Uproar over United video imperils Chicago airport police

United Airlines

United Airlines has been the target of worldwide anger after footage emerged of a doctor being dragged screaming from his seat after the airline realised they needed to put extra crew members on the aircraft so they could make it in time for another flight. As of Tuesday, Dao was still recovering from his injuries at a local hospital in Chicago.

For Dao, who came to the USA after fleeing Vietnam by boat in 1975 when Saigon fell, being dragged off the plane "was more horrifying and harrowing than what he experienced in leaving Vietnam", Demetrio said. He has five children.

United Airlines chief executive Oscar Munoz came under fire following a lacklustre apology just hours after the incident occurred - but he has since changed his tune after the widespread fury directed at him.

During his interview on Wednesday, Munoz expressed regret for his earlier comments, saying he did not blame the passenger and that his initial words "fell short" of what he felt.

"This will never happen again on a United flight".

The statement noted that "it is legal for airlines to involuntarily bump passengers when there are not enough volunteers" and that "it is the airline's responsibility to determine its own fair boarding priorities". She said seeing her father removed from the Sunday flight was "exacerbated" by the fact it was caught on video. After what happened, Dao "has no interest in ever seeing an airplane" and will probably be driven to Kentucky, Demetrio said.

Likewise, the Chicago Aviation Department has said only that one of its employees who removed Dao did not follow proper procedures and has been placed on leave.

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United had selected Dao and three other passengers at random for removal from the plane after unsuccessfully offering $800 in travel vouchers and a hotel stay to customers willing to give up their seats.

At a City Council committee hearing Thursday, aldermen ripped officials from United and the department about the episode.

"There are no excuses", Alderman Michael Zalewski said.

The airline issued an apology over the incident and said it would refund the ticket costs of all passengers on Sunday's flight.

The video shined an unwanted spotlight on the airline and the little-known police force that guards Chicago's two main airports, and it could threaten the agency's future.

At the top of their list of questions is whether the airport officers had the authority to board the plane.

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