A man's refusal to give up his seat on an overbooked United Airlines flight led to a disturbing scene Sunday that has travelers up in arms over airline policies.
The airline was one of the top-trending topics on Twitter as users took to the website to express their anger over the forceful removal of the passenger from United Flight 3411, which was en route from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday. If one had to guess, it would seem that United likely has a bigger issue on their hands than just an apology for "re-accommodating". Two uniformed officers follow and the three proceed to drag the passenger off the flight, his shirt pulled above his midriff and his glasses falling off his face.
He described passenger reaction on the plane as "disturbed". But she said the sound of the screams still haunt her. Then, the situation turned physical.
The incident occurred after United asked passengers to give up their seats voluntarily for compensation.
"We sought volunteers and then followed our involuntary denial of boarding process (including offering up to $1,000 in compensation) and when we approached one of these passengers to explain apologetically that he was being denied boarding, he raised his voice and refused to comply with crew member instructions", Mr Munoz said.
The incident stemmed from the passenger's refusal to deplane after being bumped from Flight 3411 to Louisville.
Charlie Hobart, a United spokesman, said in a telephone interview on Monday that "we had asked several times, politely" for the man to relinquish his seat before force was used. "The burning question is why did they wait until everyone was seated before realizing they needed to move employees?" In Sunday night's case it was operated by Republic Airline.
Two officers tried to reason with the man before a third came aboard and pointed at the man "basically saying, 'Sir, you have to get off the plane, ' " Bridges said. The airline named four passengers but only three left the plane.
Passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs said the "troubling" video highlights the need for greater consumer protection.
Bridges also wrote that the man appeared bloodied after his encounter with law enforcement and posted video showing him later running back on the plane, repeatedly saying, "I have to go home". Nor could they confirm Kelley's claim that the man returned to the plane and was escorted off a second time, peacefully.
"We apologize for the overbook situation". That's when flight crew announced that the airline had agreed to increase the vouchers to $800 for each passenger willing to give up their seat.
It was another example of bad press and negative social media coverage for United, after an incident in late March when two teenage girls were prevented from boarding a flight in Denver because they were wearing leggings. While the facts and circumstances are still evolving, especially with respect to why this customer defied Chicago Aviation Security Officers the way he did, to give you a clearer picture of what transpired, I've included below a recap from the preliminary reports filed by our employees. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.
The Chicago Department of Aviation said Monday evening in a statement that the incident "was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department".