United Airlines must have grown tired of all the attention Pepsi’s been getting, because last night they violently removed a man from an overbooked flight. When the 69-year-old man was asked to leave a flight from Chicago to Louiville he refused, saying that he was a doctor and that he needed to see patients at the hospital the next day.
United initially offered passengers $800 to leave the flight voluntarily. When none did, the airline randomly selected four passengers to give up their seats, according to Audra Bridges, who initially posted the video to her Facebook. Since then, multiple other videos of the incident have emerged. They all paint a disturbing picture of the force used to remove the passenger from his seat. (This just two weeks after United faced controversy because of their dress code for “buddy pass” fliers, which meant two women wearing leggings couldn’t board a flight.)
According to the Chicago Police, the man later had to be hospitalized with minor injuries. The Chicago aviation department has since announced that an officer involved in dragging the man out of his seat has been placed on leave pending investigation.
“Aviation Officers arrived on scene and attempted to carry the individual off the flight when he fell,” the Chicago Police said in the statement. “His head subsequently struck an armrest causing injuries to his face. The man was taken to Lutheran General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.”
United Airlines released a tight-lipped statement that didn’t do much to assuage critics.
“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. We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities.”
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz issued another statement that’s already been widely criticized on Twitter for his use of the word “re-accommodate.” (Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it.)
“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United,“ Munoz wrote. "I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”
Since those statements, Twitter has seen a spike in traffic for "volunteer” and “re-accommodate,” with attendant memes.
cannot wait to use “i will re-accommodate your ass” in my next fight— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) April 10, 2017
“Time to re-accommodate these snakes.” – Snakes on a Plane 2, probably.— David Masad (@badnetworker) April 10, 2017
When United Airlines tries to re-accommodate you. pic.twitter.com/6XvDuprgP7— Sam Kalidi (@samkalidi) April 10, 2017
downcast Uber CEO: I guess I probably had the worst month of any transportation executive— Alex Burns (@alexburnsNYT) April 10, 2017
United CEO: Please re-accommodate my beer
united: fly the friendly skies unless we volunteer you as tribute— Ziwe (@ziwe) April 10, 2017