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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, 5:11 pm
  #6391  
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Originally Posted by blueman2 View Post
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.
Poor leadership. Poor decision making by both him and his team.

He and his team should be sacked.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 8:05 pm
  #6392  
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Originally Posted by Fiordland View Post
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.
Interesting if true. I mean if their powers only allow them to detain, then Dr Dao was already "detained" in the sense that he was boxed in, seated in his window seat. Obviously public and private citizens have the common law right to self defense but there is no right allowed in this sense as Dr Dao wasn't going anywhere or going to hurt anyone physically. All he was doing was telling them go ahead, move me (and without authority IF they don't have those powers to do so).
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Old Apr 20, 17, 9:38 pm
  #6393  
 
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
........

But this one is the MOAT. (Mother of all Threads.) It should be allowed to continue.
Now that this thread is truly confirmed The Mother Thread by breaking the 6371 reply record, will we see more constructive discussion on whether or not this incident will lead to a culture change at United that results in better customer service beyond improving only the IDB rules?

The only IDB problem I ever encountered was in Italy in 2000. I am more affected on a daily basis like selective flight cancellations of United Express flights due to weather, poor on-board service, contract agents at the airport who don't know what is going on, inflexibility on re-routing and re-booking during flight cancellations and mechanicals, hard and painful coach seats crammed too closely together, new airplane lavatories where the sinks are so small you can't fit your hands under the water faucet etc., etc.

Will this incident lead to Congress enacting more passenger protections?

Or will this incident just be a continuing soap opera starring Oscar Munoz as the Deer in the Headlights?
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Old Apr 20, 17, 10:10 pm
  #6394  
 
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Originally Posted by Fiordland View Post
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.
I think you're reading too much into that. They appear to be ILETSB certified officers, so I don't think the fact that their department restricts them from carrying or limits the scope of their arrest powers necessarily means they aren't police officers, particularly with respect to things like qualified immunity.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 10:12 pm
  #6395  
 
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
100% false (not accusing of a lie, but your recollection)
My apologies fastair. It must have been a false memory.
Originally Posted by fastair View Post
From the entire press conference, posted here: Doctor David Dao United Airlines passenger Daughter Crystal Dao Pepper, speaks press conference - YouTube 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,



See above youtube starting at 45:10

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 20, 17 at 10:39 pm Reason: repaired post
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Old Apr 20, 17, 10:14 pm
  #6396  
 
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
Right on. We can do hundreds of posts about how the limes on the bar cart are cut, but if a no-status flyer is downgraded, IDB'd, kicked around, etc. by United, the response is: get over it, stuff happens.



This runs so deep in United Airlines culture, it's easy to believe that an integral, intentional part of the UA elite experience is the opportunity to observe less worthy customers being mistreated.
I flew this week and the topic came up before every leg among the FFs in the 1 and 2 boarding lines. Not one person in those lines expressed the opinion that Dao should have obeyed simply because obedience is required. Not one. Not one thought United had behaved appropriately. No GS flyers in those conversations, but golds, plats, and 1Ks aplenty. All had too much experienced being poorly treated (yes, maybe only on one in 20 flights, so non-FFs might never see it) to give United the benefit of any doubt.

I did hear it from non-flyers at my destination.

For sure, everyone was talking about it.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 10:41 pm
  #6397  
 
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Originally Posted by mauve View Post
I think you're reading too much into that. They appear to be ILETSB certified officers, so I don't think the fact that their department restricts them from carrying or limits the scope of their arrest powers necessarily means they aren't police officers, particularly with respect to things like qualified immunity.
Being a Canadian perhaps I don't understand how the US law enforcement system works......

You have 300 officers, who are "ILETSB certified" (not quite certain what that is) who are hired and told by their employer (the city of Chicago) your not police officers, don't wear jackets that say your police officers and by the way you don't have the authority to arrest and charge people.

At the same time, they are not issued uniforms, instead they are given an allowance to buy their own uniforms and chose to get jackets that say "Police" (despite being told not to) and precede to cause physical injury to a paying passengers over a contractual dispute with an airline on the instruction of an airline employee.

This just sounds really bad.

Also concerning is the testimony of the United representative who said the Captain has full authority over the aircraft and the event, yet the Captain was not the one who called for the security personnel or instructed them to remove the passenger.

