Disturbing videos has started to make rounds on social media that showed United Airlines had gone beyond the limits for the typical nightmares travelers face on an overbooked flight.
The videos were been captured on cellphones by United Airlines passengers on Sunday that showed an unidentified man was bumped from a plane screaming while a security officer wrestled him out of his seat and dragged him down the aisle by his arms. As he was being dragged unceremoniously, his glasses slid down his face, and his shirt rose above his midriff. Two officers were also following him.
Two passengers documented the horrifying scene and the man’s anguished protests. The videos started to spread rapidly online on Monday criticizing the airline’s tactics.
— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 9, 2017
A passenger on Sunday’s flight named Tyler Bridges posted a video to Twitter and had a telephone interview with the NeW York Times on Monday, where he said that “it felt like something the world needed to see.”
The appalling scene has raised questions regarding the common practice of overbooking and airlines’ tactics to sell all their seats. Bridges noted that the lamentable action was taken in order to vacate some extra seats for some of its employees.
The shocking scene happened on the flight which was scheduled to depart O’Hare International Airport in Chicago for Louisville, Ky., at 5:40 p.m. but was delayed two hours.
— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
United spokesman Charlie Hobart said to New York Times on Monday that they had requested several times politely to the man to give up his seat before force was used.
“We had a customer who refused to leave the aircraft,” said Hobart. “We have a number of customers on board that aircraft and they want to get to their destination on time and safely, and we want to work to get them there.”
“Since that customer refused to leave the aircraft, we had to call” the police and they came on board, Hobart said.
Bridges recalled that when he arrived at the gate about 20 minutes before boarding, an announcement was made by United that the flight was overbooked and the airline was offering $400 vouchers to anyone who would voluntarily give up their seats.
Later, an airline employee also came on board and announced that the airline required four people to get off, said Bridges. He also added that United had by then raised its incentive to an $800 voucher, but none came gave up. So the airline offered up to $1,000 in compensation.
Hobart had also confirmed that United tried to give compensations for passengers who are willing to give up their seats but none stepped forward.
Another United employee made an announcement to passengers that the plane would not leave until four people got off, said Bridges. The employee said that the airline had four United employees who are required to get to Louisville, he said.
Four passengers were selected to be bumped, and three left without incident, said Hobart.
The United employee then approached the fourth man – the doctor- to get off the plane but he refused to get off. He said, “I’m not getting off the plane. I’m a doctor; I have to see patients in the morning.”
The United employee warned him that she will have to call for security if he didn’t comply.
The federal Transportation Department is investigating whether the airline complied with rules regarding overbooking.