United changes policy, crew can't displace seated passengers

Apr 18, 2017, 02:08
United changes policy, crew can't displace seated passengers

An incident involving a passenger in Chicago has led to changes in the way United will handle overbooked flights and effectively triple payments to passengers who voluntarily give up seats on such flights.

The incident involving Dr Dao caused outrage and widespread condemnation of the airline after shocking footage was shared and watched by millions of people online. Crew members are now required to make must-ride bookings at least 60 minutes prior to departure.

Law enforcement officials dragged Dr Dao off a flight departing from Chicago because it was fully booked, and the airline wanted seats for staff members. "This is one of our initial steps in a review of our policies in order to deliver the best customer experience". Reports also suggest that another employee also had been placed on leave, while the city claims that it continues to review the incident. Footage revealed him screaming before being knocked out as he was dragged along the aisle while fellow passengers looked on and protested.

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All passengers on United Express flight 3411 will be compensated equal to the cost of their tickets and could take the compensation in cash, travel credits or miles, United said this week.

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz only offered an apology for having to "re-accomodate these customers", with no mention of the violence involved in the removal. He also sent a reassuring letter to his employees, telling them that Dao "refused" to cooperate after he was "politely asked" to leave, prompting crews to call for help.

The change of policy comes after passenger Dr David Dao lost two front teeth and suffered a broken nose when he was forcibly removed from a flight last Sunday. Total fuel expense for the quarter equaled $1.56 billion, 28% compared with $1.22 billion in the same quarter a year ago. In a separate email on Monday night, Munoz was dismissive about the passenger and stood behind the policies and procedures of the airline.