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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 20, 17, 2:32 pm
  #6376  
 
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I don't know if this has been raised or not. I was on a United flight from (EDIT - I am taking this out) yesterday. The FA's were talking in the front about the incident. One of them told the other that the reason the reason they boarded the passengers first and then needed to remove four was because someone didn't notify the GA.

Basically they boarded the aircraft and two pilots and two FA's showed up afterwards, they had the right authorization but the FA would have had to look in "the notes" to find them and not on the list (I am trying my best to interpret company lingo into plain English).

So the GA then had boarded a full flight and now these four walk up. Neither the GA or the 4 employees were aware there was an issue until far too late. The problem was the due to the way the 4 employees were entered into the system. Whoever did it only entered it on a placeholder and not the actual manifest.

The GA then calls __________ (insert company term, I took it to mean headquarters or ground operations or logistics group) and is told these 4 employees do need to get onboard.

The GA is now stuck in the worst spot imaginable because its up to her to get people off. She goes on board and asks for volunteers. (engines start winding up so I'm hearing less of the story) The supervisor gets on and mistakenly thought they only had authorization up to $800, when in fact she had wiggle room.

We all see the video and what happens next.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 2:33 pm
  #6377  
 
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
Didn't he originate in LAX? The "I've been traveling for 24 hours" IMHO was just an excuse to try to pressure them to violate the established policy and to deflect removal to any other person. Either that, or that if he had taken the bump, he WOULD have been traveling for 24 hours as the protection was not until the next day, and his wording was poor (although that same thing as well would apply to any other person as the next confirm-able flight was the next day.) It was similar to the "I am a physician" statement, an attempt to say someone else, anyone else is less deserving than me to be removed, pick them. No one has a 24 hour journey time from their vacation in CA via this routing LAX-ORD-SDF without building a stopover in or significant irrops. People (on this thread) had speculated that he connected in from Asia, to get to that 24 hours, but from the facts that have been presented, he did not, he originated in LAX and any other flights added to increase his journey time are a rewriting of history rationalization to increase the perceived insult to the doctor.
What we don't know is where he started his trip. Did he have to drive a few hours to get to LAX was he coming off another airline? I don't know.

I am not certain what the established policy is. Has United every published the algorithm it uses to make this decision?
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Old Apr 20, 17, 2:57 pm
  #6378  
 
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
They called the police, and you're not responsible for the actions of the police if you called them (assuming you told them the truth).
They did not call the police. They called the security guards that work in the airport. The airport administrators have testified they were not allowed to wear the "police" branded jackets etc, but they did.

No different that that a store in the mall calling mall security. The store pays rent to the mall operator that includes covers this service. The airline pays rent to the airport operator and they provide some security guards.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 3:03 pm
  #6379  
 
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Originally Posted by Fiordland View Post
They did not call the police. They called the security guards that work in the airport. The airport administrators have testified they were not allowed to wear the "police" branded jackets etc, but they did.
WHAT???????

WHAT?????

WHAT?????

I am not a lawyer.
I do not play one on TV
I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night

But to me that is fairly close to impersonating a police officer. If they are not true law enforcement agents with the ability to make an arrest when a crime is committed they should not be wearing their little toy jackets.

Just so I am on the same page. Who signs these guys paychecks? What entity actually employs them. This vague police vs sorta police vs 2nd level of law enforcement vs security guards has not been explained to my satisfaction.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 3:11 pm
  #6380  
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Response to post #6374 :

You're forgetting a few.

In addition to the Dr. Dao, the GA (UA employee), the three aviation security guards, and Oscar (UA CEO), we have the following:

The pilot (Republic employee), who seems to have beeen hiding in the cockpit while everything was happening.

The manager (or supervisor) who boarded the flight. It's unclear what the manager/supervisor (apparently a UA employee) did or what he/she (I think it's a she) told the GA to do.

The four crew members (Republic or Trans State employees?)

Last edited by MSPeconomist; Apr 20, 17 at 3:16 pm
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Old Apr 20, 17, 3:11 pm
  #6381  
 
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Originally Posted by The smallest state View Post
WHAT???????

WHAT?????

WHAT?????

I am not a lawyer.
I do not play one on TV
I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night

But to me that is fairly close to impersonating a police officer. If they are not true law enforcement agents with the ability to make an arrest when a crime is committed they should not be wearing their little toy jackets.

