Posted: April 27, 2017
By Michelle Ewing, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
United Airlines has announced 10 policy changes after a video of passenger David Dao being dragged off a plane went viral earlier this month.
In what may be the biggest change, the airline will now offer travelers as much as $10,000 to relinquish their seats on overbooked flights, up from $1,350, according to Bloomberg.
In a Thursday news release, the airline also pledged to take the following actions:
In a statement, United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized for the incident and said the airline is "taking concrete, meaningful action to make things right and ensure nothing like this ever happens again."
"Our review shows that many things went wrong that day, but the headline is clear: Our policies got in the way of our values and procedures interfered in doing what's right," Munoz said. "This is a turning point for all of us at United, and it signals a culture shift toward becoming a better, more customer-focused airline. Our customers should be at the center of everything we do, and these changes are just the beginning of how we will earn back their trust."
Another black eye for the airline industry after a flight crew had police remove a man who refused to voluntarily give up his seat on a flight.
United Airlines had overbooked the flight and had asked for four volunteers to give up their seats so other people could fly from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday, WHAS reported.
According to passengers, the seats were needed for airline personnel who needed to travel to be at work the next day.
The man refused, claiming he was a doctor and had to get home to see patients, The Telegraph reported.
Flight crews called aviation police, who dragged him from his seat and down the aisle of the plane.
Additional video has come to light of the man bloodied after being removed from his seat.
Chicago police told NBC News that the man “became irate” after being chosen to give up his seat on overbooked flight and that police were called when he began raising his voice.
Police said the man fell after they tried to carry him off of the flight. He apparently hit his face on an armrest, NBC News reported.
He was taken to a hospital and treated for his injuries.
One of the officers involved in escorting the man from the flight has been reportedly placed on leave.
United Airlines gave WHAS this response to the incident:
“Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation.”
United Airlines has since posted a response on its Twitter page saying that they are reaching out to the passenger in question “address and resolve this situation.”
Passengers, before they boarded the flight Sunday, were offered $400 and a hotel room to willingly relinquish their seat to take a later flight scheduled for Monday, The Courier-Journal reported. When they boarded, they were told that four people would have to disembark and the offer was increased to $800. When no one volunteered, a computer randomly picked four passengers. A couple agreed to leave the flight, but the man in the video refused, , The Courier-Journal reported. There is no word who the fourth person was or if he or she left the flight.
Last month, teens who boarded a flight wearing leggings were removed by United Airlines. Three girls were traveling on an employee pass and the airline said that it has a no-leggings policy for employees when using the pass. Two of the girls left the flight. A third, who was also wearing leggings, put a dress on over the tight-fitting pants and was allowed on the flight.
The headline of this story has been changed to reflect that the flight was not overbooked, according to United spokesman Jonathan Guerin.
Passengers who watched as Chicago Department of Aviation security officers boarded a United flight and dragged a man away from the plane are speaking up about what they saw.
“None of us believed that it could get to that point of violence,” said John Klaassen, an instructor at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky. “When the police came on, they were just determined to take him off of the plane. There was no negotiating.”
Passengers watched and filmed as officers pulled a man from his seat on Kentucky-bound United Airlines Flight 3411 on Sunday and dragged him up the aisle toward the plane’s door as others shouted in protest. He continued to resist and ran back onto the plane with a bloody face.
The Courier-Journal identified the passenger as David Dao, a doctor from Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
“He hit his face when they initially dragged him off, as you guys saw,” passenger Jayse Anspach told CNN. “It was 10 minutes later, he comes running back in and runs to the back, his face bloody, and just clings on to the post in back and just saying, ‘I got to go home, I need to go home, I need to go home.”
According to Anspach, Dao and his wife initially volunteered to deplane when United asked for volunteers, but when they found out the next flight wasn’t until the next day, Dao said he couldn’t take the later flight because of work obligations. Anspach said Dao’s initial willingness to volunteer may have been a reason Dao was ultimately selected to deplane.
