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Man forcibly dragged off plane after refusing to give up seat to United employee

Posted: 9:37 AM, Apr 10, 2017
Updated: 2017-04-13 11:24:35-04
Man forcibly dragged off plane after refusing to give up seat to United employee

CHICAGO – A man claiming to be a doctor was forcibly dragged off a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday night after he refused to give up his seat on an overbooked flight, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

The video shows the man screaming as he is dragged off the plane by uniformed personnel.

United officials told passengers the plane would not take off until four of its employees, who needed to be in Louisville on Monday morning to service a flight, were seated.

Audra Bridges told the Louisville Courier-Journal that the flight was overbooked and passengers were offered $400 and a free hotel room in exchange for their seat. When no passengers took the offer, the airline doubled the offer to $800.

When no passengers took the $800 offer, the computer randomly selected four passengers to be removed from the flight and placed on a Monday morning flight.

Two passengers gave up their seat without incident before the man, who is shown in the video, was confronted by security.

The man said he needed to be in Louisville on Monday to meet with his patients. He later called his lawyer before a security officer confronted him.

When the man refused to get off the plane, two more security officers arrived, pulled him out of his seat as he was screaming, and dragged him out of the plane.

The Courier-Journal reported the man later returned to the plane and received medical attention for a bloody face. The flight was delayed for about two hours.

“Everyone was shocked and appalled,” Bridges said. “There were several children on the flight as well that were very upset.”

United issued a statement:

“Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation.”

United Airlines’ oversold flight procedures and policy:

Denied Boarding (U.S.A./Canadian Flight Origin) – When there is an Oversold UA flight that originates in the U.S.A. or Canada, the following provisions apply:

