

Many flyers are now urging a boycott of the carrier and some protested the airline’s response by ridding themselves of the company reward scheme and other perks.

Photos of destroyed United-Chase credit cards were posted online by disappointed former customers.

Aninda Sadhukha explained his reasoning to CNN: "The bloody pictures were crossing a red line for me. Getting rid of the card is the first step in making myself feel accountable in not being able to fly United."

Other passengers destroyed their frequent flyer cards – though some commentators pointed out the card no longer needs to be shown during boarding to gain the benefits, its number just needs to be entered during online check in.

Eyewitness told of what they saw when Dr Dao was ejected.

"The doctor's face was slammed against an armrest, causing serious bleeding from his mouth,” fellow passenger Jayse Anspach told Sky News.

"It looked like he was knocked out, because he went limp and quiet and they dragged him out of the place like a rag doll."

Dr Dao is currently in hospital in Chicago.

A statement released by his relatives said: “The family of Dr Dao wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern and support they have received. Currently, they are focused only on Dr Dao’s medical care and treatment.”

United has apologised for the treatment of Dr Dao, but only after an initial communication defending the company’s employees was criticised.

"It's never too late to do the right thing,” United CEO Oscar Munoz said in the later statement.

“I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what's broken so this never happens again."

The company’s shares fell by more than four per cent yesterday, as the footage of the event went viral, causing the company to lose nearly $1bn (£800m) of its value. It later crept back up, but the shock served as an indicator of the severity of the public relations crisis caused by the incident.

However, aviation experts have said the company acted legally.

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