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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 15, 17, 2:50 pm
  #5836  
 
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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.
I think the closer property occupancy analogy the CofC creates is the possession of property that is held between parties in undivided interests. Along those lines they have to co-exist for the terms and duration of the agreement/contract as their property ownership is indistinguishable from each other.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 2:51 pm
  #5837  
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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.
Dao wasn't the passenger who wanted $1600 of UA's funny money.

GAs at UA had ways to play with $1600, but the GA would have to have it worked up to have it work and UA's corporate culture and operation isn't geared to deliver to customers on reasonable requests like this.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 2:53 pm
  #5838  
 
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Originally Posted by Beckles View Post
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.
I pointed that out at the end of my post
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Old Apr 15, 17, 2:54 pm
  #5839  
 
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Originally Posted by minnyfly View Post
In general. There will always come a point in that same market where avoiding the VDB is the best financial option. Someone will lose out if the situation is like this UAX flight.
The only case in which UA fails to get volunteers is when the "willingness to accept" (i.e. the amount of vouchers needed to lure someone off the plane) of everyone on the plane is greater than UA's willingness to pay (in vouchers) to move its employees. In that case the socially optimal outcome is for no passenger to be displaced and for UA to find other transportation for its employees, or just pay the costs of them being late. In concrete terms, if the least inconvenienced passenger will still be inconvenienced by $2000, and it's only worth $800 to UA to get its employees on that flight, then the correct resolution is for UA to find other transport for its employees.

Again this assumes UA is competently run. If UA is incompetently run, which I grant is a distinct possibility, then it might not understand its own cost structure. At that point however we're just telling the govt to step in and issue policies to make UA's business decisions for it. I'd rather just let the company go out of business in that scenario.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 2:55 pm
  #5840  
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In the announcement of DL raising their max payouts it was stated that previously GA's max was $800 and supervisors was $1350. Now it is $2000 and $9950. What are UA's maximums for each position? Who could they have called to authorize a higher ($1600) amount? So, if UA's maximums for those levels are (were) the same as DL's then the $1600 was above anybodys authorization limit. Are there even higher ups that could have authorized the $1600? Legitimate questions, not trying to say anything about the $1600 being reasonable or not, just what are the levels for each employee position.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 3:00 pm
  #5841  
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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.
And you're just flat out wrong there. UA didn't care a whit about inconvenience to its passengers, it cared about minimizing its own costs. IDB'ing those four passengers was its easiest and cheapest option, that's why the IDB was the favored option under UA's policies and that's why the GA didn't try any harder to find volunteers before calling in the goon squad.

Characterizing this decision as one that was made for the "greater good" is only slightly less offensive than smearing the victim.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 3:08 pm
  #5842  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Characterizing this decision as one that was made for the "greater good" is only slightly less offensive than smearing the victim.
In this case, only barely less offensive.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 3:16 pm
  #5843  
 
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Originally Posted by Baze View Post
In the announcement of DL raising their max payouts it was stated that previously GA's max was $800 and supervisors was $1350. Now it is $2000 and $9950. What are UA's maximums for each position? Who could they have called to authorize a higher ($1600) amount? So, if UA's maximums for those levels are (were) the same as DL's then the $1600 was above anybodys authorization limit. Are there even higher ups that could have authorized the $1600? Legitimate questions, not trying to say anything about the $1600 being reasonable or not, just what are the levels for each employee position.
Per this blog post supervisors before this incident could go as high as $2K.

http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.c...171.1491092629
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Old Apr 15, 17, 3:18 pm
  #5844  
 
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The RCP article on United was interesting...though it brings out a more blunt point, namely "When should one party in a dispute not have the ability to resort to force in order to breach?"

