“No, this is wrong,” a woman shouts at security officers in the video.”Oh my God, look at what you did to him!”
A disturbing video was uploaded to Facebook by Audra Bridges Sunday night. It shows a full United flight sitting at a Chicago airport and bound for Louisville. But there was a problem – United had overbooked the flight, they needed four seats for their stand-by crew and no one was volunteering to give up their spot.
That problem led to a violent confrontation as security forced one passenger off the plane, who said he was a doctor and couldn’t take a later flight because he had patients to see at his hospital in the morning.
Bridges, a Louisville resident, told the Courier-Journal that United announced in the terminal Sunday night that the flight was overbooked and offered passengers $400 and a night at a hotel to give up their seat and opt for a flight at 3 p.m. on Monday. No one volunteered, and passengers boarded the flight. United told the full flight that they couldn’t take off without the four seats, then upped the offer to $800 plus a night at a hotel, but still no one volunteered.
A manager came on board, Bridges told the Courier-Journal, and said a computer was randomly going to select four people. A couple was selected first, who left the plane without incident. But when the man in the video was called next, he refused to get up. Bridges said he was “very upset” and told flight officials he was a doctor and needed to be in Louisville Monday morning. The manager replied that if he didn’t get off they would have to call security.
Three security officers confronted the man, and after the man said he was calling his lawyer and still refused to move one officer threw him against the armrest before dragging him out of the plane, according to Bridges’ account. The video shows the officers wrestling a man out of his seat and the man screaming. Other passengers are shouting, “no” and “oh my God” as he is dragged through the aisle.
“United airlines overbooked the flight. They randomly selected people to kick off so their standby crew could have a seat,” Bridges wrote on Facebook. “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.”
The man somehow ran back onto the plane afterward, according to Bridges, disoriented and with a bloody face.
A medical crew removed him from the plane a second time and passengers were asked to deplane so the crew could “tidy up.” The flight eventually took off, about two hours late.
United confirmed the incident in a series of tweets, but directed questions to law enforcement.
They later tweeted a more detailed statement from the United Airlines CEO, saying they have reached out to the passenger.
People were unsympathetic with United’s response.