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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 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, 8:01 pm
  #5251  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 302
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Then UA violated the law, or at least DOT regulations which require that IDB compensation be paid in money, not UA vouchers and a hotel room.
Originally Posted by DrunkCargo View Post
Are FAMs "police"
Yes, Federal Air Marshals are credentialed Federal Law Enforcement personnel.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 8:09 pm
  #5252  
 
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Originally Posted by GadgetFreak View Post
I'm a little bit unsure how canceling the entire flight would have gotten their crew to Louisville. They apparently had an offer for $1600 and turned it down. This was an overnight delay possibly.
In this case they wouldn't cancel the ORD-SDF flight because that would mess up two planeloads. Instead they would have incentive to cancel or delay just the flight leaving SDF that the crew were headed to the next day. If crew is not involved, the incentive to cancel the flight in question is raised. Very high DB requirements aren't the answer. I can see higher IDB rates, but excessive DB limits will be detrimental to customers in the form of more delayed/cancelled flights and less overbooking/higher fares to avoid the situation altogether.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 8:09 pm
  #5253  
 
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Originally Posted by JW76 View Post
Here's the funny thing... whoever was booting people off the flight was clearly not thinking straight. They had gotten 75% success rate "forcing" people to leave the flight when Dr. Dao balked ... So, statistically speaking, had they asked (at most) 2 other people to leave involuntarily, they would have almost surely succeeded in getting their 4 empty seats, conflict free.

Why "authorities" are not trained in pragmatic conflict avoidance strategies, I will never understand...
But . . . . if you ask a person to leave the plane and he refuses, you then allow him to fly? I think that's quite a security risk, because he has just shown that he believes that his authority over the flight is superior to that of the flight crew. I would not want to fly on a plane with someone who will not obey crew commands. Many people will now say that the incident was handled incorrectly, etc. Granted. But once he has shown that he won't obey crew commands he must deplane.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 8:10 pm
  #5254  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: San Antonio, TX
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April 13, 2017
Involuntary denied boarding: What you
need to know
We are deeply sorry about what happened on United Express flight UA3411 and are committed to treating all of our customers with dignity and respect. We take full responsibility and will work to make it right by reviewing our policies to ensure this never happens again.

In light of the events of UA3411 and ensuing conversations, we want to make sure our customers are aware of some key facts about involuntary denied boarding.

Involuntary denied boarding is uncommon
In 2016 United involuntarily denied boarding to 4.3 out of every 100,000 passengers*. This was the second fewest amongst the global U.S. airlines and better than the industry average of 6.2 per 100,000 passengers. It also represents a 44 percent decrease over our 2015 rate.

Involuntary denied boarding is even rarer for clients managed through our Sales team. In the very unlikely event a customer traveling on a corporate contracted fare is involuntarily denied boarding, United Sales will work with the corporate account to provide additional compensation in the form of United Services Funds beyond what they are owed under the involuntary denied boarding rules.
*Full-year 2016 U.S. Department of Transportation reports.

Selection for involuntary denied boarding is not random
We follow the applicable U.S. government rules which are incorporated into United’s procedures. We currently include a variety of factors in deciding who is selected for involuntary denied boarding, generally in tie-breaker format in this order:
MileagePlus Premier status
Fare paid
Check-in time
Connection implications

We are reviewing these factors, and will be doing all possible to ensure our corporate customers are not inconvenienced during oversale situations.
Government regulations are in place for involuntary denied boarding and compensation
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) does have mandates in place for the handling of denied boarding situations. When an oversale occurs, the DOT requires airlines to ask for volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for compensation. Should not enough people volunteer, some passengers may be denied boarding. Those passengers denied boarding against their will are, with few exceptions, entitled to compensation. Learn more here. Additional local regulations apply, including those of the European Commission.

We are committed to never forcibly removing a customer from an airplane except when required for a safety or security concern
While our review continues, and you’ll see more information by April 30, we are committing that United will not ask law enforcement officers to remove passengers from our flights unless it is a matter of safety and security.

Change is coming
United CEO Oscar Munoz has committed to customers and employees that we are going to make this right. We’ve started a thorough review of policies that govern crew movement, incentives provided to passengers who volunteer in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement.We will fully review and improve our training programs to ensure our employees are prepared and empowered to put our customers first. Our values will guide everything we do.

[]
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United Airlines - Sales | 233 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606
Update Profile | About our service provider
Sent by [email protected]
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Old Apr 13, 17, 8:11 pm
  #5255  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Frankly I don't really believe that switching to a VDB-only (or mostly) system will lead to more cancellations. Everyone has their price. On a Sunday night with work the next day I'm not taking a bump for $800. But I have VDB'd multiple times for $300 when they could reaccomodate me 3 hours later. It's not like next time everyone is going to hold out for an insane amount. Sure, for some flights it may be harder to get volunteers than others, but that's life isn't it?
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Old Apr 13, 17, 8:14 pm
  #5256  
 
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Originally Posted by ChaseTheMiles View Post
I don't know if this point has been made yet, but that lady that kept saying "OMG what are you doing to him" is a real heroine. Her voice came out loud and clear on the video. She said what people were thinking but didn't say.
Exactly. If I were UA, I would make sure to make her an offer she cannot refuse and sign a waiver yesterday. You do not want her on the witness stand, if UA can even do that.

