Local travelers react to passenger being dragged from United flight

This Sunday, April 9, 2017, image made from a video provided by Audra D. Bridges shows a passenger being removed from a United Airlines flight in Chicago. Video of police officers dragging the passenger from an overbooked United Airlines flight sparked an uproar Monday on social media, and a spokesman for the airline insisted that employees had no choice but to contact authorities to remove the man. (Audra D. Bridges via AP)

(WTNH) — The video of the man being dragged off of a United Airlines flight has drawn millions of views online.

It happens all the time; a flight is overbooked. First, the airline tries to entice you off with a voucher, money, but this time around there were no takers. So, United Airlines asked randomly selected passengers to give up their seats, and one a 69-year-old man refused. They forcibly removed him from the plane, which they can legally do.

“The fact that it is in the fine print doesn’t make it good practice,” said Kathleen Mullin, who teaches criminal justice at the University of Saint Joseph.

She says the airline may have had the right to remove the passenger from the plane, but the way they did it, with cell phones recording, could land them in court.

“He certainly suffered what I consider to be bodily injury from the video I saw. He’s bleeding from the face, he is being dragged off the airplane forcibly. So I do think he’s going to have recourse against the airline and against the entity the airport police,” said Mullin.

All passengers we talked to could agree on one thing, United has a social media and PR nightmare on their hands.

Passenger Mike Ebmeier from Baltimore just arrived on a United flight at Bradley. He says as a veteran flyer, United did the right thing.

“I travel probably once a week, so I think the guy should’ve complied with the request to get off the plane. There is a lot of things that happen and the pilots and staff have to have control of the aircraft,” said Ebmeier.

Eunice Rivera from New Haven says it’s hard to watch the video.

“When you see that, would you want to travel on an airline like that, that drags passengers out of the airline?” said Rivera.

In a statement released by the CEO of United, he says he emphatically stands behind his employees for doing the right thing.

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