Physician dragged from overbooked United flight

A man claiming he was a physician was forcibly removed from an overbooked United Airlines flight, scheduled to fly from Chicago to Louisville, Ky., Sunday evening, according to videos posted to social media.

United Airlines personnel called for four volunteers to get off the flight to make room for airline employees who needed to be in Louisville that evening for another flight, according to a report form the Courier-Journal. No passengers volunteered, despite an offer of $800 and a hotel stay, so the airline used a computer system to randomly select four passengers, according to the report.

When the man was selected, he refused to deboard and tried to call his lawyer. He said he was physician and had patients scheduled at a hospital Monday morning, according to the report. The physician has yet to be identified by name and his place of employment is not confirmed.

The videos — taken by other passengers on the flight and posted to Facebook and Twitter — then show three law enforcement officers scuffling with the screaming passenger, pulling him out of his seat and onto the floor and dragging him down the aisle. Passengers on the plane were audibly distressed by the incident.

The man was able to get back on the plane, according to the report. A medical crew came onboard to treat him, according to the report.

On Twitter, United Airlines stated, "Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate." In a separate Tweet related to the incident, the airlines said, "We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities."

Read the full story in the Courier-Journal here.

Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect the fact that the passenger's name and status as a physician has yet to be confirmed. It was also updated to reflect that the physician got back on the plane of his own accord, he was not allowed to reboard by United personnel, according to current reports. This story will be updated as more information becomes availalble.


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