Video Shows Passenger Being Forcibly Dragged Off United Flight
The incident comes two weeks after the airline made headlines for refusing to allow teen girls wearing leggings to board their flight.
Video shows three security officials dragging a male passenger from a United Airlines flight that the airline said was overbooked as it waited to depart from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
Passenger Audra D. Bridges posted the video on Facebook (watch below) after the incident Sunday evening. It shows the guards grabbing the screaming man from a window seat and pulling him across the armrest before dragging him down the airplane aisle by his arms.
Other passengers are heard saying, "Please, my God. What are you doing? No. This is wrong. Oh, my God. Look at what you did to him" and "Busted his lip."
Bridges, of Louisville, Ky., told The Courier-Journal that after the passengers had boarded the flight to Louisville, they were told that four volunteers were needed to give up their seats for standby United employees who needed to be in Louisville on Monday for a flight. She said they were told the flight wouldn't depart until the employees were seated.
United spokesman Charlie Hobart said airline employees named four customers who had to leave the plane and that three of them did so. He said law enforcement was called when the fourth person refused to get off the plane.
"We followed the right procedures," Hobart told the Associated Press in a phone interview. "That plane had to depart. We wanted to get our customers to their destinations, and when one gentleman refused to get off the aircraft, we had to call the Chicago Police Department."
Bridges said passengers were told a computer selected four people to leave the flight. One couple was selected and left the plane before the man was confronted.
United CEO Oscar Munoz released a statement later on Monday, which the airline shared on its official Twitter account.
"This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United," the exec said in the statement. "I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the 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."
United CEO response to United Express Flight 3411. pic.twitter.com/rF5gNIvVd0— United (@united) April 10, 2017
"Everyone was shocked and appalled," Bridges added in the interview. "There were several children on the flight as well that were very upset."
Hobart said he didn't know how the airline compensated the passengers who were forced to deplane. Bridges said the airline offered an $800 voucher and a hotel stay.
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. #unitedairwaysPosted by Audra D. Bridges on Sunday, April 9, 2017
The outrage came swiftly from Hollywood and the media. People took to Twitter to express their disgust, shock and anger.
Having flown #united last week, I feel very blessed to not be tweeting this message from a hospital bed.— Josh Gad (@joshgad) April 10, 2017
Getting on a United flight this morning. Excited to, I don't know... stay on?— Joss Whedon (@joss) April 10, 2017
Flying United? You have to drag me onto the plane.— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) April 10, 2017
So @united sucks. But the Chicago police who dragged the man off the flight are also monsters. Police using unnecessary force, again.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) April 10, 2017
if united decides to take your seat AND you're wearing leggings, they just execute you i assume— Oliver Willis (@owillis) April 10, 2017
Ironically, not enough seats in the conference room where United is having its crisis meeting.— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) April 10, 2017
Big question for @united: why did they halt their bid (for volunteers) at $800 -- and randomly draw names to be ejected? Is there a ceiling?— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) April 10, 2017
United: Cops will drag you off.— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) April 10, 2017
Spirit: You have to drag yourself off, but we will punch you in the face.
Huh, never noticed these options on the United website until this morning pic.twitter.com/cP8LpIFEP1— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) April 10, 2017
Love the new United flight attendant uniforms pic.twitter.com/RFWSZyOCuz— Tom Gara (@tomgara) April 10, 2017
cannot wait to use "i will re-accommodate your ass" in my next fight— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) April 10, 2017
dont re-accomodate me, bro— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) April 10, 2017