Knowing your rights as an airline passenger

- The chaotic scene aboard United Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville is turning the stomachs of some travelers here in Tampa.

"It's pretty horrific watching this how he was dragged off a plane," said traveler Ann Roberts.

You might be surprised how limited your rights are as a passenger, however. Overbooking, as was the case with Flight 3411, is a routine and legal way airlines compensate for no-show passengers. 

They can involuntarily bump you from a flight if there aren't enough volunteers to make room.

"You bought a plane ticket, you expect to go from point a to point B on this airline and they can just kick you off  -- and they can," said Tampa attorney Anthony Rickman.

Rickman points out airlines are required to deliver notices to passengers forced to leave a plane.  Typically, bumped passengers voluntary or involuntary are offered compensation.

In 3411's case, United apparently needed to get its own employees to Louisville for another flight. 

The man forcibly removed by police was among four chosen.

"If you're in an overbooked situation, tell the stewardess, flight attendant and the pilot: 'Look i have to be on the flight and here's why' and see if they can accommodate you," Rickman suggested.

United called the incident unfortunate and said it is reviewing the matter.  It also said it is reaching out to the man in the video to further resolve the situation.


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