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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, 11:40 pm
  #6046  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
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Originally Posted by Carl Johnson View Post
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?
On a one-hour flight?

$400 in cash and a later flight. Not UA's funny money.

If it's the last flight of the evening, $800 in cash, an AM flight tomorrow, and hotel.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 11:44 pm
  #6047  
 
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That gets back to "which passenger is more important than the other."

Say Dao wasn't a Dr, but instead was flying on an emergency ticket to see his dying father on life support. Or his wife's funeral. Or he is a doctor and has surgeries the following day he must attend to. Or maybe he works at a job where they are not lenient and he will certainly be penalized, if not fired, if he doesn't show up for work on Monday for his shift. What if he is a Congressman who has an important vote in the morning? What if he is a professor and has a speech to give at a conference in front of 1,000 people in the morning?

Oh but the computer still chose them so tough luck suck it up.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 11:46 pm
  #6048  
 
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Originally Posted by Carl Johnson View Post
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?
In the situation where you quoted an organ transplant guy needing a seat or whatever, I'm sure people would give up their seat for free. People aren't animals.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 11:59 pm
  #6049  
 
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Originally Posted by warrenw View Post
That gets back to "which passenger is more important than the other."

Say Dao wasn't a Dr, but instead was flying on an emergency ticket to see his dying father on life support. Or his wife's funeral. Or he is a doctor and has surgeries the following day he must attend to. Or maybe he works at a job where they are not lenient and he will certainly be penalized, if not fired, if he doesn't show up for work on Monday for his shift. What if he is a Congressman who has an important vote in the morning? What if he is a professor and has a speech to give at a conference in front of 1,000 people in the morning?

Oh but the computer still chose them so tough luck suck it up.
Oh I bet if any Congressman was ever fortunate enough to fly Y on UA, change pertaining to FAA passenger rights guidelines would come very quickly.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 3:31 am
  #6050  
 
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In a past situation, I believe United cabin crew and Port Authority Police handled the situation much better.
Our flight from Houston to Amsterdam was diverted to Newark to offload an unruly lady passenger. We were delayed by five hours because of that incidence.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip...erted-ewr.html


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Old Apr 17, 17, 3:55 am
  #6051  
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Originally Posted by warakorn View Post
In a past situation, I believe United cabin crew and Port Authority Police handled the situation much better.
Our flight from Houston to Amsterdam was diverted to Newark to offload an unruly lady passenger. We were delayed by five hours because of that incidence.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip...erted-ewr.html

Diverted due to unruly pax - United Polaris Business Houston - Newark Boeing 777-200ER - YouTube

A 5 hour delay is brutal. In or out of business class.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 4:04 am
  #6052  
 
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Originally Posted by desi View Post
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)
Non-refundable tickets can be changed at the last minute, so the airline can still have an empty seat and most of the liability deferred. True, the airline would in effect receive the change fee. Don't know about others, but we would not consider purchasing refundable tickets since it is much cheaper to buy non-refundable tickets and change them when necessary.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 4:29 am
  #6053  
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Originally Posted by AlanInDC View Post
Non-refundable tickets can be changed at the last minute, so the airline can still have an empty seat and most of the liability deferred. True, the airline would in effect receive the change fee. Don't know about others, but we would not consider purchasing refundable tickets since it is much cheaper to buy non-refundable tickets and change them when necessary.

I understand what Desi is talking about where where he/she is coming from.


But this is part of the risk of doing business (i.e. passengers changing travel dates).

Don't airlines already charge penalties for changing flight dates (asian airliners do)?

Of course, this would depend on the category of ticket purchased etc etc
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Old Apr 17, 17, 5:15 am
  #6054  
 
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Originally Posted by GrokGrok View Post
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
The analogies are getting more and more bizarre. An organ donor for an urgent transplant is generally either brain dead in an intensive care unit or dying in hospital and certainly would not be found talking on a United plane. Living donors are rare and the process to do a living donor transplant takes few months to set up and certainly wouldn't be down to a donor flying somewhere with few hours to spare. If a transplant surgeon was on the plane and needs to be somewhere to perform a life-saving transplant be sure he or she will not be deplaned and the airline will do all they can to get the aircraft to the destination on time (and yes there are precedents for the latter).
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Old Apr 17, 17, 5:21 am
  #6055  
 
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Originally Posted by warrenw View Post
In the situation where you quoted an organ transplant guy needing a seat or whatever, I'm sure people would give up their seat for free. People aren't animals.
Exactly. Even the elaborate, made-up scenario created specifically as justification for IDB, doesn't actually support the argument in favor of IDB.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 5:24 am
  #6056  
 
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Originally Posted by BF263533 View Post
"1984 by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party. Life in the Oceania province of Airstrip One to a supposed collective greater good." (from understanding Politics – Study Guide) emphasis added

The comments about the "greater good" in this thread take me back to a political theory course that I took around 1972. The back and forth banter in this thread could be used as assigned readings in college courses in several different disciplines.
Asking for the relevance of specific comments is fair. However, rather than leap to the idea that people maket them because they are trying to institute or back an oppressive totalitarian regime, perhaps we should apply Occam's Razor and come up with a less oppressive opinion of one's fellow posters.

The reason people discuss it is because it has to be considered, even if ultimately rejected, in any specific case.

There are examples of greater good that are, in fact, good - not saying they apply in this case, but the point is, they do exist.

- The medical system of triage in the event of limited resources. The idea is to apportion the available resources first to those who both need it urgently, and who will be most likely to benefit from it (i.e they don't have a risk of dying no matter what.)

- The greater good for overbooking was deemed to be higher revenue obtained without raising ticket prices. Ticket prices have not kept pace with inflation. Yes, this is a topic worthy of discussion, but do not assume that people necessarily want a return to higher fares.

- Business class flyers are rarely bumped out of the plane entirely but merely downgraded into a lower class.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 5:26 am
  #6057  
 
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Originally Posted by STS-134 View Post
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.
I know it was mentioned earlier that Delta does this, but how do they account for the time of the delay? That UA was only offering $800 in vouchers for a 22 hour delay and no help to get the person home via car which shouldn't have been that difficult is ridiculous.

Also not sure if it was discussed (which I'm sure it was), has Oscar's statement saying $1000 was offered been criticized when it was only $800 in vouchers?

At first I was shocked that no one would take the offer since it would have been relatively easy to just drive, but because it was vouchers I can see why no one took it because nothing to cover a rental car was being offered. Honestly I bet $600 or so in cash likely would have done it. Probably $200 or so for a one-way car rental (including gas) and you've got $400 in your pocket for being home 2-3 hours later. There had to be people on the plane that had that type of flexibility.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 5:32 am
  #6058  
 
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OK, what about this. Suppose there is a tour group of youthful pool players on the airplane, as well as members of a boys' band. The band boards the airplane, and once boarded they consist of 75 trombones with 110 cornets close at hand. One trombone short, with all confirmed passengers boarded and no empty seats. One trombone is on standby, and doesn't clear. Shouldn't the airline be entitled to re-accommodate one of the pool players, in order to make room for a 76th trombone?

Last edited by Carl Johnson; Apr 17, 17 at 5:37 am
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Old Apr 17, 17, 5:36 am
  #6059  
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Originally Posted by Carl Johnson View Post
OK, what about this. Suppose there is a tour group of youthful pool players on the airplane, as well as members of a boys' band. The band boards the airplane, and once boarded they consist of 75 trombones with 110 cornets close at hand. One trombone short. Shouldn't the airline be entitled to re-accommodate one of the pool players, in order to make room for a 76th trombone?
LOL, you've just sent a lot of people to Google trying to figure this one out.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 5:50 am
  #6060  
 
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Originally Posted by warrenw View Post
In the situation where you quoted an organ transplant guy needing a seat or whatever, I'm sure people would give up their seat for free. People aren't animals.
Exactly. I travel every week for work. On a Thursday, I want to be home and won't accept $500 UA funny money to stay an extra night or even an extra few hours. Would rather be home. But if someone REALLY needed the seat for a true heartbreaking emergency, I would be willing to give it up for free and spend the extra night away from home (I would take whatever I could get from United but that wouldn't be the main consideration at that point).
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