I write because there is a central problem in how the incident is literally explained: it was not a case of overbooking: the airline illegally exacted from a passenger his paid-for seat in order to give it to employees because that suited the airlines' convenience (and pocketbook) better: read the lawyer's explain here.
United Passenger "Removal:"
The reporting is also not focusing with enough precision on the casual resort to ultra-violence. Here is an egregious display of how US people resort to violence first as a solution to difficulties. The man won't volunteer, and then picked on, won't cooperate: so he is called disruptive and belligerent; in fact the first thing they did in response to his refusal was call a crew of men who immediately dragged him down an aisle, blooded and knocked him out. He is today in the hospital. Dare I say (paraphrasing Diane Reynolds) if he had been a black man on a Greyhound bus with would have heard of an "accidental" death -- he could have been killed. The first response of the US to Assad dropping chemical weapons on children is to kill some more: not to ease immigrant restrictions, not to send effective aid.
It is troubling to see most of the passengers sit there and much ordinary commentary that either defends the airline or shows a lack of concern: as long as "I" get the cheapest flight the monopoly of these airlines will allow. The passengers cried out but they all sat there and some hugged their seats tighter. The US population accepts United's behavior.
Two related issues: On the nearly abusive exploitation of airports: I've now read and had validated many times over how miserable is the treatment of passengers in US airline terminals: egregiously high prices in enclosed super-luxurious restaurants or absurdly high for poor quality (almost inedible) food and drink. No comfortable chairs, asked to go through routines. The TSA a completely empowered bullying group. It is a fact and truth that many airline terminals of other countries are very much better, more humane: cafes to eat at, no suspicious atmosphere, amenities on offer easily.
Paying for it: since Expedia managed to cheat me of $1800 I have discovered my experience is even common. You want a cheaper flight and go to Orbitz or Expedia. On the side it may and often does say non-refundable and subject to change (meaning you can be put on another flight at another time and have no recourse. I wrote at length about my experience here:
Airplane travel today
I don't know a lot of people and many are unwilling to tell of when they've been cheated or mistreated but I can name 5 people who've told me now and again they drive long distances rather than take an airplane. In many areas of the US Amtrak almost doesn't exist so few are the trains coming across the landscape in a given 24 hours. Buses take forever.
I don't go into conditions on the planes or the Indian caste system which has evolved so the slightest amenity (an "extra") must be paid for in another segregated space. Just a picture will do:
The airlines practice ruthless tyranny; the newspapers and even public are complicit.