Man Dragged Off United Flight Kicking And Screaming, Earns $800 In Free Travel

a group of people sitting in an airplane

There’s one cardinal rule of flying today.  No matter whether you’re right or wrong, when the flight crew tells you it’s time to get off the plane, you need to go.  A man decided that wasn’t the best course of action recently.  He was forcibly removed.

The video below is making the rounds on the Internet:

The Back Story

Thanks to my friend Stefan for sending this article over earlier this morning.  This gentleman’s flight was oversold.  United asked for volunteers, offering a $400 voucher to take a later flight.  They didn’t have enough takers, so they bumped the voucher up to $800.  When still faced with not enough volunteers, United picked a few individuals and removed them from the flight.  This gentleman decided he didn’t want to go peacefully.

A United Airlines representative contacted the authorities, and a few officers working at the airport removed the passenger from the flight.  As you can see from the video, it didn’t end well.

The Final Two Pennies

I do feel badly for the passenger who was dragged off the plane.  Unfortunately, this is the reality of air travel today.  I was in a situation last year on a plane where a flight attendant became upset with me.  I never raised my voice, nor did I argue with her.  She disappeared and a moment later the pilot showed up and asked me and another passenger to step off the plane.  It was just that easy to be regarded as a “threat”.  He said the crew didn’t feel safe with us on the plane and asked if we were going to be trouble.  We were polite and the pilot let us back on.

It’s really important to understand that the moment you step onto the plane, you don’t have the same rights to argue/debate/discuss things that you would 10 feet away on the jet bridge.  I’m not saying I agree with it, but it’s the atmosphere we all fly in today.

Bottom line?  When they ask you to get off the plane, do it.

The post Man Dragged Off United Flight Kicking And Screaming, Earns $800 In Free Travel Was published first on Pizza in Motion



  1. I have to admit that I love the headline. The situation, not so much. Your example of being considered a threat is a perfect example of how things should not go. While I don’t know you personally, you seem one of the people to be construed as the least threat, not the greatest. Sad times.

    1. Christian, thanks for the kudos on the headline. The situation, as you mentioned, is a sad one. Law enforcement definitely could have handled this better. I don’t know what transpired before. I hope United gave this passenger every opportunity to comply before calling the police.

  2. They did not deny boarding. They removed him after boarding. This is a different story. $800 compensation is pathetic when factoring in that last minute travel can run at least that high. They should have offered more and more until someone take the bait.

  3. I think the problem in your take is this, United always tries to go cheap in these circumstances. It’s been reported they started at $400 then went to $800. Delta on the other hand routinely will jump into the $1000 or more in a situation like this – United could have offered a more enticing offer to avoid this situation they chose not to. Even thought under Federal guidelines eligibility is probably $1350 they chose to go cheap. In a situation where the company’s business practice is overbooking, always lowball offers, etc this is what happens. I agreed with them on the whole leggings thing, this was just abhorrent and bad execution and business practices by United.

    1. Michel, I agree that United could have done more. But, I disagree that it was “abhorrent”. $800 is still a pretty good price to fly tomorrow. If I were the one in control, I definitely would have offered more. This was a weird situation where everyone had already boarded, so higher compensation was warranted. But, saying United was abhorrent over sells the situation. The employees should be better trained to handle edge scenarios like this, but I’m not going to condemn United for this.

      1. Thanks for the response – appreciate your take as well. I might disagree but can appreciate the logic in your response. We both would probably agree the PR Response to this by the airline is horrific which he believed is a term Oscar Munoz used in today’s updated apology 🙂

        1. Michel, the PR was horrible. And, I truly hope that folks like United (and Delta and American) use results-oriented thinking here. A really bad thing happened. Nobody wants it to happen again. Finding a nicer way to get to yes is incumbent on everyone.

  4. I despise UA. I don’t prefer them or AA or any other airlines but within the USA, you have no choice. I prefer asian carriers or any foreign carriers over any US based airlines when flying internationally. The attitude of the US airline counter agents, gate agents and flight crews are always condescending, rude and unfriendly whether you fly alone or with family members. Sadly our GOV is with the big airline companies! You are there to make profit of course but you have to have respect and courtesy to your passengers!

    1. Jim, I think United should have done more to solve the issue. But, I think the real disrespect here was by the officers who pulled the men off the plane. I think I could argue that United could have tried to jump back in when it was obvious the passenger was acting irrationally.

  5. I always found you to be a reasonable nice guy. Being an apologist (despite the “I dont agree with it”) in my humble opinion makes you an enabler Ed. For the angry disconnected US airlines and violently heavy handed law “enforcement”

    Draconian, agressive, authoritarian America. What a continued embarrassment to the rest of the world.

    1. Andy, two separate issues here. United handled the issue mostly the way I would have. More compensation would have been my solution here. But, at the point the passenger refuses to comply, law enforcement is 100% at fault for their tactics. There’s no way it should have gotten anywhere near that violent. I think Wandering Aramean addressed it correctly here:

      United could have used a bigger carrot so they didn’t need to bring out the stick (law enforcement reacting in a wholly inappropriate way).

  6. It’s ironic that you say “it’s just the atmosphere we fly in today”… I’m sure a lot of people have said something similar throughout history. I’m sure when the Jews were first required to wear their armbands that some argued against it but other complied with ‘it’s just the way it is now’. Then they were rounded up… sent to camps… and executed. I know it’s an extreme comparison, but attitudes of complacency, unquestioning compliance and devaluing human rights are warning signs that we should all heed.

    1. It’s absolutely an extreme comparison. And, an unfair one. I’ve been in a situation where I was told I might not be able to fly, even though I was in the right. I don’t like the rules, but they are the current set of rules. I can lobby to change them, but not while I’m standing on an airplane.

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