Report: Man threatened with handcuffs after refusing to give up - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Report: Man threatened with handcuffs after refusing to give up seat on United flight from Lihue

(Image: AP) (Image: AP)
Geoff Fearns (Image: TripPacific Capital Advisors) Geoff Fearns (Image: TripPacific Capital Advisors)
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  • Video of man being dragged from United flight raises questions about passengers' rights

    Video of man being dragged from United flight raises questions about passengers' rights

    Tuesday, April 11 2017 2:53 AM EDT2017-04-11 06:53:16 GMT

    Video of a man being forcibly dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight has not only prompted outrage and calls to boycott the airline, it also raises questions about what rights flyers have when they don't want to give up their seats.  The U.S. Department of Transportation says most airlines overbook their flights to cover the cost of "no-shows." When you buy a plane ticket, you're agreeing to the company's rules -- called a Contract of Carriage -- which allows...

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    Video of a man being forcibly dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight has not only prompted outrage and calls to boycott the airline, it also raises questions about what rights flyers have when they don't want to give up their seats.  The U.S. Department of Transportation says most airlines overbook their flights to cover the cost of "no-shows." When you buy a plane ticket, you're agreeing to the company's rules -- called a Contract of Carriage -- which allows...

    More >>
LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A California business owner alleges he was threatened with handcuffs on a United Airlines flight from Lihue after initially refusing to give up his first class seat to another passenger.

Geoff Fearns told The Los Angeles Times that he might sue United over the experience.

The situation came to light in the wake of a widely-viewed video of a United passenger being dragged from a plane. 

United has apologized for the incident, but not before initially blaming the passenger.

The passenger at the center of that incident refused to give up his seat after being told he'd have to leave to make space on an overbooked flight.

Fearns, 59, found himself in a similar spot on a recent flight from Lihue to Los Angeles last week, according to the LA Times.

He's the president of TriPacific Capital Advisors and had been on Kauai for a business conference. He bought a full fare, first class ticket to Los Angeles because he needed to return early.

After he had already boarded the plane and was in his seat, a United Airlines employee told him he'd have to leave and catch another flight.

He said he was told the flight was overbooked because of another plane's mechanical issues, and that a VIP passenger needed his seat.

"I understand you might bump people because a flight is full," he told the LA Times. "But they didn't say anything at the gate. I was already in the seat. And now they were telling me I had no choice. They said they'd put me in cuffs if they had to."

Eventually, Fearns said, United offered a compromise: He was moved to an economy seat.

Fearns said a United customer relations representative did apologize to him, and offered him a refund for the difference between the cost of his first class fare and the economy one.

But he told the LA Times he's not satisfied with the answer, and he might sue.

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