United Airlines is coming under fire for overbooking a flight and then taking drastic measures to remove passengers.
A video posted to Twitter and Facebook on Sunday shows a man being pulled out of his seat and dragged down the aisle by three security officers as fellow passengers express their fear and outrage. According to the Courier-Journal, the incident occurred as a result of United Airlines overbooking a flight by four people.
Flight 3411 was preparing to take off when passengers aboard the craft, transiting from Chicago O’Hare Airport to Louisville, Kentucky, were informed too few seats were available. According to Audra Bridges, who was aboard the plane and posted one of the viral videos to Facebook, a flight attendant informed the passengers that four people would need to give up their seats for four United employees who were needed in Louisville the next day. Reportedly, a $800 voucher was being offered as an incentive. When no one volunteered to give up their seats, a manager came aboard and declared that passengers would be randomly selected and asked to leave.
Please share this video. We are on this flight. United airlines overbooked the flight. They randomly selected people to kick off so their standby crew could have a seat. This man is a doctor and has to be at the hospital in the morning. He did not want to get off. We are all shaky and so disgusted. #unitedairways -To use this video in a commercial player or in broadcasts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org-
Posted by Audra D. Bridges on Sunday, April 9, 2017
The man in the video is a doctor who became visibly upset when he was asked to leave. Reportedly, he had patients he needed to treat on Monday, therefore, refused to give up his seat. Management then informed him that security would be called if he refused to leave the plane. Shortly after, three security guards removed him from his seat while passengers yelled their disgust and fright.
— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
After the incident, passenger Jayse D. Anspach posted a series of tweets about what developed.
He later informed followers that the doctor was later allowed back on the plane but appeared to have a “bloody face.”
— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 10, 2017
Another passenger captured the physician’s bloody face as he re-entered the aircraft, shares BuzzFeed.
— Kaylyn Davis (@kaylyn_davis) April 10, 2017
It didn’t take long before the Department of Transportation announced it would be launching a Federal investigation to review whether or not United followed consumer protection regulations. According to a statement by theDepartment of Transportation, “While it is legal for airlines to involuntary bump passengers from an oversold flight when there are not enough volunteers, it is the airline’s responsibility to determine its own fair boarding priorities.”
When approached by the press, United Airlines released the following statement:
“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. We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities.”
Shortly afterward, the CEO of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, issued an apology statement. He stated:
“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.”
“We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation,” he added.
While responses to the ordeal have been mixed, overall, it seems the public is both baffled by how the passenger was treated and infuriated that despite possibly following legal protocols, United Airlines didn’t demonstrate more care to its customers. What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!