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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, 8:46 pm
  #6031  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
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Originally Posted by sw3 View Post
I find it's there:

RULE 21 REFUSAL OF TRANSPORT

UA shall have the right to refuse to transport or shall have the right to remove from the aircraft at any point, any Passenger for the following reasons:

C. Force Majeure and Other Unforeseeable Conditions – Whenever such action is necessary or advisable by reason of weather or other conditions beyond UA’s control including, but not limited to, acts of God, force majeure, strikes, civil commotions, embargoes, wars, hostilities, terrorist activities, or disturbances, whether actual, threatened, or reported.
Well, I suspect Dr. Dao thought he was terrorized, but I'm not what that's what the above has in mind. I'm not sure United can invoke this clause when they were the ones who started the commotion.

I can't find any connection between what you quoted from the CofC and the desire on the part of the airline to move employees around.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 8:49 pm
  #6032  
 
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Originally Posted by wolf72 View Post
Certainly the greatest thread ever in the history of flyertalk.com

People are angry. People want action. People want results. Heads must roll.
Agree.

Domestic flying has become such an ugly experience in post 9/11 era especially due to rude haughty attitudes of airlines staff (both GA and FA)

69 year being dragged (bloodied) just broke camel's back.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 8:53 pm
  #6033  
 
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It has been accepted for far too long that the travelling public in the USA CAN be treated like dirt off the base of a shoe.

There is absolutely no excuse for close body searches, especially where the airlines have advised the police in advance that they may be receiving more complaints.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 8:54 pm
  #6034  
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Originally Posted by sw3 View Post
I find it's there:

RULE 21 REFUSAL OF TRANSPORT

UA shall have the right to refuse to transport or shall have the right to remove from the aircraft at any point, any Passenger for the following reasons:

C. Force Majeure and Other Unforeseeable Conditions – Whenever such action is necessary or advisable by reason of weather or other conditions beyond UA’s control including, but not limited to, acts of God, force majeure, strikes, civil commotions, embargoes, wars, hostilities, terrorist activities, or disturbances, whether actual, threatened, or reported.
As you can see from that list, all the items mentioned (with the exception of weather, which is why it's included separately) are of an extreme nature. The 'other unforeseeable conditions' must also be of this extreme nature.

Moving crew around, something that is part of running an airline, is not extreme. And it is foreseeable. That section of the CoC is not applicable here (or UA would have tried to use it).
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Old Apr 16, 17, 8:58 pm
  #6035  
 
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This must be difficult for airlines and especially high paying elite fliers to swollow.

But consider this...

Airlines say that they overbook because some people never show up.

These are pax with flexible or refundable tickets.

Pax with non-refundable tickets have already made commitment. Their seats are paid for whether they come or not and hence airlines can not complain about lost revenue because of them not showing up.

So how about making regulations prohibiting IDB of anyone with non-refundable tickets? (let them volunteer for VBD if they want)
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Old Apr 16, 17, 9:02 pm
  #6036  
 
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Originally Posted by sw3 View Post
I find it's there:

RULE 21 REFUSAL OF TRANSPORT

UA shall have the right to refuse to transport or shall have the right to remove from the aircraft at any point, any Passenger for the following reasons:

C. Force Majeure and Other Unforeseeable Conditions – Whenever such action is necessary or advisable by reason of weather or other conditions beyond UA’s control including, but not limited to, acts of God, force majeure, strikes, civil commotions, embargoes, wars, hostilities, terrorist activities, or disturbances, whether actual, threatened, or reported.
No, Trans State not having enough employees for a flight in the morning out of one city is not a "Force Majeure" event for a Republic flight out of Chicago. It in no way, shape, or form prevents the fulfillment of the contracted transportation.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 16, 17 at 9:08 pm Reason: Discuss the issues, not the poster(s)
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Old Apr 16, 17, 9:07 pm
  #6037  
 
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Originally Posted by George Purcell View Post
No, Trans State not having enough employees for a flight in the morning out of one city is not a "Force Majeure" event for a Republic flight out of Chicago. It in no way, shape, or form prevents the fulfillment of the contracted transportation.
OK, to illustrate even more strongly the hollowness of the argument we're refuting, let's pretend that what you just pointed out isn't true.

Let's pretend that UA's moving crew around HAD to be done, and let's ask if every link in the chain of events that led to Dr. Dao's ejection (and let's pretend it was nonviolent) was beyond the airline's control.

And let's ask ourselves, what force majeure kept the airline from increasing the VDB offer until they got 4 seats?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 16, 17 at 9:08 pm Reason: Quote updated to reflect Moderator edit
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Old Apr 16, 17, 9:17 pm
  #6038  
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Originally Posted by reamworks View Post
It's going to be interesting how they'll implement their "we'll never IDB you once you're seated" policy for various fringe cases that arise.

Three examples, all of which happened to me.
Here's another one.

Somebody dies unexpectedly in city A and is an organ donor. There's a compatible recipient in city B high in the waitlist. There's a flight from city B to city A and the relevant medical team contacts the airline. The flight has no available seats and is already boarding. They can't find a private plane and pilot that could take them right now. This flight could take the organ recipient, his doctor and a family member right now. They can make it to the airport in a very short time but there are no available seats in the flight. The next flight leaves in an hour. What should the airline do?

(Make it a transplant surgeon instead of recipient if you wish.)

