On Sunday, April 9, passengers in Chicago O’Hare International Airport who boarded United Airlines Express flight 3411 headed to Louisville, Kentucky had quite the ordeal. Videos posted to social media show a man being violently removed from his seat after refusing to give up his seat because the flight was overbooked.
***UPDATE #2***: United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has released another statement regarding the violent removal of a passenger from a United flight on Sunday, April 9.
According to an article published on the Business Insider website, the statement reads:
“The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.
I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.
It’s never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again. This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. We’ll communicate the results of our review by April 30th.
I promise you we will do better.
***UPDATE #1***: New video posted at 1:02 pm today on Twitter by Kaylyn Davis shows the passenger bleeding from his lip and repeating “just kill me”.
— Kaylyn Davis (@kaylyn_davis) April 10, 2017
— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
A witness said that before boarding, the airline was seeking one volunteer to give up his/her seat in exchange for $400 and a hotel stay. Passengers then began boarding the flight and when were told that four passengers needed to give up their seat for United Airlines employees who needed to get to Lousiville for a flight the next day (Monday). After there were no takers at an increased offer of $800, the flight crew then announced that the computer would select four people who needed to leave. One couple cooperated with the selection and the man in the video was also selected.
***UPDATE*** According to a Business Insider article,
“A United Airlines representative told Business Insider that Flight 3411 was not overbooked — in contradiction to a statement released by the airline Monday morning. Instead, the airline needed to bump four passengers from the flight to make room for pilots and crew it needed to transport down to Louisville to operate flights later that evening.”
Here’s my Facebook Live video breaking down the situation:
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.”
Later, the company CEO released another statement on Twitter apologizing for having to “re-accommodate these customers.”
United CEO response to United Express Flight 3411. pic.twitter.com/rF5gNIvVd0
— United (@united) April 10, 2017
The Chicago PD released a statement (Tweeted by Bradd Jaffy from NBC News) and also told The Huffington Post that Chicago’s Department of Aviation Police handled the incident. In a statement, the Department of Aviation Police said,
“The incident on United flight 3411 was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department. That officer has been placed on leave effective today pending a thorough review of the situation.”
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) April 10, 2017
Here’s another video and angle of the ordeal posted to social media by Tyler Bridges:
— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 9, 2017
The United Airlines staff that needed to get to Louisville could have taken a car from Chicago to Louisville in around 5 hours.
Here are some other responses and reactions to the video from Twitter
— Silver (@SilverPedalist) April 10, 2017
An astonishingly nasty move for @united — “We screwed up and overbooked flight, so oh hey there’s a guy, let’s beat him and drag him off.”
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) April 10, 2017
I would not want to be @united Airlines right now.
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) April 10, 2017