A 71-year-old Nigerian, David Ukesone has recounted a raw deal that he had from the crew of Emirates airline, flying from Dubai in the United Arabs Emirate to Chicago, United States of America.
He was punched on the face, his mouth taped and bound like a prisoner for eight hours on his trip to reunite with his family.
The flight from Dubai to Chicago, according to information on the airline’s website, lasts for 15 hours and 10 minutes.
His offence was that he got into a dispute with the flight attendants over his seat number.
“He apparently sits in the wrong seat and was told to change seats by a flight attendant,” attorney Howard Schaffner told ABC News. “He didn’t think he was in the wrong seat and there was an argument and, at some point, he was hit.”
Emirates Airlines, in a statement released Monday, confirmed the incident.
It said: “Emirates can confirm that a passenger on flight EK235 from Dubai to Chicago on 23 January had to be restrained by cabin crew due to unruly behavior during the flight.
“The passenger was handed over to the authorities on arrival in Chicago.
“The safety of our passengers and crew is of the utmost importance and will not be compromised.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the other passengers on the flight for their understanding, in particular the individuals who had assisted our crew during the flight.”
But his lawyer said he had no issue traveling from Nigeria to Dubai until he began the second leg of his trip.
Ukesone boarded the flight after his layover in Dubai with the boarding pass assigning him to seat 35D.
He was joining his wife who immigrated four months earlier.
His adult son and daughter had also immigrated to the US.
The incident unfolded after Ukesone went to the bathroom and got in the wrong seat after he returned.
His attorney said he sat “very close” to 35D.
Ukseone understands English, but not perfectly.
When the argument ensued between himself and the flight crew, Schaffner said, he was very confused.
He said: “He was asked to move and he wants to take his bag in the overhead compartment with him.
“They told him he was in the wrong seat and they laid hands on him to move him and that’s when everything escalated.”
The argument continued to escalate and the flight crew allegedly struck him “at least once” and left a “large welt on his face”, according to his lawyer.