You DO understand the security officers who took the dude off the plane are AIRPORT police/AIRPORT employees, not in anyway under United’s control? And that the man was resisting; a STUPID thing to do with police anywhere, at any time? An airplane is private property, and the owner has the right to ask anyone to leave his property at any time. Since the employees were traveling on company business, associated with the operations of the airline, and not on passes for personal reasons, whether they were the flight crew for another flight, or maintenance personnel to repair the plane for another flight, the airline is going to weigh 4 seats on 1 flight against an entire planeful on another, and the conclusion is obvious. Airlines are not making bundles of money. Look closer at salaries of current employees, pensions for retired employees, maintenance and fuel costs, and a little thing called landing fees which are in the 10s of thousands PER plane at major airports these days, then multiply that for every flight operated per day; it gets very pricey. So they instituted a policy of overbooking back in the early ’50s, to offset the problem of passengers extra booking flights for the same destination at about the same time of day, and failing to cancel, but not showing for the flights which was also costing them a bundle; and it’s not just 1, but all the lines doing that. Generally, it doesn’t cause a problem, but when it does, it’s at the last minute because there’s no way to know all the passengers booked will show, ’til departure time, but boarding starts 15–30 minutes prior, leaving them no option but to take people off their plane. MOST often it’s economy class that is overbooked, sometimes business class, if they have that option. It seems the majority would leave an entire planeful of passengers stranded rather than understand an airline’s need to move their employees in a timely manner to keep operations moving smoothly for all, as much as possible.
As for the injuries to the man asked to leave the plane, those were NOT United employees, and resisting police at any point often results in injuries. Had he cooperated and presented a compelling reason why he had to make that specific flight, he probably would have been accommodated; most airlines have historically done that. He also would not have been injured.