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Man pulled off of overbooked flight UA3411 (ORD-SDF) 9 Apr 2017 {Settlement reached}

Man pulled off of overbooked flight UA3411 (ORD-SDF) 9 Apr 2017 {Settlement reached}

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Old Apr 13, 18, 1:33 pm   -   Wikipost
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Statement from United Airlines Regarding Resolution with Dr. David Dao - released 27 April 2017
CHICAGO, April 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- We are pleased to report that United and Dr. Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard flight 3411. We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the center of everything we do.
DOT findings related to the UA3411 9 April 2017 IDB incident 12 May 2017

What facts do we know?
  • UA3411, operated by Republic Airways, ORD-SDF on Sunday, April 9, 2017. UA3411 was the second to last flight to SDF for United. AA3509 and UA4771 were the two remaining departures for the day. Also, AA and DL had connecting options providing for same-day arrival in SDF.
  • After the flight was fully boarded, United determined four seats were needed to accommodate crew to SDF for a flight on Monday.
  • United solicited volunteers for VDB. (BUT stopped at $800 in UA$s, not cash). Chose not to go to the levels such as 1350 that airlines have been known to go even in case of weather impacted disruption)
  • After receiving no volunteers for $800 vouchers, a passenger volunteered for $1,600 and was "laughed at" and refused, United determined four passengers to be removed from the flight.
  • One passenger refused and Chicago Aviation Security Officers were called to forcibly remove the passenger.
  • The passenger hit the armrest in the aisle and received a concussion, a broken nose, a bloodied lip, and the loss of two teeth.
  • After being removed from the plane, the passenger re-boarded saying "I need to go home" repeatedly, before being removed again.
  • United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said the flight was sold out — but not oversold. Instead, United and regional affiliate Republic Airlines – the unit that operated Flight 3411 – decided they had to remove four passengers from the flight to accommodate crewmembers who were needed in Louisville the next day for a “downline connection.”

United Express Flight 3411 Review and Action Report - released 27 April 2017

Videos

Internal Communication by Oscar Munoz
Oscar Munoz sent an internal communication to UA employees (sources: View From The Wing, Chicago Tribune):
Dear Team,

Like you, I was upset to see and hear about what happened last night aboard United Express Flight 3411 headed from Chicago to Louisville. While the facts and circumstances are still evolving, especially with respect to why this customer defied Chicago Aviation Security Officers the way he did, to give you a clearer picture of what transpired, I've included below a recap from the preliminary reports filed by our employees.

As you will read, this situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help. Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.

I do, however, believe there are lessons we can learn from this experience, and we are taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding this incident. Treating our customers and each other with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are, and we must always remember this no matter how challenging the situation.

Oscar

Summary of Flight 3411
  • On Sunday, April 9, after United Express Flight 3411 was fully boarded, United's gate agents were approached by crewmembers that were told they needed to board the flight.
  • We sought volunteers and then followed our involuntary denial of boarding process (including offering up to $1,000 in compensation) and when we approached one of these passengers to explain apologetically that he was being denied boarding, he raised his voice and refused to comply with crew member instructions.
  • He was approached a few more times after that in order to gain his compliance to come off the aircraft, and each time he refused and became more and more disruptive and belligerent.
  • Our agents were left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight. He repeatedly declined to leave.
  • Chicago Aviation Security Officers were unable to gain his cooperation and physically removed him from the flight as he continued to resist - running back onto the aircraft in defiance of both our crew and security officials.
Email sent to all employees at 2:08PM on Tuesday, April 11.
Dear Team,

The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.

I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.

It’s never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again. This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. We’ll communicate the results of our review by April 30th.

I promise you we will do better.

Sincerely,

Oscar
Statement to customers - 27 April 2017
Each flight you take with us represents an important promise we make to you, our customer. It's not simply that we make sure you reach your destination safely and on time, but also that you will be treated with the highest level of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect.

Earlier this month, we broke that trust when a passenger was forcibly removed from one of our planes. We can never say we are sorry enough for what occurred, but we also know meaningful actions will speak louder than words.

For the past several weeks, we have been urgently working to answer two questions: How did this happen, and how can we do our best to ensure this never happens again?

It happened because our corporate policies were placed ahead of our shared values. Our procedures got in the way of our employees doing what they know is right.

Fixing that problem starts now with changing how we fly, serve and respect our customers. This is a turning point for all of us here at United – and as CEO, it's my responsibility to make sure that we learn from this experience and redouble our efforts to put our customers at the center of everything we do.

That’s why we announced that we will no longer ask law enforcement to remove customers from a flight and customers will not be required to give up their seat once on board – except in matters of safety or security.

