Monday, April 10, 2017

United Airlines Passenger Dragged From Overbooked Flight

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Recently, a United Airlines flight has forced a passenger off of an overbooked flight in order to make room for United employees. Originally, United had offered passengers compensation and rewards for any volunteers who would willing give up their spot, and afterwards had to select four people to bump from the flight. Out of the four, three left without conflict, but the last, an unidentified Asian man, refused to give up his spot, claiming he was a doctor and had patients to see. Soon after, police were called in and an officer had to pull the man out of his seat quite violently and drag him out of the plane, bleeding from the mouth and glasses knocked askew. Somehow, after being dragged off the plane, he still managed to run back into the plane muttering "I have to go home" before collapsing. While there is no evidence of racism, the man had argued that he was only being selected because he was Chinese. United had said that they use this overbooking strategy in order to ensure full flights, thus more profit, but bumping people rarely happens. In my opinion, I think that how the police officer handled the situation was quite violent and unprofessional, and it reminds me of how blacks were treated during segregation where they were forced to relinquish their seat or kicked off transportation in order to make space for whites. While there is no solid basis of racism or discrimination in this case, do you think that the man still has the right to keep his seat, or does United still have the right to deny service to someone in order give their own employees first priority? In addition, does law enforcement have the right to forcibly treat people this way in order to benefit the other passengers in order to get the delayed flight moving?(Side note, other passengers were horrified, not really happy). Lastly, does the man's claim of being a doctor and his ethnicity change the situation by making him "more important" or "less important" than other passengers?

47 comments:

  1. First off, I don't think that the man being a doctor should make him more or less eligible for a seat because anyone could argue that their own place on that flight benefits other people. This also applies to the United employees that were given priority for the four seats. The airline should take complete responsibility for this event, for it had chosen to risk customer dissatisfaction in order to ensure maximum profit. Additionally, I agree that the actions of the police were extreme and uncalled for. The goal of the police is to protect and enforce laws, and having to use violence to forcibly remove someone in order to prevent further "delay" for everyone else is certainly not protection. I believe this event has been blown up due to the public's mistrust of police, and will only serve to intensify it.

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  2. This case is fairly unusual. Unlike Theresa I really don't have a problem with United overbooking their flights. A lot of the time people don't show up for their flights, and when that happens airlines lose a lot of money and then we all have to pay more to fly. It is my understanding that this is a fairly common practice in the industry. Hardly ever are people actually forced to get off a flight. Airlines offer really good compensation for anyone who volunteers, and you can almost always get a flight that is just a few hours later. Usually they can get a few people to take them up on their offer. The real issue I see here is the treatment of the man by police. The amount of violence seemed excessive over this tiny issue.

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  3. First of all, I am almost certain that it was not policemen that removed the doctor from his seat. The men who removed him were security (employees of United Airlines). The company actually has rights to remove the man from his seat-by purchasing the ticket, you are essentially agreeing to United's terms which essentially states that they can do that. United would agree that the situation was drastically mishandled; however, I disagree with your implication of racial undertones in this case as there is no evidence currently. Both sides mishandled their situation, by him being uncooperative and security overreacting to the trouble he was causing.

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  4. I also agree that United has the right to deny anyone service, as this is part of the terms of agreement between the company and the customer. I don't think that the man's claims of being a doctor or his ethnicity should affect the situation, as any passenger has equal bearings on the seats and all passengers agreed to the same conditions when they purchased tickets. However, I agree with previous comments that the police should not have removed this passenger in the way they did, as it was unnecessarily violent. Contrarily to Theresa's point, I don't think that this particular event has so much to do with the law enforcement as it does with United airlines, and I wonder if their business will be affected at all, especially with the accumulation of this event and leggings debacle that United airlines experienced just two weeks ago.

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    1. In my personal opinion, I do agree with you and many of the others that United does technically have the right to refuse service, though it may be very bad for their business. I think I was a little unclear in talking about this ethnicity and social class, what I was aiming towards more of towards if the backlash or reaction from passengers on the plane and society and social media. For example, if he was white and had more fluent English, could he make a better argument that wouldn't result in a violent removal, or like Nora said on a really good tangent, that if he was white, would other passengers be more willing to stand up for him, possibly even volunteer to take his place? Because Asian Americans seem to be the "least prejudiced" upon in relation to, say, African American and Hispanic/Latino communities, does it cause a different kind of reaction towards the violent removal. For example, if it was an African American man, many would likely jump to conclusions and say the police's method of removal (not that fact that he was chosen for removal) is based on race prejudice.

