A United Airlines passenger didn’t get to “fly the friendly skies” when he was forcibly ejected from his overbooked flight, according to reports.
The man was dragged off kicking and screaming when he refused to give up his seat — and was recorded by passengers outraged at his treatment.
The man, whom some social media users said is a doctor, was yanked from his seat at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport before the flight to Louisville, Ky.
“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 spokesman said.
Bridges said passengers had been told at the gate that United offered $400 and a hotel stay for a volunteer who would agree to take another flight at 3 p.m. Monday, the Courier-Journal of Louisville reported.
After passengers boarded, the airline then said four people had to give up their seats to stand-by United employees who needed to be in Louisville on Monday for a flight, Bridges told the paper.
Passengers were told the flight would not take off until the crew had seats, Bridges said, and the offer was increased to $800, but no one took up the offer.
At that point, she said, a manager said a computer would select four passengers to be removed. One couple was selected first and left the airliner, she said, before the man in the video was confronted.
The man said he was a doctor who needed to see patients at a hospital in the morning and became “very upset,” she said. But the manager told him that security would remove him if he didn’t budge.
After two security guards tried to talk him into leaving his seat, a third arrived and threw the passenger against the armrest before the guards dragged him out of the plane.
But the man managed to get back on the aircraft and ran to the back of the plane, Bridges said. A medical crew arrived to treat the bloodied man, while other passengers were told to get off so staff could “tidy up” the plane.
“Everyone was shocked and appalled,” Bridges told the paper. “There were several children on the flight as well that were very upset.”
The flight was delayed about two hours before its flight to Louisville.
Un. Believable. So the short of this story is that United Airlines overbooked a flight (shocker), none of the paying customers volunteered to get off to make room for the company that fucked up (another shocker), and the guy that was chosen by random didn’t appreciate getting ripped off a said flight and put up a fight ( again, shocking). I know an airplane is a delicate place to joke, but I think a situation like this would warrant a Flight 93 “Let’s Roll” passenger revolt. The battle cry from Fran Drescher in seat 24A alone is enough to rile me up behind the keyboard, let alone the passengers of this 747.
I’m not going to get into the semantics that result in an over booked flight. For something that seems like it should be easy to avoid ( 200 seats, sell 200 tickets. Need three extra seats for employees? Sell 197 tickets, boom) it happens an awful lot, so maybe there is something unavoidable about it that I’m just not aware of. But If you over book a flight, and need to make room for your own employees, the first people that go are the ones that AREN’T EVEN WORKING ON THE PLANE. They’re catching a free ride! They aren’t wheeling the cart up and down, or explaining how to put the oxygen mask, or charging me $17.00 for a cocktail at 30,000 feet. They’re just yucking it up like anyone does when they are at their job and not on the clock. Sitting back, watching everyone else have to put on a smile, chirping little inside flight attendant jokes when they come back to the little serving area. The very definition of dead weight.
And not for nothing, but don’t throw that “volunteer” word around if your going to ultimately just jump me like I’m Nicky Santoro in Casino. United Airlines just tantalizing its paying customers with free will, only to resort to gestapo tactics within the same breath. Classic.
Update: This guy somehow made it back on the plane, and was filmed wandering around like a chicken without a head. Terrible look here for United. Excessive force to begin with, and then zero security after wards. Expect this story to be around for a couple days. I bet my bottom dollar United says the guy was drunk.