Top Chinese tennis player Zhang Shuai has heavily criticised the embattled airline United Airlines, claiming a member of its staff was aggressive and insulting to her during an argument over hand baggage. Another passenger claiming to be on the same flight, however, has rejected her account on social media and accused her of throwing a tantrum. Zhang, who is currently the highest-ranked female Chinese singles player, was travelling on United Airlines flight UA735 from Tampa, Florida, to Washington on Thursday morning when she ran into problems at the departure gate. A United Airlines staff member told Zhang her tennis bag exceeded the maximum size allowed in the passenger cabin, took it away without her permission and tagged the bag with a check-in tape, Zhang said in a Facebook post. This is how @UnitedAirlines treats a @WTA player! https://t.co/ZtDwhgPx54 — Shuai Zhang (@zhangshuai121) June 8, 2017 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> Zhang said the member of staff counted her two bags and five tennis rackets one by one, telling her she now had seven items of carry-on luggage. “I’ve been travelling almost every week for many years and I’ve NEVER run into anything like what happened today! Most of the tennis players take their tennis bags as carry-ons when they fly,” Zhang wrote. United Airlines to offer passengers up to US$10,000 to give up seats after overbooked flight scandal United Airlines attracted massively damaging publicity in April after a Vietnamese-American doctor, David Dao, was dragged from his seat and injured before his flight took off from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky. He had been bumped off the flight in the US to make way for travelling airline staff. Zhang said the ground staff member in Tampa grabbed her passport and boarding passes from her hand on Thursday and “fiercely” said “Don’t touch me!” when Zhang asked her not to touch her personal belongings. “I feel she was purposely trying to intimidate me,” Zhang wrote. “I felt having been poorly treated by United Airlines … to some extent discriminated by her. “Even though it is not close to the same scale as the other UA incident where a passenger was dragged and injured which caught public attention from the globe, I for the first time truly felt the extremely terrible and disgusting service of United Airlines!” Zhang wrote. United Airlines responded to the incident on Twitter, saying it was “terribly sorry to learn of the issues” Zhang encountered during her trip and asked her to get in touch directly. United Airlines settles with passenger who was violently dragged from a plane However, another Twitter user, who said he was on the same flight, defended the airline, saying staff had been “incredibly professional” despite a “passenger throwing a tantrum”. “She threw a fit because they told her she couldn’t carry on three bags, including a very large tennis bag carrying four rackets,” wrote @BrianTRusso, whose Twitter profile says he is a Florida-based data scientist. “I’ve seen people kicked off flights for less. She got lucky. No evil United staff in this story,” he wrote. United Airlines, Zhang and the Twitter user have yet to respond to requests for comment. United Airlines was also criticised last month when a woman from Missouri in the United States claimed she was forced to relieve herself in a cup as flight attendants would not let her use the aircraft’s toilet. The airline said the woman’s flight had begun its final descent into Kansas City airport and all passengers and cabin crew had been told by the pilot to return to their seats.