Imagine you are a doctor. You are flying home and due to be working as a doctor the next day — seeing patients, making your rounds, etc … when all of a sudden, Law enforcement authorities storm onto your plane and “volunteer” you to be removed. When you try to explain that you are a doctor and need to be on that plane to be at work the next day, it falls on deaf ears. You show them that you fully paid for a ticket. That makes no difference. They violently drag you out of your seat, busting your lip and maybe even knock you out.
You did nothing wrong. Your ticket is legitimate and your behavior well within the rules of the airline. Why would this happen?
Yes, that’s right. It seems that United Airlines overbooked this particular flight to Louisville, Kentucky. United Airlines was counting on empty seats so they could deliver their employees to Louisville to work the next day. Apparently, airline work supersedes doctor work in their world.
In case you think this is a mischaracterization or exaggeration of the situation, here’s how CBS News reported the incident:
As security pulled the man from his seat, Anspach said, “the doctor’s face was slammed against an arm rest, causing serious bleeding from his mouth.” The security detail then dragged the man off the aircraft.
A United Airlines spokesman says airline employees were “following the right procedures” when they called police who then dragged the man off the plane at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Charles Hobart says the employees were justified in calling law enforcement because the flight was overbooked and couldn’t leave for Louisville with too many passengers on board.
Hobart said in an email that United employees had asked for volunteers and when none were forthcoming, four were selected to leave.
“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,” United said earlier in a statement.
Yes, according to United — they screwed up in overbooking the flight. So, naturally, it is ok to drag people off the plane “Gestapo style” so they can get their people to Louisville.
There are two issues here. First, that overbooking should be illegal. It is an irresponsible process that can end in scenarios like this — one that should be 100 percent unacceptable to anyone with a pulse. Second, this is a sad statement about how our law enforcement all too commonly handles any situation where people don’t comply with them, no matter how justified the passenger was. Here, both the Airline employees and “time” were considered more important than a doctor who bought a ticket for a plane ride from United. More important to the point that he needed to be violently roughed up and dragged off the plane.
This is America today, apparently. The airline and law enforcement offer no apologies or any logical reasoning. Just “comply, or else.”
In the video below, you can also hear the disgust of the passengers as the man is violently handled. United Airlines and law enforcement should be embarrassed — instead, they feel justified.
Tell us what you think of the following clip in the comments below:
— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
Popular progressive blogger and essayist Jim Wright summed it up pretty well on his facebook page today, saying the following:
Then he was arrested. Of course. Because that’s how this always ends nowadays. Don’t resist. Don’t talk back. Comply immediately or be beaten and arrested.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Overbooking should be illegal and subject to heavy fines and penalties. Overbooking is complete bullshit. In any other industry, if you sell more product than you have, IT’S CALLED FRAUD and you go to jail. I’m not interested in excuses or profit margins or any other airline industry bullshit. Overbooking should be outlawed.
And it should be illegal for EXACTLY what happened this morning on United 3411.
An American citizen was beaten, dragged from a plane, and arrested for the crime of expecting to get what he paid for. The law protects the airline and gives them free rein to do this to anybody they please without consequence. Passengers have NO rights and are literally subject to imprisonment for any perceived infraction (not just law, but airline company policy). And at this point, United doesn’t even have to refund the guy’s money. And in fact, under our current laws, he could be banned from ever flying again. AND he’s now stuck with legal fees. AND, he’s a doctor, a felony conviction could directly impact his ability to do his job. This guy’s life could be completely ruined, again all for the crime of buying a ticket and expecting to get the service he paid for.
We don’t put up with this nonsense ANYWHERE else.
Indeed, Jim — we do not and we should not here.
Here’s another view of the incident:
— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 9, 2017
After he was removed, the man returned to the plane saying “I have to go home” over and over. He then clung to the plane repeating “just kill me” before authorities returned to the plane and forcibly removed him again. See video below:
— Kaylyn Davis (@kaylyn_davis) April 10, 2017