In a video uploaded to Twitter by Anspach, a passenger can be heard saying, “What are you doing? This is wrong. Oh, my God, look at what you did to him.”
The incident began when United officials asked for four volunteers to give up their seats to allow four crew members to travel to work another flight in Louisville. No one volunteered, and the airline acknowledged an “involuntary de-boarding situation,” according to a United statement.
“We have United employees that need to fly to Louisville tonight … This flight’s not leaving until four people get off,” passenger Tyler Bridges said an airline supervisor told passengers.
Bridges said Dao believed he was selected because he was Asian.
“Once they dragged the guy off, the United employees (came) on the plane (to take the seats,)” said Bridges. “The other passengers were just berating the employees, saying things like, ‘You should be ashamed of yourself. You should be embarrassed to work for this company.’”
An internal email from United CEO Oscar Munoz circulated to employees said he “emphatically” stands behind them, that the man who was removed from the flight was “disruptive and belligerent” and that United would be conducting a detailed review of what happened.
Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.
United Airlines is continuing to battle fallout after video emerged Monday of a man being forcibly removed from his seat on Flight 3411 after not voluntarily giving it up.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that United Airlines Chief Executive Oscar Munoz has issued another apology after a letter he sent to employees published by The Associated Press appeared to defend the actions of the crew.
“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,” Munoz said in the letter, according to The AP.
United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said that the Flight 3411 was not overbooked, as had been reported, but that the man, Elizabethtown, Kentucky, physician David Dao, was removed to accommodate airline crew members, according to USA Today.
Munoz issued another statement and apology Tuesday: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.
The apology may be too little too late. CNN Money reported that United Airlines market value has dropped nearly $1 billion.
The news comes after an initial apology from Munoz said the team is “moving with a sense of urgency to work with authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened” and that it would reach out to the passenger affected “to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”
The letter to employees surfaced after that Monday statement.
United Airlines will offer compensation to all passengers aboard Sunday’s Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, the airline announced Wednesday.
“All customers on Flight 3411 from Sunday, April 9, are receiving compensation for the cost of their tickets,” the airline said in a statement.
The airline made headlines this week after passengers filmed and voiced outrage over an incident in which David Dao, a 69-year-old physician aboard flight 3411, was dragged off the plane after refusing to deplane. United Airlines officials had selected Dao as one of four passengers who would be re-accommodated on a later flight. United had fully booked the flight but needed to provide seats for four airline employees who needed to get to Louisville for work.
The announcement about compensating passengers came the same day United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized on national television for the airline’s role in the incident.
“This will never happen again,” Munoz said Wednesday on “Good Morning America.” “We are not going to put a law enforcement official onto a plane to take them off … to remove a booked, paid, seated passenger; we can’t do that.”
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story indicated that Dao and his wife were two of four passengers selected by the airline to be removed. Additional information from a April 13 news conference revealed that his wife was not selected.
The story of Dr. David Dao and United Airlines has dominated headlines since late Sunday. Dao was forcibly removed and injured after boarding a United Airlines flight out of Chicago. Footage went viral that showed Dao arguing with officers before he was removed from the overbooked flight.
On Wednesday, a new video began to circulate that showed the moments leading up to Dao’s removal.
Dao was randomly selected to de-board the aircraft when United Airlines personnel needed extra seats in order to travel for work. A Twitter user named Joya Cummings claimed to be a passenger on the flight. Cummings uploaded a video on Tuesday morning that showed what happened before Dao was removed.
“I won’t go,” Dao tells officers when they tell him he needs to leave the plane.
“I’m a physician, [I] have work tomorrow.”
When Dao is informed that he will be dragged off the flight, he threatens to sue United Airlines.
TMZ later uploaded a compilation of videos provided by Cummings.
“You can then drag me…I’m not going.” Dao says.
“I’d rather go to jail.”
Dao was ultimately taken off the flight and reportedly injured in the process.
