A Bloody Overbooking: United Airlines; Police Drag Doctor From Full Flight

Image via Flylink.com

On Sunday police forcibly removed a passenger from an overbooked United Airlines Flight in Chicago causing him to bleed from his mouth and nose. Today video has surfaced showing the police yanking the man out of his seat while he screamed and another passenger said: “This is wrong, oh my God, look at what you did to him!”

Police dragged the man by his arms down the aisle and off of the plane. The incident occurred at O’Hare Internation Airport in Chicago on a flight that was bound for Louisville, Kentucky. The man, who has yet to be identified, claimed that he was a doctor and could not miss his flight because he had to see patients in the morning.  Pretty reasonable, right? Clearly, that wasn’t a good enough reason for the United Airlines crew.

Airlines do have wide discretion to kick off passengers when they overbook flights. However, that does not give them the right to impede on civil liberties and commit battery. Federal Aviation Regulations state that “no person may assault, threaten, intimidate or interfere with a crew member’s duties aboard an aircraft being operated.” Generally, flight crews interpret that as giving them the right to remove any passenger for almost any reason. But I’m not sure that gives them the right to slam a man’s face into the armrest of a seat and bloody him up. The man may file suit and be awarded damages if the force used against him is deemed excessive or if his injuries are serious.

However, since airlines do have wide discretion to kick passengers of their flights, United Airlines biggest problem may be a PR issue. They may try to squash the entire thing by paying the man some type of monetary settlement to avoid a suit.  The video from WorldStarHipHop.com which is difficult to watch, shows he likely suffered both physically and emotionally from this ordeal.



A spokesperson from United Airlines confirmed to WHAS that “Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. 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.”

Here is another angle of the video.


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