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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, 10:44 pm
  #4516  
 
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I think a piece of it is the increased misery for those that aren't premier travelers. The basic respect left for non-status flyers has incrementally, but surely sunk so low year after year, the overall public's feelings for treatment is that of cable companies, there is a lot of pent up anger, and so there is enormous expression of support for this case, despite the fact that one can argue the passenger should have complied... people are pissed off... it's one thing to be a 1k or GS, get frequently upgraded, or have the means to pay for being up front, but for many travelers, the airlines have monopolized key cities through consolidation (in the US), leaving few options, chasing the bottom of the barrel on service, forcing passengers to accept enormous bullshaight, and so, when someone stands up to authority, and creates a large scale PR nightmare, the 99% are right there wanting to sock it back to the airlines!
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Old Apr 12, 17, 10:48 pm
  #4517  
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Originally Posted by featheroleather View Post
adding more gas to the fire but I got a text with similar info stating united solicited volunteers, this "dr" and his wife willingly got off the plane and was booked a hotel & a flight for the next day but then changed their mind & ran back on the plane, were asked to leave several times and that's when the airport police were called.Videos didn't start rolling till this point.

I've seen a video from right behind his seat & the "dr" was on his phone with someone, still refusing to leave till things got heated and ugly.

before I get roasted, I'm a little dubious and not putting all my eggs in one basket like some are doing on the other side of this issue. plus who says whats in the wiki is 100% correct, a lot of the info is conflicting.
Is UA going to claim that his boarding pass was never scanned for boarding the flight and that the system never marked him down as having boarded the flight? If so, I hope there are perjury/contempt of court charges directed at UA.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 10:52 pm
  #4518  
 
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Originally Posted by featheroleather View Post
adding more gas to the fire but I got a text with similar info stating united solicited volunteers, this "dr" and his wife willingly got off the plane and was booked a hotel & a flight for the next day but then changed their mind & ran back on the plane, were asked to leave several times and that's when the airport police were called.Videos didn't start rolling till this point.

I've seen a video from right behind his seat & the "dr" was on his phone with someone, still refusing to leave till things got heated and ugly.

before I get roasted, I'm a little dubious and not putting all my eggs in one basket like some are doing on the other side of this issue. plus who says whats in the wiki is 100% correct, a lot of the info is conflicting.
That's not what is on the facts pinned to the top of this thread.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 10:54 pm
  #4519  
 
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Originally Posted by TominLazybrook View Post
Holes in UA's IDB rules in their Contract of Carriage

https://www.united.com/web/en-US/con...age.aspx#sec25

1) Doesn't appear to address INTRASTATE travel. UA flies many routes that are wholly within a particular state. What is the policy for a flight from IAH-DFW or SFO-SAN?
2) There's still no written policy on who and and how IDB victims are a selected.
3) No mandate to use other carriers even if that other carrier has the quickest resolution route for the victim
4) It appears that UA calculates IDB compensation based upon the segment, not including connections....so if you have 50 dollar segment onto a 2000 dollar transcontinental leg, and you lose your flights, UA says they're only on the hook for 50 x the compensation multiplier. Even if the connecting flight is on UA. This is complete BS
5) No compensation for yanking you for a deadhead if the flight originates outside the US or Canada unless the origination country mandates it.