I threw a bit more thought into the "When would I take a 24-hour delay?" question:
-If I don't have a must-attend function in that timeframe/wouldn't inconvenience me and I won't incur losses as a result (e.g. a non-refundable cancelled-out hotel room), my point is probably $250-500 in cash or about a $1000-2000 voucher. The latter depends on my likelihood/willingness to fly the airline again: I'd happily take a $500 voucher from VX (on DL I'd probably hold out for $750-1000) where on UA, VS, or VA I'd require enough money to reliably be able to book a significant one-way trip on them in a premium cabin.
--Modifying this is where I am. If I'm in Chicago, for example, I have friends I can then grab dinner with. Ditto Seattle, and in Orlando I can add "visit Disney" with one of those friends. If I'm in Minneapolis or Houston, not so much.
--Also, depending on where I am/where I'm going I might instead opt for a cancellation if I can make a train work instead. If I'm coming home via New York and this happens in an NYC airport, presuming space availability I can almost always beat a 24-hour delay on Amtrak. If I'm coming home from Florida, it's not too far behind.

-Ok, let's say I have a "must-attend" function. For example, there are certain meetings that I'm in charge of running, but there are also times I'm hosting an event and my absence would be *ahem* bad form. At this point, my price has just gone up dramatically since you're also paying for me to be embarrassed at missing what amounts to a job function. Throw $1000-1500 cash at me (again, there's wiggle room based on where I am) or the voucher starts getting expensive (at this point you'd better be ready to fly me somewhere very nice in J/F for next to nothing).

-And then there are circumstances where I would not accept a voucher or cash, full stop, for this sort of delay. Weddings, funerals, seeing friends and family one last time before they go on a military deployment, or things that would result in me getting sacked from a job...these things exist and they're show-stoppers.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 3:29 pm
  #5845  
 
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Does anyone know (or can venture a guess) if the United Board of Directors is meeting via conference call over the weekend? Is it possible breakoff groups of directors are meeting and specifically excluding CEO Munoz and keeping him unaware of their conferring? I'm wondering if there's a groundswell within some board members to seek Munoz's resignation before the earnings release early next week.

The GA lying in the written report saying Dr. Dao was "belligerent" was bad enough. CEO Munoz repeating that lie is certainly grounds for his termination (or, to be polite, requested resignation). Wonder if Munoz will try and stall this by asking for leave for "health reasons"?
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Old Apr 15, 17, 3:41 pm
  #5846  
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I've given up discussing this w/ the folk on the non-travel BB. They've said UA shouldn't have called LE, but really it's all the doc's fault. That he wanted the payout, has bad history, and deliberately caused this just so he could collect millions, that he's not a victim but a deliberate opportunist, & that he had to act hard to keep the smile off his face when he came back on w/ blood on him & ran through the cabin.

Cheers.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 3:41 pm
  #5847  
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Originally Posted by GrayAnderson View Post
The RCP article on United was interesting...though it brings out a more blunt point, namely "When should one party in a dispute not have the ability to resort to force in order to breach?"

I threw a bit more thought into the "When would I take a 24-hour delay?" question:
-If I don't have a must-attend function in that timeframe/wouldn't inconvenience me and I won't incur losses as a result (e.g. a non-refundable cancelled-out hotel room), my point is probably $250-500 in cash or about a $1000-2000 voucher. The latter depends on my likelihood/willingness to fly the airline again: I'd happily take a $500 voucher from VX (on DL I'd probably hold out for $750-1000) where on UA, VS, or VA I'd require enough money to reliably be able to book a significant one-way trip on them in a premium cabin.
--Modifying this is where I am. If I'm in Chicago, for example, I have friends I can then grab dinner with. Ditto Seattle, and in Orlando I can add "visit Disney" with one of those friends. If I'm in Minneapolis or Houston, not so much.
--Also, depending on where I am/where I'm going I might instead opt for a cancellation if I can make a train work instead. If I'm coming home via New York and this happens in an NYC airport, presuming space availability I can almost always beat a 24-hour delay on Amtrak. If I'm coming home from Florida, it's not too far behind.

-Ok, let's say I have a "must-attend" function. For example, there are certain meetings that I'm in charge of running, but there are also times I'm hosting an event and my absence would be *ahem* bad form. At this point, my price has just gone up dramatically since you're also paying for me to be embarrassed at missing what amounts to a job function. Throw $1000-1500 cash at me (again, there's wiggle room based on where I am) or the voucher starts getting expensive (at this point you'd better be ready to fly me somewhere very nice in J/F for next to nothing).

-And then there are circumstances where I would not accept a voucher or cash, full stop, for this sort of delay. Weddings, funerals, seeing friends and family one last time before they go on a military deployment, or things that would result in me getting sacked from a job...these things exist and they're show-stoppers.
Exactly. It's a very complex calculus for all of us. Mine is slightly different from yours but it's the same idea. When I was flying 250,000 or so a year, being late to a meeting that I'm one of 10,000 attendees and not missing a session I'm chairing or presenting at, I would take the bump at a relatively moderate price. Coming back from a meeting London if I didn't have anything important the next day I would take it for almost the cost of a hotel and a moderate voucher to spend another day there.

On the other hand, if I would miss a consulting gig paying me for half a day paying me expenses plus a bunch of cash I wouldn't be happy for getting less than close to ten or fifteen grand cash to make up for the lost income plus embarresment of being a no show.

The point is, we're all different and the airline can't figure this out, only we can. That's what I think IDBs have to be severely limited and the airlines have to switch to VDBs so that each customer can make their own decision

Last edited by GadgetFreak; Apr 15, 17 at 4:12 pm
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Old Apr 15, 17, 4:01 pm
  #5848  
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
In response to GUWonder, post #5803 :

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 adiscussion about volunteering before out was known that volunteers would be needed, or attempting to game the system.


Honestly I'm not even sure that would matter. The "gamers" would almost by definition have low WTA. If there's an overbooking scenario UA should be happy to have them on the flight. If not, their presence is irrelevant.



Anecdote: years ago I was on an overbooked UX flight out of EWR. A guy immediately volunteered and knew exactly which flight he wanted to be rebooked on. He then bragged about how he always took this flight with the intention of switching to the other one, just to pick up the voucher. That's just a case of UA revenue management being completely asleep at the wheel. Hopefully they've improved since then.



Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
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.



I'm pretty sure his point was that the only government "regulation" we need is one that says you can't involuntarily eject people from flights on which they have valid tickets (IOW, the airline can't breach its contract). Once we have that, then airlines will just raise the VDB offers until they get enough volunteers (see DL's new $9950 limit). If an airline finds it's getting "too expensive" to buy out passengers, it will stop overbooking as much. Problems solved.



The likelihood of 50+ people spontaneously forming a cartel to drive the VDB bid up, as suggested previously on the thread, is IMO vanishingly small. Collusion is difficult to sustain in even the best case scenario, and this is like the worst case scenario. It's also amusing to voice concerns about the possibility of passenger cartel unicorns when juxtaposed against the very real oligopoly concerns in the US commercial airline industry today.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 4:08 pm
  #5849  
 
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Originally Posted by SkiAdcock View Post
I've given up discussing this w/ the folk on the non-travel BB. They've said UA shouldn't have called LE, but really it's all the doc's fault. That he wanted the payout, has bad history, and deliberately caused this just so he could collect millions, that he's not a victim but a deliberate opportunist, & that he had to act hard to keep the smile off his face when he came back on w/ blood on him & ran through the cabin.
You probably forgot that this was obviously a big ploy by either Delta/American or the ME3 to make UA look bad. @:-)
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Old Apr 15, 17, 4:08 pm
  #5850  
 
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Originally Posted by isle-hawg View Post
Per this blog post supervisors before this incident could go as high as $2K.

http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.c...171.1491092629
My read of that post was that the $2k figure refers to DL's old limit, not UA's.

If the UA GA didn't even reach the company limit (and I'm still assuming s/he did), that would, incredibly, make this incident look even worse. In what world do you call in LE for what is purely a customer service issue at that point, rather than first calling a supervisor?
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