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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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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, 2:18 pm
  #6106  
 
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
... I was on an AA flight last summer where there was a woman clearly under the influence of some controlled substance (she reeked of booze) all through boarding she was screaming at the crew, blocking the aisle, etc. Finally the Captain asked her to leave, then she buckled herself in. A few minutes later LEO's came on board and eventually had to carry her off the plane. .... She was put into a squad car on the tarmac after being taken off the plane.

Not every forced removal is comparable to what happened in this case.
Apologies if I missed this from the >6,000 previous posts, but how did Dr. Dao manage to run back on to the plane? Like CDTRaveler, the (two) times I've been on flights when LEOs had to extract a pax, they were taken down to the tarmac and put into a squad car. From what is implied in the Dao coverage that I've read, he was extracted up the jetbridge and back into the terminal and then ran back onto the aircraft (?). That would seem problematic on a number of fronts. If you have someone who is an alleged security risk, the last place you should extract them to is back into the sterile area of the terminal, I would think.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 2:51 pm
  #6107  
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Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
Apologies if I missed this from the >6,000 previous posts, but how did Dr. Dao manage to run back on to the plane? Like CDTRaveler, the (two) times I've been on flights when LEOs had to extract a pax, they were taken down to the tarmac and put into a squad car. From what is implied in the Dao coverage that I've read, he was extracted up the jetbridge and back into the terminal and then ran back onto the aircraft (?). That would seem problematic on a number of fronts. If you have someone who is an alleged security risk, the last place you should extract them to is back into the sterile area of the terminal, I would think.
They might have moved him into the terminal to get medical attention more easily/quickly.....or maybe he escaped from the three security guards in the jetway. If they realized that there was some change of certain injuries, for instance to the spine or neck, it probably wouldn't have been wise to try to take him down the stairs onto the tarmac, which is also supposed to be a secure part of the airport.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 3:25 pm
  #6108  
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
QUESTION:

Does anyone know whether pilots are trained on their airline's CoC and more generally, basics of aviation law and regulations, including DOT rules for VDB and IDB?
FWIW you cannot even get a PPL without reasonable knowledge of the "basics of aviation law and regulations": in the UK, you can't even fly solo (way before getting your PPL) without passing the Air Law exam. I assume it's reasonable that the FAA applies similar restrictions.

A CPL and ATPL holder will have significantly more in-depth treatise, and will be well trained in company procedure purely from necessity to hold their position. However, pilots are not lawyers, and, rather like chefs, are more interested in the technicalities of getting from A to B than making sure the diners' glasses are topped up. Irrespective I would have hoped the GA and cabin crew would have been liasing directly with the captain and/or FO on the situation, as that could likely (and did) directly impact their flight plans.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 3:26 pm
  #6109  
 
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Here is a snippet from a MSN Money section article which looks to be from the WSJ article from yesterday...

"Last Sunday evening, Republic Airways Holdings Inc., the regional airline operating the flight for United, asked an hour before departure for four of its crew members to take the place of passengers, according to a person familiar with the matter. The crew was needed the next day at the flight’s destination in Louisville, Ky., the person said. They had been delayed by a mechanical problem earlier. United agreed, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

But the two pilots and two flight attendants didn’t arrive at the gate until a few minutes before departure, according to United’s pilots union. All the passengers were already seated.

United’s gate agents went on board to offer compensation to customers who would agree to fly later, a negotiation that normally takes place at the gate. There are rules for this process, known as “denied boarding.” No one took their top offer, $800 plus a hotel voucher.

Instead of offering more, agents used a computer program, as dictated by the rules, to pick fliers of the least value to the airline based on factors like ticket price paid and frequent-flier status, according to people familiar with the matter.

