The Absolute Worst Way to Handle an "Overbooked" Flight

United Airlines forced a "randomly selected" passenger to give up his seat. It did not end well.

Let me get this straight. United Airlines overbooks a flight, and in an attempt to make room for some airline employees, they start picking random people to boot off the flight. And that's how we got these horrifying videos of an Asian man being violently wrenched from his seat, knocked unconscious and dragged off the plane.

Passenger Forcibly Removed From United Flight, Prompting Outcry

On Sunday evening, passengers on United flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville had already boarded when the airline asked for volunteers to take another flight the next day to make room for four United staff members who needed seats. Big surprise, they got no takers. The airline offered $400 and a free hotel, then upped the offer to $800, but still, nobody wanted off. That's when they went ahead and just selected four passengers to eject from the flight -- including the soon-to-knocked unconscious 69-year-old man.

An airline representative told him he had been "randomly" selected to be taken off the flight. The man refused to give up his seat, saying he was a doctor and was scheduled to see patients the next day. He was insistent that would not get off the plane and, according to one witness, called his lawyer. The passenger was also heard saying he was being singled out for removal because he was Chinese.

That's when United called the cops.

Witnesses say the man began screaming when three law enforcement officers wrestled him out of seat. During the struggle, the man's face apparently struck an armrest and he was knocked unconscious. Video taken by passengers shows the man limp and bleeding from the mouth as officers dragged him down the aisle.

Several of videos taken during the incident were posted and shared on social media:

Later, the man somehow found his back on the plane, still bloody and disheveled form his violent removal. He appeared to be disoriented, jogging through the aisle, repeatedly saying, "I have to go home."

This video shows the man poor man clutching one of the partitions and repeatedly saying, "Please kill me."

Authorities and medics reportedly surrounded the man and gave him tissues for his mouth. He was eventually moved to the front of the plane, where he collapsed sideways into a seat before being taken off the plane on a stretcher. According to the Chicago Police Department, he was taken to the hospital and treated for his injuries.

When asked about the incident, United Airlines released the following 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. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities.

Yes, I guess this is technically true. One customer did indeed refuse to the "leave the aircraft voluntarily." But this says nothing about the shitty "overbook situation" calling for said customer to get his face bashed and bloody, dragged off the plane by airport cops. United has a rather infuriating grasp of what "volunteer" means.

Oscar Munoz, chief executive of United Airlines, followed up with a statement calling the incident "an upsetting event" and apologizing for "having to re-accommodate" customers, Yes, United. You sure did re-accommodate the hell out of the good doctor.

That's a hell of an apology. I look forward to hearing about the inevitable lawsuit.

I have to ask, how exactly were the four people selected to give up their seats on this flight? What is the method of "random" selection? Do United computers come with a Random Passenger Removal Generator? Or does a flight attendant just take a quick glance around the plane and pick a poor sucker? Because it looks like they really picked the wrong passenger. Clearly, they were not counting on this guy to put up a fight.

I'll tell you one thing: if the "randomly selected" passenger had been a blonde white lady, and she refused to give her seat, there's no way in seven hells that these cops would have dragged her ass out kicking, screaming and bloody. Such indignities are apparently reserved for 69-year-old Asian physicians.

Booting someone off an overbooked flight is a shitty way to treat customers. Period. And if what the man was saying is true, and he was singled out because he was Asian, then fuck you even more, United.

More here: United Airlines Passenger Is Dragged From an Overbooked Flight

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