A passenger on United Airlines flight 3411 was forcibly removed from an overbooked flight on Sunday when he refused to give up his assigned seat after the airline randomly selected him to voluntarily give it up.
Video of the incident was captured and posted to Twitter and Facebook.
Jayse D. Anspach, a passenger on the flight from Chicago to Louisville, described the incident on Twitter. He said United Airlines overbooked the Friday flight and asked for four volunteers to give up their seats to four United Airlines employees who needed to fly to Louisville to be at work the next day. When no one volunteered, United decided to randomly select passengers.
— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
According to the Daily Mail, United offered an $800 airline voucher and a stay in a hotel as compensation.
United Airlines spokesman Charlie Hobart told The New York Times the airline sought [passengers] to exit the flight for compensation, but none stepped forward.
United then chose four passengers to be bumped and all but one left without issue.
Hobart said “we had asked several times, politely” for the man in the video to relinquish his seat before force was used. Hobart said since the man refused to leave, United Airlines called the Chicago Police Department and officers came on board.
According to Anspach, the passenger was a doctor who did not want to volunteer because he needed to be at the hospital the next day to see his patients. United Airlines then had security officers with the Chicago Department of Aviation police force use physical force to remove the doctor from his assigned seat. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that one of the officers involved in the dragging has been placed on leave “pending a thorough review of the situation.”
The video shows the passenger screaming as the officers dragged him down the aisle by his arms. During the process, the doctor’s face hit one of the arm rests and his mouth started bleeding.
“Oh my God! Look at what you did to him! Oh my God!” a female passenger is heard saying on the video. “This is horrible!”
Audra D. Bridges, another female passenger who posted video of the incident to her Facebook profile, wrote, “We are all shaky and disgusted.”
The four United employees then reportedly boarded and took the empty seats.
The Daily Mail wrote, “But this was not the end of the drama. After being removed, the man apparently broke free from the officers grasp and managed to run back on the flight.” The doctor reportedly re-boarded the plane with a bloody face, looking disoriented. “Passengers were then taken off the flight as a medical crew boarded,” according to the Mail. They eventually removed the doctor again, this time in a stretcher.
The passengers boarded the plane again, and the flight landed in Kentucky later Sunday evening.
United Airlines issued a statement regarding the incident: “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.”
The airline later responded to a member of the media over Twitter, writing, “We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities.”
“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United,” United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement on Monday. “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.”