Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

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}

    Hide Wikipost
Old Apr 13, 18, 1:33 pm   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
Wiki Link
WELCOME, THREAD GUIDELINES and SUMMARY PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING

If you are new to us, welcome to FlyerTalk! Who we are: FlyerTalk features discussions and chat boards that cover the most up-to-date traveler information; an interactive community dedicated to the topic of travel (not politics or arguments about politics or religion, etc. – those discussion are best in the OMNI forum)

The incident discussed in this thread has touched a nerve for many, and many posters are passionate about their opinions and concerns. However we should still have a civil and respectful discussion of this topic. This is because FlyerTalk is meant to be a friendly, helpful, and collegial community. (Rule 12.)

1. The normal FlyerTalk Rules apply. (Including not discussing moderation actions in thread). Please be particularly attentive to "discussing the idea and not the poster" when you have a disagreement. Civility and mutual respect are still expected and are what we owe each other as a community.

2. You are expected to respect the FlyerTalk community's diversity, and therefore refrain from posting inflammatory comments about race, religion, culture, politics, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. Do not cite, copy, or report on such.

3. While you can disagree with an opinion, the holder of that opinion has the same right to their opinion as you have to yours. We request all to respect that and disagree or discuss their point of views without getting overly personal and without attacking the other poster(s). This is expected as a requirement in FT Rule 12.

4. Overly exaggerative posts as well as posts with information that has been posted several times previously may be summarily deleted.

5. In addition, those who repeatedly fail to comply with FlyerTalk Rules, may be subjected to FlyerTalk disciplinary actions and, e.g., have membership privileges suspended, or masked from this forum.

If you have questions about the Rules or concerns about what another has posted in this or other threads in this forum, please do not post about that. Rather, notify the moderators by using the alert symbol within each post or email or send a private message to us moderators.

Let’s have this discussion in a way that, when we look back on it, we can be proud of how we handled ourselves as a community.

The United Moderator team:
J.Edward
l'etoile
Ocn Vw 1K
Pat89339
WineCountryUA

N.B. PLEASE do not alter the contents of this moderator note
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
Print Wikipost

Old Apr 14, 17, 2:37 pm
  #5596  
sw3
Used to be 'etrevino'
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: MTY
Programs: AA, BA, AM Plat, HH Silver, SPG Gold, Amex Plat
Posts: 134
Originally Posted by stranglerfig View Post
I am a doctor, head of department in my hospital; If I have to go back to my country for a specific day with patient consultations and important appointments awaiting me and while I am sitting on the seat of my plane, I would have, like Dr. D., certainly not appreciated that a member of the crew has priority, while there is no safety reason for the plane.
But it's not that a particular crew member had priority. The prioritization was hundreds of passengers tomorrow vs 4 passengers today, not 4 crew today vs 4 passengers today. By the way the hundreds of passengers tomorrow probably included more than one doctor who also had appointments, and firefighters and teachers and other people who had things to do that could be described as "important" or that impacted on the well-being of others.

It's like the triage you doctors do all the time, because you know that a patient coming from a car crash with internal injuries and broken bones is more important than somebody with a headache, and you will cancel, delay or interrupt the appointment for the headache patient if human or material resource limitations require so. You won't say that the headache patient has to be served first because he is already there, or he has already entered the consultation room, or he has already paid, or he is already seated.

Also, it wasn't a long or overwater flight with no feasible alternatives. Perhaps UA employees weren't ready with information to assist passengers on alternative transportation, if so that would definitely be an aspect to improve. VDB/IDB offers could include something like "we'll take you to the train station and put you on the 12:30 train" or "we'll put you in a van after you get out of the plane" from the start.
sw3 is offline  
Old Apr 14, 17, 2:42 pm
  #5597  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Nawthun Virginia
Programs: Air: UA (Gold), AA, WN, DL; Hotel: Hilton (Diamond), plus all the rest
Posts: 135
Originally Posted by gold23 View Post
It's absolutely not Dao's fault. It is partially the media's fault for fanning all flames, not just those that need to be fanned.

Positive change will come from this, along with some unintended baggage that we'll all likely need to deal with in the form of overly empowered passengers. FA will be put in a really difficult spot....

On the flip side, I do hope this reigns in GA. There's very rarely a safety issue in their roles, and I would say the horrible attitudes and inflexible rulings from GA outnumber bad FA something like 15-1.
I'm in full agreement there, too.
Rdenney is offline  
Old Apr 14, 17, 2:47 pm
  #5598  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Cleveland, OH
Programs: UA-GS 1MM), Hertz Pres Circle, Starriott Titanium)
Posts: 1,645
Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
That was the question - whether there's an internally set one and what it is. Someone must know.

Regulatory mandate on IDB caps at $1,350 cash (not voucher), but they could always go higher.
The regulated cap of what the customer is entitled to may be $1,350, however the regulation does NOT state the airline can't go higher than that if they choose.
LordHamster is offline  
Old Apr 14, 17, 2:48 pm
  #5599  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; AS MVPG75K; Marriott Titanium; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Refugeeist
Posts: 41,378
Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
Up to a max of $1,350 sounds like a cap of $1,350 to me, but YMMV
Calling it a "cap" doesn't mean anything without reference to the calculation methodology. You could raise the "cap" to $1 million, and so long as the calculation methodology is 4x the fare paid, it wouldn't change airline practices one bit.