---

This is what it should say

1) A minimum of 1000 dollars will be paid in cash if a person is IVDBed and as a result, ends up at their destination more than 4 hours after the originally scheduled flight.
2) UA will transport an IVDBed person on the first flight to the destination, at the IVDBed request, regardless of the cost to UA if there is space available on another carrier
3) UA shall provide hotel and meals for the IVDBed person during the time they are being delayed. Hotel and meal choices shall be at least of a quality provided to UA pilots under their contract.
4) UA shall pay, in addition to other compensation, any prior booked hotel and other pre-paid charges unusable by the IVDBed person as a proximate result of the cancellation.
5) These rules shall apply as a minimum on all UA operated OR managed flights OR flights where over 75% of the paid passengers are using United websites or reservations staff to purchase.
6) The specific metric to determine the IVDB selectee will be as follows:
a) The following people shall be usually be exempt: MP Elite passengers flying on purchased tickets, persons holding a seat who have been provided that flight in return for a prior VDB or IVDB, persons with a qualified disability, unaccompanied minors flying as such, and flight operations, maintenance personnel flying on positive space for direct flight operations reasons for UA flights.
b) The first selections shall be those flying on airline provided tickets under the employee flying benefits. Then those flying for purposes of UA non-flight operations business. Then non-elite passengers flying on miles. Then the passengers will be sorted by fare paid for travel between the origin and destination. If there is a tie, then the tie breakers will be (in order)...total time of travel, recovery time using UA metal, time of checkin, and time of purchase.
c) In the even that sufficient IVDB passengers are not available using the metrics above, the procedure should be as follows: 1) elites flying on non-revenue tickets, 2) then the criteria established in section b above by elite tier.
5) should say "These rules shall apply unconditionally to ANY passenger for whom the flight number on record in the itinerary begins with the prefix "UA", regardless of operating carrier, ANY flight operated under the United Airlines brand, regardless of metal, any flight operated on United Airlines aircraft, any itinerary sold or issued by United Airlines, and/or any affiliate or agent acting on its behalf, or in any itinerary where a contractual relationship with United Airlines can be reasonably construed to have occurred."

If you sign on a contractor to build you a house, and the contractor farms out the electrical work to a subcontractor, it doesn't relieve the contractor of that portion of the scope of work, or any liability associated with it. As far as you're concerned, you paid the contractor to do it and if the subcontractor messes up, you'll drag the contractor's ... through the coals because it's their job to vet their subcontractors. UA farming out flying to a JV partner or a regional airline is the same thing. The fact that it's operated by ANA or Lufthansa or Air Canada or Republic or even Asiana for that matter doesn't relieve UA of its obligations pursuant to the agreement between the passenger and United. United's still on the hook if one of their partners screws up.

Last edited by stupidhead; Apr 12, 17 at 11:00 pm
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Old Apr 12, 17, 10:58 pm
  #4520  
 
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
It really is not that simple. If it were as simple as indicated above, good luck finding a reputable prosecutor to go after this UA passenger for this incident at ORD. And better luck finding a jury willing to convict this UA passenger for this incident at UA.

The above post is parroting a line that is nothing but character assassination groundwork to blame the victim of this UA incident at ORD for what transpired.
The Supreme Court of public opinion has already ruled in the passenger's favor. But I bet you could find a reputable prosecutor in Russia, Syria or North Korea who would press charges.

And the repeating character assassination matter is why damages just keep rising into the millions. I may not like the doctor's past, but that has nothing to do with United's actions.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 11:01 pm
  #4521  
 
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Originally Posted by BF263533 View Post
The Supreme Court of public opinion has already ruled in the passenger's favor. But I bet you could find a reputable prosecutor in Russia, Syria or North Korea who would press charges.

And the repeating character assassination matter is why damages just keep rising into the millions.
Yep if I'm Dr Dao's lawyers, I've got a team searching social media for accounts linked to UA employees or their families trashing my client.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 11:04 pm
  #4522  
 
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
He remained a ticketed passenger even while and after being forcibly removed by the government enforcers acting as UA agents in this Sunday incident at ORD.

VDB isn't applicable unless and until the the terms of the VDB are voluntarily accepted in full by the person who was seeking to volunteer to be offloaded from the originally booked and ticketed flights.
I'm talking about the status of the record in the system. My bet is, he volunteered, the GA went and pulled him off the flight in the system, came back with his new itinerary, he didn't like it and changed his mind, and then, instead of trying to then put the passenger back on the flight in the system and then rebook someone else, the GA just made him one of the IDBs.

Originally Posted by desi View Post
I think you are confusing private property and public carrier with legally paid passage rights.
I think you are conflating an entity with it's property.

You are also assuming incorrectly that one is criminal for not obeying illegal instructions from LEO.
The property owner asked you to leave, and now we're asking you to leave, is a legal instruction.

Again, a ticket holder on public carrier is not same as being on someone's private property.

Anyway, I still think you are just trolling for fun.
For the purposes of, "Will you be removed by force if you are asked to leave and do not", yes, it is.

Do you really think if there was even iota of ground for UA to cling to, lawyers for UA would have allowed Munoz to accept liability so openly on public television?
Yes. It's not worth the bad PR to just not pay the guy.

