Holy crap! Next time you fly on an overbooked United Airlines flight, you might be setting yourself up for a straight up ass whipping and then for good measure you’ll get dragged off the plane for having the nerve to sit in the seat you bought and paid for.
Yep, that’s not only a possibility, but it actually happened to a seated passenger who declined to leave a flight from Chicago to Louisville. What happened next is crazy. After beating him, officers violently pulled the man from his window seat and then down the aisle as freaked out passengers yelled at them to stop.
Video of the incident has made it to social media and people are not happy with United Airlines over the carrier’s heavy-handed response.
The video showed the man being dragged out of his seat and down the aisle of Flight 3411 Sunday night (04-09-17). He is reportedly a doctor who said he had to be in Louisville Monday for work and would not relinquish his seat, according to a Twitter account by a passenger who said he was on the flight (see the Twitter video below).
And what exactly is United’s response over the incident?
“After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate,” United said Sunday night. “We apologize for the overbook situation.” The flight from Chicago O’Hare International Airport arrived at 10:01 p.m., almost two hours late “due to operational difficulties,” according to United’s website.
Today, Monday, United Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz apologized for “having to re-accommodate these customers.” In an emailed statement, he said the airline is conducting a review and seeks to resolve the matter with the man who was dragged off the airplane.
— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 9, 2017
Hmm, why do we see a lawsuit from this doctor in United Airlines future?
In any evet, the incident shows exactly what happens when airline bumping goes wrong. According to Bloomberg, carriers around the world routinely oversell their flights because it’s a rational response to a mundane situation that occurs daily: People don’t always appear for a flight they’ve purchased. Overselling is a way to cover that situation, while maximizing the airline’s revenue.
“United should have increased the compensation offered to passengers to entice volunteers,” CFRA Research analyst Jim Corridore wrote in a client note Monday.
“We think this situation was handled in a deplorable fashion, but note that United has the right to refuse boarding to any passenger for any reason,” Corridore added. He went on to say that “demand for UAL flights are unlikely to be affected by this poor customer service incident.”
He’s absolutely right. A lot of folks are going to think twice about flying the now Unfriendly Skies of United Airlines … with good reason.