Update: One of the officers involved in dragging an unnamed man out of a United Airlines flight has been placed on leave, The Associated Press reported.
Update, 12:38 p.m.: United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz released a statement about the controversial viral video showing a man being removed by force from a plane at Chicago's O’Hare International Airport.
"This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologise for having to reaccomodate these customers," the statement reads. "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 issue."
United CEO response to United Express Flight 3411. pic.twitter.com/rF5gNIvVd0— United (@united) April 10, 2017
This story was originally published on April 10, 2017, at 10:45 a.m.
Fresh off of #Leggingsgate, United Airlines is involved in yet another controversy after a disturbing video of a man being forcibly removed from a United flight has gone viral.
On Sunday night, Facebook user Audra D. Bridges shared a clip of a man being removed from his seat by the authorities and then being dragged off the plane before takeoff at Chicago's O’Hare International Airport. In the video, the unnamed man screams while the surrounding passengers also get incredibly upset.
Bridges wrote, "Please share this video. We are on this flight. United airlines overbooked the flight. They randomly selected people to kick off, so their standby crew could have a seat. This man is a doctor and has to be at the hospital in the morning. He did not want to get off. We are all shaky and so disgusted. #unitedairways"
Bridges told The Courier-Journal that she was on the flight from Chicago to Louisville, KY, on Sunday. She said that passengers were informed at the gate that the flight was overbooked, but they were allowed to board the plane anyway.
According to Bridges, the airline offered £320 and a hotel stay to one volunteer if they chose to take another flight to Louisville at 3 p.m. on Monday. Once the current flight was filled, passengers were told that four people needed to give up their seats because the United crew needed somewhere to sit down. Bridges said they were told the plane wouldn't take off until volunteers had given up their seats for the United employees; the airline increased the cash offer to £640, but no one offered to leave the flight.
Then, a manager boarded the plane and told the passengers that four people would be randomly selected by a computer and would need to leave the flight. A couple was selected, and they voluntarily left the plane. That's when the unnamed man in the video was asked to leave.
Bridges told The Courier-Journal the man was "very upset" and told the United employees that he was a doctor and needed to travel so he could see his patients in the morning. But the manager replied that they would call security if he didn't leave the plane voluntarily.
According to Bridges, the man said he was contacting his lawyer. Two security officers approached him and tried to talk with him, but he still refused to leave his seat. When a third security official came in, they forcibly removed the man and dragged him off the plane.
The incident delayed the flight for almost two hours and the airline didn't offer any updates to the passengers about the fate of the unnamed man.
"Everyone was shocked and appalled," Bridges told The Courier-Journal. "There were several children on the flight as well that were very upset."
A second video of the incident surfaced on Twitter. Jayse D. Anspach shared a clip filmed from another point of view. He wrote, "@United overbook #flight3411 and decided to force random passengers off the plane. Here's how they did it."
@United overbook #flight3411 and decided to force random passengers off the plane. Here's how they did it: pic.twitter.com/QfefM8X2cW— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
The airline confirmed the story to The Courier-Journal, but didn't give details about the treatment of the passenger.
"Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked," a United spokeperson told the Courier-Journal. "After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate."
The spokesperson added, "We apologise for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities."
It's unclear what happened with the unnamed man.