PHOTO: United Airlines Boeing 777-224(ER). (photo via Flickr/byeangel)
UPDATE: 5:30 p.m. ET 4/10/2017
The officer involved in the incident has been placed on leave by the Chicago Department of Aviation police force according to multiple reports including The Chicago Sun-Times. —Michael Schottey
UPDATE: 12:40 p.m. ET 4/10/2017
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has released a statement through the airline’s official Twitter account in response to the video of a passenger being forcibly removed from a flight Sunday:
A video released Sunday shows a passenger on a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville refusing to give up his seat and then being forcibly removed by security officers who then dragged him down the aisle.
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, United Airlines Flight 3411 was boarding at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport Sunday when company officials informed passengers that the plane was overbooked.
Crew members told passengers that they needed four volunteers to give up their seats for standby United employees who were needed in Louisville for flights Monday. There were no volunteers despite an $800 incentive, so the airline used a computer program to randomly select people who would be removed from the plane.
A witness on the flight, Audra D. Bridges of Louisville, said the first couple asked to leave did so without much of a fight, but the next man became very upset and refused to leave. The flight crew called security to escort the passenger off the plane, but he continued to refuse.
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The security officers then forcibly removed the man from his seat and took him to the ground. Once in the aisle, one of the security officers pulled the man by his arms to the front of the plane. The man was reportedly allowed back on the flight a short time later, but all passengers were removed from the plane as a cleanup crew prepared it for takeoff again.
The whole ordeal caused the flight to be delayed two hours, and United Airlines responded to the situation in a statement.
“Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked,” a United spokesman said. “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.”