Man Forcefully Dragged Off Overbooked United Flight

bbsion

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Mar 13, 2017
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You can really find this anywhere if you google it so I will not really bother citing a link to any specific news site.

What happened: United Airlines needed to open up 4 seats for their employees because they overbooked the flight. Apparently this happens often enough and they usually offer compensation for anyone who voluntarily gives up their seat. On this flight no one voluntarily gave up their seat. So the airline stated they needed to use an algorithm to randomly select the people who would need to get off the flight. They did so. One of the people asked to leave the flight was a 69 year man. He refused and stated that he is a doctor and has patients that he needs to see the next day so he cannot get off. They called security to remove him from the flight because he became irate. As he is being forcefully removed he bangs his head on one of the arms of the chairs and starts to bleed. They continue to drag the "irate" man down the aisle while everyone watches and records it with their phones. Apparently, some of the accounts from passengers was that the man was yelling something like "it's because I am Chinese". Also, I guess everyone that witnessed it was disturbed and felt like the man was wronged. After the man was dragged off, he apparently was able to run back on to the plane and up and down the aisles saying "I need to get home", over and over again.

Problems I see: I think there are too many issues with this whole story. At first glance I felt like that man was mistreated and felt bad for him. But after taking a closer look I kinda feel like this event was staged. I am not sure if the man was in on it or not. Is this another "race" issue that needed to rise up in the media? Apparently many Chinese people are upset over the events. Many claiming to boycott United Airlines. Others speaking out about being discriminated against. Racism in the media gets a lot of attention after all. Did this happen on "United" airlines to show how un"United" we are? Why did not a single passenger stand up and say, "Hey! Hows about you stop treating that old man like that and let me take his place. I'll get off the plane."?? Why did they not let him stay on the flight if he indeed was a doctor and had patients to see the next day? I guess they offered $800 in vouchers for passengers to get off the plane and make room for their employees. You mean absolutely NO ONE jumped on that even after being "disturbed" by the mistreatment of a 69 year old Chinese doctor? Most clips I've watched seem to be partial clips with edited audio. Maybe someone did offer and that was something they did not want heard in the news? Also, after being so forcefully removed from the plane... did the guards just leave him in the terminal, brush it off, and leave? How did he get back on to make such a dramatic scene

I know this might seem insignificant... probably because it is. But, it's still news nonetheless and I think I am either cursed or blessed by not believing everything I see in the news.

Any opinions or thoughts to add?
 

Thunderian

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Mar 13, 2017
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I heard a United pilot speaking about this today, and he made a couple good points.

First, the possibility of people losing their seats this way is spelled out in all the fine print you sign off on when you buy a ticket. As bad as it looks, and as annoying and frustrating as it can be, anyone who flies agrees to give up their seat if they are asked to. The scenario that happened with this poor guy is very rare, obviously, but it does happen.

Second, the employees who were being put onto that flight weren't jumped to the head of the line because they wanted to get home in time to watch basketball. They were a replacement crew for another flight, and if they didn't make it to replace the crew that was going off duty, it would have meant an entire flight was cancelled, not just the trip of four travelers. This can potentially set off a chain reaction of cancelled flights that messes with thousands of people's schedules. Rolling chaos, was the term he used. It's happened before, and it's a real mess. It really is easier to just select a few people and pay them to take another flight.

I am not defending the airline, but when you take these things into account, it makes them look a little less bad. Having said that, they should not have been so heavy handed with that guy, and their public statements after the fact have only made them look worse.

The root of the problem is the over-booking of flights, though, and that is one hundred percent the fault of airlines. Everyone does it, because there are always people who don't show up for their flight for one reason or another, but it's a system that's bound to fail once in awhile, and yesterday it did.
 

Lurker

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Mar 14, 2017
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I heard a United pilot speaking about this today, and he made a couple good points.

First, the possibility of people losing their seats this way is spelled out in all the fine print you sign off on when you buy a ticket. As bad as it looks, and as annoying and frustrating as it can be, anyone who flies agrees to give up their seat if they are asked to. The scenario that happened with this poor guy is very rare, obviously, but it does happen.

Second, the employees who were being put onto that flight weren't jumped to the head of the line because they wanted to get home in time to watch basketball. They were a replacement crew for another flight, and if they didn't make it to replace the crew that was going off duty, it would have meant an entire flight was cancelled, not just the trip of four travelers. This can potentially set off a chain reaction of cancelled flights that messes with thousands of people's schedules. Rolling chaos, was the term he used. It's happened before, and it's a real mess. It really is easier to just select a few people and pay them to take another flight.

I am not defending the airline, but when you take these things into account, it makes them look a little less bad. Having said that, they should not have been so heavy handed with that guy, and their public statements after the fact have only made them look worse.

The root of the problem is the over-booking of flights, though, and that is one hundred percent the fault of airlines. Everyone does it, because there are always people who don't show up for their flight for one reason or another, but it's a system that's bound to fail once in awhile, and yesterday it did.
Ironically, the people that don't show for a flight still have to pay for it, unless they bought that expensive add refundable ticket. They have jump seats, they should use them or charter a small plane to save face with the public.
 

Aero

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Mar 13, 2017
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5,924
Something is definitely off about this. You can barely see it, but the guy like flies forward and face plants into an armrest. The laws of motion kind of dictate that at least one of the guys yanking him would of flown with him.
 

Lisa

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Mar 13, 2017
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Yes, he is a poor guy now, probably is not at all happy to have anyone let alone the press focused on his life..More details are emerging about his past and its not good. Not only was he treated shabbily by the airline and law enforcement, now the world knows about his private problems. I wonder if he thinks, maybe I should have went along with it?
 
Joined
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Yes, he is a poor guy now, probably is not at all happy to have anyone let alone the press focused on his life..More details are emerging about his past and its not good. Not only was he treated shabbily by the airline and law enforcement, now the world knows about his private problems. I wonder if he thinks, maybe I should have went along with it?
Seems like a way for the media to stain his name in regards to the case. His past has nothing to do with his treatment
 

justbreathe

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Apr 14, 2017
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I have been removed from a United flight before at Dulles airport in Washington, DC. As soon as I got into my seat, all of the college kids around me were laughing and bragging about how heavy their luggage was to go back to school the next week. My name was called and I was asked to go to the front of the plane. When I got there, I was instructed to go back to the ticket area. No one said anything else. I was on my way home from deciding to turn off the life support on my only sibling and giving his eulogy at the memorial. I truly thought that I forgot my ID or lost something in my depressed state. I had no idea what was going on until the plane left. An Orthopedic Surgeon, that had surgery the next morning at 7 am, and myself, a doctor, were the two kicked off. I didn't have patients the next day or anything but they let the plane leave without even telling us what was going on. They said that the plane was too heavy.
 
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Mar 28, 2017
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I agree with the OP. I'm sure that the conditions were real. But the amount of attention and the outrage being encouraged by the media is making me suspect that this is a unique twist on agitprop. Remember, this was not an issue of overbooking, which the news keeps saying that it was (actually they were making room for employees). I have to wonder what effects might this story cause if so?
 
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