Update: See this post for some further information and thoughts on the situation.
Some crazy video footage has emerged from Twitter users @JayseDavid and @Tyler_Bridges, of a passenger forcibly being dragged off a plane. The incident occurred yesterday on United 3411 from Chicago to Louisville, which ended up being delayed by about two hours.
The incident allegedly occurred because the flight was overbooked, and United needed to get a crew to Louisville. As a result, they needed to bump revenue passengers to let on crew members. That’s not uncommon — when there are irregular operations airlines often need to reposition their crews, and understandably that’s a priority. Not having a crew could cause another flight to get canceled, and that could have a domino effort.
The Twitter user explains that the guy was telling police that he had to go to the hospital in the morning to see patients (I’m not sure if he was a doctor, nurse, or what), and seemingly refused to voluntarily get off the plane. As a result, the police were called, and then the following happened (here are two videos of it from different angles):
— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 9, 2017
— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
Despite being dragged off the plane, the guy somehow managed to still run back on the plane and yell “I need to get home.”
— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 10, 2017
It seems like the guy’s lip got busted on the way out, as he started bleeding from his mouth. Ouch.
Sadly this isn’t the first time an incident like this has happened. Just a few months ago, a woman was dragged off a Delta flight:
What do I make of this? Well, it’s sad that this is the second time in a few months that someone was dragged off a plane. It’s even sadder than I wasn’t fazed when I saw this video, which is perhaps a reflection of the type of force we’re used to seeing police use in the US.
Obviously there would ideally be another solution, but at the same time the guy sort of did this to himself. FAA regulations require you to comply with crewmember instructions, and that includes when they tell you to get off the plane. If you refuse to do so and just remain seated, the airlines only have so many options.
So while I hate seeing stuff like this, it was entirely avoidable if the guy had listened. I know air travel can be frustrating, but ignoring crewmember instructions will never end well for you, at least in the US.
In other industries, being persistent and refusing to do something might get you your way. That’s not the case on a plane. I guess this guy learned that lesson the hard way. I do hope that the airline solicited volunteers to get off the plane before choosing who to involuntarily remove from the flight. And I hope they raised the offer significantly and made a real effort to solicit volunteers. I also hope that the police warned him that he would be dragged off the flight if he didn’t get off voluntarily.
Update: I wasn’t intending to be dismissive of this guy’s situation earlier, and I realize that’s how it may have come across, and for that I fully apologize.
This has been a quickly-moving story with myriad updates. The full coverage of the United incident from the One Mile at a Time team is as follows: