United Airlines earned flak over the internet after a video of how it treated a passenger went viral on social media. Uniformed officers forcibly took off the passenger who refused to leave the overbooked flight voluntarily.
Flight 3411 going to Louisville from Chicago on Sunday was overbooked so the flight team had to look for volunteers to get off the aircraft, according to a spokesperson for United Airlines, via USA TODAY. The manager was looking to empty four seats for airlines employees, saying they need to be in Louisville on Monday for another flight. A passenger, Audra Bridges, shared what she had witnessed.
According to Bridges, no passengers volunteered to leave the flight so the airline said it would use the computer to choose who would have to get off. In exchange, they would receive $800 and a hotel stay. The three chosen passengers left with no incident, but the doctor did not want to get off saying, "I'm not getting off the plane. I'm a doctor; I have to see patients in the morning," per The Telegraph.
United spokesman Charlie Hobart said they asked the passenger to leave several times and politely. But they had to call the police because the passenger would not budge.
In a statement released by United CEO Oscar Munoz, he said: "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."
Netizens were quick to notice that the airline apologized for the overbooking but not for how it treated the passenger. The Chicago Department of Aviation said the officer involved in the incident has been put on leave pending the full investigation of the situation.
Meanwhile, passengers and workers are standing together to hold United Airlines accountable for what happened. In a statement released to Travelers Today, the Service Employees International Union condemned the incident, saying that this "proves yet again that United's profit-driven cruelty hurts both workers and passengers."
— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 9, 2017