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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 22, 17, 10:38 am
  #6436  
 
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Originally Posted by Miles Ahead View Post
The problem isn't that United didn't live up to its values. The problem is that it did. Values like:
  1. A dollar today is more important than many dollars in the future.
  2. The job of the GA is to follow the rules, not apply common sense.
  3. Rules can be bent for employees, but must be rigidly adhered to for customers.
  4. Passengers are, if not exactly the enemy, an unavoidable nuisance.
  5. It's OK to misidentify a complaining passenger as a threat to the plane's safety.

United decided that it was cheaper to IDB passengers than to let VDB compensation get too high, and if the passenger complained, send security over to remove him. Then the crew on the spot felt, for whatever reason or past instruction, that the same procedure should be used inside a tiny metal tube. With entirely foreseeable results.
I goggled for their ethics statement.....

http://ir.united.com/~/media/Files/U...ss-conduct.pdf

Wow.... Over 60 pages. If you search for the word customer or passenger you will be disappointed. It is not customer centric at all.

Only reference to the word passenger is a Q&A

" Question: The Minister of Transportation of a foreign country is a regular passenger on United . Can I upgrade him to First Class?
Answer: No . Unless the Minister of Transportation satisfies the conditions for upgrade as applied to any other customers, you may not upgrade him."
References to customer consist of taking about ensuring you protect their personal data, not accept bribes and can only accept small gifts of under $25 but if they are not in the form of a gift card, unless the gift card is for a restaurant or food unless it is from amazon for which it can not be accepted.

Customers are simply not a consideration in the 60 pages that defines the ethics of United airlines.

Last edited by Fiordland; Apr 22, 17 at 11:26 am
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Old Apr 22, 17, 10:53 am
  #6437  
 
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Police agencies that patrol U.S. airports have a message for their rank and file after Chicago officers dragged a United Airlines passenger off a plane: Don’t get involved in carriers’ civil disputes.

“We know our roles, our responsibilities, and that does not include enforcing an airline policy to replace somebody on a flight so a flight crew can go somewhere,” said Atlanta police Maj. Lane Hagin, who oversees officers patrolling Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-u...uds-1492858807
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Old Apr 22, 17, 10:57 am
  #6438  
 
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Originally Posted by Fiordland View Post
I goggled for their ethics statement.....

http://ir.united.com/~/media/Files/U...ss-conduct.pdf

Wow.... Over 60 pages. If you search for the word customer or passenger you will be disappointed. It is not customer centric at all.

Only reference to the word passenger is a Q&A

" Question: The Minister of Transportation of a foreign country is a regular passenger on United . Can I upgrade him to First Class?
Answer: No . Unless the Minister of Transportation satisfies the conditions for upgrade as applied to any other customers, you may not upgrade him."
References to customer consist of taking about ensuring you protect their personal data, not accept bribes and can only accept small gifts of under $25 but if they are not in the form of a gift card, unless the gift card is for a restaurant or food unless it is from amazon for which it can be accepted.

Customers are simply not a consideration in the 60 pages that defines the ethics of United airlines.
to be fair, that document was produced, IMHO, it response to the State of New Jersey incident. I think it's tailored to that, not an all encompassing document. There are other documents that are for other situations.
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Old Apr 22, 17, 11:23 am
  #6439  
 
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
The GA was employeed by United and was following a United proceedure. The manager with her was from United. United called the cops. The crew that needed to fly were being sent by United Operations. Republic had nothing to do with this event.


+1



What liability? His employer is a subcontractor of United. United is in charge of the situation. What exactly is he supposed to say/do?
Let me see...
How many times have we heard "the Captain has ultimate authority and responsibility for everything that happens on this aircraft." Effectively, he's in charge.
Or is that only in force when the Captain throws his weight around. If he does nothing, he's not in charge or responsible?
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Old Apr 22, 17, 11:37 am
  #6440  
 
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Fastair, that may be true, but even that exposes something about United culture in the post-Jeff (or post-Glenn) era. When something goes wrong, United's response is to ensure that particular thing doesn't happen again, but does not look at the bigger picture. The question management needs to be asking is not "why did this one thing happen" but "why do things like this keep happening to us?"

Here is LL Bean's core values statement: "Sell good merchandise at a reasonable profit, treat your customers like human beings, and they will always come back for more." I'm sure they have a longer document discussing specifics, but it flows from this. United needs one, and it needs to be something other than "Passengers are, if not exactly the enemy, an unavoidable nuisance. Squeeze every nickle you can out of them right now, and don't worry about the consequences."

