Video has emerged of a United Airlines passenger being forcibly dragged from his overbooked flight to make room for an airline employee, shocking many on social media.
The incident took place on Sunday on United flight 3411 traveling from Chicago to Louisville in the United States and was captured by several passengers.
The footage has since gone viral and prompted a statement on Monday from United Airlines CEO, Oscar Munoz.
“This is an upsetting event to all of here at United,“read the statement. “I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”
According to an eyewitness who filmed the incident and took to Facebook, the doctor was one of four passengers the airline randomly selected to relinquish their seat.
The eyewitness, a Louisville resident, said United staff needed to be in Louisville for a flight leaving on Monday. She gave her account of what happened to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
She said the airline randomly chose four passengers to leave the plane after no volunteers accepted a €750 offer to take a flight departing the next afternoon.
When the man was selected and confronted he refused to give up his seat. The man said he was a doctor who needed to see his patients, but officers were called in to force the man from the plane.
In the altercation that ensued, the doctor can be heard screaming while a man in a security vest wrestles him into the aisle.
He falls silent as he is then dragged by his hands his glasses knocked askew and face bloodied. The 31 second video ends before anything else is shown.
Immediately following the incident, the airline issued a statement to WHAS 11, an ABC affiliate station in Louisville, in which it apologised to its customers for overbooking the flight.
“Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louiville was overbooked,” said the statement. “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.”
After being removed from the plane, the doctor was able to get back on board. A video shows the man, visibly distraught, repeating to himself “I have to go home.”
Last month United Airlines came under fire for forcing two teen-aged girls to change out of their form-fitting leggings before boarding a flight.