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  5. I agree that United had the right to remove the man and that the way his removal was handled was severely out of line. What I am really interested in, however, is the fact that they removed the four passengers to make room for United employees. Most companies usually follow the "customer first" rule, which I do not always agree with, but in this case I wonder why United chose to bring the employees over the passengers. I do not know if the employees were actively working at the time, and if so was having all four of them board that specific flight necessary, so I guess I find the circumstances a little confusing. I also agree with David that we cannot really judge if this was racially motivated, partly because we do not know the races of the employees the passengers had to give up their seats for; however, I do not think it is unreasonable to assume that his race and older age could have played a part in the way he was treated by the security.

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  6. I also agree that United has the right to remove him, and anyone, but that the way his removal was handled wrongfully and violently. The company actually has rights to remove the man from his seat-by purchasing the ticket, you are essentially agreeing to United's terms which essentially states that they can do that. But the issue is how violently/wrongfully they removed this man from the plane.

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  7. Like most of you all, I also believe that United had the right to remove the man as he purchased the ticket, thus agreeing to their terms. But the way the man was removed is very concerning. A man should not be removed in such a violent and forceful way. I think avoiding violence but getting a slightly delayed flight is a much better alternative to forcefully removing a customer from their seat. A delay is a small price to pay, but an attack on a customer is something else. But I find it kind of nonsensical that overbooking is getting such a bad rap after this incident. This practice is bound to have dissatisfied customers, but blaming the overbooking practice is quite silly in my opinion. United Airlines are a business and inconveniencing a few customers is a small price to pay compared to having empty seats on an airline. The violent actions against the passenger should be more concerning than United's overbooking practice.

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    1. I agree with you wholeheartedly, Timmy. No person should have to be dispatched in such an unprofessional manner. The use of force was excessive, and the negligence of United to not recognize his medical importance after he mentioned the fact is inexcusable. However, the question of how he was selected, using computer or human means concerns me the most as that would illustrate any potential race component at play here. While United has suffered from a long string of inconveniences recently, I hope this controversy regarding the care United customers receive can finally reform the company.

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  8. I too agree that United had the right to remove the man from the flight, though I do not approve of the violence with which this was carried out. It's hard to say whether or not this was an issue of racism as there was no direct proof. I understand the need to keep all employees on the flight, as they must do their job, thus someone had to be removed from the flight and this man was likely no more important than the other passenger, though again I do not agree with the use of violence to deplane him.

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  9. I think that it was correct for that man to be removed from the flight, although I think that the way that they removed him was not necessary. Force should not be put upon someone to make them give up an air plane seat. And I don't really support the overbooking of planes, because if it results in these violent acts, I think that they should not be allowed. On top of this, I feel that if a passenger cannot go, maybe because he needs to see patients or other urgent things, and is not willing to take the compensation to leave, then they should find another passenger who is willing to take the compensation and go. Rather than dragging an unwilling passenger out.

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  10. I believe that United should not have been allowed to remove the man as he had legally purchased for his seat and should not have been violently removed from it. United Airlines should not continue their practice of over booking flights as it seems wrong. If United Airlines offered some reward for people who volunteer to miss their flight and no one takes the offer, then United should continue upping their bid until someone does, because the ones who fairly purchase their right to a seat should have the choice of giving it up.

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  11. Like many others before me, I believe that United had the right to remove the passenger from the flight, though I think that the security officers used unnecessary violence to force the man to leave. I am not overly familiar with the effectiveness or prevalence of overbooking flights, but I believe that United should be able to continue this practice, as the company does offer compensation for those who volunteer to reschedule their flights -- it benefits the company while also not presenting a large set-back for the passenger. Regarding the man's ethnicity and profession, I don't believe that there is enough evidence in the article to conclude that racial discrimination was at play, and I don't think that his being a doctor should give him priority. Like Erin, I'm also slightly confused about the four employees that were given priority over the company -- it's unclear as to whether the employees were working at the time or whether they were traveling as passengers.

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  12. Yes, United Airlines had the right to remove the man from the flight, but they did not have to do it so violently. The man is 69 years old. Dragging him forcefully off a tight airplane aisle can cause extreme damage to bones, or even affect the heart. The employees were most likely NOT working, because if they were flight attendants, they would not be sitting with the General Public. Flight attendants have designated seats elsewhere. They were most likely United Airlines employees that were booked to travel somewhere, as a benefit of them working in the company. Also, United gives compensation for people who willingly leave the flight, but after offering $400 and then $800 with still no takers, they selected 4 people. If they just upped the price, I bet there would have been more people that took the offer. Anyways, I don't like United anyways so I will not be flying with them anytime soon.

