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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


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.


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.


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
United Airlines
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 13, 17, 12:09 pm
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Originally Posted by Rdenney View Post
The fact is that the LEO's did not arrest Dao, charge him with anything, or read him his rights. That they were unwilling to do so demonstrates that they had no standing to apply force. This is going to be a big issue for them, I predict.
+1! This is the basis for the widespread viewpoint is that a supposed "police" agency ended up acting as nothing better than hired goons for United.
Wexflyer is offline  
Old Apr 13, 17, 12:09 pm
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Originally Posted by worldtrav View Post
Wrong, he was taken away by ambulance to the hospital.
That was later. He was obviously not under the care of EMS when he wandered back onto the plane ten minutes after being dragged out of it.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 12:10 pm
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Originally Posted by tcp1 View Post
The fact that even frequent fliers haven't heard word one from United on a culture shift is disturbing, and feels like they're still not seeing their problems as endemic and based in an adversarial customer culture.
Now a lawsuit has been filed, they are afraid to say anything. Everything they say may be held against them .
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Old Apr 13, 17, 12:11 pm
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Originally Posted by worldtrav View Post
All gate agents at ORD are United Airlines employees irrespective of it being a mainline or Express aircraft.
Is that true? I've seen gate agents at UAX gates that did not seem to me like regular United employees. But that was a long time ago. And come to think of it, it might have been an American regional carrier, not UAX. Usually, when I connect through Chicago, it's on the mainline.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 12:12 pm
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Originally Posted by swampcritter View Post
Sort of reminds me of all the old train problems. A train is approaching a switch, out of control. In one direction, a baby is on the track. In the other, 3 old people are on the track. The engineer controls the switch, which way is more moral?

In this case, United had two choices. They could cancel multiple flights the next day -- no crew for the first flight, no equipment for the second, etc, or they could remove 4 pax from a full flight. Yes, I've heard people think otherwise. For every "why don't they do X?" I simply ask "What can't the 4 pax do X?"

The GA and the others face penalties if the airline does not run smoothly. Cancelling a flight would not only inconvenience hundreds, but a crew is also not paid. If too many flights leave late, the FAA fines the airline. There may even be employee bonuses and rewards for on time performance.

There are many good ideas in this thread. More compensation. Better explanation of policies. More polite behavior from the supervisor. Yes! All this will help! But it will not solve the problem because there will always be a situation -- a cancelled flight here, a mechanical issue there, a problem with ATC, that will cause some flights to have more people wanting to be on them then there are seats available. Every case discussed involves full cooperation from everyone involved.

I keep thinking, what if I were booked on the flight the next morning, and I learned it had been cancelled because of a single person not following instructions. What would I think? Would I be a happy customer? Or would I think, why can one person keep me from flying?

The airline should have been as nice as nice could be, offered more compensation, explained to everyone how anyone not a volunteer would get cash and would get to their destination as soon as possible. But this was a Sunday, and people needed to get to work the next day. They were already in seats. Its time to go.

When the person offered to leave for a $1600 voucher, that could have triggered more negotiation. Had it been me, I would have tried to get three other people to agree to the sum. Airlines shouldn't fear writing vouchers because most of the time, they are not used.

I still hearken back to the previous point though. If you must choose someone and they say no, what other choice exists?

That is the situation the train faces. Hundreds, maybe a thousand, on one track. 4 on the other. What is the moral choice?
There was not only 2 choices here, and UA's Munoz have admitted as much. The passenger was in no way wrong to stand his ground, and UA had other alternatives to solve their operational problems, but chose the path that led to the passenger's damages, for which UA will dearly pay for.

This is just like Trump saying either us or the muslims, or Bush Jr saying either invade Afghanistan and Iraq or you're a traitor, or Hitler saying either the Jews or the Aryans. They are all presenting false dichotomies, much like what you did here.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 12:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Wexflyer View Post
We all know the answer. He refused to yield his contracted for seat for United's convenience.
to that point, I had read someone initially as communicated by United, that the passenger in Question HAD AGREED to accept the 800$ (or UA says it was actually 1000$), and when they informed him that the route would have to travel via LAX, and not get him to Louisville till late in the AM the following day, he decided to exit that agreement.. and retook his seat, or failed to exit his seat.

Any further discussion of this point?
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Old Apr 13, 17, 12:13 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post

"Never say never."
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Old Apr 13, 17, 12:13 pm
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Originally Posted by 1KChinito View Post
I would also hope so for everyone's sake. However, it is a personal decision. He may have a skeleton in the closet he does not want the public to know.
Oh, they've already completely annihilated his character with the salacious details about his affair on his wife with his male coworker and the fact that he was busted in a hotel room with the guy, and how that ended up in multiple felony counts being successfully brought against him and him losing his medical license until two years ago...

