A thoroughly horrifying video posted online Sunday evening shows three airport security officers in Chicago dragging a man down the aisle of a United Airlines plane to remove him from an overbooked flight—all while other passengers shouted and screamed.
The video, posted to Facebook around 7:30 pm by Audra Bridges, shows three men reach into the aisle to rip a man out of his seat and drag the screaming passenger off the plane after he was apparently randomly chosen to give up his seat on the United flight from O’Hare to Louisville.
United confirmed the passenger was removed because of overbooking.
“Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked,” a company spokesperson told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate.” Never mind that you can’t force someone to volunteer, because that’s completely contradictory.
Bridges, a Louisville resident, told the newspaper that the airline was offering $400 and a hotel stay as an incentive for passengers to voluntarily give up their seats even before they boarded. But after passengers were seated on the plane, they were told another four people needed to give up their seats for four United employees flying stand-by. When the airline got no volunteers after raising the offer to $800, a United manager said a computer would randomly select passengers to bump.
According to Bridges, the man shown being dragged off the plane was selected after a randomly selected couple left the plane. He became “very upset,” saying he was a doctor who needed to see patients at a hospital in the morning, and refused to leave the flight.
Bridges said the man was able to get back on the flight after the disturbance, but he seemed disoriented and his face was bloody.
“Everyone was shocked and appalled,” Bridges told the Courier-Journal. “There were several children on the flight as well that were very upset.”
Update, 12:38 pm ET: After hours of being raked over the coals for their exceedingly lame first response to the incident, United Continental’s CEO apologized for “having to re-accomodate these customers” after the “upsetting event.”