United CEO Oscar Munoz claimed the airline company "followed established procedures" when aviation police removed a "disruptive and belligerent" passenger from the plane. The airline, owned by United Continental Holdings, said in a statement that the flight had been overbooked.
"Overbooking is a necessity for airlines due to different levels of no show passengers experienced on different routes. It's normally a highly sophisticated process based on extensive detailed statistical analysis," John Strickland, an aviation expert and director at JLS Consulting, told CNBC in an email.
"Even when passengers are forcibly denied boarding the idea is to handle this as tactfully & sensitively as possible," Strickland added.
In the case of the United Express flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday, four crew members were required to board the plane in order to work from Louisville the following day.
While it is customary for airlines to negotiate the number of passengers on board a flight, analysts suggested it was unusual such protocol took place after everyone had boarded the plane.
Audra Bridges, a witness who posted the video to her Facebook page Sunday evening, said United management came on board the flight and used a computer to randomly select four passengers who would then be removed from that trip.
The man in the video — one of those four randomly selected — reportedly claimed he was a doctor and needed to see his patients at the hospital in the morning, then proceeded to say he would call his lawyers.