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Audra D. Bridges, who posted a video of the encounter to Facebook, told The Courier-Journal that airline staff were looking for one volunteer to give up a seat before the flight boarded, and they offered passengers $400 and a hotel stay.
Passengers screamed for the officers to stop as they watched the man being dragged down the aisle of the plane.
After the flight boarded, staff announced that they needed four people to volunteer to give up seats so that United employees who needed to be in Louisville Monday could take them. The amount was increased to $800, she said, and passengers were told the plane wouldn’t leave until four people volunteered.
When nobody offered, staff announced a computer would select four people. One couple cooperated and left. The third passenger selected was the man in the video.
In the videos, an upset woman is heard suggesting that the pilots rent a car and drive to Louisville instead.
In a statement, the airline apologized for the “overbook situation.”
“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 airline said in a statement. “We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities.”
United did not immediately respond to a question of whether it’s typical airline policy to call law enforcement when a customer refuses to “voluntarily” give up his or her seat.
So, according to witnesses and videos of the incident, he was pulled screaming from his seat by security, knocked against an arm rest and dragged down the aisle and back to the terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
United refused to answer questions about the incident, which horrified other passengers on the Louisville-bound flight. An airline spokesman only apologized for the overbooked flight, and said police were called after a passenger “refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily.”
Tyler Bridges recalled trouble starting almost as soon as he and his wife boarded.
An airline supervisor walked onto the plane and brusquely announced: “We have United employees that need to fly to Louisville tonight. … This flight’s not leaving until four people get off.”
“That rubbed some people the wrong way,” Bridges said.
Passengers were offered vouchers to rebook, he said, but no one volunteered.
So the airline chose for them.
A young couple was told to leave first, Bridges recalled. “They begrudgingly got up and left,” he said.
Then an older man, who refused.
“He says, ‘Nope. I’m not getting off the flight. I’m a doctor and have to see patients tomorrow morning,’” Bridges said.
The man became angry as the manager persisted, Bridges said, eventually yelling. “He said, more or less, ‘I’m being selected because I’m Chinese.’”
A police officer boarded. Then a second and a third.
Bridges then began recording, as did another passenger — as the officers leaned over the man, a lone holdout in his window seat.
originally posted by: rockintitz
a reply to: Krazysh0t
United has without a doubt the worst service I've ever experienced in the airline industry.
But this is just on another level.
originally posted by: Krazysh0t
a reply to: Edumakated
Stories like this make me glad that my airline of choice is and has always been Southwest. I'm so happy that I can fly directly from Baltimore to Denver on Southwest this summer when I go to Red Rocks.
Truth be told, all airlines suck donkey balls though. Part of the problem though is that the market is an oligopoly in many cities and viewed as a commodity, so it is always a race to the bottom in pricing and service. Combine that with TSA/FAA bureaucracies, Union rules, and just large bureaucractic organizations in general you are going to get some zhitty customer service all around.