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  13. I was so astonished when I heard about another issue caused by United Airlines, and I think this is by far the worst one yet. It was completely uncalled for, for the United security or police men, whoever they were, to forcibly remove the man from his seat. I think the airlines should have considered raising their compensation a little more before randomly selecting people to kick off the flight. I also agree with others that it seems odd that the passengers were kicked off only to be replaced by United employees who seem to have no clear reason to have been on that flight. I think United is going to recieve some huge backlash following this event and I'm curious to see where the company will go from here as it seems United is slowly reaching an inevitable downfall.

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  14. I think that the airline has the right to refuse service to any passenger, but only with just cause. That being said, I agree with Karin's opinion in that I don't think the man should have been kicked off just to make room for United employees. Therefore, I do not think the man's removal or the removal of any other passenger was justified in this case. Additionally, I am equally appalled as the other students by the violence United used. I don't think there is really any evidence that proves that the man was being discriminated against because of his race so I don't know if he can really make that claim.

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  15. I also believe United had a right to remove the man. Most companies overbook, so that wasn't the problem. Obviously, as others said, the man shouldn't have been forcibly removed. I heard this from my grandma, so I don't know if this is accurate, but she said that the man had previously opposed other authority? Either way, he didn't deserve that rough treatment. Also, to answer others' questions, United claims that the employees placed on the flight were on schedule for their own flights. In my opinion, they should be given priority; United just should have found another method to remove people. They should have dealt with their overbooking earlier and raised their compensation. It would've cost them a lot less than this negative publicity.

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  17. I agree that the airlines had the right to refuse to give service to the Asian man. i do believe however that the way that they handled the situation was very poor. I do not believe that they should had removed the man like that. On top of that if his claim that he was a doctor and that there was a patient waiting for him I believe that it is another reason to not remove him from the plain. If there was a patient waiting for him, maybe his visit was more urgent and the airline should have asked someone else to give p their seat. I do not however believe that he acts were because of racial discrimination. I think they were just looking for space and it just happened to be Chinese man.

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  18. I think that the airline does not have the right to refuse service to a man, especially for the reason of him being Asian. In addition, I believe that airlines do not have any right to hurt people just to get flight going on time. It is their fault for overbooking the flight. Lastly, the man's ethnicity or him being a doctor should not matter. Although it is important that he has patients, it shouldn't matter that he is a doctor, which isn't his fault for wanting to state it as he doesn't deserve to be dragged out of an airplane.

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  19. Law enforcement's shouldn't have done this. This was really wrong on their part. You can't just drag a person out of a plane who hasn't done anything wrong. I would understand if he was assaulting the Security, but he wasn't though. The part about being a doctor kind of makes it more important than other passengers because he had patients to see the next day. Which is important because he is a liver surgeon, he has lives to save! He shouldn't have been thrown out of that United Express Flight.

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  20. United Airlines definitely made a mistake here. Even if they needed their employees to get to their destination, they should have informed the passengers BEFORE they boarded the plane. How did 4 United employees randomly need to board the plane? Did United not plan ahead for this? It would be much different if United had informed the passengers at the gate, or even earlier, compared to once someone had already boarded. Asking someone to leave once they have already boarded the plane is exactly what made that man angry, probably due to poor planning from United.

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  21. At the end of the day, United handled the situation poorly. I am not in the place to tell how the passenger was not cooperating, but I read in an article that the airlines have fine print that says that buying a ticket does not guarantee. United flights often overbook flights because of no shows. There must be a more efficient way to book flights.

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  22. I think that United should make it clear about their policies to all passenger who board the plane. United should have known who was boarding before passengers got on, and this violent incident would not have happened.

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  23. I agree that United had the right to refuse service to any person. Airlines typically overbook planes so they don't lose money as some people don't show up for their flights. I haven't heard about an issue with overbooked flights to this degree until now really so it seems that this is a pretty uncommon situation. That being said, I think the situation was extremely mishandled. There was no need for excessive violence.

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  24. I believe that United has the right to deny someone service to give priority to their own employees. United is a company and they get to decide how they do their business as long as it is legal. Law enforcement should not have the right to assault passengers to resolve overbooking even if the passenger refuses to leave. The man's claim of being a doctor and his ethnicity do not change the situation by changing his degree of "importance". If United showed favoritism and/or racism, that would be a whole other scandal that would not be risked.