We also know that despite our best efforts, when things don’t go the way they should, we need to be there for you to make things right. There are several new ways we’re going to do just that.

We will increase incentives for voluntary rebooking up to $10,000 and will be eliminating the red tape on permanently lost bags with a new "no-questions-asked" $1,500 reimbursement policy. We will also be rolling out a new app for our employees that will enable them to provide on-the-spot goodwill gestures in the form of miles, travel credit and other amenities when your experience with us misses the mark. You can learn more about these commitments and many other changes at hub.united.com.

While these actions are important, I have found myself reflecting more broadly on the role we play and the responsibilities we have to you and the communities we serve.

I believe we must go further in redefining what United's corporate citizenship looks like in our society. If our chief good as a company is only getting you to and from your destination, that would show a lack of moral imagination on our part. You can and ought to expect more from us, and we intend to live up to those higher expectations in the way we embody social responsibility and civic leadership everywhere we operate. I hope you will see that pledge express itself in our actions going forward, of which these initial, though important, changes are merely a first step.

Our goal should be nothing less than to make you truly proud to say, "I fly United."

Ultimately, the measure of our success is your satisfaction and the past several weeks have moved us to go further than ever before in elevating your experience with us. I know our 87,000 employees have taken this message to heart, and they are as energized as ever to fulfill our promise to serve you better with each flight and earn the trust you’ve given us.

We are working harder than ever for the privilege to serve you and I know we will be stronger, better and the customer-focused airline you expect and deserve.

With Great Gratitude,

Oscar Munoz
CEO
United Airlines
Aftermath
Poll: Your Opinion of United Airlines
Poll link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KP68GYG
Results link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/results...Q6B2B/instant/
Reference Material

UA's Customer Commitment says:
Occasionally we may not be able to provide you with a seat on a specific flight, even if you hold a ticket, have checked in, are present to board on time, and comply with other requirements. This is called an oversale, and occurs when restrictions apply to operating a particular flight safely (such as aircraft weight limits); when we have to substitute a smaller aircraft in place of a larger aircraft that was originally scheduled; or if more customers have checked in and are prepared to board than we have available seats.

If your flight is in an oversale situation, you will not be denied a seat until we first ask for volunteers willing to give up their confirmed seats. If there are not enough volunteers, we will deny boarding to passengers in accordance with our written policy on boarding priority. If you are involuntarily denied boarding and have complied with our check-in and other applicable rules, we will give you a written statement that describes your rights and explains how we determine boarding priority for an oversold flight. You will generally be entitled to compensation and transportation on an alternate flight.

We make complete rules for the payment of compensation, as well as our policy about boarding priorities, available at airports we serve. We will follow these rules to ensure you are treated fairly. Please be aware that you may be denied boarding without compensation if you do not check in on time or do not meet certain other requirements, or if we offer you alternative transportation that is planned to arrive at your destination or first stopover no later than one hour after the planned arrival time of your original flight.
CoC is here: https://www.united.com/web/en-US/con...-carriage.aspx
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:39 pm
  #4276  
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Originally Posted by DrunkCargo View Post
The legal basis is United felt like it. Property. Something like that... not a lawyer, no idea.

Sue them after you step off private property. But don't try to be a lawyer ON the plane.
i think this will work out far better for him this way, standing his ground.

once you walk out you lose leverage.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:40 pm
  #4277  
 
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Now the Senate wants in on the spotlight

The Hill: Senate Dem (Richard Blumenthal CT) calls for federal investigation of United Airlines
http://thehill.com/regulation/transp...nited-airlines
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:43 pm
  #4278  
 
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Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
That was my first thought. More specifically, if both parties are in an industry and the industry has an accepted usage, then that usage controls. But even in a negotiated contract, if the two parties legitimately have different interpretations of the same term, what controls? Airline usage because it concerns air travel? Construe against the drafter? Is it even clear UA defines a person in a seat as still in the process of boarding?

Here's another analysis of the situation under UA's CoC and relevant law, including finding problems with much reporting. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/...ment-fail.html

I wonder if the Supreme Court's Ginsberg v. Northwest case affects the any of the legal analysis.
I suspect unless both parties share the same industry vocabulary, the common usage definition rules.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:44 pm
  #4279  
 
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
Ever see the phrase "No bailment is created" on a parking garage chit?

That means if your car is broken into or vandalized, etc. whilst in the garage, the owner / operator disclaims liability and you're OK with it.
But when I choose to park there, 1: there are other options, 2: the disclaimer is very clearly stated in signs all over the garage putting us on much more equal terms, and 3: I haven't paid the garage operator to protect my car and thus burglury is not negligence. I parked in downtown Baltimore for five years, and not the good parts.

