Video: Traveler selected for random removal dragged off flight; plane was overbooked
Video posted on Twitter Sunday shows a United Airlines passenger being forcibly removed from the plane by two men who appear to be police.
At least two angles of the incident show the man start to scream as two men grab and then drag him down the aisle as other passengers chastise the officers.
"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. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities," Charles Hobart, a United spokesman, said in an email.
The (Louisville) Courier-Journal reported United offered $400 and a hotel stay to get people to pick a different flight from Chicago to Louisville, then raised the offer to $800 when no one took the bait. Passengers were allowed to board in the meantime. Then a computer randomly selected four people to leave the plane. One couple left without incident, but another man refused to leave. Then security was called in, according to Circa.
"We followed the right procedures," Hobart told the Associated Press in a phone interview. "That plane had to depart. We wanted to get our customers to their destinations, and when one gentleman refused to get off the aircraft, we had to call the Chicago Police Department."
A Twitter user identifying himself as Jayse D. Anspach wrote, “United overbook[ed] flight 3411 and decided to force random passengers off the plane. Here’s how they did it,” over a video shot about three feet away from the incident in question.
Another Twitter user - going by the name Tyler Bridges – captured reactions from passengers aghast by the officers’ actions.
“This is wrong,” one woman screams as the passengers is dragged down the aisle. “Oh my God, look at what you did to him.”