One of the most famous was IBM's. "Think"
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Old Apr 22, 17, 11:37 am
  #6441  
 
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Look how different AA handled their latest PR case... the employee was fired and they apologized inmediately on twitter and the women was upgraded to first class on her flight. If it would have been the United FA or GA from Dao's flight she would have called the police have her knocked and dragged her outside. Then put on twitter that she was aggressive and praise their employees.
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Old Apr 22, 17, 11:58 am
  #6442  
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Originally Posted by lotrbfme View Post
Look how different AA handled their latest PR case... the employee was fired
Fired? That hasn't been reported on the AA forum so it would be breaking news. Do you have a source/link?
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Old Apr 22, 17, 12:04 pm
  #6443  
 
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
Fired? That hasn't been reported on the AA forum so it would be breaking news. Do you have a source/link?
My mistake, I heard on tv he was fired but I guess they are referring to "removing him from duty". Which is still a very good PR thing to do.

Source: http://news.aa.com/crisis-alert/
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Old Apr 22, 17, 2:42 pm
  #6444  
 
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Originally Posted by Silver Fox View Post
And Munoz should be gone. The brass neck of untouchable CEOs never ceases to amaze me. I would be ashamed to back Munoz like the board is doing.
The question is, what good would that do? You'd get a new guy who would start off with high ambitions and would then run headlong into the unions and the general employee attitude, and three or four years from now, he would be gone, too. At least Munoz knows what he is dealing with.

Unless, that is, a true visionary leader for the airline could be found who has the skill to persuade the employees of a better way. But the chances of the board finding someone like that are just about nil. It's usually someone who comes up from within who has the credibility and understanding to do that, but boards interested in quarterly financial reports don't hire people who actually know how to run airlines, they hire finance people like themselves. That is a disease across much of US corporate business, not just at United, though, so we can't believe that will happen all by itself.

At some point, you have to change the people who are there, not just change to different people.

It must be said that part of the problem is that many customers of the major US airlines are more akin to people who once took the bus, because it was the cheapest travel mode, than to people who once took the train and sat in the first-class compartment. In the race to the bottom that has been pricing strategy for US airlines, they have found it. That is why the foreign airlines do better--In Europe, those who travel routinely by air are the business and well-to-do travelers, because there are other less expeditious but cheaper modes for the short distances involved that can carry the rest. This is a problem simply because many people who fly don't know how the process works, and when it surprises them in a negative way, sometimes they only have anger as a response. We've all seen it time and time again. DYKWIA behaviors aren't just for wealthy flyers. I offer as an example the couple who were removed in Houston last week.

But Munoz (or anyone in his position) can't say that to employees because it is guaranteed to leak when he does and it will look like "us versus them", or showing disrespect to his customers. And so it would be. The challenge is finding ways to bring out positive behavior from people who are stressed in multiple ways, and not necessarily in ways they are used to.

I'm trying to recall whose advertising it was from a few years back that talked about the flying experience from the infrequent passenger's perspective--the unexplained delays, the silent treatment, the hurry up and wait, the changing stories--to express how that airline "understood". I'm not sure it wasn't United. That's the right strategy--train employees to experience what the customers experience, so that they learn to work within that sensitivity.

Had the gate agent for 3411 done that, we would not have just set a record for thread length. She missed every single opportunity to remove the sting from the barb, thinking that bluster would carry her through a bad situation instead of empathy, even within the (much too) narrow context of the options provided to her. That has to be fixed, but it won't be fixed by a continuing succession of CEO's whose only real qualifications are knowing what EBITDA means, a good resume, and availability.

Last edited by Rdenney; Apr 22, 17 at 2:57 pm
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Old Apr 22, 17, 3:08 pm
  #6445  
 
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
to be fair, that document was produced, IMHO, it response to the State of New Jersey incident. I think it's tailored to that, not an all encompassing document. There are other documents that are for other situations.
That is part of the problem. (This is the one referenced on their web site as one of their governing documents.)

A good CEO should be able to articulate to staff "these are our values", "this is what we are about", "this is why we do what we do". If these drive all of our decision making then we will have a great airline.

Instead you have a crisis. You write 60 pages of rules. (No one is going to read this document and then follow it.) Even the executive team has not read it, it has a reference to Air France being government owned, obviously they have not read it.

If there is another document for another situation and then a third then they miss the mark.

If you pull three united employees assign and ask so what is this airline about, what drives it what kind of answer do you expect to get.
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Old Apr 22, 17, 3:53 pm
  #6446  
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Originally Posted by Rdenney View Post
The question is, what good would that do? You'd get a new guy who would start off with high ambitions and would then run headlong into the unions and the general employee attitude, and three or four years from now, he would be gone, too. At least Munoz knows what he is dealing with.