The internal accountability system sounds messed up on several fronts.
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Old Apr 20, 17, 11:06 pm
  #6398  
 
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Originally Posted by Fiordland View Post
Being a Canadian perhaps I don't understand how the US law enforcement system works......

You have 300 officers, who are "ILETSB certified" (not quite certain what that is) who are hired and told by their employer (the city of Chicago) your not police officers, don't wear jackets that say your police officers and by the way you don't have the authority to arrest and charge people.

At the same time, they are not issued uniforms, instead they are given an allowance to buy their own uniforms and chose to get jackets that say "Police" (despite being told not to) and precede to cause physical injury to a paying passengers over a contractual dispute with an airline on the instruction of an airline employee.

This just sounds really bad.

Also concerning is the testimony of the United representative who said the Captain has full authority over the aircraft and the event, yet the Captain was not the one who called for the security personnel or instructed them to remove the passenger.

The internal accountability system sounds messed up on several fronts.
ILETSB is the state agency responsible for certifying law enforcement officers.

This may get bounced as political or off topic, but the real problem is that there is generally no civilian oversight of police agencies. The officers would probably say, for example, that their boss has no authority to tell them what their uniforms say.

But if you think this is bad, you should read about the Swedish gangster who founded his own private police department in California and almost managed to get the DHS to help him walk after he crashed a stolen Ferrari at 199 mph.

Or the fact that Alabama is now allowing churches to create their own police departments.

It's probably also worth noting that railroads have private police departments of their own, but airlines don't.
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Old Apr 21, 17, 3:04 am
  #6399  
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I suggest this excellent summary from The Travel Insider, along with this week's update to the original post.

http://blog.thetravelinsider.info/20...pril-2017.html

http://blog.thetravelinsider.info/20...pril-2017.html

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 21, 17 at 1:33 pm Reason: Discuss the issues, not the poster(s)
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Old Apr 21, 17, 3:19 am
  #6400  
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
I suggest this excellent summary from The Travel Insider, along with this week's update to the original post.

http://blog.thetravelinsider.info/20...pril-2017.html

http://blog.thetravelinsider.info/20...pril-2017.html
Second article desperately tries to back-peddle the inaccuracies of the first article, and even then appears to get the law wrong:

There is also federal criminal law that states passengers must obey the lawful commands of uniformed airline staff. In this case, ‘lawful’ doesn’t mean ‘allowable and in conformity with the contract of carriage’. It means ‘any command to do any action which is not illegal’.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 21, 17 at 1:33 pm Reason: Quote updated to reflect Moderator edit
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Old Apr 21, 17, 3:39 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
I suggest read this excellent summary from The Travel Insider, along with this week's update to the original post.

http://blog.thetravelinsider.info/20...pril-2017.html

http://blog.thetravelinsider.info/20...pril-2017.html
Dr Dao was beat up by the security officers : I don’t know about this, but as best I can tell from looking at the video, any injuries Dr Dao suffered were not a result of the security officers beating him up, but an entirely foreseeable outcome as a result of his struggling not to be dislodged from his seat.

Beating someone up is never acceptable and I’m not condoning that for an instant. I just don’t think he was beaten up.
But of course... we already know that he wasn't beaten up, just "re-accommodated."

An excellent summary indeed, if by "excellent" you mean "random" and by "summary" you mean "ramblings," in which case I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 21, 17 at 1:35 pm Reason: Quote updated to reflect Moderator edit
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Old Apr 21, 17, 6:20 am
  #6402  
 
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
I suggest read this excellent summary from The Travel Insider, along with this week's update to the original post.

http://blog.thetravelinsider.info/20...pril-2017.html

http://blog.thetravelinsider.info/20...pril-2017.html
Edit: I wrote this after reading the first article, and apparently the author backpeddled on some of the things he said therein. But my point stands: A blog is just a guy with an opinion, like any of us, but in this case, he had not done much due diligence that would be expected of anyone claiming (even if by implication) journalistic integrity.

That article is filled with myth and lore. For one thing, the crew members were not on standby--they had positive space reservations. This has been widely reported, so the author of the blog didn't do very much homework, it seems to me.

