Date
17 October 2017
Zhang Shuai said the United Airlines staffer  stretched out her baggage so that it would appear to exceed the size limit. Photos: Bloomberg, Reuters, Weibo
Zhang Shuai said the United Airlines staffer stretched out her baggage so that it would appear to exceed the size limit. Photos: Bloomberg, Reuters, Weibo

Tennis star Zhang Shuai blasts ‘rude, arrogant’ United staffer

After a series of incidents that gave it a lot of bad press, United Airlines continues to draw complaints from passengers who accuse the carrier of unfair treatment and bad service.

The latest comes from Chinese tennis star Zhang Shuai, who took to social media to recount how she said she was mistreated by a female employee of the airline as she was about to board its flight in the United States.

In a Weibo post, Zhang, 28, said the UA ground staffer was so rude and arrogant in dealing with her before she boarded the flight from Tampa in Florida to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The employee allegedly tore apart Zhang’s boarding pass as they were grappling for the document.

“The UA staffer said my tennis bag exceeded the maximum measurement size and took it away without asking for my permission,” she said.

Zhang went on to say that the employee even stretched out the bag so that it would appear to exceed the maximum length of a carry-on at the measurement rack, Apple Daily reported.

The worker also allegedly grabbed Zhang’s boarding pass and passport from her hands, and threatened to prevent her from boarding the plane, Headline Daily said.

Zhang, who is currently 66th on women’s singles rankings, was travelling from France to the US, after she was knocked out of the French Open in round 32.

At the UA counter, Zhang said she checked in her tennis bag, and put her five tennis rackets in a shoulder bag as a carry-on.

Zhang said her experience with the UA staffer seemed to validate widespread complaints against the airline and its personnel.

In April, a passenger, a Vietnamese-American doctor, was violently dragged out of a UA flight by airport security men to provide seats to airline crew members.

Fellow tennis player Zheng Jie voiced her support to Zhang on Weibo, noting that most professional players would prefer to take their tennis rackets as carry-ons, as there are many instances where checked-in baggage is lost or damaged.

The incident at Tampa airport has raised an outcry among many of Zhang’s fans, who branded it a racist act and called for a boycott of the airline.

The UA put up a regular customer service response to Zhang on social media on Thursday, saying that it is sorry to learn about her problems and would like to communicate with her in private to resolve the matter.

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