Unless, that is, a true visionary leader for the airline could be found who has the skill to persuade the employees of a better way. But the chances of the board finding someone like that are just about nil. It's usually someone who comes up from within who has the credibility and understanding to do that, but boards interested in quarterly financial reports don't hire people who actually know how to run airlines, they hire finance people like themselves. That is a disease across much of US corporate business, not just at United, though, so we can't believe that will happen all by itself.

At some point, you have to change the people who are there, not just change to different people.

...

But Munoz (or anyone in his position) can't say that to employees because it is guaranteed to leak when he does and it will look like "us versus them", or showing disrespect to his customers. And so it would be. The challenge is finding ways to bring out positive behavior from people who are stressed in multiple ways, and not necessarily in ways they are used to.
The problem is this will never happen in the US. Foreign airlines do it "better" because the company dictates the terms of their engagement with customers, not the unions. The US union culture ties the hands of any airline executive who has a vision and wants everyone to implement that vision.

The culture creates the very inconsistencies in service delivery and policy implementation that drive so many of us here crazy. Look at simple things like how meal orders are taken in F, boarding procedures, or how GS/1K in Y are to be given amenities - how many years have these policies been around and crews still can't get them right?

Consistent service delivery? Never. You need to either have a very strong visionary leader who builds the brand from the ground up and surrounds himself with the right people, or it just won't happen. A mature company like UA has too much meddling from the board, and worse, from shareholders and analysts who should be ignored on these matters.

You can't take so many flight attendants and gate agents throughout such a broad system and have everyone beating the same drum without strict policies, effective mandatory training and a consistent cycle of compliance checks and remediation with the ability to jettison those who just refuse to follow instructions. The union culture makes it impossible, so you toss up training memos and just hope for the best, and it just does not work - and in the absence of well published values, goals and metrics that every employee is expected to follow, the task becomes next to impossible.

I just get the feeling that employees are not being given the tools to ensure company success, and their own success and happiness in the job, and with so many different personalities, experience levels, moods-of-the-day, it becomes impossible to deliver a consistent experience, yet I will say that my experience across almost 10 DL flights in the past year has been far, far closer to positive consistency than anything I've ever experienced at United, and that's something to think about. Look at Delta, look at ANA, look at the ME3 - so there is proof it can be done.

The culture needs a violent shaking up, there needs to be new policies, new tools and a strong leader who can pull everything together. So far, that is not happening, and I doubt I will see something like this in Oscar's big announcement due on or before April 30th - what we need is change on the climactic level of Gordon Bethune's Go Forward Plan that pulled Continental out of the garbage dumpster. Are we going to get that in two weeks? I don't think so.
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Old Apr 22, 17, 5:18 pm
  #6447  
 
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Originally Posted by STS-134 View Post
- Other passengers were sticking up for the passenger who was being mistreated.
Well that's a very good start.

Originally Posted by Miles Ahead View Post
The problem isn't that United didn't live up to its values. The problem is that it did. Values like:
  1. A dollar today is more important than many dollars in the future.
  2. The job of the GA is to follow the rules, not apply common sense.
  3. Rules can be bent for employees, but must be rigidly adhered to for customers.
  4. Passengers are, if not exactly the enemy, an unavoidable nuisance.
  5. It's OK to misidentify a complaining passenger as a threat to the plane's safety.

United decided that it was cheaper to IDB passengers than to let VDB compensation get too high, and if the passenger complained, send security over to remove him. Then the crew on the spot felt, for whatever reason or past instruction, that the same procedure should be used inside a tiny metal tube. With entirely foreseeable results.
Yes, those were exactly United's values. Probably other airlines' too but they had a bit more shame to not be so overt about it.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 22, 17 at 10:30 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member -- please use multi-quote
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Old Apr 23, 17, 3:18 am
  #6448  
 
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This never should have happened. You can't drag a paying customer off an aircraft. What a complete joke and this incident was handled poorly by all. On the other hand the recent AA incident was handeled well. Did not call in the law and compensated the passenger involved and immediately offered a apology.
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Old Apr 23, 17, 7:36 am
  #6449  
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Originally Posted by buckeyefanflyer View Post
This never should have happened. You can't drag a paying customer off an aircraft. What a complete joke and this incident was handled poorly by all. On the other hand the recent AA incident was handeled well. Did not call in the law and compensated the passenger involved and immediately offered a apology.
AA did better but it still demonstrates an attitude by airline workers that are unfavorable to paying customers. I believe the move to cut rate airline models go a long ways to explain what is happening. Anytime an airline employee lies about circumstances or actions is a blow to the customer. It certainly seems to be the case in the United event, I don't think anyone has the full story of what lead up to the AA event that is seen on video.
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Old Apr 23, 17, 7:48 am
  #6450  
 
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Originally Posted by JOSECONLSCREW28 View Post
Well there's solidarity for you
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