United Airlines has a customer service issue, not an overbooking problem Michael Boyd, president of aviation consultant Boyd Group International, told CNBC.
“This has become a tempest in a terminal. I’ve been here 45 years in this business. I’ve never seen this happen before to a normal passenger, so we’re blowing this up to make it look like United’s a terrible airline — not true,” Boyd said in an interview with “Closing Bell” on Thursday.
“Pay this guy, let him go — it’s a cost of business and let’s move on,” Boyd added.
Video of Dr. David Dao being dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight sparked outrage across social media.
Boyd said overbooking is actually uncommon and when it does occur, the passengers are denied entry on the plane, not taken off when they’ve already boarded.
“It almost never happens when someone’s on the airplane and told to get off the airplane. They are denied boarding, not ripped off the airplane,” Boyd said.
“We have to be clear: this was not a denied boarding issue. This was a customer service screwup. It was caused by overbooking issue, but we don’t have an overbooking problem to discuss,” he added.
Earlier on Thursday United was back in the headlines after a scorpion stung a man on a United Airlines flight to Calgary.