The United flight to Louisville was overbooked and employees needed the seats. The whole thing is caught on video.
A United Airlines flight was the scene of some intense drama as a passenger was forcibly removed by security guards to the horror of seated passengers: the whole thing was captured on video by one traveler.
It happened at O’Hare International airport on Sunday night reports Courier-Journal. United Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville had become overbooked and was unable to accommodate employees who needed to be in Louisville by Monday.
"Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked," A United spokesperson confirmed. "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."
The video captures airport security grabbing, then dragging a screaming male passenger down the center aisle of the plane.
One account by a Louisville resident named Bridges says United offered a $400 voucher and on over-night hotel stay for passengers to give up their seats. That offer was increased to $800 and was still not taken.
At that point according to the witness, passengers were told the flight would not depart until four people voluntarily gave up their seats to accommodate the stand-by flight crew, and when that proved unsuccessful they said they would make the decision themselves through a random computer selection.
After one couple deplaned after the selection, the man in the video was confronted.
The Courier-Journal reports that the man claims to have been a doctor on his way to see his patients in the morning.
After still refusing to give up his seat and saying he was calling his lawyer, one of three security officers allegedly slammed him into the armrest and dragged him out of the plane.
The man according to the report, now bloody and appearing confused was then allowed back on the plane to horrified passengers who wished to leave. They were asked to stand at the gate until the plane could be “tidied up.”
"Everyone was shocked and appalled," Bridges said. "There were several children on the flight as well that were very upset."
United confirmed that the three men who handled the situation were aviation security officers.
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz released the following statement:
"This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. 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."
The Chicago Department of Aviation has put the security officer seen pulling the passenger off the plane on leave while they conduct an investigation, saying the officer’s actions, “are obviously not condoned by the Department.”
The following video may be disturbing to some viewers: