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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 17, 17, 7:59 am
  #6076  
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I interpreted part of the UA pilot union's statement to imply that the Republic pilots were not doing their jobs appropriately during the incident. This could mean that the pilot in charge had some responsibility or should have been involved in the decision making.
I find it helpful to consider the motivation of the party that issues the release.

Notice the Pilot's Union statement was silent on the Gate Agent aspect of the incident. A cynical person might infer that they intentionally omitted the culpability of fellow union member's actions in favor of attempting to place blame on United and Out-sourced vendors.

I am a strong support of organized labor, but their statement disappointed me just as much as United's statements.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 8:06 am
  #6077  
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Me too, but I also would have hoped that evidence would have been processed from the aircraft before all the blood was cleaned. That happened because UA or Republic ordered it. Of course, preserving the aircraft for evidence probably have meant that the flight to SDF would be cancelled unless Republic (or UA or some other UA contractor, but I doubt that the operator could be changed on short notice, especially on a Sunday evening) had a spare aircraft parked at ORD and ready to go.
That is a good point. So, I guess it would be hard for them to either charge or prove-innocence for the airport security guys. I wonder if Dao's attorney wanted to play hardball, can they still ask that plane be taken out of service so they can get some serious testing done for the leftover blood?
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Old Apr 17, 17, 8:10 am
  #6078  
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Originally Posted by username View Post
That is a good point. So, I guess it would be hard for them to either charge or prove-innocence for the airport security guys. I wonder if Dao's attorney wanted to play hardball, can they still ask that plane be taken out of service so they can get some serious testing done for the leftover blood?
That would be fun. Could the aircraft be held as evidence until any trial is concluded? Maybe some lawyer will want jury members to tour the aircraft in person.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 8:13 am
  #6079  
 
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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)
Airlines make a fundamental calculation, based on mountains of data: How many seats do we expect to go undemanded on this flight? If that number is, say 20, then they might sell at additional 20 seats. But then if it turns out to be 18, then two who bought the ticket are now bumped. If it turns out to be 22, then a couple of seats might go empty, which would not be the end of the world.

So, it's really simple: When they have filled up the seats, sell their overbook tickets without seat assignments as standby. "Dear passenger, we will sell you this ticket, but this is a full flight and we may not be able to accommodate you. Therefore, please wait for standby passengers to be cleared to received your seat assignment. If we are unable to clear you, we will rebook you on the next available flight." See? Now, it's voluntary, and it's transparent. I do not buy tickets for which I cannot get a seat assignment, because when I travel, I don't have flexibility. But if I'm looking for a cheap fare for vacation and do have flexibility, then I'll take that risk if the fare is cheap enough. Likewise, if I buy at the last minute, I realize that I will probably be flying standby, no matter how much I pay.

Only assign one person to a seat. The current system, in essence, sells a seat assignment to two people, to persuade them that there is availability in an actual seat so they can charge more for the ticket. That is fundamentally deceptive, and we all know it.

If there is a safety issue or an equipment change or whatever, then the burden of politeness is on the airline even more than usual. If the passenger is not merely asserting his valid rights but is posing a danger to the other passengers and crew, then deal with that using (proper) law enforcement. There is a reason the other removal videos posted in this thread did not go viral when they first appeared.

But it must be emphasized that none of the above applied in this case. The flight was not oversold. The additional four passengers were put in that position because of the limitation on staff depth maintained by their carrier.

How would things have been different if the gate agent had come on board and said:

"Folks, United Airlines has a problem. We have a sudden need to move four crew members on this flight, but we don't have the seats. We are therefore going to buy back seats from four willing sellers who can wait to fly tomorrow afternoon or take a different route home. In addition, we will provide a hotel voucher and meal vouchers for tonight. When I reach an amount you would like to be paid for your seat, in ticket vouchers that can be used for any ticket to any location United or one of its code-share partners flies, ring your call button. When I get four, we'll stop. Okay, how about $800? Anyone? No? Okay, how about $1000? Yes, thank you. And you. No more? Okay, $1200? Thanks. Yes, thanks. Okay, folks, we have our four--thank you very much and sorry for the inconvenience. Those who accepted our offer, please collect your personal belongings and follow me."

And so on until the four tickets have been bought back. This could have been done in five minutes and every desired outcome would have been attained: The four crew members would have been accommodated, those who elected to wait until the next day will think they got a deal, and the passengers who lacked that flexibility would get home on time.