Three obliged, but Dr. Dao, who was flying with his wife on a trip from California, refused. So the agents, following the rules, called for law enforcement."
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Old Apr 17, 17, 3:37 pm
  #6110  
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I'm not asking whether UA GAs and pilots foillow their CoC. I'm asking whether they're trained about it.
As someone who knows many airline staff across multiple airlines, my take on the situation is outside the LEGAL department for each airline, and maybe a couple very senior staff within PR/Communication/Customer Relations, 99% of front line staff, including pilots, do NOT know the CoC.

Many times, internal policies do not accurately reflect Coc and/or tariffs.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 3:54 pm
  #6111  
 
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So presumably, the GAs knew that they needed 4 seats BEFORE boarding even started. So there is literally no excuse to not have settled this at the gate, prior to boarding. Just unbelievable. I'm not sure if that timeline had been posted before. I'm sure UA would've preferred it if the request for those seats was truly last-minute, and not one hour prior to departure.

Last edited by no1cub17; Apr 17, 17 at 4:01 pm
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Old Apr 17, 17, 4:07 pm
  #6112  
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Originally Posted by no1cub17 View Post
So presumably, the GAs knew that they needed 4 seats BEFORE boarding even started. So there is literally no excuse to not have settled this at the gate, prior to boarding.
On the contrary -- all the evidence suggests the four "must ride" crew showed up at the gate when boarding was complete, or nearly so.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 4:13 pm
  #6113  
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Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
Apologies if I missed this from the >6,000 previous posts, but how did Dr. Dao manage to run back on to the plane? Like CDTRaveler, the (two) times I've been on flights when LEOs had to extract a pax, they were taken down to the tarmac and put into a squad car. From what is implied in the Dao coverage that I've read, he was extracted up the jetbridge and back into the terminal and then ran back onto the aircraft (?). That would seem problematic on a number of fronts. If you have someone who is an alleged security risk, the last place you should extract them to is back into the sterile area of the terminal, I would think.
It seems that first he agreed with the request, went out of the plane,
[speculation on] disagreed with the offer [speculation off],
came back to his seat, then the LEOs arrived and removed him from his seat.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 4:32 pm
  #6114  
 
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
On the contrary -- all the evidence suggests the four "must ride" crew showed up at the gate when boarding was complete, or nearly so.
Not saying they are right, but look at the quote:

"Last Sunday evening, Republic Airways Holdings Inc., the regional airline operating the flight for United, asked an hour before departure for four of its crew members to take the place of passengers, according to a person familiar with the matter. "
Yes, they showed up after boarding was complete, but had put in the request 1 hour before hand. Oddly, the change Oscar made that crews must reserve 1 hour before hand, would NOT have changed this situation!
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Old Apr 17, 17, 4:35 pm
  #6115  
 
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Originally Posted by nli007 View Post
As someone who knows many airline staff across multiple airlines, my take on the situation is outside the LEGAL department for each airline, and maybe a couple very senior staff within PR/Communication/Customer Relations, 99% of front line staff, including pilots, do NOT know the CoC.

Many times, internal policies do not accurately reflect Coc and/or tariffs.
This is by no means uncommon. Don't think people working for tech companies know the EULAs for their products very well either. It's not something staff are encouraged to learn about either. Staff are given their procedures and that's that.

The last thing you want is your frontline staff thinking they're experts on your legal agreements and then get dragged into legal arguments with customers (who could be trained lawyers).
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Old Apr 17, 17, 5:10 pm
  #6116  
 
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Originally Posted by Silver Fox View Post
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.
Yes, somehow I had understood that they had to make room for crew, deadheading or whatever, which wasn't the case. But it shows that this goes on all the time, with less dire consequences, whether it is right or wrong. If you want some similarity, then they had already boarded, as in the UA incident. Now, I thought what had happened in this respect was unique (being asked to leave the plane having already boarded), but apparently not.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 5:29 pm
  #6117  
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Originally Posted by no1cub17 View Post
So presumably, the GAs knew that they needed 4 seats BEFORE boarding even started. So there is literally no excuse to not have settled this at the gate, prior to boarding. Just unbelievable. I'm not sure if that timeline had been posted before. I'm sure UA would've preferred it if the request for those seats was truly last-minute, and not one hour prior to departure.
What are GAs supposed to do when they have "must ride" "reservations" but the must ride crew hasn't yet appeared at the gate?

