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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, 5:14 pm
  #5851  
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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.
I've seen DL offer higher amounts than $800 at European airports when seeking volunteers to fly later than originally booked. Even 10-15 years ago.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 5:21 pm
  #5852  
 
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Originally Posted by milypan View Post
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.
Without the governmental regulation, airlines would most likely have included IDB provisions in their contracts, probably even less consumer friendly versions. In other words, just getting rid of the IDB regulation wouldn't necessarily help and neither would forcing airlines to comply with their contracts.

DL apparently doesn't believe the current IDB situation is sustainable in light of the recent events and the danger of more severe governmental action, so they effectively removed their internal cap on VDB payments. With luck others will follow.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 5:27 pm
  #5853  
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Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
DL apparently doesn't believe the current IDB situation is sustainable in light of the recent events and the danger of more severe governmental action, so they effectively removed their internal cap on VDB payments.
Among other things, DL is likely hoping to discourage stricter regulation through voluntary change.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 5:28 pm
  #5854  
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Originally Posted by dvlsadvc8 View Post
Air travel is not a right, it is a convenience. Like anything purchased, buyer beware. On the bright side, you do have the right to buy or charter a private aircraft to meet or exceed your travel requirements/expectations. If you can't afford that, never fear, other options are yet available. You can book passage via train or bus; even better, drive yourself. The likelihood of being "beaten, bullied, concussed, humiliated, or booted" from your private vehicle are slim to none.
Air travel may not be a right. But I also don't park my rights at the door of the terminal. They come with me.

'Buyer beware' doesn't cover being roughed-up by security on the direction of a company just because they say so.

I expect the law to protect me on an aircraft just as it is supposed to protect me outside the airport.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 5:29 pm
  #5855  
 
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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.
My uncle's, friend's, cousin's, daughter's, hairdresser said......I get the fact that upping the amount could and probably would have avoided the situation. The inconvenience wouldn't change though. Upping the amount wouldn't magically change the length of the delay, it would just likely make it more palatable. So to answer my question without the benefit of hindsight, we don't know that there was another option.
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 don't have to live in a UX station to know how crew scheduling works. My point was simply that it's easy to say they could do this or they could do that. I'm not talking about what could happen in the future or what has happened on other occasions. I'm simply referring to this one instance in time, without the benefit of hindsight, and responding to the post that said "customers were put last". At the time the decisions were made, I can see how and why some of the decision were made and done so with the thought that they would inconvenience the least amount of customers.

Again, I'm not supporting or agreeing with the way things turned out.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 5:30 pm
  #5856  
 
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I wonder if we should rename the thread since we now know the name of the man and it was not an oversold flight...

Thanks.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 5:33 pm
  #5857  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Among other things, DL is likely hoping to discourage stricter regulation through voluntary change.
Probably so. What's I find interesting about DL's position is that they could really have said that they were willing to go up to $25k or $50k or even $100k. The upper limit doesn't really matter too much as they'll never get there.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 5:37 pm
  #5858  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Among other things, DL is likely hoping to discourage stricter regulation through voluntary change.
And they could lower them quietly in a couple of months or years. I do however genuinely think that airlines will probably be much more cautious over the coming months. After that, airlines might reduce VDB compensation again.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 5:40 pm
  #5859  
 
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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.
Just Saw the United Airlines Re-Accommodation video shot from the beginning. Dr. Dao was real surly before the incident and told the flight attendant that he was going to Sue 'United Airlines' before he was even touched. The plot thickens
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Old Apr 15, 17, 5:44 pm
  #5860  
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Originally Posted by NorthwestFlyer View Post
Just Saw the United Airlines Re-Accommodation video shot from the beginning. Dr. Dao was real surly before the incident and told the flight attendant that he was going to Sue 'United Airlines' before he was even touched. The plot thickens
You can sue for a breach of contract. You can say you're going to sue without physical contact. Threatening to sue in itself is not abusive or surly. And not a threat to the safety of the aircraft.

Someone using an idiom ('you'll have to frag me off') is not an invitation to violence. If Dr Tao had said 'over my dead body', that's not an invitation to carry that out.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 5:44 pm
  #5861  
 
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The ideas on pricing are interesting. However, as empty seats are free to the airlines, couldn't they offer International First returns for free instead of either voucher money or real money?
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Old Apr 15, 17, 5:48 pm
  #5862  
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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.
Let's not forget that UA estimates the breakage rate for vouchers to be 75%, so some vouchers for UA$1600 only equal US$400 in real money. It would have been a small price to pay to keep customers happy under the (hopefully rare) circumstances of the 22 hour overnight delay, even if we don't look at the damage the ensuing incident inflicted on UA.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 5:52 pm
  #5863  
 
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Originally Posted by NorthwestFlyer View Post
Just Saw the United Airlines Re-Accommodation video shot from the beginning. Dr. Dao was real surly before the incident and told the flight attendant that he was going to Sue 'United Airlines' before he was even touched. The plot thickens
He was already on the phone with his lawyer.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 5:56 pm
  #5864  
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Originally Posted by NorthwestFlyer View Post
Just Saw the United Airlines Re-Accommodation video shot from the beginning. Dr. Dao was real surly before the incident and told the flight attendant that he was going to Sue 'United Airlines' before he was even touched. The plot thickens
Before the incident, as in before he was being physically assaulted by UA's thuggish henchmen? He wasn't "surly" on the video compared to what passes for being in the range of normal UA GA attitude. Rather he was very smartly dealing with another party while keeping rather calm in the face of being threatened with IDB or worse. And as we know, UA and its henchmen made it worse.

Originally Posted by lazard View Post
He was already on the phone with his lawyer.
As makes sense when already being subjected to threats from the police and from the airline with which there is a valid contract. Was his being on the phone with a lawyer the reason the airline and its henchmen became so awfully aggressive and wanted to strike him hard? This wouldn't be the first time extra-legal punishment was delivered to mess around with a person of means for seeking to exercise their legal rights by seeking counsel before making any cowering move.

Last edited by GUWonder; Apr 15, 17 at 6:05 pm
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Old Apr 15, 17, 6:10 pm
  #5865  
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Response to post #5858 by milypan, which I forgot to quote:

I haven't seen it emphasized much, but there were reports that a UA manager at ORD boarded the flight at some point. It's not clear what that manager's position was--or indeed whether he/she was a UA or Republic employee--or what the manager's role was in the incident.
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