Last edited by Rdenney; Apr 17, 17 at 8:28 am
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Old Apr 17, 17, 8:31 am
  #6080  
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I think this thread has reached critical mass now and could easily be closed.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 8:37 am
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Looks like there was a similar incident on easyJet the day after the UNITED incident :

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39620088

My take is that I believe airline service, while it cannot return to the quality of the good old days, should be maintained at a certain level. The lower it drops, the more passengers are nickel and dimed, the more unfriendly the service and crew, the more you will have situations where the passengers are simply hostile towards all aspects of the airline, be it staff or procedures. And more situations like this will happen. Something has to change following this and I hope it will be an improvement in the whole experience.

I am still struggling to read this interesting thread, back on p.315, but will do my best to catch up.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 8:49 am
  #6082  
 
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Yes. Otherwise the entire parade is hosed. Who's gonna lead it?
The bass?
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Old Apr 17, 17, 8:50 am
  #6083  
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Originally Posted by Concerto View Post
Looks like there was a similar incident on easyJet the day after the UNITED incident :

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39620088

My take is that I believe airline service, while it cannot return to the quality of the good old days, should be maintained at a certain level. The lower it drops, the more passengers are nickel and dimed, the more unfriendly the service and crew, the more you will have situations where the passengers are simply hostile towards all aspects of the airline, be it staff or procedures. And more situations like this will happen. Something has to change following this and I hope it will be an improvement in the whole experience.

I am still struggling to read this interesting thread, back on p.315, but will do my best to catch up.
Similar? In the report can you show me where they were dragged out? It is not similar.

This thread should be closed, it has gone beyond its meaningful existence now.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 9:14 am
  #6084  
 
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Leave the thread open.

We can discuss the Apr 30 report that Oscar promised, as well as any resulting legal action. My guess is that the thread will go on for another 100 pages over the next year.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 9:23 am
  #6085  
 
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Originally Posted by leungy18 View Post
Leave the thread open.

We can discuss the Apr 30 report that Oscar promised, as well as any resulting legal action. My guess is that the thread will go on for another 100 pages over the next year.
George Orwell would suggest closing this thread because in the province of Airstrip One it only leads to "thought crimes," and stopping the discussion would promote the "greater good."

See Orwell's book "1984."

Big Brother is watching!

Closing the thread now would be a strangely ironic unfitting end and somewhat of a parody to the United IDB situation. IDB thread was IDB'd, and de-boarded.

Last edited by BF263533; Apr 17, 17 at 9:57 am Reason: Add Big Brother Comment & parody comment & "strangely ironic un.".
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Old Apr 17, 17, 9:30 am
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Originally Posted by BF263533 View Post
George Orwell would suggest closing this thread because in the province of Airstrip One it only leads to "thought crimes," and stopping the discussion would promote the "greater good."

See Orwell's book "1984."
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Old Apr 17, 17, 9:38 am
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Originally Posted by Concerto View Post
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39620088

[...]

Something has to change following this and I hope it will be an improvement in the whole experience.
I'm starting to think that EU261/2004 needs to be amended in the sense of adding sanctions for airlines that fail to communicate passenger rights and fail to apply the rules correctly (especially for rebooking passengers onto the very next available flight).

U2 telling customers nothing about their rights, despite being forced to do so and U2 telling customers that the next flight is in 4 days even though U2 is obligated to put passengers on the first flight out (even if that's with a different airline) shows how these rights are valued. Sure article 14 forces airlines to inform passengers, but doesn't provide any sanction if the airline doesn't comply with article 14.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 9:42 am
  #6088  
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Originally Posted by Silver Fox View Post

This thread should be closed, it has gone beyond its meaningful existence now.
I'm sure United management agrees with you! :-)

There will be new information coming up in this case, from dr. Dao's lawyer, hopefully about the still anonymous GA and "rent-a-cops", and from United on April 30. There still are many unknowns, such as what information exactly was given from the GA to the "police", and what did the flight crew do. Seeing that the respective unions probably will have a say about their competing unions, new information would come there as well.

Instead of making new threads for all of the above, it is much better to have this one thread containing all information. That is probably the reason for the Wiki.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 10:17 am
  #6089  
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Originally Posted by warrenw View Post
Yup. People are inherently good people, and a plane of 50-100 people, there will be at least a few people willing to give up their seat for a serious situation regardless of monetary gain.
But not if they think someone else will volunteer
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Old Apr 17, 17, 10:29 am
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Originally Posted by rufflesinc View Post
But not if they think someone else will volunteer
If the compensation is good enough, someone will jump in before that, and they might be inclined to take the VDB offer before someone else does.
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