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Diary of a bad year for United


March 2017 — Girls traveling with a free friends-and-family ticket are barred from boarding a United flight because they are wearing leggings. Model Chrissy Teigen tweets, “I have flown United before with literally no pants on. Just a top as a dress.” A social media storm ensues.

April 9 — In the most widely talked about airline story of the year, United pulls Dr. David Dao off an overbooked flight to make room for crew. Dao suffers lost teeth and a broken nose. United suffers a public relations nightmare.

April 10 — A Kansas City mother claims she was forced to urinate in a cup aboard a United flight — and then humiliated by the crew members who wouldn’t let her use the bathroom.


► CEO Oscar Munoz stands behind the decision to drag Dao off the plane as United stocks plummet.

April 11 — Senators demand answers from United regarding the Dao incident.

► Munoz attempts a second apology and follows it up with an appearance on “Good Morning America.”

April 13 — A passenger reports that he was stung by a scorpion on a United flight out of Houston after it fell out of an overhead bin.

April 25 — Simon, a giant rabbit on its way from London to Chicago, mysteriously dies on a United flight.

May — A man claims his ticket was canceled because he filmed a dispute with a surly ticket agent. “The video does not reflect the positive customer experience we strive to offer, and for that we apologize,” United says in a statement.

► United demands a soldier returning from a 21-month deployment to Afghanistan pay $200 for an overweight bag — which contained a Kevlar vest, two helmets, and boots, according to a report.


June — A classical musician accuses a United supervisor of barring her from boarding a plane with her centuries-old violin, sparking a scuffle that caused her to miss her flight and left her worried her hands — and by extension, her livelihood — may have been harmed.

United apologizes to a 71-year-old grandfather who was pushed to the floor by an employee in 2015 at an airport in Houston over a ticket dispute, leaving the man “there like a piece of garbage,” according to his attorney.

► A Colorado woman says United was “not equipped” to handle the urgency of the situation when her infant son began to overheat while the aircraft sat on the tarmac during a heat wave.

July— A Hawaii mother says she was forced to hold her 2-year-old son in her lap for over three hours when United accidentally sold his plane seat to another passenger.

December — United apologizes to a passenger and gives her a $500 travel voucher after she accused the company of giving away her first-class seat to a Texas congresswoman.

► A former education adviser to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says she was repeatedly groped by a drunk man on a United flight to New Jersey and airline officials did not do more to protect her and other women from a “visibly, highly intoxicated” man.


January 2018 — A woman about to fly from Pueblo, Colo., to visit her dying mother one last time in Minnesota is removed from the plane over a ticketing issue. She is forced to drive. Her mother passes away by the time she arrives.

February — A United employee tells a woman that her purse is too large to carry on the plane, despite its fitting into the test rack. The employee is filmed taking the bag out and deliberately putting it in the rack sideways so it will not fit.

March — A 10-month-old puppy dies after a United flight attendant insists that the dog needs to go into an overhead bin during a flight from Houston to New York.