Just so I am on the same page. Who signs these guys paychecks? What entity actually employs them. This vague police vs sorta police vs 2nd level of law enforcement vs security guards has not been explained to my satisfaction.
Yes, They work for the City of Chicago division that operates the two airports. There are several youtube videos of the airport management team answering questions before Chicago City Council members saying these guys are given an allowance to go buy their uniform and several months earlier they were all sent a memo saying they are not allowed to use the word "Police" but must use the word "Security".

Here is the youtube video that explains it (head of the airport answering alderman questions):

Last edited by Fiordland; Apr 20, 17 at 3:18 pm
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Old Apr 20, 17, 3:11 pm
  #6382  
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Originally Posted by The smallest state View Post
WHAT???????

WHAT?????

WHAT?????

I am not a lawyer.
I do not play one on TV
I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night

But to me that is fairly close to impersonating a police officer. If they are not true law enforcement agents with the ability to make an arrest when a crime is committed they should not be wearing their little toy jackets.

Just so I am on the same page. Who signs these guys paychecks? What entity actually employs them. This vague police vs sorta police vs 2nd level of law enforcement vs security guards has not been explained to my satisfaction.
City of Chicago Department of Aviation.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 3:18 pm
  #6383  
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Originally Posted by The smallest state View Post
I don't know if this has been raised or not. I was on a United flight from (EDIT - I am taking this out) yesterday. The FA's were talking in the front about the incident. One of them told the other that the reason the reason they boarded the passengers first and then needed to remove four was because someone didn't notify the GA.

Basically they boarded the aircraft and two pilots and two FA's showed up afterwards, they had the right authorization but the FA would have had to look in "the notes" to find them and not on the list (I am trying my best to interpret company lingo into plain English).

So the GA then had boarded a full flight and now these four walk up. Neither the GA or the 4 employees were aware there was an issue until far too late. The problem was the due to the way the 4 employees were entered into the system. Whoever did it only entered it on a placeholder and not the actual manifest.

The GA then calls __________ (insert company term, I took it to mean headquarters or ground operations or logistics group) and is told these 4 employees do need to get onboard.

The GA is now stuck in the worst spot imaginable because its up to her to get people off. She goes on board and asks for volunteers. (engines start winding up so I'm hearing less of the story) The supervisor gets on and mistakenly thought they only had authorization up to $800, when in fact she had wiggle room.

We all see the video and what happens next.
This is very interesting. I've been asking when the GA learned about the three must rides, given that later information seemed to indicate that they were "booked" onto the flight about 60 minutes before scheduled departure. Note that 60 minutes is the threshold for the new rule announced by Oscar.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 3:31 pm
  #6384  
 
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Originally Posted by Bear4Asian View Post
At Dr. Dao's lawyers press conference I recall Dr. Dao's daughter saying he had traveled from Asia.
100% false (not accusing of a lie, but your recollection)

From the entire press conference, posted here:
at 45:10, Wall Street Journal asks a question (none of the media had mics, so question can't be heard) but Crystal Pepper (his daughter) clearly states as I have recalled myself, that he was connecting in Chicago from a vacation in California. His 24 hour statement on the plane was a lie, and it is one that many here have transformed into some long journey from Asia. What motivated him to lie about the trip? I'm not throwing him under the bus (or dragging him off of it) but his actions were far from altruistic, he simply thought (IMHO) that he could pass his misfortune onto another by coming up with excuses. What is true, what is not true, we can't tell, either he was lying to avoid being "the one", or his calm daughter in a press conference where she knew people and media were all recording was lying. Both statements cannot be true. I'm gonna go with the daughter who is knowingly being covered worldwide as telling the truth here,

Originally Posted by Fiordland View Post
What we don't know is where he started his trip. Did he have to drive a few hours to get to LAX was he coming off another airline? I don't know.
See above youtube starting at 45:10
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Old Apr 20, 17, 3:38 pm
  #6385  
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
This is very interesting. I've been asking when the GA learned about the three must rides, given that later information seemed to indicate that they were "booked" onto the flight about 60 minutes before scheduled departure. Note that 60 minutes is the threshold for the new rule announced by Oscar.
The way I took the conversation was they were booked well ahead of the 60 minutes rule. However it should have popped up on the GA's screen, the way it was entered it did not. It sounded to me like it was a two step process to alert the GA. They did step one to get them onto the plane but did not do step two to let the GA know. The GA could have found out but only if she was notified first, it is an area they don't go into unless they are given this particular alert/notice.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 3:59 pm
  #6386  
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Originally Posted by Fiordland View Post
They did not call the police. They called the security guards that work in the airport. The airport administrators have testified they were not allowed to wear the "police" branded jackets etc, but they did.
While some politicians are suddenly unhappy the guys were in POLICE jackets, they are indeed police per the Chicago Tribune.

