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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, 1:51 pm
  #5986  
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Originally Posted by desi View Post
Yes!!

It is as simple as that. Dont overbook if VDB is not working.

Restaurants dont throw you out once you are seated and placed order just because someone more important showed up.

Hotels dont check you in and drag you out of shower because some employee needed a room.
Restaurants. Years ago my wife and I were in a restaurant and noticed most people had left. I asked the maitre de as he walked by what time they closed. His response, "we're here as long as you wish to dine with us, we closed the front doors an hour ago". Admittedly, it was a Michelin three star restaurant but it was nice. Had similar experiences at Nordstom.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 2:10 pm
  #5987  
 
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Originally Posted by isle-hawg View Post
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.
Let us see if attorneys on both sides will accept UA's funny money with restrictions and expire in one year. If attorneys will not accept UA's funny money, why should passengers be forced to accept or law enforcement officer will be called?
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Old Apr 16, 17, 2:28 pm
  #5988  
 
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Originally Posted by prestonh View Post
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.
From everything reported so far, they were "must ride". If that's correct then they were positive space. Essentially they would have had reservations in some way, shape, or form as soon as the airline put them on the flight manifest as passengers.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 2:41 pm
  #5989  
 
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
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.
We do have that answer. By policy, they were not to wear jackets with "Police" written on them, since "January" (I don't recall which year). This has been acknowledged by the DOA.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 2:43 pm
  #5990  
 
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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. They are unarmed and have no or very limited arrest authority. There has been a great deal of confusion about this groups exact status but I would rank them in the category of mall security.
The shot of the enforcer who does the manhandling wearing jeans with keys dangling and that cheap black "police" tshirt I think added to the virality in a subliminal way.

Its "off" enough to look like a robbery in an alley.

Mall security is basically the analogy of what they're asked to do. Deal with problem "customers"
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Old Apr 16, 17, 2:47 pm
  #5991  
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Originally Posted by justhere View Post
From everything reported so far, they were "must ride". If that's correct then they were positive space. Essentially they would have had reservations in some way, shape, or form as soon as the airline put them on the flight manifest as passengers.
That's the crux of the whole thing. Once they got their reservations at last minute, that is what put it into the oversold situation where they needed 4 "volunteers". Flight was not oversold until the 4 crew member reservations hit. And that was at last minute. Which is why the new policy that no crew reservations can be booked if within 60 minutes of flight
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Old Apr 16, 17, 2:52 pm
  #5992  
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Originally Posted by Rdenney View Post
By policy, they were not to wear jackets with "Police" written on them, since "January" (I don't recall which year). This has been acknowledged by the DOA.
Clearly that policy is not being followed. You can write all the policies and procedures you want, but if they're not enforced by the supervisory chain of command, and officers are being allowed to buy and wear items from vendors that say "police", there doesn't seem to be sufficient accountability.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 2:57 pm
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Cerealmarketer,

Your characterization of the three "enforcers" who gave the beatdown to Dr. Dao as reminiscent of "mall security" is so spot on. Thanks for stating it so well in fewer words than it would have taken me.

Also, wearing "Police" jackets which they explicitly were not allowed to wear is crucial to how this matter will play out. Seeming more and more like a vindictive GA, who is a United employee, sicced those three on Dr. Dao, with a good inkling of what would happen.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 3:07 pm
  #5994  
 
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Originally Posted by justhere View Post
From everything reported so far, they were "must ride". If that's correct then they were positive space. Essentially they would have had reservations in some way, shape, or form as soon as the airline put them on the flight manifest as passengers.
If they were positive space before boarding began then 4 pax would not have been boarded to begin with, they would not have had seats. Why doesn't everyone understand this: The employees were assigned the flight after the pax boarded, legally and physically.

Additionally 'must ride' is a company designation, not a legal one that overrides the priority of a passenger's legally held reservation per 14 CFR 250.2a
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Old Apr 16, 17, 3:31 pm
  #5995  
 
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Originally Posted by Catbert10 View Post
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
no doubt it is option 2, which is why Ua has not attempted to shift responsibility to the city of Chicago. Ga basically wrote option 2 in her notes. This is also why Ua will end up with 100% of the liability.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 3:37 pm
  #5996  
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Originally Posted by prestonh View Post
If they were positive space before boarding began then 4 pax would not have been boarded to begin with, they would not have had seats. Why doesn't everyone understand this: The employees were assigned the flight after the pax boarded, legally and physically.

