The Department of Transportation is “reviewing” the United Airlines incident involving a man being forcibly removed from a plane, a Department of Transportation spokesperson told Business Insider.
United has come under fire after a video went viral Monday showing a male passenger being dragged by police officers off a flight leaving from Chicago to Louisville. The 69-year-old Asian passenger went to the hospital for injuries on his face he suffered as a result of the incident. One of the police officers involved in the passenger’s removal has been placed on leave.
The airline said the flight was overbooked and first asked for volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for $800. United said it needed the seats to accommodate crew members.
When no one volunteered to give up their seat, United told several passengers that had to leave. When the male passenger refused, he was dragged off by police officers working for the Chicago Aviation Department.
The DOT’s statement reads in full:
“The Department of Transportation (USDOT) remains committed to protecting the rights of consumers and is reviewing the involuntary denied boarding of passenger(s) from United Express flight 3411 to determine whether the airline complied with the oversales rule. The Department is responsible for ensuring that airlines comply with the Department’s consumer protection regulations including its oversales rule. While it is legal for airlines to involuntary bump passengers from an oversold flight when there are not enough volunteers, it is the airline’s responsibility to determine its own fair boarding priorities.”
United provided this statement to Business Insider:
“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 CEO Oscar Munoz also released a statement after the incident:
“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.”