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FlyerTalk Forums Thread Wiki: Man pulled off of overbooked flight UA3411 (ORD-SDF) 9 Apr 2017 {Settlement reached}
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Statement from United Airlines Regarding Resolution with Dr. David Dao - released 27 April 2017
Quote:
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.
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.
  • The name of the passenger should be disclosed when the names of UA staff and Security Officers are disclosed.
  • 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):
Quote:
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.
Quote:
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
Quote:
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
  • Chicago Aviation Department said on the Monday afternoon after the incident that the officer who had dragged the passenger off the plane had been placed on leave pending an investigation. Spokesperson Karen Pride said in an email that "The incident on United flight 3411 was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department."
  • 4/12/17: Two more Chicago Aviation officers involved are suspended
  • Muñoz does ABC interview, announcing United will no longer use law enforcement to remove passengers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90jSUe_vdhM
  • United announces policy change that crews traveling on their aircraft must be booked at least 60 minutes prior to departure.
  • United releases multiple changes in overbooking / denied boarding policies "We are making changes to ensure that we always put customers first" (http://newsroom.united.com/2017-04-2...mer-Experience) released 27 April 2017

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 10, 17, 6:43 am   #31
  
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Originally Posted by skipmnyc View Post
total BS. Paid passenger who needs to get to his destination is ASSAULTED for not "volunteering" his seat for a crew member. The airline should keep raising the offer until they get volunteers or find another solution for their crew issues. UA is going to get a PR sh**storm for this. And they deserve to get sued for it. FAIL.
Absolutely... While the airline has every right to remove a passenger from their plane for any reason, they chose to have a passenger assaulted rather than paying a bit more compensation to volunteers.

I hope the extra few hundred dollars they saved were worth the PR nightmare.

Last edited by LordHamster; Apr 10, 17 at 6:50 am
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Old Apr 10, 17, 6:43 am   #32
  
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Why in the world didn't they figure it out at the gate before boarding? Hoping for 4 no-shows? Pressure for an on-time departure figuring they could figure it out while boarding progressed? Could have been avoided by figuring it out before boarding. If they end up with less onboard than expected, they can still board one or more people selected for IDB.

Alot of outraged passengers over the guy being dragged off but at this point what is the crew & security supposed to do? Let the guy stay because he threw a hissy fit and pick a more compliant passenger? And clearly something not right with the guy they dragged off when he ran back onto the aircraft.

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Originally Posted by olouie View Post
The best offer I have witnessed was a $1000 from
SJC to Austin on WN. I had a meeting so could not take it, but when I arrived in Austin meeting was cancelled. The lucky guy who got it must have been loving life.
I got $700 to VDB on EWR-BWI. Flew EWR-DCA and was taxi'ed to BWI, ended up arriving an hour behind my original flight. Made my day
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Old Apr 10, 17, 6:45 am   #33
  
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Originally Posted by getagb View Post
The pax shouldn't have resisted the crew or police officers. Not fun to get kicked off a plane but he could've taken one of several later flights and gotten to SDF with a minor delay the same night. Instead he got arrested.
If there were several later flights as you say, why did UA also offer a hotel? Can you list what times the later flights departed since it would be as you say a minor delay ? If so, why didn't they just put the dead heading crew on those flights and save all this trouble?
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Old Apr 10, 17, 6:46 am   #34
  
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Originally Posted by Live4Upgrade View Post
I would have been ticked to get pulled off but ORD-SDF is drivable (5.5 hours) if his obligations were truly "urgent".
Until you fall asleep on that overnight drive. This was the last flight that night.

UA should have moved its dead head crew earlier in the day. UA blew it on this one.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 6:53 am   #35
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PATRLR View Post
I'm wondering how they chose this guy. Why him? I wonder if he got on standby?

