United Airlines is in the news once again, and not for policing a ten-year-old’s choice of clothing. This time, they’re straight up policing — with all the brutality that entails.
On Sunday evening, Flight 3411 (it’s never good when the flight number becomes well known) from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked, meaning that there were more passengers than there were available seats. Usually, when something like this happens, the airline attempts to entice volunteers to change their flight plans by offering them a first class ticket, or extra miles, or some other perk.
What they don’t usually do is call airport security to forcibly remove a single passenger who does not wish to volunteer, as seen in the below videos (which, warning, are graphic):
The passenger who took the above Twitter video, Jayse D. Anspach, continued to explain what happened:
@WHAS11 A couple air port security men forcefully pulled the doctor out of his chair and to the floor of the aisle.— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
@WHAS11 In so doing, the doctor's face was slammed against an arm rest, causing serious bleeding from his mouth.— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
@WHAS11 It looked like he was knocked out, because he went limp and quiet and they dragged him out of the plane like a rag doll.— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
@WHAS11 10mins later, the doctor runs back into the plane with a bloody face, clings to a post in the back, chanting, "I need to go home."— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
So, to sum up: United Airlines was so committed to getting their own employees home on a flight that they allowed law enforcement to knock out an Asian passenger and drag him away like a ragdoll. Cool, good look, United.
When pressed for comment by local news, United Airlines offered this statement: “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.” They also gave Buzzfeed the runaround redirecting them to various Chicago government and law enforcement branches, none of whom would comment.
Already another online firestorm has erupted, with many Twitter users vowing, once again, that they won’t ever fly United Airlines from this point onward. But honestly? Will that actually do anything? You hear terrible stories about plane travel all the time — heck, this isn’t even the only one this week, as Delta had to cancel 3,000 flights this week due to bad weather (although obviously that’s not in the same league as inflicting violence on an innocent customer). And sure, smaller airlines go out of business all the time; American Airlines even filed for bankruptcy in 2011. But when was the last time you heard of a company like United actually facing real, tangible repercussions from their actions, other than a civil lawsuit payout and a bunch of negative publicity? Do people actually follow through on these threats, or do they just pick whichever airline’s cheaper? Or, do they think like this guy and pick the shitty airline because its facing bad press?
Btw if you're smart you'll book United now. They are going to be in triage mode.— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) April 10, 2017
In theory, Capitalism is supposed to be a system where if your company does not make a product or provide a service that people want to experience, then you fail at making enough money and your company shuts down. So how come none of these major airlines have failed yet?
UPDATE: Finally, the CEO of United responds… by apologizing for “re-accommodating” their passengers. Not for literally battering one of them. Okay. Cool.
United CEO response to United Express Flight 3411. pic.twitter.com/rF5gNIvVd0— United (@united) April 10, 2017