WASHINGTON - Charles Leocha, founder and chairman of the non-profit passengers-rights organization, Travelers United, spoke with FOX 5 about the incident on a United Express flight at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and says in his 40 years in the travel industry he has never seen an incident like this.
"When I first saw the video – my stomach just turned,” he told us. He compared the incident on the plane with scenes from a movie about Hitler’s Germany and the KGB in the Soviet Union. “It's an extreme and normally, thank heavens, this is not the way airlines treat passengers."
Overbooking, Denied Boarding Or Bumping
The problem, he says, began when the front line management made quick decisions that turned out to be wrong. "The bad decision started before that. They started when United could not even keep track of its own people in terms of where they should be at what time. If they had done this one minute earlier, ten minutes earlier, they could have ahead of time said we have an over booked situation and they could have dealt with this as normal over booking."
Leocha said if the airline had offered more compensation for the passengers, they may have gotten volunteers who were willing to stay behind. "If it's that important to get these passengers to that particular location, so important that they want to beat up a passenger and drag him off the flight, then I think it's worth 2,000, $3,000. And now it's going to be a heck of a lot more to them."
Leocha said each airline has a different set of rules that dictates how people can be removed from a flight. The specific 'Contract of Carriage' often lists a hierarchy of passengers – for instance a frequent flyer, or a cheap seat holder. Leocha said passengers can ask to see that contract.
"I'm totally disgusted by this whole operation and I think the CEO - if he was dragged around I think he'd be a little bit more disgusted as well."
KNOW YOUR TRAVEL RIGHTS: http://travelrights.travelersunited.org/chapter-1-travel-rights/