Last edited by Rdenney; Apr 12, 17 at 3:11 pm
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:45 pm
  #4280  
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Originally Posted by DL-Don View Post
This is likely only applicable when two parties are negotiating a contact not with a contract of adhesion where the contract terms are written exclusively by one party and "imposed" on the other.
Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
That was my first thought. More specifically, if both parties are in an industry and the industry has an accepted usage, then that usage controls. But even in a negotiated contract, if the two parties legitimately have different interpretations of the same term, what controls? Airline usage because it concerns air travel? Construe against the drafter? Is it even clear UA defines a person in a seat as still in the process of boarding?
Well so as usual you just have an interpretive dispute that the court would have to resolve. My money would be on industry usage, on the theory the parties incorporated that usage when they contracted for air travel.

I'm mostly just reacting here to supposedly definitive statements of the law that fail to account for the intricacy of legal analysis or the process for determining legal disputes.

Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
I wonder if the Supreme Court's Ginsberg v. Northwest case affects the any of the legal analysis.
The airline is pretty much always going to raise a preemption defense.

Originally Posted by Rdenney View Post
http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3308&context=californialaw review

Note especially the discussion of Lockwood vs. New York Central Railway Company, which went to the supreme court and is held as applicable in all common carrier cases. Such cases are marked by the customer being at a severe bargaining disadvantage when making the contract, and thus cannot be held to have consented to relinquish their rights to damages in the case of negligence. This may have been superseded, but I rather doubt it. I'm happy to be educated, however.
I was responding to the broad statement that negligence can't be waived. It most certainly can, and we do it all the time.

I'm not saying UA is not exposed here. I think they would have definite exposure based on the acknowledgement the flight was not overbooked and the foreseeability that calling in the cops to remove Dr. Dao would result in avoidable harm.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:46 pm
  #4281  
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Originally Posted by NotSoOftenFlyer View Post
Problem here is you have a beaten up plaintiff and 12 people off the street who have seen a lot of videos of him bleeding could be making this determination instead. Plus judges fly too. They are astute to where the public sentiment is and would risk being overturned on something like this

UAL would be smart to redefine every instance of 'boarding' & have a specific Definition of it to avoid future payouts like this.
To be fair, I doubt anyone would be allowed on the jury who admits to having seen the video...
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:48 pm
  #4282  
 
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Jeez, where to begin.

I think it is is dumb that any airline would ever resort to IDB, versus sweetening the VDB pot. Get the compensation high enough to make four people happy, instead of having four po'ed people. Especially when those four will likely vent to friends, family, and the Twitterverse. And with the amount of time until the next available flight, United should have known that pot has to be pretty sweet. I would guess at least a couple people were interested, but waiting to see how much higher United would go. Dumb.

Also, the "check your brain at the door and follow policy" approach is never a good one. No policy will ever cover every circumstance. Most employees would likely know when to set the rulebook aside - but you leave yourself vulnerable to rogue or foolish behavior with that culture. My experience with United is too many employees tend to be policy-first, customer somewhere further down the chain.

Finally, there has really been a deterioration in trust between flyers and airlines. As a passenger, you can really feel powerless when dealing with the airlines. "Keep quiet in the face of (perceived) mistreatment or we'll kick you off the plane, arrest you or now drag you out screaming" is a terrible business model. While this is an extreme instance, there are pretty regular stories of passengers being booted inappropriately. At least some of those cases have seemed to be abuse of power by the airlines. While there is a need for safety in the skies, there should be less tolerance for employees behaving badly. That said, some passengers need to lighten up as well.....
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:48 pm
  #4283  
 
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Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
That was my first thought. More specifically, if both parties are in an industry and the industry has an accepted usage, then that usage controls. But even in a negotiated contract, if the two parties legitimately have different interpretations of the same term, what controls? Airline usage because it concerns air travel? Construe against the drafter? Is it even clear UA defines a person in a seat as still in the process of boarding?

Here's another analysis of the situation under UA's CoC and relevant law, including finding problems with much reporting. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/...ment-fail.html

I wonder if the Supreme Court's Ginsberg v. Northwest case affects the any of the legal analysis.
Excellent article although he neglects to take the press to task for not fully describing the nature of the compensation offered and how airlines can take advantage of the rules for compensation to the detriment of their passengers.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:50 pm
  #4284  
 
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Originally Posted by exerda View Post
To be fair, I doubt anyone would be allowed on the jury who admits to having seen the video...
The defense (United) may not have much of a choice. They can try to exclude people in the potential jury pool, but how many people in the USA haven't seen it at this point?

