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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


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.


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.


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
United Airlines
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 27, 17, 1:46 pm
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My guess is that it's somewhere in the seven figure range, but as I indicated earlier I suspect that there are two points to this settlement:
(1) Get UA to give Dr. Dao something so that there's no need to settle the Chicago case; and
(2) Possibly get UA to effectively throw Chicago under the bus for that suit (which is the stronger one, anyway).
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Old Apr 27, 17, 1:50 pm
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
The suit against the City of Chicago remains active.
Does Illinois require a claim to be filed and rejected by local government before a lawsuit can be filed? Has such a claim been filed?
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Ron Mexico View Post
Guess, I'm a crier-- too bad, I was hoping publicity over airline policies would lead to change, and perhaps even lead to unwinding this oligopoly...oh well.
This. Well, I didn't expect the oligarchs to be affected too much, but I was hoping for a gory trial that at least led to a few basic passenger protections like vastly increased IDB comp, etc.
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:06 pm
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Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
Tom Demetrio essentially gave his opening statement during the press conference. I've litigated against him and his firm, and can speak from experience that they are a first-rate organization. They handled the situation adroitly.
Ditto, other than having litigated with him and his firm. Well played.

I would think UA would need to disclose the amount (assuming it is material) with their financials. I wonder if one can then back engineer a guess from the total of the line it was included in?
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:14 pm
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Unless you know what he got, why throw around numbers? I think he got $10,000, others think he got $20,000,000. Show me some proof.
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:18 pm
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
Ditto, other than having litigated with him and his firm. Well played.

I would think UA would need to disclose the amount (assuming it is material) with their financials. I wonder if one can then back engineer a guess from the total of the line it was included in?
Maybe not. While I am not a securities lawyer, the purpose of an 8-K is to advise investors and potential investors of events or corporate actions which may have a material effect on business operations. In the scheme of things, we were never talking about "bet the company" litigation, and the settlement value is likely insured. We also don't know if the settlement addressed any other potential claims (e.g., against RPA) or if there was contribution from another entity, either, which impacts materiality.
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:30 pm
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Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
the settlement value is likely insured.
Finally...someone recognizes the really deep pocket in this melee.
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:30 pm
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I presume the settlement with UA doesn't affect any settlement with Chicago Airport "Police", etc....
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:42 pm
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UA settlement to try to quiet the matter. Can't say I'm surprised.

Originally Posted by Baze View Post
And the terms will likely be under a non-disclosure agreement so we will probably never know what he got.
There will be ways to know the scale of the money, even with the involved parties abiding by non-disclosure terms.

Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
Ditto, other than having litigated with him and his firm. Well played.

I would think UA would need to disclose the amount (assuming it is material) with their financials. I wonder if one can then back engineer a guess from the total of the line it was included in?
Don't count on an EDGAR filing being all that useful. There are ways to figure out a reasonable estimate of the amounts or the amounts in ways that don't rely upon UAL's SEC compliance filings (be they an 8-K, a 10-Q or 10-K).

Last edited by GUWonder; Apr 27, 17 at 2:52 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:48 pm
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Not surprised to see the settlement and not surprised it was this fast. Once Munoz finally came out and said mea culpa, getting a settlement done and complete was a top priority.

I'm still going to say 5M (not 10, but not 1-3M), it's really a small price to pay and United sort of gets it behind them. The story is going to dwindle fast and there is no real reason for media or others to continue to bring it up. 5M to get the media to pretty much stop showing that video is worth every cent.

We'll see some impact though in Q2 results I'm sure.
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:50 pm
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Demetrio told Crain’s that the City Of Chicago is, in effect, off the hook. “We are not proceeding against the city,” he told Crain’s.

Originally Posted by Baze View Post
Doesn't say he settled with the people who actually dragged him off the plane, only with UA.
Originally Posted by reamworks View Post
I presume the settlement with UA doesn't affect any settlement with Chicago Airport "Police", etc....
Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
The suit against the City of Chicago remains active.
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by jkhuggins View Post
And that's exactly why, in my opinion, this will never go to trial.

United obviously has a substantial interest in settling out of court.

Frankly, so does the passenger; a settlement means less money spent on lawyer fees, and less time having irrelevant details of his personal life (real or imagined) being debated in public. Plus, juries are notoriously fickle; you never know what can happen if you get a couple of "anything for security" folks on the jury that swing the jury's attitude against the passenger.

I didn't see the press conference. But all of the posturing about "this is going to trial" is exactly what one does in order to set up a strong negotiating position before a settlement.
As we see today ... this is exactly what happened. For once in my life, I got a future prediction right.
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
I would assume nothing of the sort -- it is worth well more than $10m to UAL to make this case go away fast. I expect they made a serious eye-popping offer.
Totally true, even though as many other arm chair attorneys are pointing out here that we will probably actually never know I am sure Dr. Dao will never have to work again with patients. He will probably have more than enough cash to fly the "friendly skies" for the rest of his life. There was no way US was going to let this debacle be paraded through a lengthy public court trial.
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:54 pm
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Who didn't think it would be settled?

Since INAL, I can't answer the question about whether there would be anyone untainted in the jury pool, you know, from the videos etc being posted repeatedly, forwarded everywhere and seen by millions of people.

I would also enjoy seeing some serious wrist-slapping or perhaps firing of all those professional advisors who allowed Oscar and others at UA to mishandle things early on.

Anyone care to guess how this settlement resonates with UA frontline employees, or the other airlines?
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
Ditto, other than having litigated with him and his firm. Well played.

I would think UA would need to disclose the amount (assuming it is material) with their financials. I wonder if one can then back engineer a guess from the total of the line it was included in?
There's no set SEC threshold for materiality, but I would estimate a settlement would need to exceed $100M to require disclosure.
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