When a Doctor refused to voluntarily give up his seat on a United Airlines flight, the airline decided to make it rough and not so voluntary to the shock and dismay of the other passengers!
A passenger on a flight from Chicago to Louisville was forcibly removed from the airplane after United Airlines overbooked the flight and no passenger was willing to give up his or her seat for a stipend from the airline.
Three members of security apparently begin speaking with the man, who refused to leave; they then grabbed him and yanked him out of his seat and dragged him from the plane.
When the unidentified man was chosen to be removed from the flight, he became “very upset” and claimed he was a doctor who had patients to see in the morning.
“He said he wasn’t going to [get off the plane],” passenger Audra D. Bridges wrote on Facebook. “He was talking to his lawyer on the phone.”
When he refused to give up his seat, United Airlines called in three security officers to forcibly remove him from the flight.
Here’s what a spokesperson for the airline had to say:
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 overbooked situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed elsewhere.
It was not long before the CEO of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, made a more appropriate apology:
“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. 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 situation.”
I would imagine there is a HUGE lawsuit looming. This was very unacceptable and is one of those items that will dog the company permanently. The late-night comics will have a field day and there will be many, like me, who will never fly United again. The cop who pulled this shenanigan should never work in law enforcement again. Period. Talk about escalating the situation! He is not qualified. That is a basic.
Ben Shapiro said it best:
United Airlines is taking a serious hit publicly for this incident, as well it should. It’s appalling.
Here’s what the United contract of carriage states: “All of UA’s flights are subject to overbooking which could result in UA’s inability to provide previously confirmed reserved space for a given flight or for the class of service reserved.” Under Rule 25 of their code of carriage, United Airlines states that it will request volunteers, but that if nobody volunteers, they can deny people boarding “involuntarily in accordance with UA’s boarding priority.” If you are removed from a flight involuntarily, the airline pays you a multiple of the airfare beyond your original ticket.
This isn’t an unreasonable policy, actually – passengers routinely miss flights, and overbooking is common practice in order to fill planes instead of wasting money and time flying extra routes.
But there are two elements here that are unreasonable, if not legally, in terms of business. First, there’s the question of the airline employees bumping paying passengers. Yes, the airlines have contracts with their unions that require a certain number of staffers on particular flights. But when the unions trump the customers, the business is doing a terrible job. I’ll admit this has happened to me. I’ve been forced to miss a speech before hundreds of college students because the airline cancelled my flight, then refused to book me on the next flight in order to fly a bunch of its own employees.
Ben is correct. There were plenty of options available to the United. The easiest would have been to offer a bigger voucher. If it was vital that these employees got on that flight, it was worth more than $400!
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