We all know the horrors that await us at the airport: taking your shoes off, getting TSA pat downs, random TSA employees sifting through your personal items, paying extra for checked bags, sitting in the middle seat in front of a sick someone who doesn’t know how to cover their mouth while coughing and if all that wasn’t bad enough, we now have to worry about getting literally dragged off our flights. Videos emerged yesterday of airport security ripping a man from his seat aboard a United Airlines flight after he was asked to leave, but get this: it wasn’t even his fault.
According to multiple news outlets, United Airlines had overbooked their flight and in order to make room for their standby crew they began removing a few of the flyers. They were offering money to those who chose to take a later flight, but it wasn’t enough to get people jumping out of their seats. Finally, they “randomly” chose 4 individuals to escort off the plane, but one man refused to leave. That is when security was called and mayhem ensued. You can hear the appalled reactions of other travelers on the video as he was dragged down the aisle as well as the victim repeating the phrase “just kill me” over and over while bleeding from the mouth and clutching onto the plane.
Their rep’s response to this whole mess was far from comforting, bordering narcissistic, of the whole debacle. He apologized for “having to re-accommodate these passengers” and then continues to say United will investigate the situation themselves. To me, that means they know that overbooking happens all the time, the don’t plan to change that, but they got caught doing something wrong and NOW they feel bad about it. There is a chance that there is more to the story than the videos show, but it’s pretty clear they injured a man due to their own mess up and that is NOT okay.
As someone who actually likes flying, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to get ripped from my seat (which I paid for), injured and dragged off the plane. If a paying customer refuses to give up their seat, find someone else to leave or maybe even offer more money (its not like they can’t afford it). United Airlines is one of the reasons I LOVE Southwest Airlines so much. I was so used to having to pay to check a bag or even get something to snack on, on the plane, but Southwest does all that for you all the while providing some of the cheapest flight options for a quality experience. I have not once been disappointed in Southwest, even when my flight was delayed a couple hours. The deals are just too good at Southwest! Some airlines don’t even provide you with a drink, HOW COULD THEY?!
The scary thing about this whole thing, is that it could happen to you one day. Flights are overbooked all the time, usually at the benefit of the airline, however, to think about getting ripped limb from limb just because you refuse to give up a seat that you’ve paid for already seems preposterous. In conclusion, please just make sure you pick your flights wisely!
Cover Image: United Airlines passenger plane lands at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File) (Mel Evans)