Originally Posted by Summa Cum Laude Touro Law Center View Post
Raehl, I would urge you to consider the possibility that the the legality of the passenger's continued presence on the plane is a little more complicated than you appreciate. A license permitting a person to be present on another's property that is paired with valuable considerations generally (rather than generally, I should say in several jurissictions) is not terminable at will, assuming full compliance with the conditions of the license, unless the terms of license provide it is terminable at will.
I'm not saying it's always legal for someone to ask for someone to be removed from their property... but if they ask for someone to be removed from their property, and that person says no, and then they bring in law enforcement to remove them from the property, absent some extremely convincing evidence on the part of the person being asked to leave, law enforcement is going to ask that person to leave the property, and if that person does not leave, they will be removed by force.

If there is disagreement as to the legality of the request, that is figured out later.

To use the extreme case, if I ask the cops to remove that black guy from my restaurant, they are going to ask him to leave, and if he doesn't, they are going to force him to leave, and later he can sue my [edited per Rule 16]. But he doesn't get to hang around in the meantime while we figure out if my request is legal or not.

Originally Posted by TBonz View Post
Which is why I said "Almost nowhere else" because I'm aware that hotels do it.

I'm not buying the cheaper fares argument; I'd need to see hard proof (from a disinterested third-party source that evaluates statistics; not from an airline with a vested interest in keeping it).

Strictly from a passenger viewpoint, overbooking is horrible.
No it isn't. Overbooking is why you can miss your flight and fly standby on the next one. If airlines were flying empty seats everytime someone no-showed, they would absolutely be charging you for it.

Again, your personnel problems, airlines, should not be my problem as a customer. If I pay money for a service, I expect that service. In the case of an airline, the *only* exceptions to that rule would be: weather-related, health emergency of the captain/co-pilot, or mechanical issues.
Unfortunately, no airline sells the service you are talking about. The only service airlines sell is transportation from A to B, with a refund if they fail to deliver. You can WANT the service you purchase to be different, but it isn't.

If you pay for something and it hasn't been given to you yet (absent a specific contract to the contrary) the only thing the other party is obligated to do if they fail to give it to you is give your money back.

So no, you have never paid for the service of getting from point A to point B on a specific flight.

Last edited by Pat89339; Apr 12, 17 at 11:23 pm Reason: TOS 16
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Old Apr 12, 17, 11:04 pm
  #4523  
 
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Is UA going to claim that his boarding pass was never scanned for boarding the flight and that the system never marked him down as having boarded the flight? If so, I hope there are perjury/contempt of court charges directed at UA.
Even if that is true, how do you select a passenger who never boarded the flight to be deboarded?
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Old Apr 12, 17, 11:13 pm
  #4524  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Rule 25 refers to "boarding." For example:
"When UA is unable to provide previously confirmed space due to an Oversold flight, UA will provide transportation to such Passengers who have been denied boarding whether voluntarily or involuntarily in accordance with the provisions below."
UA CoC

If this were litigated, I would expect UA to argue that in industry usage, "boarding" is not complete until the flight and/or boarding door has closed, such that they can take away a seat up until that time. That has certainly been the airlines' consistent belief and approach.

But again, I think this is something of a red herring legally . . . you don't even get to arguing about "boarding" unless the flight was oversold, and UA has acknowledged it was not.
My interpretation is that we have the term boarding applied to individual passengers (Dao had boarded when his boarding pass was used by the GA at the scanner to indicate his presence on the flight, or when he entered the jetway, or when he entered the aircraft.....while having boarded, normally you're not supposed to then get off of the aircraft and certainly not without informing the GA) and to the entire collective process (boarding starts at T-30, boarding is complete/has finished, even FC has boarded full) by which passengers enter the aircraft for a flight.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 11:17 pm
  #4525  
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Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
He didn't do anything wrong, except what he did wrong.

He was asked to leave by the employees of the owner of the property he was on. He refused. That's wrong.

He was asked to leave by law enforcement personnel. He refused. That's wrong.

Law enforcement personnel warned him that if he did not leave willingly, they would drag him off the plane. He told them to drag him off the plane.

Law enforcement commenced dragging him off the plane.

