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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 15, 17, 12:42 pm
  #5806  
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Originally Posted by STS-134 View Post
The mistake wasn't in inconveniencing four passengers. The mistake was in which four they chose to remove. As I've said many times, they should take bids from everyone on the plane for the minimum amount of money they'd be willing to get off the plane for. This is how free markets figure out who stays and who goes. Take the lowest four bids and you'll probably have people who are retired, have flexible schedules, have an extra day at their destination before they have any obligations, etc. And they'll be happy with the extra money and will get off the plane on their own two feet, without viral videos and social media PR disasters.

Hell, even if I've got a vacation and and reservations at a restaurant it's really hard to get reservations at on the first night, I'd probably be willing to get off the plane for $5000. And I'd go willingly, knowing that the $5000 would pay for all of the hotels I'm staying at for 1-2 weeks.
{M}ost people (maybe not you) would care whether, when they got off, they would need to wait 1 hour or 1 day or 3 days, for example. So, while VDB is the thing that will be fixed, it isn't likely to be a bidding app.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 16, 17 at 1:55 am Reason: Discuss the issues, not the poster(s)
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Old Apr 15, 17, 12:43 pm
  #5807  
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Link please?
Here you go: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs...=.289a48fb2518
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Old Apr 15, 17, 12:52 pm
  #5808  
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
You're confirming what I stated in the post of mine which you quoted. At ORD, witnesses noted that he initially volunteered to be bumped but then declined the VDB arrangements once he was informed that it would mean not taking any flights until the middle of the next day. In other words he was looking for a VDB payout from the beginning but turned down VDB once he found out how lousy the airline was going to be about it. And given VDB meant a Sunday night stay at ORD with way many cots put out for cancellation-hit passengers, who knows how bad the hotel arrangements would be.
I'm making a distinction between looking for a VDB payout from the beginning and being willing to consider taking a VDB when the GA requested volunteers. They're not equivalent. "Looking for.....from the beginning" suggests actively searching for VDB opportunities, initiating a discussion about volunteering before out was known that volunteers would be needed, or attempting to game the system. It's much more specific and suggests intent and purpose in a way that just being willing to enter into a discussion about possibly volunteering does not.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 16, 17 at 1:58 am Reason: repaired quote
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Old Apr 15, 17, 1:03 pm
  #5809  
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I'm starting to think that a big part of the problem is that IDBs are regulated. When the government mandates what the airline must pay as compensation, they're going to be unwilling to pay more, at least if they're shortsighted and don't look at the bigger picture of the good will that can be gained by trying hard to do a VDB instead. In fact, even if the VDB would cost the same or less on average, given the breakage rate of vouchers denominated in UA$s, GAs can have a tendency to choose to do IDBs because they're perceived to be faster, even though the airline might prefer VDBs at approximately the same cost in order to make their IDB statistics look better.

If there were no regulation regarding IDBs beyond just the rule that they're not permitted, airlines would be forced to do VDBs at the market price, whatever they can negotiate in order to convince the necessary number of passengers to accept the VDB offer.
DL's newly announced VDB policy (up to $9,950 in vouchers with supervisor approval) shows that at least one airline is not "unwilling to pay more".

UA and other airlines are free to come up with better policies than the listed IDB rates. To the extent they don't, the problem is the airlines, not the government.

Forbidding IDBs would work, but I'd bet the airlines would very strongly resist that regulation (and there may well be some weird scenarios in which they would be necessary). It's a bit odd for you to start by writing "a big part of the problem is that IDBs are regulated" and then appear to suggest regulation forbidding them, unless your initial issue was how they are regulated rather than that they are regulated.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 1:03 pm
  #5810  
 
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Originally Posted by PaulInTheSky View Post
Hate to say that 'I told you so', but that's one of my recommendations for UA's change of crew scheduling and booking policy. A good direction by UA to try to fix the issue.

Not directed at PaulInTheSky, but at United's so called change in policy--the new policy doesn't change much in my opinion.

It still permits United to remove passengers as long as the crew checks in 60 mins in advance. But who's to really know when the flight crew checks in 58 or 55 mins in advance except for UA staff? Passengers (non UA pax) certainly won't be able to verify this.

I am most disappointed by CEO Mr Munoz. It wasn't that long ago he had a heart attack, and many on FT were rallying around his recovery and wishing him well.

But despite a near death experience, Mr Munoz apparently learned nothing and has exhibited no change of heart. I was hoping he would have been more empathetic given his potential life ending experience.

I for one, hope that foreign airlines will finally be allowed to fly point to point within the US and inject some needed competition into the cabal of remaining US carriers.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 1:12 pm
  #5811  
 
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Originally Posted by STS-134 View Post
If a law enforcement officer tells you to strip naked and dance in the street or else you'll be arrested, you'd comply? What if a LEO tells you (and all of the other <insert race here> people in a restaurant) that you all need to leave the restaurant, because the owner has ordered all <insert race here> people out of the restaurant? There are lawful orders and unlawful orders and you do not have to comply with unlawful orders.
Well said.

I work in law enforcement and I have unfortunately seen too many instances where people complied with illegal or unjustified commands from officers. It's typically the 'good' people with clean records who are more inclined to comply just to get by and not make trouble. It's typically the people with criminal records who are more likely to raise a stink.

Imho the system works best in the long run when if an officer does make a mistake and makes an unjustified or illegal request the public does not passively accept it and comply out of fear or convenience. And I am always super careful and instruct others to do the same when responding to any request from a business to remove somebody; you always need to at least know the context. So I'm glad Dao did what he did.

Last edited by trajanc; Apr 15, 17 at 1:43 pm
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Old Apr 15, 17, 1:13 pm
  #5812  
 
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Originally Posted by dvlsadvc8 View Post
I must have an agenda because I believe, as disgusting as you find it, people should comply with law enforcement? His case could have been persued in an alternate venue, without incident (just like the three passengers who deplaned earlier).

In answer to your question, yes, I have previously worked in the airline industry, not UA, but this could have happened with any of the commercial carriers. So, in fact I do have insight to how this unpleasant process unfolds. And I'm so glad you are interested in my account status., and you? Am I to assume you have an agenda? You wouldn't be an attorney, would you?
People should indeed comply with lawful requests from bona fide cops, whether or not they are legally required to. But as I think back on my long, law-and-order-supporting, politically conservative life, I cannot find anything to suggest that cops are any less likely to abuse their powers as anyone else. I also cannot find any reason to believe that a person behaving lawfully in a civil disagreement should fear the application of force on behalf of those with whom they disagree. That is the difference between a nation of laws and a police state.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 1:15 pm
  #5813  
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Originally Posted by RandomBaritone View Post
Emotions are high. And I recognize that hyperbole is fun, but frankly I expect better from someone with 10,000+ posts on FT. It's shameful to libel tens of thousands of employees when it is patently obvious from reading this forum that there are many UA staff who do exemplary work. Even Oscar Munoz himself was highly regarded by customers until this single, devastating incident. Most agreed that he was winding down the tone-deaf, penny-pinching, metrics-at-all-costs approach of his predecessor.

It's one thing to be convinced that Munoz isn't up to the task. But to smear the entire workforce is totally uncalled for.
And to use this argument as some kind of blanket immunity for outrageous incidents such as this one is equally uncalled for.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 1:18 pm
  #5814  
 
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Originally Posted by lazard View Post
Wrong. Dr. comes out a winner. Easiest payday in his life.
He may think that in the future. But I'm betting that right now he's wishing he was back home in Louisville, without the concussion, broken nose, missing teeth, and notoriety.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 1:23 pm
  #5815  
 
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Originally Posted by justhere View Post

What proof do you have that there were other viable options that would impact less customers? I readily admit I might have missed it so if you have it, by all means point me in that direction. If UA could have put the crew on another carrier's flight, then they could also have put their passengers on that flight. Has it been confirmed that other airlines' flights had seats available?
There are all kinds of options for the deadhead crew.

If you have lived in an UX station you would know that crew scheduling delays happen all. the. time. It is probably worse now with the hour rules for crew. What OO used to do is swap crews from later flights to their earlier departing ones (sometimes taking a delay for crew rest requirements) in hope that they can get another crew in for the later flight. Sometimes that meant a delay of a few hours for the later departing flight. It really depends when the first flight arrives in the morning and where the crew is coming from. Whether that would have worked in this scenario depends on equipment/carrier, etc. In the grand scheme a rolling delay would hardly be a loss considering how mainline does this with international irrops with deadheading crews to the outstations on 24hr+ delays all the time.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 1:26 pm
  #5816  
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Originally Posted by Globehopper View Post
Not directed at PaulInTheSky, but at United's so called change in policy--the new policy doesn't change much in my opinion.

It still permits United to remove passengers as long as the crew checks in 60 mins in advance. But who's to really know when the flight crew checks in 58 or 55 mins in advance except for UA staff? Passengers (non UA pax) certainly won't be able to verify this.
I think it's a very real change. Must-ride crewmembers will still be able to create a real overbooking situation that will have to be resolved before the flight boards. The gate needs to know about them prior to boarding all the revenue passengers. I've never seen a flight completely boarded 60 minutes (or even 30 minutes) prior to scheduled departure time.

This rule (as well as AA's new rule that it won't remove boarded revenue passengers to accommodate other passengers) creates some certainty that once you board and take your seat, you won't be removed by force to accommodate other passengers unless, of course, you break the rules. And refusing to give up your seat won't be bootstrapped into "breaking the rules."
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Old Apr 15, 17, 1:31 pm
  #5817  
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Originally Posted by prestonh View Post
There are all kinds of options for the deadhead crew.

If you have lived in an UX station you would know that crew scheduling delays happen all. the. time. It is probably worse now with the hour rules for crew. What OO used to do is swap crews from later flights to their earlier departing ones (sometimes taking a delay for crew rest requirements) in hope that they can get another crew in for the later flight. Sometimes that meant a delay of a few hours for the later departing flight. It really depends when the first flight arrives in the morning and where the crew is coming from. Whether that would have worked in this scenario depends on equipment/carrier, etc. In the grand scheme a rolling delay would hardly be a loss considering how mainline does this with international irrops with deadheading crews to the outstations on 24hr+ delays all the time.
I wonder whether the problem is exacerbated by UA's use of multiple United Express carriers, including on the same route. With a limited number of aircraft and crews at SDF, part of the problem is that a Republic crew cannot work a Trans State flight and vice versa. This limits the possibilities to largely solve such problems by swapping crews.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 1:34 pm
  #5818  
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Originally Posted by dvlsadvc8 View Post
Wrong. This happens on all airlines, everyday. This unfortunately escalated to a standoff between parties, and everyone came out a loser.
Dr. Dao certainly suffered serious injury, requires surgery, and potential long term care. I agree if that's
what you see as Dao losing.

But, what is the potential loss to United in all of this?
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Old Apr 15, 17, 1:36 pm
  #5819  
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I wonder whether the problem is exacerbated by UA's use of multiple United Express carriers, including on the same route. With a limited number of aircraft and crews at SDF, part of the problem is that a Republic crew cannot work a Trans State flight and vice versa. This limits the possibilities to largely solve such problems by swapping crews.
Of course that is a structural problem solely of UA's creation and within their control but they are too cheap to buy more mainline aircraft and pay mainline crew so pit the lowest bidding express carriers against each other for regional routes. Look what it is costing them. I guess the MBA's didn't build that in their spreadsheets...

Still, there is always an option to delay the next day's flight.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 1:40 pm
  #5820  
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Originally Posted by Beckles View Post
It seems to be a common practice to resort to analogies to try and support a point, but the reality is that any analogy involving a person's legal right to occupy their home (which has been used repeatedly in this thread) is not applicable to your legal right in any other business setting. Your rights to occupy your home are protected by specific laws that apply specifically to your home and not anywhere else.
A validly-ticketed and boarded passenger in a seat on a common carrier has legal rights to occupy a seat on their flight absent specific other conditions being applicable voiding that legal right.
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