Last edited by 1KChinito; Apr 13, 17 at 8:27 pm
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Old Apr 13, 17, 8:16 pm
  #5257  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Originally Posted by hookthem View Post
Selection for involuntary denied boarding is not random
We follow the applicable U.S. government rules which are incorporated into United’s procedures. We currently include a variety of factors in deciding who is selected for involuntary denied boarding, generally in tie-breaker format in this order:
MileagePlus Premier status
Fare paid
Check-in time
Connection implications
How about star alliance status, don't they consider this at all?
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Old Apr 13, 17, 8:18 pm
  #5258  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Originally Posted by desi View Post
Doesnt even require thinking much out of the box.

Just change the regulations so that IDB are extremely painful (10 times total fare)

Then there is plenty of room on VDB to get willing volunteers (not dragged ones)
The same thought occurred to me - IDB compensation is way too cheap. It devalues VDB and makes the carriers lazy to do their job and get volunteers.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 8:19 pm
  #5259  
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Originally Posted by DrunkCargo View Post
Are FAMs "police"

Federal Air Marshals are indeed federal law enforcement officers. They earn 25% pay bonus for law enforcement officer availability pay.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 8:19 pm
  #5260  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
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Originally Posted by hookthem View Post
April 13, 2017

We are reviewing these factors, and will be doing all possible to ensure our corporate customers are not inconvenienced during oversale situations.

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Average joes on the other hand, prepare to be re-accomodated!
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Old Apr 13, 17, 8:19 pm
  #5261  
 
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Originally Posted by no1cub17 View Post
Frankly I don't really believe that switching to a VDB-only (or mostly) system will lead to more cancellations. Everyone has their price. On a Sunday night with work the next day I'm not taking a bump for $800. But I have VDB'd multiple times for $300 when they could reaccomodate me 3 hours later. It's not like next time everyone is going to hold out for an insane amount. Sure, for some flights it may be harder to get volunteers than others, but that's life isn't it?
You forget the time element. Getting the flight out as quickly as possible is one of the main priorities of ground staff (and really of all the pax who aren't denied boarding too).

Bartering with pax for the 'VDB sweet spot' as some sort of game show isn't gonna make a lot of people happy if their flight is delayed. And one should remember the effect it has down system. How many times have you been delayed because 'we're waiting for the plane/crew to get here' and how p-ed off were you? Yeah..
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Old Apr 13, 17, 8:21 pm
  #5262  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Originally Posted by nk15 View Post
How about star alliance status, don't they consider this at all?
Probably, even though it isn't officially/explicitly mentioned in the email.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 8:21 pm
  #5263  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
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Originally Posted by raehl311 View Post
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.
Good luck with that (flying standby). Planes are packed to the gills. It's just greed. They want to maximize profit by having every single seat filled and so they do this to ensure that. If some passengers are inconvenienced, well sucks to be them.

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.
Actually, if I'm not bumped - they do. I've been on flights where they asked for volunteers and when they offered enough, people took it. I've been on a flight where my connecting flight was canceled and I had to be rerouted at great inconvenience to me (extra flights, into a nearby city instead of my home city, and I had an 18-month-old toddler with me) and while I wasn't thrilled, I knew it wasn't their fault and crap happens. Bumping people out of greed IS their fault.

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.
Yeah, I have. If you want to split words, then split words. But I assure you, as a casual occasional (once or twice a year max) flier, that is precisely what I'm paying for and what I usually get.

The airline's desire to make maximum profit at the expense of hapless customers and/or their personnel issues should *never* be my problem. Ever. Any more than my bad mood or busy schedule or my own personal issues should ever be their problem. I buy their service; they provide it. Not rocket science here.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 8:24 pm
  #5264  
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Originally Posted by minnyfly View Post
In this case they wouldn't cancel the ORD-SDF flight because that would mess up two planeloads. Instead they would have incentive to cancel or delay just the flight leaving SDF that the crew were headed to the next day. If crew is not involved, the incentive to cancel the flight in question is raised. Very high DB requirements aren't the answer. I can see higher IDB rates, but excessive DB limits will be detrimental to customers in the form of more delayed/cancelled flights and less overbooking/higher fares to avoid the situation altogether.
They don't need to be "excessive". They needed to up it like $800 more here. That's not excessive. If I am flying somewhere to consult, and I get $500-$1000 per hour and I'll miss the whole thing, say 4 hours at $750 per hour, it's $1350 for an IDB that's excessively low if I'm randomly picked. But you can't expect UA staff to deal with stuff like that. You have to make present offers to customers so they can make their own decisions to take a VDB.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 8:27 pm
  #5265  
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Originally Posted by no1cub17 View Post
Frankly I don't really believe that switching to a VDB-only (or mostly) system will lead to more cancellations. Everyone has their price. On a Sunday night with work the next day I'm not taking a bump for $800. But I have VDB'd multiple times for $300 when they could reaccomodate me 3 hours later. It's not like next time everyone is going to hold out for an insane amount. Sure, for some flights it may be harder to get volunteers than others, but that's life isn't it?
Precisely.
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