He has also made several assumptions in his argument, which he depended on as being true without investigating their merits. One is that the order Dao received to deboard was "lawful". This is under extreme dispute, actually. The order to do so from the gate agent was unsupported by any plain reading of the CofC, and the officers did not have the authority to intervene in such as dispute in any case. They injured him, and then instead of treating his injuries, dragged him off the airplane while unconscious.

The author also used the word "specious" to describe Dao's claim that he is a doctor (he is) and had patients to see the next day (he did).

He said, "anyone with any sense knows that when things get tense, you comply with whatever the police officer is ordering you to do." Frankly, that is BS. It is not in the law. It might have prevented Dao from being injured in the way he was, but it would not have prevented other forms of injury, including injury to what he believed (correctly, as it turns out) was right. This is especially true when the cops 1.) don't act like cops, 2.) don't look like cops, and 3.) don't have the same authorities as cops (no matter what their state certifications). Dao didn't know that they lacked those authorities, but he did know that the guy who assaulted him was wearing jeans and a ball cap, looking much more like a bouncer than a bona fide police officer.

Fact is, most blogs are no more authoritative than a post in this thread from one of us.

Second Edit: Regarding the second article. He has now conflated "instructions from the flight crew" related to carrying out their duties, with "lawful orders from uniformed airline staff". Huh? What about orders from non-uniformed officers? He defined lawful as "any command to do any action which is not illegal." I'd love to see the legal citation on that one. So, he has elevated the gate agent to flight crew, and bestowed powers with an upside-down definition. An action cannot be both lawful and unlawful.

Let's stipulate that Dao, in at least some of his behavior, demonstrated some signs of DYKWIA. In the videos I saw, I didn't see much of that, but in the witness reports, there may have been a bit. The doctor part was true, but I really don't think that's much different than me stating I have to teach a class the next day and the students, who have paid to receive that teaching, will have their day ruined. Or someone stating that he works for himself and can't afford a day off, or the consequences of missed obligations. Surely there are four people on the plane who have that flexibility? Why pick me? The bit of DYKWIA might have been his claim that he has been traveling for 24 hours, although he had certainly been doing so for 10 or 12. But the question is this: Does demonstrating any hint of DYKWIA attitude warrant the application of physical force by police?

As the British would say, I think we have lost our sense of proportion.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 21, 17 at 1:36 pm Reason: Quote updated to reflect Moderator edit
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Old Apr 21, 17, 6:55 am
  #6403  
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Originally Posted by Rdenney View Post
I flew this week and the topic came up before every leg among the FFs in the 1 and 2 boarding lines. Not one person in those lines expressed the opinion that Dao should have obeyed simply because obedience is required. Not one. Not one thought United had behaved appropriately. No GS flyers in those conversations, but golds, plats, and 1Ks aplenty. All had too much experienced being poorly treated (yes, maybe only on one in 20 flights, so non-FFs might never see it) to give United the benefit of any doubt.
That's good to hear. Much less consensus on social media (where voices may or may not have as much actual experience of UA).
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Old Apr 21, 17, 7:50 am
  #6404  
 
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I'm not sure that there is much more to say on the incident itself, unless and until more information comes out as the lawsuit takes off.

But I think a good question is what will happen as a result.

My guess is:

UA, per their change in policy, will try harder to get crews where they need to go earlier and not deplane anyone for this reason (but will try to bounce them before they board).

Some additional number of flights may be cancelled because of lack of crew.

FAs will be less likely to call law enforcement for any reason. If they do, they will de-board the entire plan first. (This third consequence concerns me, as from experience I am more concerned about belligerent fellow passengers than this type of incident.)
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Old Apr 21, 17, 8:55 am
  #6405  
 
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Originally Posted by Rdenney View Post
He said, "anyone with any sense knows that when things get tense, you comply with whatever the police officer is ordering you to do."
In addition to the points you make, I'd like to point out that the sentence (from the article) quoted above is nothing but "when a mugger demands your wallet, hand it over - just do whatever it takes to get out of there uninjured." That's just practical advice, it doesn't set a legal standard, and Dr. Dao isn't at fault for failing to hand over his wallet to a mugger that happened to be wearing a t-shirt screen-printed with the word "police."
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