The video of a United passenger being dragged off a flight raises 3 big questions.

Video footage of police officers dragging a screaming man off a United Airlines flight after he refused to give up his seat is sparking outrage and raising questions.

The man was randomly selected by the airline's computer system to be removed from the Louisville, Kentucky-bound aircraft to make room for United employees who were attempting to catch a connecting flight.

Passengers were reportedly offered $800 to disembark and be rebooked on a flight the next day, but no one accepted the offer.


The incident was captured on video, which ricocheted across social media.

United says the passenger was asked several times to leave the plane before the police stepped in to remove him.

"Our team worked as much as possible to have him deplane without having to involve law enforcement," a United spokesperson told Upworthy.

Bystanders' ability and willingness to record confrontations with authorities on their smartphones has changed the way we perceive and talk about events like these.

More importantly, these recordings force us to confront critical issues like:

1. Do police try to de-escalate situations like this? Or are they simply in the business of applying force?

The airline declined to provide detail on how the removal took place, referring questions to law enforcement. According to witnesses, however, the man went limp as officers pulled him down the aisle, suggesting the impact had perhaps knocked him out.

Later, the same witnesses reported, the man re-boarded the plane bloodied and apparently dazed — though the Chicago Police Department maintained, in a statement, that the police were called after the "passenger in question began yelling to voice his displeasure" and was taken to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries. The question remains: What, if any, steps were taken to tone down the situation before the police resorted to physical force?

How many airline passengers would have known they are at risk of being forcibly removed from a plane for not giving up their seats on request, if not for this video?

2. Should airlines even be able to overbook flights and boot passengers from flights they've paid for?

United says it followed Department of Transportation procedures for removing the passenger.

Furthermore, United's contract of carriage states that it has the right deny any passenger the right to board a flight if it is oversold. But how does that apply to customers who have already boarded the flight?

Airlines have pretty broad authority to boot passengers for safety reasons, but if you've paid for a ticket on a certain flight at a certain time, why should the airline have the right to remove you once you've already boarded? Let alone to make room for its own employees?

These recordings raise the question: When push comes to shove, what rights should airline passengers have?

3. Why are there rules restricting how much money airlines can offer people to give up their seats?

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Federal law limits the amount of compensation airlines can offer to bumped passengers to $1,350 — an increase from the $800 limit prior to 2011, but still a cap. Apparently, United didn't go that high (their offer stopped at $800) before deciding to have police eject the passenger. But for enough money, could they have gotten someone to take the offer?

What's the purpose of setting a limit in the first place? Should airlines be able to offer passengers as much money as they want if they really need to clear the space? Wouldn't that be preferable to potentially forceful interactions with passengers?

We might not even know to wonder if this interaction hadn't been caught on tape.

A United representative says the airline is reaching out to the passenger to address the incident.

In the meantime, it's doubtful we'd be having this conversation at all if bystanders hadn't used the technology in their pockets to record the event as it was happening.

Right now, the recordings raise more questions than answers.

It's a good thing we have them.

Update 4/11/2017: This article has been updated to remove a video that is no longer available.

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

Keep Reading Show less