Breaking Down What Really Happened On That United Flight

Why Security Was Seen Dragging Man Off United Flight

United Airlines and social media seem to have a love/hate relationship lately. First public relations had to deal with the leggings nightmare and now this.

On Sunday night a man was brutally removed from his seat that he refused to give up when the flight was overbooked. The incident made headlines when videos were posted by other passengers.

The embarrassing incident went viral and quickly got out of control. United was attempting to make room for four employees of a partner airline when the incident became a nightmare.

According to the Associated Press, the airline asked for volunteers first, as they needed four passengers to vacate the flight to make room. Volunteers were offered $400 and when no one stepped forward the airline then offered $800 per passenger.

Still no one stepped forward and United was forced to select four random passengers to give up their seat.

Everything was smooth sailing until it came time for the fourth man to give up his seat. The man, a doctor, refused saying he had patients he needed to treat on Monday and needed to get home.

The Associated Press reported that three city aviation department security officers boarded the plane to remove the man. Two of the officers tried to talk with the man while a third got more aggressive.

Here is where the videos come into play. The man is seen being grabbed from his window seat, pulled over arm rests and down the aisle. All of this because of an overbooked flight.

So many people asked, how does an airline overbook a flight? Turns out airlines are allowed to sell more tickets than seats available and it happens quite often due to the fact that some people do not show up.

According the Associated Press, airlines offer travel vouchers to encourage people to give up their seats on overbooked flights and there’s no rules for the process. However, there are rules when the airline demands a seat be given up. When this happens the airline must pay double the passenger’s one-way fare, which is up to $675 provided the passenger is put on another flight that arrives within one-two hours of the original flight. If the delay is longer than one-two hours then the compensation rises to four times the ticket price, up to $1,350 reported the Associated Press.

Photo: AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Passengers being bumped from overbooked flights happened a lot last year. United forced 3,765 people off overbooked flights and another 62,895 United passengers volunteered to give up their seats (AP). In 2016 over 86 million people boarded a United flight, said government figures per the Associated Press.

And again United isn’t alone when it comes to overbooked flights. ExpressJet operates flights under United Express, American Eagle and Delta Connection names. It had the highest rate of bumping passengers in 2016 (AP).

When it came to large carriers Southwest had the highest bump rate, followed by JetBlue Airways. It just seems United Airlines keeps getting the spotlight for these unfortunate events.

Allison Leslie is a University of South Florida graduate with a bachelors degree in Mass Communications. She joined Genesis in 2016. With a passion for sports, Allison has interned with 620 WDAE, Pewter Report, Trifecta Team: St. Petersburg Bowl, Bullscast, and many other publications. Being a native to the Bay Area, she has followed and supported Tampa Bay teams her whole life.