The passenger was absolutely wrong.
It is in your view that the passenger is absolutely wrong BUT do you wonder why the best trial attorneys have been retained for this lawsuit. Do you wonder why another hundred more lawyers are ready, willing and able to take on this case. Do you think these attorneys are doing this because they have some spare time to start litigation against large company worth $30 billion and a very expensive legal team. Come on, errors were made, someone is going to pay to right this wrong, someone is going to pay ALOT of money in the form a punitive damages so they learn to NEVER do this again to anyone.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 11:19 pm
  #4526  
 
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Originally Posted by stupidhead View Post
Even if that is true, how do you select a passenger who never boarded the flight to be deboarded?
It doesn't matter.


People are claiming, "He was already on the plane, so it can't be an IDB!"
Or, "It was only flight crew, so the flight wasn't oversold!"

First, even if they are right, if it's not an IDB situation, then that just means instead of being due IDB compensation for not being allowed to fly the flight, he's due... NO compensation!

Remember, before IDB regs, which only apply in specific situations, if an airline decided they didn't have space for you to fly, you got... nothing! Later flight or refund, your choice.


Second, those people are wrong.

DoT could not possibly intend that an airline can avoid IDB compensation by letting the passenger board THEN throwing him off the flight, claiming, "We didn't deny him boarding, we just didn't let him fly!" If you are NOT on the plane when it departs, you were denied boarding, regardless of whether you were ever temporarily on the plane.

And, DoT could not possibly intend that an airline can avoid IDB compensation because passengers were IDB'd in preference for flight crew. So, for purposes of IDB, the flight was oversold.

Regardless, IDB doesn't say when an airline can and can't remove a passenger from a flight, it merely prescribes certain procedures and compensation of passengers are IDB'd under certain specific circumstances. That's it.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 11:19 pm
  #4527  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
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Just sent an email to Senator Al Franken thanking him for investigating this matter. Although I do not live in the state of Minnesota, I do believe in what he is doing. We deserve answers to the questions he is asking.

https://www.franken.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=3668
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Old Apr 12, 17, 11:22 pm
  #4528  
 
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Originally Posted by alanslegal View Post
It is in your view that the passenger is absolutely wrong BUT do you wonder why the best trial attorneys have been retained for this lawsuit. Do you wonder why another hundred more lawyers are ready, willing and able to take on this case. Do you think these attorneys are doing this because they have some spare time to start litigation against large company worth $30 billion and a very expensive legal team. Come on, errors were made, someone is going to pay to right this wrong, someone is going to pay ALOT of money in the form a punitive damages so they learn to NEVER do this again to anyone.
The someone in this case is almost certainly the taxpayers of the City of Chicago and United's liability insurance company. Based on the video, the taxpayers look to be the ones who will foot most of the bill since the hands that drew the blood where those of a City of Chicago employee. United might have some responsibility for the injury but I'd bet their liability is limited to that under the CoC. In a settlement UA may end up paying more since they have a lot more to lose if there is public litigation (since the City's reputation can get any worse).
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Old Apr 12, 17, 11:23 pm
  #4529  
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Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
To use the extreme case, if I ask the cops to remove that black guy from my restaurant, they are going to ask him to leave, and if he doesn't, they are going to force him to leave, and later he can sue my .... But he doesn't get to hang around in the meantime while we figure out if my request is legal or not.
Pretty racist example in my book. You can just say 'I ask the cops to remove that guy' and we get your example.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 11:24 pm
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Originally Posted by alanslegal View Post
It is in your view that the passenger is absolutely wrong BUT do you wonder why the best trial attorneys have been retained for this lawsuit. Do you wonder why another hundred more lawyers are ready, willing and able to take on this case. Do you think these attorneys are doing this because they have some spare time to start litigation against large company worth $30 billion and a very expensive legal team. Come on, errors were made, someone is going to pay to right this wrong, someone is going to pay ALOT of money in the form a punitive damages so they learn to NEVER do this again to anyone.
1) Because the force used after the passenger hit his head was not reasonable.
2) Because the public is furious, and there is no way in hell United is going to take this to trial, and attorneys get paid for big settlements.

Actual legal liability is not the only consideration in lawsuits.

The passenger was absolutely wrong. Being wrong isn't a zero-sum game, so other parties may have ALSO been wrong (and the security guys at least almost certainly were), but this incident would not have happened if the passenger had left the plane when asked, and United was absolutely in the right to ask the passenger to leave. Maybe not best business practice, but certainly the law says they can tell people they can't fly at the cost of 4x their one-way airfare, max $1,350.
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