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  25. I believe that United did have the right to remove the man. I believe I saw that it is even stated under their policy that this could be a possibility. The choosing was at random so it was just by chance that it happened to be this man. I do not believe that just because he was a doctor gives him any more importance than the others. It is unknown what they were flying for so he shouldn't be placed any higher than them its just his unlucky day it not that hard to reschedule or email another doctor of the company to see the patient in his place if it was so urgent. The violence did seem a bit excessive but if the people on the plane really felt bad or terrified someone could have stood up and took his place so it was his own resistance to listening to authority that caused it. Over booking is normal for flights any company wants to make a higher profit so if people want to blame that look at all airlines as a whole other than just the one that had a resistant passenger. I feel his race shouldn't have mattered and it wasn't discrimination on him but it would have had the same response on any person who resisted the authority and delayed the schedule even further.

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  26. I believe United Airlines should make their policy more clear. Before this incident, I didn't think it was possible for an airline to refuse to board a passenger just simply because they overbooked. I believe the United Airlines should take full responsibility for this. Although the man did state the fact that he is a doctor, he is only asking to see if someone else, who might not have as much of a pressing schedule as him, is willing to board another flight since he needs to go see his patient. Lastly, the United Airlines should have gotten him another flight. I mean, the man did pay for his ticket and should have the right to board the plane. Although it is normal for airlines to overbook, but it is obvious that United Airlines went above and beyond compared to other airlines' overbooking range.
    Personally, I would not want to board a United Airlines plane after seeing this. What if they overbooked to a point where they need to remove, whether forcibly or not, a passenger off of the plane again? Who is going to guarantee that I will definitely be able to board the plane (with the exception of weather conditions) once I had purchased my ticket?

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  27. regardless of ethnicity, appearance, occupational, or any other, I don't think its fair to run business where your service is travel, then deny someone that service once they have paid not only to travel, but to travel at that time and place, also dragging people off airplanes without their consent isn't cool either.

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  28. I do not think that race or one's occupation should matter to running a business. In addition, if the man was capable of giving up his seat, he would have, but he clearly had somewhere to go, and therefore could not give up his seat. Him being a doctor adds to the controversy, as he could have been saving people's lives.

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  29. While my opinion essentially aligns with all previous -- that United had the right to remove the man from the plane, but excessive violence was unnecessary -- however, a point Sara pointed out was that nobody on the plane reacted or stood up for the man being removed from the plane, but that they would have if they thought the treatment was, for a lack of better words, bad enough. However, that isn't always the case. Even when people know something is wrong, if nobody else does anything about it, most of the time, responsibility is diffused throughout every person present and no action is taken. I realize that this was a very tangential comment, but I think it matters.

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  30. This is 100% United Airlines' fault for using their so called "overbooking" strategy and they should take responsibility for it. No customer should have to suffer from the Airlines' mistake and have to miss out on what they have originally planned. I'm appalled at how the Airlines had handled this situation and forcibly got the police involved to drag someone out of their paid for and scheduled flight all bloody and unconscious. I'm even more appalled at how the police had went through with it and no one spoke out against it. I don't think occupation or race should influence how a person is treated, but that might've been the case for this occurrence.

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  31. Objectively speaking, United did have the right to remove the passenger from the flight because they are a private service and it makes sense for them to prioritize their employees. Obviously, the manner in which the passenger was kicked off was completely inappropriate. This reminds me somewhat about the incident United had with the buddy-pass users. Personally, though, I think that United should have let all passengers stay because it is their own fault for overbooking their flight. I don't think that this issue had anything to do with race because the passengers were chosen at random to give up their seats when no one volunteered. Nonetheless, the situation being that the man was a doctor who had to get to a patient further enforced the idea that United should not have attempted to kick people off the flight because they could be interfering with important affairs.

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  32. The man definitely had the right to keep his seat because, first of all, he paid for his ticket and he did nothing. The whole issue about the Chinese man not wanting to give up his seat would have been solved if only United acted wisely and professionally by not insisting and looking for people like the other three that were willing to leave the plane. I agree with the comments above stating that no airline has the right to treat their passengers that way, obviously there are exceptions, but this man did not commit anything that put in danger other passengers, it was simply unfair. Lastly, the fact that the man was actually a doctor is another reason why he was unfairly chosen to leave the plane. Doctors have the duty to put their patients as their primary concern in any situation. Hopefully this whole issue will be solved because this will only affect United’s reputation pretty badly.

