Geoff Fearns claims he was booted out of his First Class seat even though he had already received his welcome drink
In the few days since United Airlines dragged a doctor off their overbooked plane, there has been global outrage towards the airline at the treatment of passengers.
But one former customer has the right to be angrier than most – Geoff Fearns, who claims he was booted out of his seat to make way for a more “high-profile” passenger.
The president of TriPacific Capital Advisors investment firm, from California, says he was flying in First Class to Hawaii from LAX on business with the airline last week, when he was threatened with handcuffs.
The 59-year-old claims he was already in his seat on the plane, like the doctor, when he was approached by staff who asked him to vacate the First Class cabin.
According to Geoff, the airline had swapped a large plane for a smaller aircraft after experiencing technical difficulties and found themselves with more passengers than seats.
Geoff says that they opted to place a customer with ‘”higher standing” his seat instead.
He told the LA Times: “They told me they needed the seat for somebody more important who came at the last minute – they said they have a priority list and this other person was higher on the list than me.
“They said they’d put me in cuffs if they had to.”
When Geoff complained that he had forked out $1,000 (£800) for the flight and shouldn’t have to miss it, he says the staff put him in a middle seat in the Economy cabin, between an arguing married couple.
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To add insult to injury though, Geoff says that the airline was equally unhelpful when he returned home and contacted customer services about a refund for his journey, also insisting that the company made a donation to a charity of his choosing.
But he says the company rep refused and instead revealed the best they could do was to pay the difference between the Economy and First Class ticket, along with a $500 (£400) credit for a future flight.
Oblivious to how infuriating the offer was, the rep then allegedly added: “Despite the negative experience, we hope to have your continued support.
“Your business is especially important to us and we’ll do our utmost to make your future contacts with United satisfactory in every respect.”
Geoff revealed that he is now considering suing the airline.
Sun Online has contacted United Airlines for a comment.