I think many in this thread believe that IDB=$1350, and we just need to raise that number. That's not the case. What is needed is to install a floor.
Kacee is offline  
Old Apr 14, 17, 2:49 pm
  #5600  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Nawthun Virginia
Programs: Air: UA (Gold), AA, WN, DL; Hotel: Hilton (Diamond), plus all the rest
Posts: 135
Originally Posted by dmaneyapanda View Post
Indeed. And how many of them were after ~5pm, the approximate time when Ops decided/realized that these 4 pilots needed to get to Louisville?

Three. The one they were put on, the later one on UA that was (also) at full capacity, and an AA flight, about which I don't have any further info. Possibly it was full too. Either way, it's unlikely that UA would have considered paying walk-up fares to fly the pilots on the AA flight rather than fly them on their own fleet at the expense of 4 DB comps.

Yes, yes, it's going to cost them a lot more now, etc etc, we all understand. They didn't know that at the time, and they left their crystal balls at home. It is debatable whether they should have known or suspected it at the time, though to me it is reasonable that they didn't, given that there are 500k VDBs and 40k IDBs every year and in the past several years I don't remember hearing anything about any issue like this.
Had they waited for the later UA flight, they could have handled the IDB before boarding. But people would still have been screwed, and granted that flight might have been too late for rest rules. None of that excuses how they handled it. Do we know what flight the prize crew was needed for?
Rdenney is offline  
Old Apr 14, 17, 2:53 pm
  #5601  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Posts: 432
Originally Posted by Carl Johnson View Post
How do we know the "drunk with power" portion of the analysis? I initally assumed that the gate staff were flustered, hit the limit of their VDB authority, and then didn't know what else to do other than what they did. I've seen a couple references to them being "drunk with power," and figure that's based on greater knowledge than I have, but I haven't read back up the thread to know what the gate staff did or said to let us know that.
Because the gate agent was quoted by other passengers as saying "nobody is going anywhere until four people get off this plane" in a way that was described as "brusque" and "rubbed people the wrong way." Then when someone offered to get off for $1600 she "laughed in his face."
robinhood is offline  
Old Apr 14, 17, 2:55 pm
  #5602  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SFO/SJC
Programs: UA 1K (1MM), Hyatt Discoverist(?), Marriott/SPG Gold
Posts: 124
Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
The DL announcement puts real pressure on UA.
Really? Why aren't people criticizing DL for only doing this policy change now?
bigboy is offline  
Old Apr 14, 17, 2:55 pm
  #5603  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: NY Metro Area
Programs: AA 2MM Yay!, UA MM, Costco General Member
Posts: 42,002
Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
Certainly not everyone.

There's no VDB limit? I find it odd that they'd give GAs (or their managers) unlimited authority. I'm not doubting you; I don't have any idea about the actual policy.
I'm sorry, I was unclear. I have no idea about UA's corporate policy. I was referring to the fact that some people seemed to be saying there was an FAA limit.
GadgetFreak is offline  
Old Apr 14, 17, 2:55 pm
  #5604  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: New York
Programs: Bonvoy Lifetime Titanium, UA Plat 2MM, LHW Leaders Club, IHG Plat, Hilton Diamond, AS MVP Gold 75K
Posts: 1,095
Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
There is no regulatory limit to VDB. The regulations only cover IDB.

In United's poisonous culture, who knows if there's an internally-set one.
There is no regulatory limit to what an airline can pay for IDB. It is only the maximum they are required to pay.

From the DOT website: "However, if you are bumped involuntarily you have the right to insist on a check if that is your preference. Once you cash the check (or accept the free flight), you will probably lose the ability to pursue more money from the airline later on. However, if being bumped costs you more money than the airline will pay you at the airport, you can try to negotiate a higher settlement with their complaint department. If this doesn't work, you usually have 30 days from the date on the check to decide if you want to accept the amount of the check. You are always free to decline the check (e.g., not cash it) and take the airline to court to try to obtain more compensation. DOT's denied boarding regulation spells out the airlines' minimum obligation to people they bump involuntarily."

Last edited by Nevsky; Apr 14, 17 at 3:02 pm
Nevsky is offline  
Old Apr 14, 17, 2:56 pm
  #5605  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Nawthun Virginia
Programs: Air: UA (Gold), AA, WN, DL; Hotel: Hilton (Diamond), plus all the rest
Posts: 135
Originally Posted by bigboy View Post
It takes years for a Fortune 500 company to change its culture. This predates Oscar by decades.



No. Core issue is that they needed to get crew to SDF for a flight. If that wasn't an issue, the VDB/IDB issue would have never happened. They would have just canceled the flight they were going to work. It's four vs. potentially dozens of passengers.

As discussed, GA's hands were probably tied by a corporate policy that seemed reasonable when it was designed. $800, regardless of whether you consider it funny money or not, doesn't seem unreasonable in a vacuum. How much are one-way fares between ORD and SDF?

