United CEO Issues Apology After Viral Video Shows Passenger's Forceful Ejection

Following the outrage over leggings, United Airlines is now doing damage control for an incident involving a bloodied passenger.

A Sunday United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville has become a new source of controversy for the company that was barely done with PR fallout from March's viral leggings incident. In multiple videos shared on social media, security officials can be seen forcibly removing and dragging a man from the United airplane while his fellow passengers look on in shock, some with their cell phones out to document the unsettling incident.

In response to immediate social media outrage, United issued a statement:

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.

This did little to extinguish the online outrage, and, in fact, it only seemed to worsen the situation. As such, United CEO Oscar Munoz released his own statement, which directly addresses the way in which the passenger was removed.

The reason for the outrage, aside from the obvious graphic nature of the videos, is the passenger claimed to be a doctor, and he refused to “leave the aircraft voluntarily” because he said he needed to be at a hospital on Monday morning to meet with patients.

According to passenger accounts, United employees explained that the flight had been overbooked, and four other United employees required seats on this flight so they could service an airplane in Louisville on Monday morning. First, they asked for volunteers, and offered $400 vouchers and free hotel rooms. When no volunteers came forward, the offer was reportedly increased to $800, but that still didn't inspire passengers to change their travel plans.

At this point, an airline employee told the passengers that a computer would randomly select four names. A couple was selected first and deplaned without issue. The third name drawn was the doctor, who was reportedly warned that security would be called if he didn’t accept their handling of the overbooking. The result of his decision has now been viewed more than a million times on Facebook and Twitter.

The unnamed passenger, still disheveled, frantic and even bloody, later re-boarded the plane, repeatedly saying, “I have to go home.”

However, his return to the plane was short-lived. When the four United employees boarded the plane, they became the targets of outrage and disgust from the other passengers. Some passengers even exited the plane over the entire ordeal, and United employees eventually had everyone de-board so they could "tidy up" the plane, according to the AP. Three hours later, the flight took off for Louisville, but the bloodied passenger was not on it. Passengers claim he was taken away on a stretcher.