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United Airlines

United Airlines Sued for Alleged Racial Incident

United Airlines Sued for Alleged Racial Incident
Jennifer Billock

United Airlines is in the hot seat once again due to a former NBA player suing the airline over what he says was an obvious race-baiting incident involving a flight attendant who refused to let him sit in an empty exit row with his son, even after a fellow passenger offered to switch seats with him.

Former Utah Jazz player Eric Murdock has launched a $10 million lawsuit against United Airlines along with another customer for what he says was an obvious race-baiting incident. The fight in question was from Newark to Las Vegas in July. Murdock asked a flight attendant if he and his son – who was seated in a different row – could sit together in the empty exit row.

According to the lawsuit, reported by the New York Post, the flight attendant said “no” because it was a premium seat, which cost more. Another passenger, ticketed for that row, eventually boarded and offered to switch seats with Murdock, who had accepted and was allegedly ordered back to his seat by the flight attendant.

Thirty minutes later, the lawsuit says, the white flight attendant allowed a white woman to sit in the exit row and would not explain why to Murdock, who is black. Another black passenger, Brenda Williams, saw the incident and asked the flight attendant why she was being so rude to Murdock. The lawsuit states that the flight attendant then began shouting at Williams and tried to steal her phone.

Williams and Murdock were escorted off the plane and questioned immediately after it landed. They were released without any charges.

[Photo: Shutterstock]


View Comments (8)


  1. sfoeuroflyer

    December 4, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Nothing sounds “obvious” about this. Want to sit in a premium seat? Buy the ticket or have a high frequent flier status to get bumped into that category of seat. Race has nothing to do with it. What BS.

  2. Dubai Stu

    December 4, 2018 at 9:23 am

    He obviously wasn’t tall enough, strong enough, or athletic enough to assist passengers in the event of an emergency evacuation.

  3. mvoight

    December 4, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    It is not clear whether the woman who eventually sat there had paid for premium seating. Had Murdock paid for premium seating for himself or his son? Was she an elite flyer with the airline? THere are plenty of reasons other than race for him to to be able to site there. If the guy plays in the NBA, surely he can pay the extra fare and BUY exit row seating. The airline is not obligated to give it to him, whether he is white, black, red, or purple

  4. shoelessj

    December 5, 2018 at 5:17 am

    Hard to believe a former NBA player could not afford FC none the less a “premium” ticket for his kid. Doesn’t appear that much planning went into this trip on his part.

  5. makrom

    December 5, 2018 at 5:55 am

    So he is sueing because his self-upgrade to exit row didn’t go through?
    I think it’s very reasonable that FAs don’t put those who tried to self-upgrade on top of the list when eventually handing out such upgrades.

  6. John Aldeborgh

    December 5, 2018 at 11:17 am

    The NBA player obviously hasn’t traveled much with us common folks. The FA’s police people poaching economy plus seats rigorously, this has nothing to do with anything but money. The thought that a female flight attendant is going to pick a fight with a 6’6” professional athlete is ridiculous. The spoiled brat, privileged professional athlete simply isn’t used to being treated like the rest of us mortals. In 4.6M BIS miles on UA I’ve only ever once seen UA have police escort a passenger from the plane after landing, trust me it was justified. The decision to do this is very rare and would only be made with the full crews as well as the UA ground teams involvement. Being a FA is a tough, thankless job.

  7. PaulMSN

    December 7, 2018 at 8:16 am

    Seems like several posters are using selective interpretations to deny racism. I wonder why it’s so important to them to deny the possibility that the FAs actions were based on prejudice?

  8. arvi123

    December 12, 2018 at 7:55 am

    @sfoeuroflyer Please read the article carefully. The seat was empty, he requested the flight attendant IF he could sit there. Another passenger was will to change sears with him. The attendant later allowed a white woman to sit in that seat. The whole thing is race baiting at the minimum. And you sir are a MORON.

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