Man Dragged Off United Express Flight, Don’t Let It Happen To You

According to The Huffington Post, a man was physically removed from his United Express* flight on Sunday morning. Flight #3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked and a few passengers had to be taken off the flight. Apparently, United was looking for one volunteer to give up their seat, which came with a $400 voucher and a hotel stay. Sadly, nobody took the offer so the airline had to choose someone. From my past experience (I wasn’t there so please don’t quote me) the last passengers to check in are usually the ones who are asked to leave.

Let me go on record and say that I do NOT agree with airlines overbooking their flights. It’s wrong. And it’s shady. And it’s bullshit. But as we all know, the almighty dollar rules the airline industry and they would rather take the chance that a passenger might not show up (which would allow seats for everyone) than just selling the exact number of seats on the airplane.

I know — so messed up. I hate it.

But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about how you should handle yourself if/when the situation presents itself that you may be asked to give up your seat.

I understand you’d be angry. I’d be besides myself. It happened to me on a flight to Sydney. I couldn’t say anything because I was a standby passenger, but it still stung pretty bad. So you are upset — I get it. The airline gets it. All the passengers recording with their cell phones get it. But this is where you must dig deep and decide if you’re going to act like a human being or an animal. It’s all up to you. But there’s no reason anyone on the planet should see your big fat belly being dragged down the aisle of an airplane. NEVER.

Did you get that? NEVER!

Have some dignity. With all your anger, get up out of your seat, grab your bags, and walk off the airplane with your two legs. You can even tell the gate agents, “I am writing a letter to the president of this airline.” I encourage it. If enough passengers write letters complaining about this policy of overbooking — maybe airlines will make a change.

But remember, you should NEVER be dragged off an airplane. Don’t sit there and refuse to move. You will be removed. It’s not a question. You will not win the fight, the authorities will. I promise you. I haven’t even been dragged out of a bar and I’ve been asked to leave bars many times because I was intoxicated. Even intoxicated, I didn’t think being dragged out was the answer. I may have yelled, screamed, and swore at the bouncer stating I’d never return (I was back the following night), but I was on my own two legs — albeit wobbly.

Now don’t be scared. This doesn’t always happen. Most often, passengers take the voucher and hotel stay and extend their trip. And it’s atypical that every passenger shows up for each flight, But on the rare occasion, a disaster like this occurs and it’s splashed all over the internet like a national disaster.

If you happen to find yourself in this type of situation, here’s a few things to ponder:

  1. When the airline asks you to leave the airplane — just do it. You don’t own the airplane. You rented a seat. It’s just like a restaurant, bar, or coffeeshop — the airline can refuse service to you at anytime for any reason.
  2. Some airlines overbook seats on flights. If all the passengers show up (sometimes they all do) and you happen to be the last to check in, you might be removed. Think about this each time you fly. Check in as early as you can. Call the airline and ask them, “Do you overbook your flights?” It may help you decide if you want to fly with that airline.
  3. When you get mouthy with the flight attendants, pilots, or gate agents you will most often get booted off the airplane. Remember that. We are not joking. Flight attendants love kicking off assholes. It’s better than when pilots buy us coffee. Save your mouth for Twitter like most of these passengers.
  4. If the police arrive… you are fucked. Hold your head up though. (See #5)
  5. Getting removed from a flight isn’t the end of the world. The airline probably won’t even ban you from flying on them again. Get dragged off by the police, well that’s an entirely different story.
  6. When the police arrive (if it gets that far) try and have some dignity and use the two legs the Universe gave you. Stop being so fucking selfish and lazy — some people don’t even have the luxury of walking off the airplane with their real legs.
  7. As the police officer drags your dead weight down the aisle of the airplane, take a moment to wonder where you went wrong in your life. If you were seated in the back of the airplane — you will have plenty of time.
  8. If you have children, give them up for adoption. Nobody is proud of a parent who has to be dragged off a fucking airplane.
  9. Screaming, “I have the best lawyer in town,” really just means, “I’m a drunk who had too many mimosas this morning.”
  10. Finally, tuck in your shirt, so that I — and the entire internet — doesn’t have to be punished by watching all your spare tires go down the aisle.


*Correction: This was a United Express flight, not mainline United.