United Airlines Passenger Dragged From Overbooked Flight

Nora Cooper

United Airlines Passenger Dragged From Overbooked Flight

The scene was captured on Sunday of an unidentified man who refused to be bumped from a

plane screamed as a security officer wrestled him out of his seat and dragged him down the

aisle by his arms.

The disturbing incident raised questions about the practice of overbooking and how far airlines

will go to sell all of their seats.

At least two passengers documented the confrontation and the man’s anguished protests, and

their videos spread rapidly online on Monday as people criticized the airline’s tactics.

One of the officers involved has reportedly been placed on leave, and the federal

Transportation Department is investigation whether the airline complied with the regulations

on overbooking.

Tyler Bridges, a passenger on Sunday’s flight said in an interview that the airline was looking for

extra seats for some of its employees.

Charlie Hobart, a United spokesman, said in an interview on Monday that they “had asked

several times, politely,” for the man to leave before he physical force was used to make the

man give up his seat.

“Since that customer refused to leave the aircraft, we had to call” the police, and they came on

board, he said.

The Chicago Department of Aviation said in a statement on Monday that the incident “was not

in accordance with our standard operating procedure” and that an officer had been placed on

leave pending a review of the matter. The department declined to identify the officer.

Airlines often sell tickets to more people than the plane can seat, as they hope several people

will not arrive. When there are too many people that show up, airlines first try to offer rewards

to costumers willing to reschedule their plans, usually in the form of travel vouchers, gift cards,

or cash.

Bridges said that the airline offered up to 1,000 dollars in compensation for giving up a seat, but

when no one got off, the employees said that the plane was not moving until four people gave

up their seats, and began forcibly removing passengers from the plane.

A United employee first approached a couple who appeared to be in their mid-20s, Mr. Bridges

said, and the pair begrudgingly got off the plane. Then the United employee went to a man five

rows behind Mr. Bridges and told him he needed to get off the plane. Mr. Bridges said the man

told the employee: “I’m not getting off the plane. I’m a doctor; I have to see patients in the


As the man refused to leave the plane, security was then called, which erupted into an intense

situation as the man fought back and ended up with a bleeding mouth.

As a result, New Jersey Gov, Chris Christie has called for a suspension to the widespread

practice of overbooking.