Meanwhile, In Chicago


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Last night.

At O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

A passenger was forcibly removed from a United Airlines Chicago to Louisville flight, after the airline overbooked the flight.

The Courier-Journal reports:

“[Audra] Bridges, a Louisville resident, gave her account of the flight Sunday night.

Passengers were told at the gate that the flight was overbooked and United, offering $400 and a hotel stay, was looking for one volunteer to take another flight to Louisville at 3pm Monday. Passengers were allowed to board the flight, Bridges said, and once the flight was filled those on the plane were told that four people needed to give up their seats to stand-by United employees that needed to be in Louisville on Monday for a flight. Passengers were told that the flight would not take off until the United crew had seats, Bridges said, and the offer was increased to $800, but no one volunteered.

Then, she said, a manager came aboard the plane and said a computer would select four people to be taken off the flight. One couple was selected first and left the airplane, she said, before the man in the video was confronted.

Bridges said the man became “very upset” and said that he was a doctor who needed to see patients at a hospital in the morning. The manager told him that security would be called if he did not leave willingly, Bridges said, and the man said he was calling his lawyer. One security official came and spoke with him, and then another security officer came when he still refused. Then, she said, a third security official came on the plane and threw the passenger against the armrest before dragging him out of the plane.

The man was able to get back on the plane after initially being taken off – his face was bloody and he seemed disoriented, Bridges said, and he ran to the back of the plane. Passengers asked to get off the plane as a medical crew came on to deal with the passenger, she said, and passengers were then told to go back to the gate so that officials could “tidy up” the plane before taking off.

Video shows man forcibly removed from United flight from Chicago to Louisville (Courier-Journal)

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38 thoughts on “Meanwhile, In Chicago

        1. Harry Molloy

          And he’d be right. I’m not a fan of the litigious culture in the west but would be 100% behind the good doctor

  1. Spaghetti Hoop

    Has the doctor guy himself made a statement, official complaint? There’s a touch of ‘he said, she said’ about this account.

      1. Cian

        The video shows the scuffle – not all the events that lead to it.

        It is possible (although unlikely) that they guy was removed from the flight for some other reason.

  2. Mourinho

    United Airlines regularly overbook and have to pay people to take the next available flight.

    A friend used to fly with them quite often and would allow an extra day when he could so he could take advantage of the offers. He said it’s a great game, holding out for a better offer and hoping that no-one else takes it.

  3. Junkface

    What a weird country. Surely with computers and databases there is no risk of over booking flights

        1. DaithiG

          Exactly, in fact, the no show is more profitable as you don’t have the extra weight of the person and their luggage, you don’t have to provide snacks and drinks, etc etc.

          The only money the no show is entitled to is the taxes which is a pittance compared to the overall fee.

        2. Rob_G

          Just to play devil’s advocate – if airlines didn’t overbook as a matter of course, we would all be paying higher airfares. And planes would be flying with much more empty seats than they do currently, which would mean that flying, which is already bad enough for the environment, would be even worse.

          Not defending the way the airline handled this situation, but 99% of time any overbooking situation passes off with someone happy enough to take the money and hop on another flight a few hours later.

  4. Daisy Chainsaw

    Horrendous treatment and completely unnecessary. I hope the victim sues them into bankruptcy and forces the airline practice of overbooking to stop.

    1. Anne

      There’s now only about major 4 airlines in the U.S. There used to be a lot more.

      So much for the free market providing competition.

      But he wont be suing them out of business anytime soon.

  5. Cian

    if this story is accurate then United are morally completely in the wrong.
    Legally, however, most airline’s terms and conditions basically boil down to “it’s our plane and we don’t have to let you fly. For any reason. Ever.”

    So legally yer man was in the wrong for not getting off the plane when asked. And legally, security were within their rights to remove him.

    Ryanair, for example has:
    “6.1 All flights operate with allocated seating, we reserve the right to assign or reassign seats at any time, even after boarding of the aircraft. This may be necessary for operational, safety or security reasons.”
    “9.4 Denied boarding compensation
    If we are unable to provide previously confirmed space, we shall provide compensation to those Passengers denied boarding on our flights in accordance with applicable law. If you are denied boarding we will provide you with the text stating your rights, particularly with regard to compensation and assistance.”

    1. This monkey's gone to heaven

      Cian because it’s written in terms and conditions doesn’t make it legally valid, there are plenty of legal precedents showing this.

    2. Anne

      They should all aim for Ryanair standards..i.e. none. With Ryanair you and your family can get stuffed if we decide so…wonderful.

  6. Cian

    Some comedy gold on twitter:

    BOB BOBSON‏ “Understand the slight difference here. My friends and I went out looking for volunteers to have sex with, one person did not volunteer.”

  7. Anomanomanom

    Over booking happened to me once, flying home from new york. They offered 1st class seats, a nights hotel and $150 each. I think that chap might be in a for bit more than that though.

    1. delacaravanio

      Apparently they offered him $800, but he wouldn’t take it. Interestingly, or more accurately bizarrely, US law caps such payouts at $1,350, which may not be enough for most people who have to miss a day’s work.

      1. Junkface

        Dysfunctional scum! I hate when these types are on the same plane as me. They always get messy drunk, or are already messy drunk when they get onboard

  8. Increasing Displacement


    this guy got treated like that for basically wanting to fly on the plane he paid to fly on?
    imagine how the police there would treat you if they thought you actually did something wrong!
    scary country the US. getting as scary as some of the lunatic ones.
    ye know the ones. the ones with all the lunatics.

    1. DaithiG

      Oh the cops over here are beyond trigger happy.
      There’s quite a few nutters willing to join the ranks. Plus in most cities here it’s only 6 months of training.

  9. Anne

    I’d endure a bit of carpet burn, humiliation, and inconvenience for a million or two myself..

    I’d probably do it for a tenner but thats besides the point.

    What happened to the customer is always right?

  10. Kenny U-Vox Plank

    United. The friendly skies. Sure.

    69 year old Asian man. Where are the feminists supporting him?

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