United Airlines passenger dragged off overbooked flight after refusing to give up seat
Videos posted by several passengers on a United Airlines flight captured the moment a passenger was forced out of his seat and dragged down the aisle on Sunday after the flight was overbooked.
According to the airline, they randomly asked volunteers to give up their seats to make space in the aircraft.
“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,” United spokeperson Charlie Hobart said in an email statement.
“We apologize for the overbook situation.”
According to the Chicago Department of Aviation, one of the officers who dragged the man off the plane has been placed on leave.
“The incident on United flight 3411 was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department,” Karen Pride, spokesperson for the CDA said in a statement. “That officer has been placed on leave effective today pending a thorough review of the situation.”
WATCH: United Airlines says it is launching an internal investigation after a 69-year-old man was forcibly removed from an oversold flight. Jackson Proskow reports.
When asked why the flight was overbooked and what steps the airline took to get passengers to volunteer their seats, United never gave a response.
Joseph R. D’Cruz of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto says airlines often overbook to save money.
“Airlines overbook because very often people book a flight and then don’t show up. It’s called a no show. And the no-show rate can vary depending on the route,” D’Cruz told Global News.
“So in order to protect themselves from having empty seats on the plane, they overbook.”
In Canada for example, the federal government has not mandated any sort of compensation for people who are bumped from flights, D’Cruz said. “They are letting the market decide and each airline decide how much they are going to compensate.”
WATCH: Videos show bloodied United Airlines passenger pleading to ‘go home’ after removal
The videos of the incident posted on Twitter and Facebook have sparked widespread outrage online. According to one passenger who filmed one of the videos, United initially asked if volunteers would be willing to give up their seats to accommodate their standby crew.
“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,” Audra D. Bridges wrote on Facebook.
The videos show the man screaming as police officers pulled him from his seat. His face bloodied, the man then falls silent while police drag him by his hands down the aisle.
Passengers nearby yell at the officers to stop. “Oh my God, look at what you did to him,” one woman screams in the video.
There was no update on the condition of the man who was dragged off the plane.
The CEO of United Airlines released another statement on Twitter saying they are investigating the incident:
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