Originally Posted by The smallest state View Post
But to me that is fairly close to impersonating a police officer. If they are not true law enforcement agents with the ability to make an arrest when a crime is committed they should not be wearing their little toy jackets.

Just so I am on the same page. Who signs these guys paychecks? What entity actually employs them. This vague police vs sorta police vs 2nd level of law enforcement vs security guards has not been explained to my satisfaction.
See the Chicago Tribune article above. They have limited arrest powers. Chicago Department of Aviation pays them. Some work as police in other departments.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 4:00 pm
  #6387  
 
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Originally Posted by The smallest state View Post
The way I took the conversation was they were booked well ahead of the 60 minutes rule. However it should have popped up on the GA's screen, the way it was entered it did not. It sounded to me like it was a two step process to alert the GA. They did step one to get them onto the plane but did not do step two to let the GA know. The GA could have found out but only if she was notified first, it is an area they don't go into unless they are given this particular alert/notice.
Oh, if only airline IT was so advanced as to the point where things such as a booking being made makes something pop onto your screen. I'm gonna guess that the employees who KNOW what actually happened are not talking, either by pure intelligence, or by a corporate gag order/NDA. I work in the airport, on that shift (not worried about my employer knowing who I am here, they know, we've had loooooong discussions about where "the line" is) and I would never ask any of the employees involved to speak about it, until after everything has been resolved, maybe a year down the line. Information received from listening to flight attendants is likely as reliable as the myriad people who think that he flew in from Asia, it's speculation with no basis in fact. It's the way the mind works, we tend to fill in the gaps in the story with what we expect/expected to happen, the stories get told, taken as fact, and they become the new reality (to both the story tellers and the listeners.)

Specifics (who the employees are, what is the algorithm) are things a responsible agent would not tell, specifics about this incident based on inside knowledge, is also something that those with answers aren't (or shouldn't be) talking about. I pull my 411 from actual verifiable public sources available to everyone, moderated with decades of experience as to systems and policies. Beyond that, I wouldn't put too much faith in anything you hear that can't be directly attributable to an authority or a first hand witness.

Not saying what you heard is false, just that it doesn't make sense in how our systems work. And a flight attendant doesn't use our systems either. Sounds to me like they were speculating based on what they think happened, far from a reliable source (I know you didn't testify to is as fact, but as hearsay, but I wouldn't try to rationalize it as anything more than that given the source and the fact that it doesn't make sense from our systems point of view.) Perhaps it's "something like that" but the explanation got lost in translation between original source and flight attendant, and then again between the flight attendants and you, like the telephone game.

Last edited by fastair; Apr 21, 17 at 3:44 am
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Old Apr 20, 17, 4:08 pm
  #6388  
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Do deadheading crew book themselves onto flights or does someone in scheduling or OPs do this? If it was wrong for all four, I'm guessing that they don't do it themselves.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 4:10 pm
  #6389  
 
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
While some politicians are suddenly unhappy the guys were in POLICE jackets, they are indeed police per the Chicago Tribune.



See the Chicago Tribune article above. They have limited arrest powers. Chicago Department of Aviation pays them. Some work as police in other departments.
What is odd is the youtube video basically has the head of the department they work for say they are not police. The news article also says they don't have the authority to file arrest papers but have some ability to detain people until the police arrive.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 4:14 pm
  #6390  
 
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Originally Posted by cur View Post
i think by attacking the pax he was having the employees back. unruly pax are dragged off planes (most the time they deserve it), and i think at that time it was perceived as an unruly pax. for what it is worth. easy to say in hindsight it was a screw up.
Actually, it was VERY EASY to say immediately it was a screw up. No hindsight needed. I and many others here quickly jumped on the tone deaf nature of the initial response well before any of the other facts came out. Oscar and his team were stupid to send out that initial employee communication, no matter what the facts were. Pretty much everyone knew that immediately, except apparently, for Oscar and his team.

Playing the "20:20 hindsight" card does not work here. We and others knew it was wrong from minute 1 of that employee press release.

Last edited by blueman2; Apr 20, 17 at 4:22 pm
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