More than three billion passengers around the world board airplanes in any given year. But in 2017, there were some pretty big bumps along the way, leaving some passengers either kicked off a flight, bloodied and stranded, or stuck with bedbugs.
It all started in April when David Dao was forced out of his seat and dragged down the aisle on an overbooked United Airlines flight, which left him with blood running down his face.
The man, who was dragged off the flight from Chicago to Louisville to make room for a standby crew, can be heard saying in a video captured by another passenger, “I have to go home. I have to go home.”
Staff then approached Dao who, according to passengers, said he was a doctor and had to go home to his patients. When Dao refused to give up his paid seat, force was used against him.
The incident sparked widespread discussion on airline policies, prompting calls for a change in the treatment of airline passengers.
It kept airlines on their toes as people around the world caught other incidents on camera that sparked outrage. Here is a roundup of some of the more notorious incidents that happened in 2017.
Bedbugs pouring from seat
A family from British Columbia was stuck on a nine-hour flight to London with bedbugs “pouring” out of a seat and TV on a British Airways flight.
Heather Szilagyi was with her seven-year-old daughter and fiancé Eric Neilson on Oct. 10 when she said they noticed what appeared to be bedbugs crawling out of the seat in front of them.
Stroller seized from mother
American Airlines issued an apology to a female passenger following the release of a video that shows an airline employee in a heated exchange with a passenger after he allegedly grabbed a stroller from a mother in a “sort of violent” manner.
The video posted in late April shows a passenger looking upset as she holds her child after an attendant took her stroller on a flight that was set to travel from San Francisco to Dallas.
Toddler loses paid seat, sits on mom
Shirley Yamauchi was flying with her son from Hawaii to Boston in July when they had a layover in Houston. It was on the flight from Houston to their final destination that Tazio’s seat was given away to another passenger.
Fight breaks out on Southwest Airlines
One person was arrested after a brawl erupted on a Southwest Airlines jet as passengers began getting off in Burbank after arriving from Dallas last May. The fight involved three passengers.
Southwest spokeswoman, Alyssa Eliasen, said police were summoned and one passenger, identified as 37-year-old Chaze Mickalo Cable, was arrested. Neither authorities nor the company provided details on what prompted the quarrel.
However, the unidentified victim told KNBC that the incident began during the flight when a passenger turned around and complained about a woman “messing with his chair.”
A witness who captured video of the melee said one flight attendant attempted to break up the fight.
Woman claiming to have allergy forcibly removed from flight
Police officers removed a woman from a Southwest Airlines plane in September before it took off from Baltimore.
After saying she was severely allergic to animals – there were two dogs on board – the woman refused the crew’s request to leave the plane after she reportedly did not provide a medical certificate proving her allergy. The crew then called on police to intervene.
A film producer recorded the ensuing struggle between the woman and officers and posted it online. Southwest Airlines later apologized.
— With files from The Canadian Press, Jesse Ferreras Global News, Jenny Rodrigues Global News, Reuters, and The Associated Press.