The attorneys can exclude potential jurors who have made up their minds for one side (or the other) but just seeing the video alone is not going to disqualify someone.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:52 pm
  #4285  
 
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Originally Posted by minnyfly View Post
You have displayed little knowledge of airline operations, and your "solutions" exhibit that lack of expertise.

Deadheading employees are ticketed passengers with highest priority--"must-ride". In fact, these tickets are contractually controlled, there's even specific seat requirements. There are stipulations the airlines must follow, and they must be in accordance with federal law on work/rest rules. It's that way for a purpose. You would be violating the rights of the employee to say that have no right to be on that airplane. They have as much right to be there as any customer and even more rights contractually.

You have no idea what you're talking about the second paragraph. Those rights for employee travel are there for your benefit as a customer. Your "solution" would lead to more delayed and cancelled flights to due unavailable crew, inconveniencing far more people, leading to more chances of upset customers. You think these employees LIKE having to bump people? Of course not. But they and the company know it's for the better good of both customer and airline.
The internal accounting of the airline for placing crew on a manifest does not create a ticketed passenger under contract. And it is, frankly, offensive, that the way airlines code that travel explicitly places their own employees as more important than any passenger. But thanks for expressing the view that employees have more right to be on an airplane than passengers--because that is exactly the attitude that this "must fly" "help a buddy out" employee culture creates.

Passengers do not benefit because airlines retain insufficient latent capacity to place crews in their workplace locations without having passengers placed under threat of not being flown at the time and to the place they initially booked.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:54 pm
  #4286  
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Originally Posted by umustbjokim View Post
Finally, there has really been a deterioration in trust between flyers and airlines. As a passenger, you can really feel powerless when dealing with the airlines... there are pretty regular stories of passengers being booted inappropriately. At least some of those cases have seemed to be abuse of power by the airlines.
If the airlines didn't see advantage and profit in this power imbalance, they'd change it.

In an oligopoly, customer satisfaction matters a lot less. Perhaps a popular uprising inspired by the Dao case will do some real damage to United Airlines and prove me wrong. But the structure of the marketplace means they have a lot of customers cornered, legally and logistically.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:55 pm
  #4287  
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Originally Posted by featheroleather View Post
before the door is closed..if you want to play the "what if" game.
I'm simply trying to nail down what is acceptable when it comes to UA's lack of planning inconveniencing pax

I've boarded a plane after the door was closed.

I've been "deplaned" as a non-rev on United after the door closed, gate pulled away, and plane backed out.

So I think your bar is too low. If you are going to allow paying pax to be displaced from the seats they are sitting it, then I think until the plane is number 1 for take off in its runway, it should be ordered back. Do you disagree?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 12, 17 at 6:27 pm Reason: Discuss the issues, not the poster
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:56 pm
  #4288  
 
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Originally Posted by Andy Big Bear View Post
To me, therein lies the rub, people should be able to assert what they believe to be their rights to a police officer without fear of being assaulted for doing so.
The problem is that the US IMO established a culture of fear regarding air safety after 9/11. Disobey an order and you'll be automatically suspicious. You don't want that the terrorist win, do you? etc.

As a result, security personal (defined in the largest possible meaning, i.e. TSA agents, airport police, security guards, ground staff, cabin crew, etc.) on a power trip will rarely be met with resistance. Most passengers have no interest in being subjected to additional scrutiny and shutting up and shallowing down their own pride is allowing them to get through it as fast an conveniently as possible.

Note: Before I'm getting stoned by people that disagree with me, let me just say that most airport/airline personal is IME usually very reasonable and proceeds with caution and common sense. While it's certainly not a problem affecting all personnel, it allows individuals to go on a power trip. More accountability would hurt.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:56 pm
  #4289  
 
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Originally Posted by NotSoOftenFlyer View Post
Now the Senate wants in on the spotlight

The Hill: Senate Dem (Richard Blumenthal CT) calls for federal investigation of United Airlines
http://thehill.com/regulation/transp...nited-airlines
There was already a letter from the Senate commerce committee to United and the Chicago dept of aviation asking them to answer certain pointed questions by April 20.

http://nypost.com/2017/04/11/senator...ited-incident/
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Old Apr 12, 17, 2:59 pm
  #4290  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
I'm mostly just reacting here to supposedly definitive statements of the law that fail to account for the intricacy of legal analysis or the process for determining legal disputes.
Yes. Too many posts here ignore relevant intricacy or are just flat out wrong.

Alas (from an information and entertainment point of view), this case will never go to trial.
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