O'HARE — Videos taken by passengers aboard a United Airlines flight Sunday night show a man being forced from his seat and dragged off the plane by police after the airline overbooked his flight.
United Airlines flight 3411, an Embraer jet flown through the airline's United Express arm, was scheduled to depart from O'Hare International Airport at 5:40 p.m. headed to Lousiville International Airport when the company asked four passengers to voluntarily leave the plane so that four nonworking crew members could travel to Louisville, according to several travelers who posted about the incident online.
Passengers were offered a hotel stay and compensation ranging from $400 to $800, in accordance with U.S. Transportation Department rules requiring airlines to compensate passengers who miss flights due to the controversial practice of overbooking.
Passenger Audra Bridges, who posted a video of the account on Facebook, said that when no one volunteered to give up a seat, the airline said a computer would randomly select passengers to be removed from the flight.
Included in that selection was an adult man who passengers said identified himself to airport staff as a doctor.
Bridges said the man became upset and explained that he had patients to see in Louisville in the morning.
Video shows several law enforcement officers gathered around the man's seat before one man lunges at the seated passenger, who lets out a loud wail.
Police dragged the man, who appeared to have blood coming from his mouth and whose glasses were askew, out of his seat and down the aisle by his arms as other passengers watched in horror.
Chicago police said the department was not involved in the incident. The officers and security personnel are with the city's Aviation Department.
Neither the officer nor the passenger has been identified.
The Chicago Police Department, however, released a statement Monday afternoon describing the incident: About 6 p.m. Sunday, aviation police were summoned to the plane after the man became "irate" for being asked to leave the plane, police said.
Chicago police said the passenger "began yelling to voice his displeasure," and officers on the scene "attempted to carry" him off the flight "when he fell" on an armrest and hit his face.
The passenger was taken to Lutheran General Hospital for his injuries, which weren't life-threatening, police said.
The investigation is ongoing, Chicago police said.
Bridges said the incident scared children and other travelers on the plane.
At one point, the man reboarded the plane and ran toward the back, explaining that he had to get home for his patients in the morning, according to video footage and passenger accounts. But he was once again removed from the plane.
— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 10, 2017
Videos posted by Kaylyn Davis, who said on Twitter that her husband was on the flight, appear to show the man saying that he needs "to get home" and "just kill me" as blood drips from his mouth after he re-enters the plane.
Davis tweeted that her husband also had to get off the plane because there was blood on the armrest of his seat after the incident.
The flight eventually left two hours later, at 7:42 p.m., arriving in Louisville around 10 p.m.
United did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but tweeted that,"Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave."
Late Monday morning, the airline tweeted a statement from Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines, who called the event "upsetting" and apologized for "having to re-accommodate these customers."
United CEO response to United Express Flight 3411. pic.twitter.com/rF5gNIvVd0— United (@united) April 10, 2017
According to United's "Contract of Carriage," or set of policies: "If a flight is oversold, no one may be denied boarding against his/her will until UA or other carrier personnel first ask for volunteers who will give up their reservations willingly in exchange for compensation as determined by UA. If there are not enough volunteers, other passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily in accordance with UA’s boarding priority."
Those who are the least likely to be denied boarding or deplaned due to overbooking are children traveling alone and passengers with disabilities. Other factors considered by the airline when deciding who to remove include: a "passenger’s fare class, itinerary, status of frequent flyer program membership, and the time in which the passenger presents him/herself for check-in without advanced seat assignment."
When flights are oversold, airlines are legally required to pay up to $1,350 in compensation, depending on the level of inconvenience caused to passengers.
@WHAS11 Kids were crying people are disturbed. Also after being removed the bloodied man somehow ran back on the plane repeating-I have to get home— Tyler Bridges (@Tyler_Bridges) April 10, 2017
@USAnonymous Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave ^MD— United (@united) April 10, 2017