“My God, what are you doing? No, this is wrong!” one woman shouts as she sees a man being dragged past her feet. “Oh my God look at what you did to him! Oh my God!”
United Airlines needed extra seats on its plane Sunday night, and when they were done asking passengers to leave voluntarily, authorities bumped an unwilling passenger who was dragged off the overbooked flight from Chicago O’Hare to Louisville.
The 69-year-old doctor can be seen screaming in the video, as security personnel manhandled him out of his chair, causing the man to bash his head against an armrest. He was then dragged down the aisle on his back as fellow passengers filmed the horrific sight and echoed their disgust.
— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 9, 2017
The airline sought four volunteers “for personnel that needed to be at work the next day.”
Airline spokeswoman Maddie King said Monday that four crew members needed to board the United flight, operated by regional partner Republic Airlines, so the members could work another flight in Louisville the next day, or else that flight would be cancelled.
The man reportedly said he was a doctor and he had patients to see according to nj.com.
— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
“After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities,” the airline said in a statement.
The company CEO later released another statement:
United CEO response to United Express Flight 3411. pic.twitter.com/rF5gNIvVd0
— United (@united) April 10, 2017
The security personnel was reportedly placed on leave.
CNN Money shared there was an overlooked reason why United could kick you off your flight. Airlines have a standard practice of selling more tickets than there are seats, and that’s often overlooked. You agree to it when you book your tickets.
“Airlines overbook because people don’t show up for flights and they don’t want to go with empty seats,” founder of Airfarewatchdog.com George Hobica said.
Experts mention that this was an unusual experience because the back and forth thing happens at the gates — not when passengers are all aboard.
“This is pretty unusual, what happened,” Hobica added.
According to the Department of Transportation, federal rules require that airlines must first check to see if anyone will give up his or her seat voluntarily.
Airlines say what the compensation would look like, but usually passengers get a travel voucher for a future flight or a gift card.
After the whole fiasco, United should probably should reconsider that whole “Come fly the friendly skies” slogan.