Airlines in the United States had a rough week. Delta was forced to cancel numerous flights as storms pummeled their hub in Atlanta. And now, a video has surfaced of officers forcibly removing a passenger from a flight after the airline chose him at random to give up his seat on an over-booked flight.
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The man was on a flight out of Chicago. United airlines was operating the evening flight to Louisville, and they had to find volunteers to give up their seats. They needed four of them, and offered travel vouchers for volunteers who were willing to fly out the next day.
Audra Bridges, a fellow passenger, filmed the incident. The problem began when United found that they needed a flight crew in Louisville on Monday. The four United employees were prioritized over the passengers who’d paid for the flight, and United began trying to find volunteers to give up their seats.
When no one took their offers, United used a computer program to choose four passengers at random. When the names were announced, one man, who said he was a doctor who needed to be home to see patients, refused to leave the plane.
One couple reportedly left voluntarily. This man, though, refused to give up his seat. The United flight crew called in police to escort the man off the plane.
When the man resisted, he was manhandled, and thrown across the aisle into the arm rest of the adjacent seat. The man, who claimed to be a doctor, appeared to be knocked unconscious. The cops then dragged him by his arms off the plane.
Passengers yelled at the police, “my god what are you doing” and “this is wrong.” Some passengers, though, could be heard praising the police.
After being dragged off, the man somehow broke free and ran back onto the plane. He was bleeding and seemed to be disoriented, and was again removed.
United Airlines did release a 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.”