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  33. United reserves the right to refuse service to anyone, as it is a private company. I don't think the policy of overbooking is wrong either because a few passengers often don't show and almost every airline does it. But I do not condone how United Airlines handled the situation. I don't think there was any racial undertones, but all people should be treated with respect, and excessive force was not necessary in this situation. Regardless, United did suffer the consequences, as their stocks plummeted after this incident.

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  34. I understand that legally United has the right to bump people off the plane, but I honestly think that the act in general, let alone the violent way they handled it, is very disrespectful. Yeah, they're allowed to overbook, but the airline is still at fault, and they didn't even offer the full compensation to people. Although United believes they did the right thing, I think it's clear that the way the situation was handled was extremely excessive and inappropriate and that kind of behavior should be condoned. I think the fact that he was a doctor served to emphasize the unjust nature of the situation, but I don't think I would think any different of the situation if he weren't a doctor, because either way someone is being deprived of a seat they payed for at a very inconvenient time (while on the actual plane).

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  35. I believe that United Airlines did not have the right to restrict this man from his flight, simply for the reason being that he was already in his purchased assigned seat. It was also extremely unnecessary for this man to be have been physically abused on his way off the plane. The situation should have been handled differently in the most peaceful manner.

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  36. I agree that United Airlines does have the right to refuse service to one, or kick someone off for overbooking. I also believe the way the situation was handle was not correct, the violent act the security guard took was very unnecessary. The airline should take full responsibility for their employees actions, and reconsider the "overbooking" policy. I don't think his ethnicity or being doctor make him any more or less important, yes i understand he's a doctor and had patients the next day, but that doesn't change his value to others.

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  37. I don't think that United Airlines has the right to remove anyone from a flight unless it is a justifiable reason. Or they are offered massive compensation. They don't have the right to go against the law, but as long as they treat passengers within it, I think that is justified. I don't approve of violent treatment, but we do what we must. Being a certain ethnicity or having a certain job should not give you any privileges that aren't associated with that job. Also you shouldn't have any privileges for race. I believe that people should be treated fairly and giving someone an unfair advantage certainly does not count as treating them fairly.

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  38. United Airlines should not be able to overbook flights because of situations like this. When someone might have an important situation or event to get to, the are not going to simply give up there seat. This man was a doctor going to his patients and the fact that the airline can just kick him off the plane even after he has paid for the flight is simply unfair to the costumer.

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  39. this was just bad decision making of the people running that particular flight, I do not think the airline united itself is to blame, just whoever decided it would be a good idea to drag an older man down the aisle because they overbooked their flight, which by the way they need to stop doing because of situations like this. I doubt this mans race had anything to do with his selection though, I think it happens to be something that has been made a bigger deal by the media. I also think it should have been at least considered by the people who dragged him off the plane that he was a doctor trying to get to his patients in need. Honestly though, again this was just bad decision making by a few people and I feel like the media has made a bigger deal of this than it really needs to be.

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  40. United's overbooking process makes sense and sometimes implications happen, so I don't think it is necessary to scrap that process. United is also a company; they have the right to decide who gets to use their services and they also have the right to deny service to patrons. However, treating customers with that sort of disrespect is completely inappropriate. I think United must fix their relations with their customers because from personal experience, I can say United is not the most respectful towards their patrons. I also believe the media has a right to make such a big deal out of this incident; it serves as a wake up call for other companies to start acting intelligently and professionally towards the people who keep them in business.

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  41. I dont think that his ethnicity and occupation mattered. However forcing him off of the plane with violence was not the way to go about this. They could of thought of another idea rather than hurting a man who has done nothing. More importantly though, i believe that the employees could have waited for another flight, because if his occupation doesnt matter neither does theirs.

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  42. Like Brandon just brought up, I do not think racism was an issue here. I feel like it was ridiculous for them to force this man off the plane and the violence was too real. United really needs to figure out what to do with their overbooked flights because this clearly is not how it should go.

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  43. it was unnecessary to drag the customer out however it is very unprofessional to overbook the flight. I feel like this had nothing to do with racism, just poor planning.

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  44. I think that airlines do have the right to deny service to anyone if complications arise (although I say this as someone who has never had a flight denied) even if the person being denied is a doctor. I doubt that the man's ethnicity is the reason he was selected; this incident was simply due to poor planning. The real issue here is the excessive force the police used to get him off the flight; there are surely better ways to remove the man than by beating him senseless. The way the police handled the situation was beyond inappropriate. Between this incident and the denial of passage due to leggings mentioned in an article last month, people may want to start considering other airlines for travel.

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