Can anyone shed some light on how they choose IDBs?
http://www.courier-journal.com/story...lle/100274374/

This article has some answers

Quote:
Passengers were told at the gate that the flight was overbooked and United, offering $400 and a hotel stay, was looking for one volunteer to take another flight to Louisville at 3 p.m. Monday. Passengers were allowed to board the flight, Bridges said, and once the flight was filled those on the plane were told that four people needed to give up their seats to stand-by United employees that needed to be in Louisville on Monday for a flight. Passengers were told that the flight would not take off until the United crew had seats, Bridges said, and the offer was increased to $800, but no one volunteered.

Then, she said, a manager came aboard the plane and said a computer would select four people to be taken off the flight. One couple was selected first and left the airplane, she said, before the man in the video was confronted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by purduephotog View Post

I haven't been able to get cost-comparative United flights all year. I'm not sure I want to keep going like this-
I am having the same issue. I have tried to quit UA but up until the last 6 months or so, they have had the best prices for me.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 6:56 am   #36
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getagb View Post
The pax shouldn't have resisted the crew or police officers. Not fun to get kicked off a plane but he could've taken one of several later flights and gotten to SDF with a minor delay the same night. Instead he got arrested.
Ace victim blaming here.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 6:58 am   #37
  
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Disgraceful all around, but the police use of force is particularly disgusting, to me.

Last edited by EWR764; Apr 10, 17 at 7:07 am
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Old Apr 10, 17, 7:00 am   #38
  
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Sorry, I do not undestand some of the posts supporting the airline and the law enforcement officer.

In “civilized” countries of Europe (UK, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, … [you name it]) the law enforcement officer would go to prison, because of “exaggerated” violence and aggravated personal injury of the passenger.

In Europe (all of EU and associated countries) customers have the legal right to board a flight they are booked on and checked in. The airline has to increase the offer to whatever amount, to find a volunteer or find other means to bring the client to its destination with minimal impact on arrival time (e.g. chartering an additional aircraft).

And it works. Never seen such pictures from Europe.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 7:04 am   #39
  
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This will be a very expensive lesson for UA, and maybe they will learn.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 7:10 am   #40
  
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Maybe he was wearing leggings.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 7:15 am   #41
  
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90% of publicized airline CS gaffes and incidents I side with the airline.

The nonrev dress policy, delays, etc, and any other goofs that the uncleansed masses raise their pitchforks over.

This is just utterly inexcusable. If it's "an easy 5 hour drive" to destination, I suggest United hire a driver to make that trip. Ripping someone out of their seats because of refusal to VDB? and they wonder why they get a bad rap...... i expect nothing less than oscar to fly out to make a mea culpa on his knees to that pax....
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Old Apr 10, 17, 7:17 am   #42
  
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Most rationale people would quickly comply when security showed up and sort it out as civilized humans. If he's a MD, he surely has been schooled in communicating.

Then again, others are looking for a payout from their 5 minutes of "fame".

UA screwed up in letting him Board. But, the passenger sounds like high maintenance to me.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 7:19 am   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purduephotog View Post
If (and I stress IF) the guy was a physician and attending the next morning, that should have stopped the process.
So a doctor has more priority than someone going to a wedding/graduation? Or to say goodbye to grandma in the hospital?

I think not.

My brother is a doctor. Sometimes seems I am the only person who doesn't kiss his @ss 24/7.

I would like to see what led up to the confrontation where they removed the guy. All I saw was the dragging part.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 7:21 am   #44
  
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Man, you beat me to it!

Something just isn't right here. This is so sad and needless to say, this was WRONG! This isn't the passengers fault, I don't care if he was a Physician or a Gardener, he was a human with a booked seat that he was sitting in. This all should have been sorted out BEFORE boarding the plane.
LACK OF PLANNING ON UNITED'S PART DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN EMERGENCY ON A PASSENGERS PART. This is shameful.


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Originally Posted by KevinDTW View Post
Maybe he was wearing leggings.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 7:22 am   #45
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Originally Posted by athome View Post
Never seen such pictures from Europe.
We have, however, seen lots of other interesting pictures/videos from Europe lately.

No perfect solutions.
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