After the flight boarded, staff announced that they needed four people to volunteer to give up seats so that United employees who needed to be in Louisville Monday could take them.
Passengers were allowed to board the flight, Bridges said, and once the flight was filled those on the plane were told that four people needed to give up their seats to stand-by United employees that needed to be in Louisville on Monday for a flight.
According to one account, the airline offered $400 for volunteers; having gotten no takers, it increased the offer to $800.
Video of the distressing incident surfaced on social media Sunday night that showed security personnel forcibly remove the middle-aged man.
In the comments section below her Facebook post, Bridges said the man "was talking to his lawyer on the phone".
Video from the flight shows the man being ripped out of his seat by officials while other passengers expressed their outrage.
A few minutes later, the man who was removed from the plane returned, looking dazed and saying he had to get home, Bridges said.
"Everyone was shocked and appalled", Bridges told the Courier-Journal. "There were several children on the flight as well that were very upset".
"We apologize for the overbook situation", the spokesman added. When none of them did, the airline told four passengers who were selected at random that they had to get off the plane. Airlines may offer compensation in the form of tickets or travel vouchers, but involuntarily bumped passengers always have the right to receive compensation by check.
United Continental Holdings Inc.
Fellow passenger Jayse D. Anspach, who goes by @JayseDavid on Twitter, wrote: "No one volunteered (to leave), so @United made a decision to choose for us".
CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement Monday that the incident late Sunday, which was caught on video, is "upsetting to all of us here at United".
Anyone bumped against their will may be entitled to compensation, the agency says, and must be given a written statement detailing their rights and explaining how the airline decides who gets on an overbooked flight and who doesn't.
Passengers were then instructed to disembark the plane so that a medical crew could take care of the passenger and the plane's crew could "tidy up" before the flight left, Bridges recalled.
The airline later responded to a member of the media over Twitter, writing, "We apologize for the overbook situation".
"Can't they rent a vehicle for the pilots?" another passenger asks in the videos.
After the outcry, United said in a series of tweets" "Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. We hope United will respond with apologies and procedural changes. When an airline can't find enough volunteers-"involuntary denied boarding", as regulators call it-the cost can run as high as $1,300 cash per passenger under revised rules adopted in 2011. After arriving at the Greenville/Spartanburg Airport-a two-hour drive from my parents' house in North Carolina-I discovered my flight was delayed for five hours, and then it was canceled entirely.