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“Fly the Friendly Skies”: United Airlines Passenger Forcibly Dragged Off Flight By Law Enforcement

***WARNING***  The following video contains disturbing content involving violence. Viewer discretion is advised.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgdjQvdNThk

The above video, originally posted to Facebook by Audra D. Bridges late Sunday night, shows the violent removal of who appears to be an older Asian man from a United Airlines flight.

Passengers had boarded United Airlines flight 3411 from Chicago, Ill. to Louisville, Ken. when it was announced that the flight had been overbooked, and four passengers would need to exit the plane to make room for United employees. The passengers were told the flight would not take off until the seats had been vacated, and the airline offered $800 and a flight the next day at 3 p.m. No passengers volunteered to give up their seats.

A manager then boarded the plane and announced a computerized algorithm would choose randomly selected passengers to deboard the plane. According to Tyler Bridges, Audra Bridges’s husband and fellow passenger, after a young couple had reluctantly left the flight, attendants approached a doctor and his wife, who have yet to be named. The doctor refused to leave, citing the fact that he had patients to see the next morning.

United employees then called in three law enforcement officers to assist in removing the man, who insisted he was being singled out because he was Chinese. The officer proceeded to forcibly pull him out of his seat as he struggled, and passengers looked on horrified as he went limp after hitting an armrest and the floor. He was then dragged off of the plane, to the protest of surrounding passengers.


Passenger Kaylyn Davis shared two graphic videos via Twitter, showing the man who later found his way back onto the plane, bleeding from the mouth and repeating “I have to go home” and “kill me” over and over.


Many passengers took to social media following the video’s release, calling the removal an “assault” and citing the incident two weeks ago when United turned away a 10-year-old girl for wearing leggings as another example of United’s unfair treatment of its passengers. The officer who dragged the passenger off of the flight has since been placed on leave, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz released a statement following the altercation: “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. 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.”

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Janae McKenzie
Written By

Janae McKenzie is a high school journalist with a passion for racial issues, mental health, social justice and all things queer. She loves journalism and everything related to it and spends more time listening to music than she does sleeping.

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