An elderly man's plans to return home was rudely interrupted when he was removed by force from a flight
The 69-year-old man, who is said to be a doctor, was on the United Airlines Flight 3411 that was scheduled to depart from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday (US local time).
According to media reports, the 69-year-old refused to voluntarily give up his seat on the overbooked flight, which led to the intervention by law enforcement officers.
Things took an ugly turn as the officers forcibly removed the passenger from his seat, which eventually left the passenger disoriented and bleeding.
It is learnt that United was trying to make room for four employees of a partner airline.
The act was caught on camera by other passengers on the flight
In the videos, the officers could be seen grabbing the man, who was screaming and struggling before he was dragged down the aisle by the officers.
The distraught passenger, who appeared to be dazed and covered in blood, can be seen running down the aisle. He repeatedly said, "I have to go home."
What had transpired earlier?
One of the passengers, Tyler Bridges, who uploaded videos on social media shed some light on the matter.
He revealed that United was offering USD400 vouchers and a hotel stay to volunteers who were willing to give up their seats. The offer was then increased to USD800 but still, no one was interested.
A United manager then came on board and announced that passengers would be chosen at random since nobody was willing to give up their seats.
It was reported that a couple was selected and left the plane but the man, who was the next person selected, refused to comply.
Apparently, the man became "very upset" and said that he was a doctor who needed to see patients at a hospital, according to Tyler's wife, Audra D. Bridges
According to Audra, the manager had threatened to call security if the man refused to voluntarily leave the plane, to which the man said that he will be calling his lawyer.
Eventually, three officials came and dragged him out of the plane, as seen in the video footages.
Meanwhile, Tyler said that it felt like they were "being taken hostage".
"We were stuck there. You can't do anything as a traveller. You're relying on the airline," he told Daily Mail.
It was reported that the flight was ultimately delayed for about two hours, as passengers were asked to leave the plane so that United can clean up the blood from the elderly man.
The incident sparked a public outrage as people were horrified by the violent turn of events
Meanwhile, the Chicago Department of Aviation said that the passenger in question sustained injuries after he "fell"
The authorities claimed that the passenger "became irate" after he was asked to leave the oversold flight.
Reuters reported that the Chicago Department of Avaiation said in a separate statement that one of the security officers involved "did not follow protocol". The said officer had been placed on leave pending a review for actions not condoned by the department.
Responding to the matter, United Airlines CEO has issued an apology over the incident
"This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologise for having to re-accommodate these customers," CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement.
He added that the United Airlines team is "moving with a sense of urgency" to conduct a detailed review on the incident.
"We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation," he added.
Do you think United Airlines had the right to remove a passenger by force? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Speaking of which, airlines in Malaysia are legally obligated to offer passengers certain privileges in the event of flight delays or cancellations: