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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, 1:41 pm
  #5821  
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Originally Posted by justhere View Post
I am not defending what UA did, just pointing out that the logic tree used in their decision to put the crew on that plane revolved around inconveniencing as few customers as possible. Some were going to get inconvenienced no matter what under their plan, it was a question of how many. If minimizing the number of inconvenienced customers is congruent with benefiting UA's bottom line, then so be it.

Presumably you can answer that as you work in UA Ops as you know exactly what went on. How do you know they "intentionally messed up"? It's very possible that I missed it somewhere as i haven't read every post nor every news article but has it been proven that the crew could have gotten on a different flight? It would seem that if the crew could have then so could a passenger. So UA could have told passengers that they would get an $800 voucher and be on an AA (or whomever) flight in an hour or so. Again, not defending UA just pointing out that without the benefit of hindsight, the decision was most likely made to inconvenience as few customers as possible.

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?
I didn't argue that available options would impact fewer people but United did have one volunteer and rejected that offer. Rejecting a reasonable offer was a mistake on the part of United.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 1:45 pm
  #5822  
 
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Originally Posted by Globehopper View Post
But despite a near death experience, Mr Munoz apparently learned nothing and has exhibited no change of heart.
Technically speaking, he did have a change of heart, but apparently shareholder value is still his number one concern. That's not working out so well.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 2:03 pm
  #5823  
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Originally Posted by Sabai View Post
Technically speaking, he did have a change of heart, but apparently shareholder value is still his number one concern. That's not working out so well.
Doing what's right for customers will usually be what's right for stockholders.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 2:04 pm
  #5824  
 
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Originally Posted by Sabai View Post
Technically speaking, he did have a change of heart, but apparently shareholder value is still his number one concern. That's not working out so well.
Can you blame him when shareholders responded by bidding up UAL the first morning after? Muñoz is just a puppet, what's wrong is the system of shareholding that produced such level of detachment. That's why it's incumbent on customers to show their cards now, or else nothing will change.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 2:06 pm
  #5825  
 
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There is a simple market answer to an overbooking (and I use that term to cover all scenarios where there are more people than seats.)

I keep reading various places the fear that if IBD were eliminated, passengers would collude to drive up the price of VDB compensation. Assuming that you could get that many strangers to band together in the first place in a limited time frame, that would be only be a concern if the VDB payments went to every single person on the airplane... but they don't; they're made to a limited segment of the flight. There is essentially zero possible reality that all passengers would agree on a) who will win that lottery and for $X, and b) someone wouldn't jump in and say they'll take $X -$100, or then someone else $X-$200, etc. What incentive does someone willing to take a bump have to help someone else obtain a higher VDB payout? None! People weigh the chances of getting less than they wanted or getting nothing, and will always take less to avoid the other scenario. (Other than a friend or family member, perhaps, but that assumes those are the only two people who would have taken the bump, and for the right price a stranger would jump in.)

All the airline has to do is make an increasingly higher offer, and at a reasonable point someone will jump on it out of fear someone else will first.

The market would hit its natural clearing price. By DL raising it's VDB cap, it's recognizing the goodwill inherent in such a statement but understands economic psychology, and that it will not have to pay anything near that amount.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 2:22 pm
  #5826  
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
I didn't argue that available options would impact fewer people but United did have one volunteer and rejected that offer. Rejecting a reasonable offer was a mistake on the part of United.
Indeed it was reported and confirmed that a volunteer was rejected when having asked UA for an expiring, funny money UA voucher good toward $1600 of travel. UA was too miserly to accept a reasonable offer like that and instead decided to run up the IDB stats instead of running up the VDB stats. Bad form, United.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 2:26 pm
  #5827  
 
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Indeed it was reported and confirmed that a volunteer was rejected when having asked UA for an expiring, funny money UA voucher good toward $1600 of travel. UA was too miserly to accept a reasonable offer like that and instead decided to run up the IDB stats instead of running up the VDB stats. Bad form, United.
Not only did they reject it they scoffed at it, meaning it was not even within the realm of consideration. Shows how cheap United is and how abusively they intended to use the "card" of IVB.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 2:27 pm
  #5828  
 
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Indeed it was reported and confirmed that a volunteer was rejected when having asked UA for an expiring, funny money UA voucher good toward $1600 of travel. UA was too miserly to accept a reasonable offer like that and instead decided to run up the IDB stats instead of running up the VDB stats. Bad form, United.
Given that $1600 was likely considerably more than the amount the GA had to 'play with', it's not especially surprising (nor relevant) that it was rejected.

After the fact, sure, they'd have paid Dao whatever it takes to make it go away, but before the fact, staff won't just give away money they are not authorized to give away and shouldn't be blamed for it either.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 2:32 pm
  #5829  
 
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Originally Posted by Ber2dca View Post
Given that $1600 was likely considerably more than the amount the GA had to 'play with', it's not especially surprising (nor relevant) that it was rejected.

After the fact, sure, they'd have paid Dao whatever it takes to make it go away, but before the fact, staff won't just give away money they are not authorized to give away and shouldn't be blamed for it either.
So like I said, United fully intended to leverage that "IVB" option, it was even built in to policy.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 2:53 pm
  #5830  
 
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What would you say to this example: I sell my car to you. We sign the contract. You pay. You get the car keys. Your are set to leave. The moment you drive off, I call the police and enforce that some law enforcement officers throw you out of your car, because I have told them that my son needs the car now.
Would you accept it? Would you say: Yeah that’s OK. I paid for the car. We got a contract between both parties that the car is now mine. But if your son need the car now, I am fine.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 16, 17 at 2:10 am Reason: Removed quote of deleted post
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Old Apr 15, 17, 3:06 pm
  #5831  
 
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Originally Posted by athome View Post
What would you say to this example
Still apples and oranges as you don't buy the seat (or the aircraft) as a passenger. You essentially rent it and get the right to put your butt into a seat for a flight X on day Y.

A comparable example would be: You let a room in your house to a person. That person keeps paying his rent and performs accordingly to the terms both of you agreed upon (he doesn't make house parties, mows the lawn, doesn't do drugs on your premises, etc.).

By surprise, a friend's boyfriend/girlfriend breaks up with them and that friend needs to crash somewhere. You give that friend the room of your tenant. The tenant objects. You call the cops. I would love to see the cop that would intervene.

Of course, even this example isn't perfect and bear in mind that analogy works very rarely (particularly in law) and should thus be avoided.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 16, 17 at 2:11 am Reason: Quote updated to reflect Moderator edit
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Old Apr 15, 17, 3:40 pm
  #5832  
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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.
Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
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.
I don't understand what you're trying to counter, I never said the UA passenger didn't have legal rights, just that you can't use an analogy related to someone's legal rights to occupy their home as a valid analogy because the laws protecting someone's legal rights to occupy their homes only apply to their homes, not any other business relationship.

Originally Posted by WorldLux View Post
Still apples and oranges as you don't buy the seat (or the aircraft) as a passenger. You essentially rent it and get the right to put your butt into a seat for a flight X on day Y.

A comparable example would be: You let a room in your house to a person. That person keeps paying his rent and performs accordingly to the terms both of you agreed upon (he doesn't make house parties, mows the lawn, doesn't do drugs on your premises, etc.).

By surprise, a friend's boyfriend/girlfriend breaks up with them and that friend needs to crash somewhere. You give that friend the room of your tenant. The tenant objects. You call the cops. I would love to see the cop that would intervene.

Of course, even this example isn't perfect and bear in mind that analogy works very rarely (particularly in law) and should thus be avoided.
Again, any analogy of an airline seat to someone's home is ridiculous, every state has very specific laws protecting people as it relates to their occupancy of their home (even a rented room) that only apply to their home.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 3:46 pm
  #5833  
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Originally Posted by RandomBaritone View Post
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.
Agree. During my almost 20 years of flying on UA, the number of poor employees I've encountered is dwarfed by the professional, kind, and helpful UA employees I've encountered.

Originally Posted by WorldLux View Post
This incident does show again how poorly passengers can be treated at UA.
So because this incident demonstrates poor treatment of passengers, we should conclude that the majority of UA employees treat passengers badly?

Originally Posted by STS-134 View Post
The fact that someone was reported to have said he or she would volunteer for $1600 means that there was another option that would have caused less inconvenience to those removed.
Exactly. There was an option to dragging an elderly man off of the airplane that didn't involve the unnecessary application of physical force, but UA chose not to try it.

Originally Posted by Ber2dca View Post
Given that $1600 was likely considerably more than the amount the GA had to 'play with', it's not especially surprising (nor relevant) that it was rejected.
It's very relevant. UA had the option to avoid the use of physical force, and chose not to exercise it because they didn't want to spend the money it would have cost them.

How's that working out for them now?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 16, 17 at 2:14 am Reason: Remove response to deleted content
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Old Apr 15, 17, 3:50 pm
  #5834  
 
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As someone who hates the flying experience these days, I find this story fascinating. When it first surfaced, my thoughts were that the good Dr. was 100% in the wrong due to my "conditioning" ever since 9/11 that the flight attendants and staff are there for our "safety" and do what they tell you or else.

But even with my belief at the time the Dr. was wrong I loved his civil disobedience that he refused to deplane as this incident is all in United in my book. Yes the Dr. could of done what instructed then get counted erroneously as another "volunteer" to deplane like the three who did follow these instructions, however IDB should never happen in the first place and this was not even an IDB situation. The CEO agrees the plane completed the boarding process.

All United had to do is let the free market dictate this, and they would have 4 truly happy volunteers and this PR debacle for them never would of happened.

Not that I think it would have taken anywhere near $10K in cash, not funny money that expires in a year that you cannot use to buy tickets for anyone but yourself, but let's just say that is what it would have taken in this case for arguments sake.

United's actions in this case show once again their disdain for their customers, however would a payout of $40K not be better for United in this case??

But now, after reading this article, I cannot see any justification for United to have him removed against his will in the first place.

https://thefederalist.com/2017/04/11...off-the-plane/

I believe the Dr. is going to be a wealthy man after this incident, and the 3 "volunteers" are likely to get much more compensation then the $800 in monoply money they got at first as well.

And the gate agent laughed at the one customer who volunteered for a $1600 voucher. I am laughing at that gate agent and airline now.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 3:50 pm
  #5835  
 
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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 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.
Let's look at this case in particular. In the incident of UA3411, let's make an assumption that the crew was scheduled to fly on UA3411, and they IDBed people thinking they may be able to get away with that. However,. if you have book them directly into the flight, then it's not considered stand-by, but it's rather booked. Then you wouldn't hear any lame excuse like 'crew need to go to the final destination to serve a flight next day morning'. As a customer you would hear 'It's booked/reserved passenger' instead 'crew flying stand-by'.

Yes, you still will have IDB in place, but let's see if they can make it only at the airport, at the club, or at the gate. If what the CEO said was true, then no pax onboard can be IDBed for stand-by crew. Of course, you will have a couple of cases:

1. HVF SDC into the flight before T-15.
2. Any passengers inconvenienced by IRROPs and rebooked into the next flight.

To me, some of the exceptional cases for IDB for pax onboard would be:

1. Pax cleared the stand-by, boarded, but the original ticketed pax got into the flight in time, before T-15 to be exact. Anything past T-15, forget about it.

2. Weight balancing issues.

3. Mechanical delay -> sudden change of aircraft equipment.(down-gauge)

Bottom-line, yes you will still have the IDB, but if you are absolutely clear to book the pax onboard, then you will eliminate a lot of possible screw-ups by UA, and the possible pain that you will inflict on the pax who will be IDBed like...whether or not the crew just force themselves into the flight, whether the crew is really scheduled to fly this particular flight, or the crew try to get to the flight early or late. IMO, if they are scheduled to fly to destination for work, book them into the flight immediately. Not even making it T-60. If they are late due to traffic, connecting flight, that's no-show, and they have to figure things out.
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