Additionally 'must ride' is a company designation, not a legal one that overrides the priority of a passenger's legally held reservation per 14 CFR 250.2a
Doesn't matter that the pax had already boarded, even if the plane was already taxiing or even departed it could have been turned back and pax deplaned per the force majeure and unforeseeable conditions clause of the COC about the possibility of denying service to anyone at any point for that kind reason. This is not only in UA's contract but also AA's, DL's, WN's. So indeed the 4 passengers had already boarded legally but they were also legally requested to deplane as long as this came with the relevant compensation and as long as it's demonstrated that it was because of an unforeseen circumstance.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 3:39 pm
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Originally Posted by kentflyer View Post
....
Seeming more and more like a vindictive GA, who is a United employee, sicced those three on Dr. Dao, with a good inkling of what would happen.
We've all come across angry and bitter UA agents who can be counted on to make a bad situation worse. They are certainly a minority, but now that it's obvious the consequences of their misbehavior can be quite significant for the company, I hope that management will get serious about re-training them, and if that doesn't work, then it's time to get serious about removing them from the workforce.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 3:45 pm
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RE: UA# 3411

I'm curious if there are any active or retired UA pilots in this forum, who might know the answer to these questions:

Was the Captain in command of the aircraft during this incident (e.g. or was that command relegated for some reason to the First Officer)?

Where is the Captain supposed to be, when the Captain, or someone at the airline that the Captain works for, has requested that a passenger on the aircraft that the Captain is allegedly in command of, has requested that a passenger be removed from that aircraft (e.g. in the "secured" cockpit?, observing the "removal process" in the aircraft cabin?)? Is a member of the in-flight crew responsible for observing the "removal process," or are they advised to "stay away (for their own safety (perhaps, over the safety of their passengers))? Is a member of the in-flight crew charged with serving as the "safety officer," in a situation like a passenger "eviction," to monitor a potentially violent situation, to protect the passengers' safety, is there an expectation that the Captain has any dialogue with law enforcement officials on board the aircraft, about how a passenger is removed from an aircraft (e.g. if situation becomes escalated, passengers around "the evictee" are first removed from the aircraft, for their own safety?).

Many of these questions come from core principles of the Federal Emergency Management Agencies Incident Command System, and the "Crew Resource Management" model, which is an integral component of modern day commercial aviation.

While some participants may state or suggest that I am a lurker, or that my questions are hysterical or silly, there is a grounded purpose for me asking each question that I ask (and a genuine interest in life safety), and I can assure you that in meeting rooms at United, ALPA, and the Teamsters (Republic pilots), these questions are being asked, or their already known answers are being reviewed. I would not be surprised if the Flight Attendants were concerned for their safety, if their union gets involved, as well, in addition to all of the Federal, State, and City agencies that will be looking at the many aspects associated with US #3411 , and the resulting questions that have been raised.

I wonder if UA has a written policy for the "involuntary removal" of a passenger, and if it was followed on UA #3411 ?

Last edited by H3A3H3; Apr 16, 17 at 4:09 pm
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Old Apr 16, 17, 3:46 pm
  #5999  
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Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
We've all come across angry and bitter UA agents who can be counted on to make a bad situation worse. They are certainly a minority, but now that it's obvious the consequences of their misbehavior can be quite significant for the company, I hope that management will get serious about re-training them, and if that doesn't work, then it's time to get serious about removing them from the workforce.
This.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 3:46 pm
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Originally Posted by sw3 View Post
Doesn't matter that the pax had already boarded, even if the plane was already taxiing or even departed it could have been turned back and pax deplaned per the force majeure and unforeseeable conditions clause of the COC about the possibility of denying service to anyone at any point for that kind reason. This is not only in UA's contract but also AA's, DL's, WN's. So indeed the 4 passengers had already boarded legally but they were also legally requested to deplane as long as this came with the relevant compensation and as long as it's demonstrated that it was because of an unforeseen circumstance.
Once legally boarded airlines have to remove 'with cause'. The Dr.'s conditions for removal did not fall under any of the conditions under "Refusal of Transport” (Rule 21) which were the only ones available that they could legally break the Dr.'s contract for the seat he possessed. The IDB order was illegal. The VDB was a negotiation but the pax held all of the cards since they were already legally boarded. Since we have not seen any force majeure declaration as you imply (pictures or it didn't happen) all we saw was force applied.
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