Don't see what other skeletons could be present ... or "worse" ... at this point. Hope he gets $$$$ for that, too...
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Old Apr 13, 17, 12:14 pm
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Forgive me since I haven't read the entire thread. Venting...

What drives me a little crazy including some of the pilot's wife defense comments (positive space? Then why were customers already seated in allocated positive space for crew?), I thought airlines take care of these issues BEFORE boarding.

Then, if we passengers panic, we can pace, get a glass of water, call someone, express frustration, we can do it in the gate area and no need for the airlines to forcibly do anything to anyone. I don't think panic is all that odd a reaction and whether it's a funeral or perhaps an life threatened patient we need to tend to in the morning, a little humanity would go a long way.

Humanity is lacking in much of UA (can't speak to other carriers) and not just here. They just got caught.

I love UA, I'm a former employee. I hope they use this to start being the best in the business on treatment of (supposedly) their reason for being: passengers.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 12:15 pm
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Originally Posted by Boxsterguy View Post
The question of the hour, in United Airlines defense is, were the gate agents handling United 3411 on April 9, 2017 (Operated by Republic Airlines) employees of "United" or "Republic"? The traveling public has been duped into thinking that a "United Express" flight is operated by "United" employees. This is not the case. The pilots, flight attendants and in most cases the gate agents DO NOT WORK FOR, OR ARE THEY TRAINED in the same manner as "United" employees. It is in most cases not the same experience on "Express" as on "United".

To me, it's interesting that United hasn't already tried this route yet. The public branding perception that these smaller regional carriers are part of the larger "United" brand and not their own company must be worth a fortune to United. But, just as BP wasn't the one operating the Deepwater Horizon in the gulf oil spill, the largest company involved is the one with the target - period.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 12:16 pm
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Originally Posted by james dean View Post
Im not sure if the Captain has total control until the cabin door is closed & push-back commenced. Up until then it's shared control with the GA & Flight Operations...in any event UA will have to pony up the $$ not the employee's.
AFAIK the pilot in charge has final authority even when the plane is parked at the gate with the door open to determine whether a passenger will be removed from the flight for safety reasons (drunk, refusing to sit down and fasten seat belt, etc.) In practice there is likely to be a discussion with FAs/Purser, GA, ground staff managers, etc.

ADDED: The GA is responsible for handling issues of seating, upgrades, etc.

Last edited by MSPeconomist; Apr 13, 17 at 1:59 pm
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Old Apr 13, 17, 12:16 pm
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Originally Posted by nmenaker View Post
to that point, I had read someone initially as communicated by United, that the passenger in Question HAD AGREED to accept the 800$ (or UA says it was actually 1000$), and when they informed him that the route would have to travel via LAX, and not get him to Louisville till late in the AM the following day, he decided to exit that agreement.. and retook his seat, or failed to exit his seat.

Any further discussion of this point?
Yes. It sounds like he was willing to take their offer but learned the next flight was 22hours later. So he declined. I'm not sure what else there is to discuss.

If he did exit the plane, which it sure doesn't look like he did, they had to have let him back on and "board."

If anyone is referencing the video of him running on the plane frantically and thinks that's why the police were called (I've seen this written in other comments) you'll notice the blood pouring from his face, after the police attacked him.

So, it doesn't seem there is much to discuss with that matte.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Rdenney View Post
The fact is that the LEO's did not arrest Dao, charge him with anything, or read him his rights. That they were unwilling to do so demonstrates that they had no standing to apply force.
There is no obligation for the police to read someone their rights prior to talking with them - if there was, every police interaction, field interview or vehicle stop would be accompanied by them. They're not going to stand in the airplane aisle to read him his rights.

The bigger issue in play is how you can use brute force to remove someone, cause severe injury, and deem that it's not an arrest. Still waiting for the police report to make an appearance to explain that. It's the elephant in the corner of the room that keeps making an appearance.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by FiveMileFinal View Post
Don't see what other skeletons could be present ... or "worse" ... at this point. Hope he gets $$$$ for that, too...
I am sure that one issue the victim's lawyers will be particularly interested in, and will actively pursue during discovery, is whether United or the Chicago Airport Police had any hand in this....
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Old Apr 13, 17, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by LordHamster View Post
If the GA's false report was at the core of Oscar's PR debacle, I can assure you it was a career-limiting move.
His PR debacle continues even after it's noticeable that the GA's report is an example of GA CYA built upon questionable claims.
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