  1. Request for Volunteers
    1. UA will request Passengers who are willing to relinquish their confirmed reserved space in exchange for compensation in an amount determined by UA (including but not limited to check or an electronic travel certificate). The travel certificate will be valid only for travel on UA or designated Codeshare partners for one year from the date of issue and will have no refund value. If a Passenger is asked to volunteer, UA will not later deny boarding to that Passenger involuntarily unless that Passenger was informed at the time he was asked to volunteer that there was a possibility of being denied boarding involuntarily and of the amount of compensation to which he/she would have been entitled in that event. The request for volunteers and the selection of such person to be denied space will be in a manner determined solely by UA.
  2. Boarding Priorities – If a flight is Oversold, no one may be denied boarding against his/her will until UA or other carrier personnel first ask for volunteers who will give up their reservations willingly in exchange for compensation as determined by UA. If there are not enough volunteers, other Passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily in accordance with UA’s boarding priority:
    1. Passengers who are Qualified Individuals with Disabilities, unaccompanied minors under the age of 18 years, or minors between the ages of 5 to 15 years who use the unaccompanied minor service, will be the last to be involuntarily denied boarding if it is determined by UA that such denial would constitute a hardship.
    2. The priority of all other confirmed passengers may be determined based on a passenger’s fare class, itinerary, status of frequent flyer program membership, and the time in which the passenger presents him/herself for check-in without advanced seat assignment.
  3. Transportation for Passengers Denied Boarding – When UA is unable to provide previously confirmed space due to an Oversold flight, UA will provide transportation to such Passengers who have been denied boarding whether voluntarily or involuntarily in accordance with the provisions below.
    1. UA will transport the Passenger on its own flight to the Destination without Stopover on its next flight on which space is available at no additional cost to the Passenger, regardless of class of service.
    2. If space is available on another Carrier’s flight regardless of class of service, such flights may be used upon United’s sole discretion and the Passenger’s request at no additional cost to the Passenger only if such flight provides an earlier arrival than the UA flight offered in 3) a) above.
  4. Compensation for Passengers Denied Boarding Involuntarily
    1. For passengers traveling in interstate transportation between points within the United States, subject to the EXCEPTIONS in section d) below, UA shall pay compensation to Passengers denied boarding involuntarily from an Oversold Flight at the rate of 200% of the fare to the Passenger’s first Stopover or, if none, Destination, with a maximum of 675 USD if UA offers Alternate Transportation that, at the time the arrangement is made, is planned to arrive at the Passenger’s Destination or first Stopover more than one hour but less than two hours after the planned arrival time of the Passenger’s original flight. If UA offers Alternate Transportation that, at the time the arrangement is made, is planned to arrive at the Passenger’s Destination or first Stopover more than two hours after the planned arrival time of the Passenger’s original flight, UA shall pay compensation to Passengers denied boarding involuntarily from an Oversold Flight at the rate of 400% of the fare to the Passenger’s first Stopover or, if none, Destination with a maximum of 1350 USD.
    2. For passengers traveling from the United States to a foreign point, subject to the EXCEPTIONS in section d) below, UA shall pay compensation to Passengers denied boarding involuntarily from an Oversold Flight originating at a U.S. airport at the rate of 200% of the fare to the Passenger’s first Stopover or, if none, Destination, with a maximum of 675 USD if UA offers Alternate Transportation that, at the time the arrangement is made, is planned to arrive at the Passenger’s Destination or first Stopover more than one hour but less than four hours after the planned arrival time of the Passenger’s original flight. If UA offers Alternate Transportation that, at the time the arrangement is made, is planned to arrive at the Passenger’s Destination or first Stopover more than four hours after the planned arrival time of the Passenger’s original flight, UA shall pay compensation to Passengers denied boarding involuntarily from an Oversold Flight at the rate of 400% of the fare to the Passenger’s first Stopover or, if none, Destination with a maximum of 1350 USD.
    3. For passengers traveling from Canada to a foreign point, subject to the EXCEPTIONS in section d) below, UA shall pay compensation to Passengers denied boarding involuntarily from an Oversold Flight originating at a Canadian airport with a maximum of 200 CAD if UA offers Alternate Transportation that, at the time the arrangement is made, is planned to arrive at the Passenger’s Destination or first Stopover more than one hour but less than four hours after the planned arrival time of the Passenger’s original flight. If UA offers Alternate Transportation that, at the time the arrangement is made, is planned to arrive at the Passenger’s Destination or first Stopover more than four hours after the planned arrival time of the Passenger’s original flight, UA shall pay compensation to Passengers denied boarding involuntarily from an Oversold Flight with a maximum of 300 CAD. At the passenger’s request, compensation in the form of check, wire transfer, visa card, or a travel voucher will be made by UA, and if accepted by the Passenger, the Passenger will provide a signed receipt to UA.
    4. EXCEPTIONS: A Passenger denied boarding involuntarily from an Oversold Flight shall not be eligible for denied boarding compensation if:
      1. The flight is cancelled;
      2. The Passenger holding a Ticket for confirmed reserved space does not comply fully with the requirements in this Contract of Carriage Requirements regarding ticketing, check-in, reconfirmation procedures, and acceptance for transportation;
      3. The flight for which the Passenger holds confirmed reserved space is unable to accommodate the Passenger because of substitution of equipment of lesser capacity when required by operational or safety reasons or, on an aircraft with a designed passenger capacity of 60 or fewer seats, the flight for which the passenger holds confirmed reserved space is unable to accommodate that passenger due to weight/balance restrictions when required by operational or safety reasons;
      4. The Passenger is offered accommodations or is seated in a section of the aircraft other than that specified on his/her ticket at no extra charge. Provided, if a Passenger is seated in a section for which a lower fare applies, the Passenger will be entitled to a refund applicable to the difference in fares;
      5. The Passenger is accommodated on Alternate Transportation at no extra cost, which at the time such arrangements are made, is planned to arrive at the airport of the Passenger’s next Stopover, (if any), or at the Destination, not later than 60 minutes after the planned arrival time of the flight on which the Passenger held confirmed reserved space;
      6. The Passenger is an employee of UA or of another Carrier or other person traveling without a confirmed reserved space; or
      7. The Passenger does not present him/herself at the loading gate for boarding at least 15 minutes prior to scheduled domestic departures, and 30 minutes prior to scheduled international departures. See Rule 5 D) for additional information regarding boarding cut-off times.