A Mexican father has been accused of child trafficking on a United Airlines flight because he and his three-year-old daughter did “not look alike”.
The accusations come at the worst possible time for the besieged airline after they made headlines around the world after violently dragging a passenger from an overbooked flight.
Mauru Furfey claims her husband Osvaldo Maciel had been flying to New York with their daughter on March 1, when another passenger accused him of child trafficking.
"She claimed that my fair-skinned daughter didn’t look like her Mexican father, and stoked suspicion that he had kidnapped her," Ms Furfey wrote in a column for the Huffington Post.
“This passenger had no basis for this claim, nor any evidence to back it up.
"They fired so many questions at him that he didn’t know who was asking what. He had no idea what was going on. Our daughter started to cry in all of the commotion.”
Ms Furfey slammed the airline for giving the woman’s allegations any platform.
She said that the Port Authority and Customs Border Patrol then dragged Mr Maciel and their daughter from the plane and interrogated them with a “presumption of guilt”.
"A simple check of the passports or flight records would clearly show that there was no problem in this situation and would have prevented the drama and stress that it created."
United Airlines has since apologised to the family and offered them a $100 voucher but denied removing them from the aircraft.