'He was a really sweet man': fellow passenger defends United customer dragged off flight

United Airlines man dragged off planeFacebook/Audra BridgesFootage of a passenger being dragged from an aeroplane has ignited a firestorm online.

A fellow passenger on United Airlines flight 3411 told CNN that the customer dragged from the flight was pleasant before the ordeal. 

“He was a really sweet man,” John Klaassen, a teacher who was travelling on a school trip in Chicago, told CNN’s Don Lemon in an interview April 10. 

Klaassen told Lemon that the 69-year-old man, who has not been identified, chatted with some of his students before being told his seat was given to an airline worker. 

At that point, the man became inconsolable and repeatedly refused to leave. He was forcibly removed by police and then taken to the hospital with injuries from the confrontation.  

Video of the incident has ignited a firestorm online and led to criticism and boycotts of United. The officer shown in the video has been placed on leave as the government reviews the case

The airline has since apologised

“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United,” CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement. “I apologise for having to re-accommodate these customers.” 

NOW WATCH: People are outraged by this shocking video showing a passenger forcibly dragged off a United Airlines plane

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.