United passenger dragged off overbooked flight

This post has been updated.

United Airlines, the anti-leggings airline, isn’t above dragging people off a plane if it wants to give the seat to someone else.

The airline had a sold-out flight Sunday from Chicago to Louisville, Ky., but it needed room for several United employees to fly on the plane so they could be at work today.

The airline had offered passengers $400 and a hotel stay as an incentive to give up their seat, saying they could take a flight this afternoon instead.

No sale.

The cops boarded the plane to pick the “volunteers.” after the airline picked the “volunteers.” They passed on the white guy.

They picked a man who said he was a doctor and had to be at the hospital this morning and needed to be on the flight.

He ran back on the plane after being pulled off. This is heart-breaking.

United, which has an awfully difficult time mastering the art of public relations and image, made no apologies, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

“Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked,” the spokesperson 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.”

Were there other options? Presumably, some passengers were waiting for a better deal to give up their seat. The airline reportedly upped the incentive to $800, a small price for the airline to pay to avoid the damage to what’s left of United’s reputation.

(h/t: Nancy Yang)

[Updating to add]

It’s worth noting that, as is the case with many airline flights, this one was not operated by the airline whose name appears on the plane. It’s a hidden airline — Republic Airlines, which operates flights for Delta, United, and America.

[Update 1:37 p.m.]

[Update 2:32 p.m.]
Associated Press: Chicago aviation department says officer involved in dragging man off United flight placed on leave.

[Update 3:59 p.m.]
An even more disturbing video has emerged.