I'd rather let airlines have leeway to decide on when it's really urgent and necessary to DB at any moment including while taxiing and including turning back the plane after departure, instead of absolutely blocking them from doing this for any reasons, or themselves self-blocking from doing this via the COC. Obviously there should be some reasonable criteria such as directly saving someone's life or inconveniencing less passengers rather than more, and there should be compensation for the DBd passengers.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 9:23 pm
  #6039  
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I think this is getting way off topic with all these analogies. Organ donors?
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Old Apr 16, 17, 9:26 pm
  #6040  
 
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Originally Posted by Carl Johnson View Post
And let's ask ourselves, what force majeure kept the airline from increasing the VDB offer until they got 4 seats?
The ability to increase the offer prevents the situation from being beyond United's control, and one of the several reasons why force majeure will not likely apply here.

Over the last 25 years airlines have dragged the weather excuse into the force majuere arena, even for normal weather disruptions that airlines should prepare for. 25 to 45 years ago it was normal for the airline to pay for the hotel & re-route on another carrier without hesitation.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 9:40 pm
  #6041  
 
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Originally Posted by sw3 View Post
[Edited:] Here's another one. Somebody dies unexpectedly in city A and is an organ donor. ... The next flight leaves in an hour. What should the airline do? (Make it a transplant surgeon instead of recipient if you wish.) I'd rather let airlines have leeway to decide on when it's really urgent and necessary to DB at any moment including while taxiing and including turning back the plane after departure, instead of absolutely blocking them from doing this for any reasons, or themselves self-blocking from doing this via the COC. ... .
Consider this: It's flight 3411, but the person the airline wants to IDB is the organ donor or surgeon. They refuse to disembark and continue to talk like the self-entitled jerks they are, rather than give way for the flight crew allegedly needed the next morning. Should mall security be called and beat them to a pulp? A FA/GA/LEO has spoken and MUST BE OBEYED!

One can make up any scenario you want, but that's not what happened on 3411. There was a plane full of people who all had their own valid reasons for wanting to be in Louisville in a couple of hours. United had its reasons for wanting to displace four of these people, and its upper limit before calling in security to drag people out was $800 in United funny money. If the GA had announced there was an organ donor who needed to get on board and asked (asked!) for someone to disembark, reactions undoubtedly would have been different.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 9:42 pm
  #6042  
 
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Originally Posted by Baze View Post
I think this is getting way off topic with all these analogies. Organ donors?
Agreed.

I think one or two times many years ago I saw a case with the organs being specially carried on to the plane in a specially marked container. I do recall the plane being delayed a few minutes but the arrival was pretty much on time.

The recipient is normally close to where the transplant will occur.

You just IDB'd a person on their way to see their dying father who just had a stroke and who was planning to attends his sister's funeral the next morning, and the mother just had a heart attack at the hospital, and the IDB passenger's brother who has only one kidney needs the IDB passenger's kidney because that stress at the hospital put him into renal failure. Maybe Dr. Dao had to assist on some organ donor cases.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 10:05 pm
  #6043  
 
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Originally Posted by sw3 View Post
Here's another one.

Somebody dies unexpectedly in city A and is an organ donor. There's a compatible recipient in city B high in the waitlist. There's a flight from city B to city A and the relevant medical team contacts the airline. The flight has no available seats and is already boarding. They can't find a private plane and pilot that could take them right now. This flight could take the organ recipient, his doctor and a family member right now. They can make it to the airport in a very short time but there are no available seats in the flight. The next flight leaves in an hour. What should the airline do?

(Make it a transplant surgeon instead of recipient if you wish.)

I'd rather let airlines have leeway to decide on when it's really urgent and necessary to DB at any moment including while taxiing and including turning back the plane after departure, instead of absolutely blocking them from doing this for any reasons, or themselves self-blocking from doing this via the COC. Obviously there should be some reasonable criteria such as directly saving someone's life or inconveniencing less passengers rather than more, and there should be compensation for the DBd passengers.
So, you are saying the airlines would help such people? I don't believe that is the case. Can you find an example in which that is the case?
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Old Apr 16, 17, 11:15 pm
  #6044  
 
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Originally Posted by reamworks View Post
It's going to be interesting how they'll implement their "we'll never IDB you once you're seated" policy for various fringe cases that arise.
The simple way is to just ask everyone on the plane to submit a bid for the lowest price they'll get off the plane for. The CEO who needs to close a $10 million business deal? He'll probably bid $10 million, at least. A doctor who needs to see patients? His bid is probably over $1 million as well. But the retired person coming back from a trip overseas? The college student who is flying to see a friend? Maybe she has a nice dinner scheduled but figures that she'd be happy if the airline simply paid for her trip, and bids $1000, knowing full well that if she bids too high, someone else could bid lower and she'd get nothing. Point is, everyone has a price that he or she will get off the plane for, and someone's price will be lowest. So pick the low bidder and be done with it.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 11:26 pm
  #6045  
 
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Originally Posted by sw3 View Post
Here's another one.

Somebody dies unexpectedly in city A and is an organ donor. There's a compatible recipient in city B high in the waitlist. There's a flight from city B to city A and the relevant medical team contacts the airline. The flight has no available seats and is already boarding. They can't find a private plane and pilot that could take them right now. This flight could take the organ recipient, his doctor and a family member right now. They can make it to the airport in a very short time but there are no available seats in the flight. The next flight leaves in an hour. What should the airline do?

(Make it a transplant surgeon instead of recipient if you wish.)

I'd rather let airlines have leeway to decide on when it's really urgent and necessary to DB at any moment including while taxiing and including turning back the plane after departure, instead of absolutely blocking them from doing this for any reasons, or themselves self-blocking from doing this via the COC. Obviously there should be some reasonable criteria such as directly saving someone's life or inconveniencing less passengers rather than more, and there should be compensation for the DBd passengers.
What would be the passenger response to an announcement describing the situation and asking for volunteers? What would be the lowest passenger bid for a VDB, do you think?
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