United Airlines is under fire for dragging passenger off flight
United Airlines is under fire for passenger bumping recorded in video clips of an officer dragging a seated passenger off a flight, sending people into rage on social platforms.
United Airlines called the police after a seated passenger declined to leave a flight to Louisville, Ky. Officers violently pulled the passenger from his window seat and then down the aisle as passengers yelled at them to stop.
A recording of the incident posted on social media sent people into an apoplectic rage over the carrier’s heavy-handed response.
United said initially that the flight was overbooked, and that the staff chose him, and he didn’t want to get bumped. But later, the airline said it needed room for its own employees.
The passenger was reportedly a doctor who said he had to be in Louisville on Monday for work and would not relinquish his seat, according to a Twitter account by a passenger who said he was on the flight.
The airline discovered that it needed to fly some stand-by employees to Louisville for a flight the following day. When no passengers accepted an offer of USD 400 to be placed on a later flight, it upped the ante to USD 800 (plus a night in a hotel), according to the Courier-Journal.
The incident demonstrates how airline bumping can veer into confrontation. Carriers around the world routinely oversell their flights because it’s a rational response to a mundane situation that people don’t always appear for a flight they’ve purchased.
British newspaper The Economist commented:
"Not for the first time, a carrier will be left wondering whether its stinginess covered the cost of the bad publicity and ill-feeling its actions have generated."