It’s difficult to comprehend what happened on that United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday.
United managed to overbook the aeroplane, and when they wanted to transport members of staff for a connecting flight, they asked for four volunteers to give up their seats. Think about that for a second: you’ve booked a ticket and are being asked to give it up for United staff to travel?!? Absolutely not.
When volunteers didn’t step forward, four passengers were randomly selected. One of the selected passengers – understandably – refused to give up his seat. He was then forcefully ripped out of his seat and dragged down the aisle, hitting his face on several armrests in the process.
You can see the harrowing moment in the video below, please be warned that you may find the footage distressing.
Towards the end of the video the passenger can be seen clinging to a curtain while repeating “just kill me” while his face is covered in blood.
Fellow passenger Kaylyn Davis posted a picture on her Twitter of the bloodied armrest.
Incredibly, United’s CEO Oscar Munoz took aim at the passenger in a memo sent around to staff. He described the man as being “disruptive” and “belligerent”. Claiming that “ultimately the crew was left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight.”
That’s odd, it looked to me as if a paying customer was being dragged from the flight at no fault of his own. How silly of me to expect the CEO to offer a full apology and investigation into how this happened. Here’s what we got instead:
The Chicago Department of Aviation released a statement on Monday saying they’ve placed one of the officers involved on leave while they conduct a “thorough investigation.”
“The incident on United flight 3411 was not in accordance with out standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “That officer has been placed on leave effective today pending a thorough review.”
This incident paints the aviation industry in a bad light, but if you’ve ever wondered why aeroplane windows are always rounded then we’ve got you covered.