Irvine Man Claims He Was Threatened With Handcuffs For Not Giving Up Plane Seat

A week before the now infamous United Airline passenger scuffle, another man says he was threatened with handcuffs to give up his seat on a booked flight.

Geoff Fearns says a United Airlines employee told him the flight was now full and a "higher-priority" first-class passenger was entitled to his seat.

When he initially refused, Fearns says that's when the employee threatened him.

“The gate agent had made it plain that they were planning on calling security and having me physically escorted off the plane, physically ejected from the seat.” 

Fearns, the President of Irvine based TriPacific Capital Advisors, was returning from a business trip from Kauai and purchased a full-fare first class ticket for $1,000.

“I understand you might bump people because a flight is full...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.”

A passenger in the seat next to him allegedly said to just get up and cooperate because United staff could get "pretty nasty".

Fearns gave in because he didn't want the fight.

"I'm 59 years old, I'm not going to go rolling around on the floor with some security team."

He was eventually reassigned to a middle class, economy seat and the airline has yet to apologize for the incident.

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