To me, common sense would say to announce a request for volunteers and find four before boarding starts, but tell they that you're not sure whether their seats will be needed so you're not processing the rebookings and comp just yet. Keep the volunteers' boarding passes and don't reassign their seats. Wait for the positive space crew as late as possible and (I guess) contact OPS to ask whether you should delay the flight in order to wait for the crew to appear.

Did the GAs (plural according to the Republic statement, which curiously doesn't say that they're UA GAs) not notice that four must rides had been added to the flight? Did they call for help when they became aware of the problem? [I'm asking because there were earlier reports of a supervisor being on the plane when the attempt to get VDBs and then doing IDBs on board was done. Maybe it was a GA first line supervisor who was there from the beginning?]

The statement seems to say that it was a Republic crew getting onto the Republic flight, and not the Trans State crew sent to replace the crew stuck in DEN with the MX delay. Now I wonder which Republic flight crew was going to arrive late into SDF and therefore required the fresh crew for an early morning Republic departure. (which one?)

Bottom line now seems to be that it was a Republic onto Republic must ride "booking" doing with UA's permission. However, somehow the UA GAs either didn't get the message or ignored it until all the revenue passengers had boarded.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 5:42 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
What are GAs supposed to do when they have "must ride" "reservations" but the must ride crew hasn't yet appeared at the gate?

To me, common sense would say to announce a request for volunteers and find four before boarding starts, but tell they that you're not sure whether their seats will be needed so you're not processing the rebookings and comp just yet. Keep the volunteers' boarding passes and don't reassign their seats. Wait for the positive space crew as late as possible and (I guess) contact OPS to ask whether you should delay the flight in order to wait for the crew to appear.

Did the GAs (plural according to the Republic statement, which curiously doesn't say that they're UA GAs) not notice that four must rides had been added to the flight? Did they call for help when they became aware of the problem? [I'm asking because there were earlier reports of a supervisor being on the plane when the attempt to get VDBs and then doing IDBs on board was done. Maybe it was a GA first line supervisor who was there from the beginning?]

The statement seems to say that it was a Republic crew getting onto the Republic flight, and not the Trans State crew sent to replace the crew stuck in DEN with the MX delay. Now I wonder which Republic flight crew was going to arrive late into SDF and therefore required the fresh crew for an early morning Republic departure. (which one?)

Bottom line now seems to be that it was a Republic onto Republic must ride "booking" doing with UA's permission. However, somehow the UA GAs either didn't get the message or ignored it until all the revenue passengers had boarded.
I don't think they knew before boarding started. Weather changes all the time. Mechanicals happen all the time. Something happened w the crew that was supposed to be there and at the last minute, they couldn't. So ops made the decision to send this crew instead.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 6:20 pm
  #6119  
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Originally Posted by deskover54 View Post
I don't think they knew before boarding started. Weather changes all the time. Mechanicals happen all the time. Something happened w the crew that was supposed to be there and at the last minute, they couldn't. So ops made the decision to send this crew instead.
NO, the new information in the statement from Republic is that the crew was "booked" on the flight with must fly status an hour before the scheduled departure time. This was well before boarding started. The UA GA(s) should have known about the need for four seats......and the new highly publicized UA rule about the one hour deadline for must fly crew to be added to a flight would have no impact on what happened on UA 3411
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Old Apr 17, 17, 6:38 pm
  #6120  
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Originally Posted by HMO View Post
It seems that first he agreed with the request, went out of the plane,
[speculation on] disagreed with the offer [speculation off],
came back to his seat, then the LEOs arrived and removed him from his seat.
No, that is not the sequence of events.
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