An Indian-origin man in the US has claimed that the United Airlines cancelled his flight reservation because he filmed an employee during an altercation, the latest public relations headache for the under fire airline.
Navang Oza, 37, said he was refused entry on a flight to the West Coast after he started recording his experience on his cellphone.
Oza was quoted by KNTV as saying that he was checking in Monday for a flight home to San Francisco from New Orleans when he complained to a United Airlines agent about a USD 300 charge for his luggage. Oza said he paid USD 125 to check the same bag on the first leg of his trip.
Unable to get an explanation, Oza said he decided to do what many other frustrated passengers have done and film the dispute.
Oza posted an unedited clip of the lengthy interaction with the ticket counter worker in New Orleans.
The clip begins with the agent pointing her finger at him, saying, “You did not have my permission to videotape”. Next, she appears to instruct an agent to her left. “Cancel the reservation,” she says.
“I want to know why,” Oza asks.
“Because you did not have my permission,” she said.
“I was shocked because I didn’t know she had the right to cancel my flight because I started recording,” he said.
About a minute after ordering his trip cancelled for taping her, the United agent is seen recording Oza.
“I’ll do the same thing,” she said, pointing her smartphone at Oza’s.
Oza said the United agent eventually called airport police. Oza was still rolling when an officer appeared.
“Can I at least keep this recording?” Oza asks the officer. The officer replies, “Sir, you have the right to do whatever you want; it’s a public space”.
The California resident said that he ultimately re-booked his flight on a different airline.
United told the news station that it was investigating the incident.
“The video does not reflect the positive customer experience we strive to offer, and for that we apologise. We are reviewing this situation, including talking with Mr Oza and our employees to better understand what happened,” United said in a statement.
United has faced a series of scandals in recent weeks, including the violent removal of passenger David Dao, who sustained injuries from being dragged off an overbooked flight.
Also this week, a Missouri woman claimed that a United staff told her to urinate in a cup rather than leave her seat to use the restroom on a flight from Houston. The claim has been denied by the airline.
A giant rabbit, who was expected to outgrow his father to become the world’s biggest bunny, also died under the care of United Airlines last month.