A man traveling on United Airlines flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was violently removed from the plane due to the flight being oversold Sunday night.
Video posted to social media shows the man screaming as security physically pulls him his chair, causing his head to smash against an armrest. He’s then dragged down the aisle on his back.
— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 9, 2017
— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
“My God, what are you doing? No, this is wrong!” one woman cries as she watches the man being dragged past her feet. “Oh my God look at what you did to him! Oh my God!”
Someone else describes the man as having “busted his lip.”
Audra D. Bridges, who posted a video of the encounter to Facebook, told The Courier-Journal that airline staff were looking for one volunteer to give up a seat before the flight boarded, and they offered passengers $400 and a hotel stay.
After the flight boarded, staff announced that they needed four people to volunteer to give up seats so that United employees who needed to be in Louisville Monday could take them. The amount was increased to $800, she said, and passengers were told the plane wouldn’t leave until four people volunteered.
When nobody offered, staff announced a computer would select four people. One couple cooperated and left. The third passenger selected was the man in the video.
One Twitter user who also posted video of the dramatic ordeal said the airline sought four volunteers “for personnel that needed to be at work the next day.”
In the videos, an upset woman is heard suggesting that the pilots rent a car and drive to Louisville instead.
In a statement, the airline apologized for the “overbook situation.”
“After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate,” the airline said in a statement. “We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities.”
United did not immediately respond to a question of whether it’s typical airline policy to call law enforcement when a customer refuses to “voluntarily” give up his or her seat.
Bridges said on Facebook that the booted passenger didn’t want to get off because he is a doctor who had to be at a hospital in the morning.
“He did not want to get off. We are all shaky and so disgusted,” she wrote.
Another video posted to Twitter by @Tyler_Bridges appears to show the man back on the plane after he was removed. The man can be heard saying, “I have to go home.”
According to The Courier-Journal, some passengers asked to get off the plane after a medical crew entered the aircraft to help the upset man, she said.
The United CEO has spoken out in response to the controversy.
United CEO response to United Express Flight 3411. pic.twitter.com/rF5gNIvVd0
— United Airlines (@united) April 10, 2017