Video Shows Man Being Dragged Off of Overbooked United Flight
A passenger on an overbooked United Airlines flight Sunday night was forcibly removed from the plane, according to a video posted to Facebook that is prompting outrage towards the airline.
The video, posted by Audra D. Bridges at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, shows a 30-second snippet of the commotion that happened before the flight departed from Chicago O’Hare International Airport. It shows three men wearing security uniforms wrestling with a customer, who they then drag by his arms and his legs through the aisle.
A United spokesperson confirmed to Fortune that the man had been removed because he refused to get off of the overbooked flight, which was heading to Louisville, Ky.
“Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate,” the spokesperson said. “We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities.”
Bridges, the Louisville resident who posted the video, told The Courier-Journal that United asked if a passenger would give up their seat and get rebooked on a flight to Louisville Monday afternoon — sweetening the deal by offering $400 and a hotel stay.
She said once they were all seated on the plane, they were told that four more people needed to give up their seats for stand-by United employees that needed to be in Louisville by Monday to catch a different flight. United doubled the offer to $800, but no one volunteered, Bridges told the Courier-Journal.
A manager then came aboard the plane, using a computer to select four people to be taken off the flight. One couple was chosen before the man in the video was. He apparently became “very upset” once his name was called, claiming he was a doctor who needed to see patients the next morning.
“Everyone was shocked and appalled,” Bridges told the Courier-Journal. “There were several children on the flight as well that were very upset.”
The unnamed doctor apparently returned to the plane after he was forcibly removed with a bloodied face. “He seemed disoriented,” Bridges said.
Passengers were then instructed to disembark the plane so that a medical crew could take care of the passenger and the plane’s crew could “tidy up” before the flight left, Bridges recalled.
The incident comes just a few weeks after United came under fire for banning two young girls from boarding a plane because they were wearing leggings. The controversial leggings ban, which sparked social media backlash against United, is only in effect for standby pass riders, who are relatives of a United employee.