It's always easy to monday-morning-quarterback policies when extreme events occur. I agree that the GA probably shouldn't have called law enforcement, but really, it's easy to sit in front of a browser to criticize if you've never had to craft or manage these kinds of policies. Especially if you're predisposed to being angered by United.
It's in edge cases like this where a company's instincts are most on display.

But let's face it: United's good-will account was already bankrupt. They had none left to lean on.
Rdenney is offline  
Old Apr 14, 17, 2:59 pm
  #5606  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: NY Metro Area
Programs: AA 2MM Yay!, UA MM, Costco General Member
Posts: 42,002
Originally Posted by bigboy View Post
It takes years for a Fortune 500 company to change its culture. This predates Oscar by decades.



No. Core issue is that they needed to get crew to SDF for a flight. If that wasn't an issue, the VDB/IDB issue would have never happened. They would have just canceled the flight they were going to work. It's four vs. potentially dozens of passengers.

As discussed, GA's hands were probably tied by a corporate policy that seemed reasonable when it was designed. $800, regardless of whether you consider it funny money or not, doesn't seem unreasonable in a vacuum. How much are one-way fares between ORD and SDF?

It's always easy to monday-morning-quarterback policies when extreme events occur. I agree that the GA probably shouldn't have called law enforcement, but really, it's easy to sit in front of a browser to criticize if you've never had to craft or manage these kinds of policies. Especially if you're predisposed to being angered by United.
The "core issue" is that they decided to inconvenience a passenger rather than paying a little more for a volunteer. Prices aren't set in a vacuum. They're set in a market and in this market, $800 wasn't enough but $1600 was.
GadgetFreak is offline  
Old Apr 14, 17, 2:59 pm
  #5607  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Nawthun Virginia
Programs: Air: UA (Gold), AA, WN, DL; Hotel: Hilton (Diamond), plus all the rest
Posts: 135
Originally Posted by Carl Johnson View Post
How do we know the "drunk with power" portion of the analysis? I initally assumed that the gate staff were flustered, hit the limit of their VDB authority, and then didn't know what else to do other than what they did. I've seen a couple references to them being "drunk with power," and figure that's based on greater knowledge than I have, but I haven't read back up the thread to know what the gate staff did or said to let us know that.
Eyewitness reports used the phrase "brusque and demanding". A little humility might have undermined the "drunk with power" claim.
Rdenney is offline  
Old Apr 14, 17, 3:01 pm
  #5608  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: SFO
Programs: BART Platinum, AS MVPG 75K
Posts: 947
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Actually, it's 4x the fare, up to a max of $1350. On a cheap fare, the airline can IDB for very very cheap.

They should change it to (something like) the lesser of 4x the fare or $2000.
Wait, do you mean greater of 4x the fare or $2k? Lesser would just reproduce many of the current problems.

I think most of us have seen UA assign shockingly low (tens of dollars) PQD values to specific segments on a RT flight with connections. It's frightening to think that UA might be able to IDB you for an indefinite period and only owe you <$100 as compensation.

Edit: Given Nevsky's post, it sounds like the best bet in that situation is to not cash the check and retain the right to pursue them for more.
milypan is offline  
Old Apr 14, 17, 3:02 pm
  #5609  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: PARIS France
Programs: UA 1K 1,5MM
Posts: 25
Originally Posted by sw3 View Post
But it's not that a particular crew member had priority. The prioritization was hundreds of passengers tomorrow vs 4 passengers today, not 4 crew today vs 4 passengers today. By the way the hundreds of passengers tomorrow probably included more than one doctor who also had appointments, and firefighters and teachers and other people who had things to do that could be described as "important" or that impacted on the well-being of others.

It's like the triage you doctors do all the time, because you know that a patient coming from a car crash with internal injuries and broken bones is more important than somebody with a headache, and you will cancel, delay or interrupt the appointment for the headache patient if human or material resource limitations require so. You won't say that the headache patient has to be served first because he is already there, or he has already entered the consultation room, or he has already paid, or he is already seated.

Also, it wasn't a long or overwater flight with no feasible alternatives. Perhaps UA employees weren't ready with information to assist passengers on alternative transportation, if so that would definitely be an aspect to improve. VDB/IDB offers could include something like "we'll take you to the train station and put you on the 12:30 train" or "we'll put you in a van after you get out of the plane" from the start.

Very funny
United manages his crew at the last minute ??

Very reassuring! Very cautious, very predictable company.....
What you say is very disturbing! Terrible, the worst is that you excuse everything (when it comes first to money)
stranglerfig is offline  
Old Apr 14, 17, 3:03 pm
  #5610  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K 1MM; AS MVPG75K; Marriott Titanium; Hilton Diamond (Aspire); Hyatt Refugeeist
Posts: 41,378
Originally Posted by milypan View Post
Wait, do you mean greater of 4x the fare or $2k? Lesser would just reproduce many of the current problems.
Yes, greater of, thanks, need to ramp up caffeine intake.
Kacee is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread