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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 16, 17, 11:15 am
  #5971  
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
She lied too about the passenger being belligerent.

Who knows what she might have said when she called the cops.
It would be nice to have a moderated "Tell your UA IDB story" thread here that lets people put their IDB stories, especially those that occurred after being seated, here." (Moderated so it stays on topic).

I have been IDB'd by United after being seated.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 16, 17 at 11:52 am Reason: OT/OMNI content removed
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Old Apr 16, 17, 11:21 am
  #5972  
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Originally Posted by blueman2 View Post
I too am very surprised by the lack of communication to MP members, at all levels. I wonder if this is part of their strategy of hoping this all just blows away soon, or just part of their PR incompetence?
The latter, most likely.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 11:56 am
  #5973  
 
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A while back someone was made the case that aviation law was derived from maritime law, and as such as soon as you step off the jetway and onto the plane the following happens: (1) You are considered to have boarded the plane, (2) The captain of the vessel holds ultimate responsibility and authority for what takes place on their vessel. I don't have the knowledge to question that, but for the purposes of this post I'll assume that to be fact.

It's likely (maybe even confirmed?) that the flight crew took no part in the police activities, and the captain by and large stayed out of it and let the gate agent take care of the situation, perhaps unknowing where the ultimate authority existed per law in this case. It's also easy to see how letting the gate agent handle it is the norm, as I've read elsewhere that flight crews aren't paid until the plane pushes back, and it's just easier to let the gate agent handle everything until the final manifest is delivered to the cockpit. After all, they're the ones with the computer access to fix the situation.

So going forward:
(1) Do flight crews have leverage to gain payment starting when the first passenger steps on board until the last passenger steps off? Anything else would render the flight crew having legal authority over people while not being compensated for it.
(2) Will gate agents have to ask permission of the captain for any/all activities on a case by case basis once passengers have stepped on a plane?
(3) Or, will there have to be a formal delegation of authority from the captain to the gate agents whereas the gate agent officially reports to the captain once THEY step off of the jetway and onto the plane. If so, what would be the captains correct actions in the event of an "unruly" gate agent on his/her plane? Kick the gate agent off via intercom?
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Old Apr 16, 17, 12:40 pm
  #5974  
 
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Originally Posted by reamworks View Post
It would be nice to have a moderated "Tell your UA IDB story" thread here that lets people put their IDB stories, especially those that occurred after being seated, here." (Moderated so it stays on topic).

I have been IDB'd by United after being seated.
I will not happen AGAIN. Count on that...
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Old Apr 16, 17, 12:40 pm
  #5975  
 
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The pilot may have been the ultimate authority of that particular craft at that particular point in time, but the pilot was still an employee of the company who is a subcontractor of the company that employs the GA. Overruling the GA would almost certainly have had negative job consequences for the flight crew.

The important point to me here is that the order to vacate the plane flowed from UA through the GA due to a business issue, and not from the captain due to a safety issue. The 'safety issue' was the refusal of Dr. Dao to give up the seat that was rightfully his.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 12:51 pm
  #5976  
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
She lied too about the passenger being belligerent.

Who knows what she might have said when she called the cops.
I would hope all the radio and phone communications with the dispatch center are recorded as they do with real police dispatch centers.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 12:53 pm
  #5977  
 
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Originally Posted by reamworks View Post
It would be nice to have a moderated "Tell your UA IDB story" thread here that lets people put their IDB stories, especially those that occurred after being seated, here." (Moderated so it stays on topic).

I have been IDB'd by United after being seated.
That would be great...
NorthwestFlyer is offline  
Old Apr 16, 17, 12:57 pm
  #5978  
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
She lied too about the passenger being belligerent.

Who knows what she might have said when she called the cops.
The conversation between the gate and LE could have taken two general tracks, IMO

1. We have an oversell situation where we need to reclaim a seat from a passenger so we can fly crew to LEX. Can you assist?

2. We have a belligerent passenger who refuses to obey crew orders to deplane. Can you assist?

I'm going to go with option 2 until proven otherwise
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Old Apr 16, 17, 12:58 pm
  #5979  
 
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I read somewhere that they said the biggest mistake UA made was to call Airport Security and the biggest opportunity UA missed was to distance themselves from the Airport Security (i.e. throw the Aviation Department under the plane ).

In reality, I guess they are stuck, right? That is an important relationship to maintain. How would this play out with the suit and affect the relationship between UA and Chicago Aviation Department (and with other airport authorities)?
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Old Apr 16, 17, 1:34 pm
  #5980  
 
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Originally Posted by Catbert10 View Post
The pilot may have been the ultimate authority of that particular craft at that particular point in time, but the pilot was still an employee of the company who is a subcontractor of the company that employs the GA. Overruling the GA would almost certainly have had negative job consequences for the flight crew.

The important point to me here is that the order to vacate the plane flowed from UA through the GA due to a business issue, and not from the captain due to a safety issue. The 'safety issue' was the refusal of Dr. Dao to give up the seat that was rightfully his.
Exactly. This situation is the nexus of the conflict of the 'Must ride' culture of the union contracts for crew with 14 CFR 250.2a which gives legal priority to anyone with a confirmed reservation (and that is before they even legally boarded the aircraft). This culture is just so screwed up, the CofC is screwed up, now everyone knows it so everyone is just figuring out where to chalk the lines and what to give up IMO.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 1:40 pm
  #5981  
 
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Originally Posted by prestonh View Post
Exactly. This situation is the nexus of the conflict of the 'Must ride' culture of the union contracts for crew with 14 CFR 250.2a which gives legal priority to anyone with a confirmed reservation (and that is before they even legally boarded the aircraft). This culture is just so screwed up, the CofC is screwed up, now everyone knows it so everyone is just figuring out where to chalk the lines and what to give up IMO.
In my nonrev days, "must ride" was viewed as a business need thing and a guarantee that they can't pull you off the plane. Even if you are on a positive space pass for work, you can still be pulled off unless you are declared "must ride". Does it also mean to the GAs "bump already seated revenue passengers at all cost"?
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Old Apr 16, 17, 1:47 pm
  #5982  
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Originally Posted by wolf72 View Post
There was a rival airline leaving an hour later to the same destination.
Not sure how many seats were on that one either. And getting someone from a UA flight to an AA flight with their luggage would be close. But the fact is UA offered people next day, not in an hour.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 1:47 pm
  #5983  
 
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Originally Posted by username View Post
In my nonrev days, "must ride" was viewed as a business need thing and a guarantee that they can't pull you off the plane. Even if you are on a positive space pass for work, you can still be pulled off unless you are declared "must ride". Does it also mean to the GAs "bump already seated revenue passengers at all cost"?
Recall that these employees did not have reservations. There was no positive space. They were not on the plane to begin with. That changes everything.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 1:49 pm
  #5984  
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
They are not allowed to wear "POLICE" marked jackets as one was seen doing in the video.
Are those jackets provided by their employer, though, and is the supervisory chain of command aware they're being worn? Seems like we can add some more questions to the list we don't have answers to.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 1:49 pm
  #5985  
 
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Originally Posted by username View Post
I read somewhere that they said the biggest mistake UA made was to call Airport Security and the biggest opportunity UA missed was to distance themselves from the Airport Security (i.e. throw the Aviation Department under the plane ).
IMO the biggest mistake they made was not keeping incentivizing the offer to get 4 real volunteers that would be happy to deplane in the first place.

Everyone would be happy in this case. No scene, no disgruntled passengers and minimal delay to departing the gate.

Instead they chose the path they did, and gave the late night comedians great material and stay in the news cycle. Oh and even if this goes to court and they win (not happening), it will cost them millions in their own lawyer fees and PR campaign.
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