On Sunday, a video went viral of a man being dragged off a United Airlines flight at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport after he refused to give up his seat on an “overbooked” flight. United asked passengers to give up their seats voluntarily for compensation so that four crew members could board the flight in order to make it to Louisville, KY to work for another flight. After no one volunteered, the airline resorted to an “involuntary de-boarding situation,” according to airline spokesman Charlie Hobart.
Several passengers recorded the incident and posted the videos on social media showing three Chicago Department of Aviation security officers dragging the man, later identified as Dr. David Dao, down the aisle by the arms and legs leaving him injured and visually bloody. United claims passengers were selected based on a combination of criteria including frequent-flier status, fare type, check-in time and connecting flight implications, among others things. Dao was sent to the hospital where he is still being treated for his injuries and one of the officers was placed on leave. After tons of backlash, the CEO of United apologized for the incident, but now reports are claiming the flight wasn’t overbooked at all.
In a statement on Tuesday, United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said that all 70 seats on the flight were filled, but the plane was not overbooked as reported. Since the incident, the airline value has fallen from $22.5 billion to $21.70 billion.
Dao has only made a statement via his lawyer Stephen L. Golan “The family of Dr. Dao wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern, and support they have received,” Golan said in a statement. “Currently, they are focused only on Dr. Dao’s medical care and treatment.”