Appalling cellphone video uploaded to social media shows three stocky security guards encircle a man belted into his seat and ask him to leave the plane, but then quickly undo his restraint, and, as he screams in refusal, savagely drag him off the Louisville-bound flight — just so a United Airlines employee could take his seat.
Seemingly taking cues from Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery — in which death by stoning awaits the ‘winner’ — the as-yet unidentified man was literally forced to give up his seat for a United employee when a computer randomly picked four seats in the booked-to-capacity flight after flight attendants failed to persuade any passengers to leave voluntarily.
Worse, witnesses to the jaw-dropping Sunday night incident at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport say the man claimed to be a doctor and refused to obey security thugs commands to de-board because he needed to be at the hospital to attend to his patients come Monday morning.
— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
“Passenger Audra Bridges, who uploaded a video of the incident to Facebook, told [The Courier-Journal] that United initially offered customers $400 and a hotel room if they offered to take a flight the next day at 3pm. Nobody chose to give up the seat that they paid for, so United upped the ante to $800 after passengers boarded, announcing that the flight would not leave until four stand-by United employees had seats. After there were still no takers, a manager allegedly told passengers that a computer would select four passengers to be kicked off the flight.”
In other words, a United staffing issue caused by United overbooking its flight became the impetus for the airline to force an alleged doctor of medicine with obligations of his own to detained against his will — and violently so — literally because he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But the surreality of the situation didn’t end there, as Bridges added, paraphrased by the Courier-Journal,
“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.”
— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 10, 2017
A United Airlines spokesperson’s sterile explanation for what was done to the innocent doctor did not provide any reassurance for anyone planning future flights — who would prefer their seat not become conditional to bloody removal at the company’s behest.
“Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked,” the spokesperson told Gizmodo. “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. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities.”
When, precisely, ‘authorities’ became fascistic seating police and violent enforcers of corporate policy, the United spokesperson failed to say — though perhaps the company and the rest of the airline industry might want to consider a change in the policy of overbooking planes like sardines and forcing people into unwanted delays and layovers — and, particularly, the affront to freedom, itself, as captured on video.
Any airline willing to perform a bloody and forceful eviction of a paid customer — who hadn’t so much as broken a ridiculous dress code — might as well be racing to dig its own grave.
“Everyone was shocked and appalled,” Bridges opined of the harrowing incident. “There were several children on the flight as well that were very upset.”
That such a shameless display of brute force by ‘authorities’ in the sole interest of callous corporate greed, however, portends a frightening potential hybridization on the horizon in this well-established Police State.