So much for United Airlines' slogan, "Fly the friendly skies."
Many people were outraged after a passenger aboard an overbooked flight was violently dragged down the aisle of a plane to accommodate the company's employees. After video footage circulated on social media Monday, Jimmy Kimmel shared his take on what happened via his late-night show on ABC. He began by questioning the concept of '"overbooked" flights. "I've been to a hundred games and stadiums with 50,000 seats; they never sell the same seat two times to one person," Kimmel said. "But for some reason, airlines cannot figure this out."
Kimmel noted that airlines will typically offer passengers "incentives" to give up their seats. On this particular flight, one man—a doctor—refused. As a result, security forcibly removed him from the aircraft. "That's how my mother used to get me out of bed to go to school every morning," Kimmel joked after airing the video footage. "This poor guy—they roughed him up."
According to Kimmel, the "worst part" was how United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz handled the situation. In a statement released via Twitter, Munoz said, "This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers..." Munoz added that the airline is working "with the authorities" and conducting its own independent review of what happened. "He said 're-accomdate.' This is like when we re-accommodated El Chapo in Mexico," Kimmel joked. "That is such sanitized, say nothing, take no responsibility corporate B.S. speak. I don't know how the guy who sent that tweet didn't vomit when he sent that out."
Munoz later e-mailed United Airlines employees about the incident and seemingly blamed the situation on the passenger. After calling the man "disruptive and belligerent," the CEO wrote that his employees "followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this." He "deeply" regretted what happened—but, he said, "I also emphatically stand behind all of you."
Kimmel wasn't at all amused. "Imagine this happened at Applebee's. Imagine if you sit down, you order your Three-Cheese Chicken Cavatappi, and 20 minutes later the waiter comes over and says, 'Sorry, we have another party coming in. We need this chair. So, either you can leave or we can make you leave.' You say, 'I don't want to leave! I ordered my chicken! I want to eat!' And he grabs you by the arm and throws you out. You'd never go to Applebee's again, right?" he said. "But that's the thing: We don't do that with airlines. The next time we book a flight, it doesn't matter if it's United or Delta or American. If one of those flights is a dollar less than the other one, that's what we'll pick. They know this; that's why we're stuck with them. Our only other choice is the bus, so..."
The host added, "United didn't even admit that they did anything wrong."
Kimmel then aired a safety video spoof for United Airlines to use before takeoff on future trips. It featured a flight attendant who warned customers what to expect when they arrive on board.
"We're United Airlines. You do what we say, when we say, and there won't be a problem, capiche? If we say, 'You fly,' you fly. If not, tough s--t," the female flight attendant said with a menacing grin. "Give us a problem and we'll drag your ass off the plane, and if you resist, we'll beat you so badly you'll be using your own face as a flotation device. United Airlines: F--k You."