As if United Airlines hasn’t had enough customer service issues to deal with this year, the carrier is once again apologizing to a passenger. This time, the company issued regrets for a nearly two-year-old incident that was thrust into the spotlight this week after a Texas man filed a lawsuit against the airline and two employees alleging he was injured when one of the workers pushed him to the ground during a confrontation that was caught on security camera.
KPRC reports that United apologized for the incident Tuesday after video surfaced of the confrontation at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston back in July 2015.
Video of the incident, which was first aired by KPRC Tuesday, shows the 71-year-old passenger talking to a United employee near a ticket counter and then falling to the ground after what looks like being pushed. The footage then shows the man lying on the floor motionless for several minutes while the employee and others stood nearby.
“The conduct shown here does not reflect our values or our commitment to treat all of our customers with respect and dignity,” United said in a statement. “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.”
The security footage surfaced just days after a lawsuit was filed in Harris County, TX, accusing the airline and two employees of negligence.
According to the lawsuit, the July 21, 2015 incident began when the man received a boarding pass that was illegible. After asking multiple times for a new pass and being denied, the man was told to go to the security checkpoint.
There, Transportation Security Administration officials refused to accept the ticket, sending the man back to the United counter.
The lawsuit claims that once the man reached the ticketing area, he tried again to get a new boarding pass. However, the two employees he approached allegedly refused to provide assistance. Instead, they laughed and cursed at the man, telling him they were busy, according to the complaint.
When the passenger told the employee to “wipe that smile off your face,” the worker replied with an obscenity and then “suddenly, unexpectedly, and violently injured” the man, the Washington Post reports.
Eventually, another passenger approached the man to see if he was okay, and a United employee called 9-1-1 to report the man had fallen down.
The man says he was left with “physical disfigurement” and “mental anguish” after the incident.
The employee who allegedly pushed the man was later charged with a felony of injuring an elderly individual, fined, ordered to attend anger-management classes, and apologize to the passenger, KPRC reports.
United said in a statement Wednesday that the employee involved in the altercation was no longer with the company, adding that the airline was “disturbed by the completely unacceptable behavior shown in a video of a customer and a former United employee.”
With the recently filed lawsuit, the passenger is seeking $1 million for “severe personal injuries and damages.”