An airline which authorised dragging a passenger from his seat has defended its actions, saying it was just following European safety regulations.
In footage filmed onboard a Tarom flight from Bucharest to Cairo, a man is seen being forcibly removed from his seat by three airport security staff.
Passenger Viorica Hagagg, who was onboard flight RO0101, filmed the incident and posted the video on Facebook.
She said that the man’s wife, who was sitting in an emergency exit row, was asked to leave the aircraft. She couldn’t speak English or Romanian, and therefore couldn’t understand the emergency procedures.
The woman refused to leave the plane and security came to forcibly remove her, plus her husband and child, according to Ms Hagagg. The woman also spat at cabin crew, Ms Hagagg claimed.
Shocking video shows her husband being dragged out of his seat while fellow passengers are screaming and crying.
A plain-clothed security officer is also seen asking Ms Hagagg to stop filming.
In a Facebook response, the Romanian flag carrier Tarom said it regretted the incident, but said it had to respect European regulations and that it couldn’t allow a passenger to “endanger the safety and security of other passengers”.
The airline said that passengers who are assigned emergency exit rows must speak either English or Romanian. In addition, the family had stored their bags under the seat, which is not permitted in emergency exit rows.
This, the statement said, was why they were asked to move to another seat by cabin crew; but instead Tarom claimed the woman spat at airline crew, resulting in the call for security staff to remove her.
“For quiet and safe travels, please respect the crew and other passengers,” it concluded.
In 2017, Dr David Dao was dragged off a United flight from Chicago to Louisville when he refused to give up his seat. The case garnered international publicity.
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