Delta Airlines has increased the maximum amount of compensation the airline will offer passengers when reaccommodating travelers on overbooked flights.
According to CNN Money, Delta supervisors are cleared to offer up to $9,950 to passengers who volunteer to give up their seats on overbooked flights. The announcement was made Friday via a Delta spokesperson. The previous maximum compensation offered was $1,350.
The amount Delta gate agents are now allowed to offer passengers who volunteer their seats on overbooked flights increased from $800 to up to $2,000, The Associated Press reported.
Delta told its staff to start compensation offerings “at a lower compensation and increase, if necessary.”
Delta’s updated financial incentive comes days after an incident in which a United Airlines passenger was forcibly removed from a flight after refusing to give up his seat for airline employees who had nowhere to sit on a fully booked flight.
According to the AP, Delta had the lowest rate among airlines of bumping passengers off flights against their will last year.
Out of about 130 million total passengers last year, Delta involuntarily bumped about four passengers each day last year, CNBC reported. In contrast, United bumped more than 10 passengers per day.
In 2015 and 2016, Delta paid an average of $1,118 in compensation to passengers who were denied seats on flights, the AP reported. In comparison, United Airlines paid passengers an average of $565 each.
“If you offer enough money, even the guy going to a funeral will sell his seat,” Ross Aimer, a retired United Airlines pilot said, according to the AP.
Read more at The Associated Press.
United Airlines will no longer allow crew members to bump passengers already on board flights after facing heavy criticism for its removal of a Kentucky physician earlier this month.
The policy change came after video surfaced on social media of officers with the Chicago Department of Aviation dragging Dr. David Dao off Flight 3411 after he declined to relinquish his seat to make room for a crew member.
Dao’s attorney said last week that the confrontation left Dao with a broken nose and a severe concussion. Two of his front teeth were knocked out and he was hospitalized for three days.
The change was outlined in an internal email on April 14, The Associated Press reported. Crew members are required to make “must-ride bookings” at least an hour before the flight is scheduled to leave, according to the AP. The airline previously allowed crew members to make bookings until the time of departure.
A spokesperson for United confirmed the policy update to NPR, saying it “ensures situations like Flight 3411 never happen again.”
"This is one of our initial steps in a review of our policies in order to deliver the best customer experience," the spokesperson told NPR.
United is not the only airline that has adjusted its policies in the wake of the dragging incident.
Delta Air Lines updated its financial incentive policy to offer up to $9,950 to passengers who volunteer to give up their seats on overbooked flights. American Airlines changed its conditions of carriage and said it would not “involuntarily remove a passenger who has already boarded,” The Washington Post reported.
While still dealing with legal action and negative public relations after a man was forcibly dragged from a flight, United Airlines is now investigating an incident in which a giant rabbit was found dead aboard one of the airline’s international flights.
According to the BBC, a nearly 3-foot-long giant rabbit named Simon was traveling from London’s Heathrow airport to Chicago’s O'Hare airport in the cargo space of a United plane on April 19.
The rabbit was being shipped to a new owner in the U.S.
Simon’s breeder, Annette Edwards, from Worcestershire, England, said the rabbit had been seen by a veterinarian hours before the flight.
“Simon had a vet’s checkup three hours before the flight and was fit as a fiddle,” Edwards told The Sun. “I’ve sent rabbits all around the world and nothing like this has happened before.”
Edwards said the unidentified American buyer is upset.
“I haven’t got a clue who’s to blame, but it’s certainly very weird when Simon was so healthy,” Edwards told CNN.
Simon, a 10-month-old Continental Giant rabbit, was poised to grow to be the world’s largest rabbit, according to NBC News. The largest rabbit on record, as noted by the Guinness World Records, is Simon’s father, a 4-foot-4-inch and 50-pound animal named Darius.
“We were saddened to hear this news. The safety and well-being of all the animals that travel with us is of the utmost importance to United Airlines and our PetSafe team,” the airline said in a statement. “We have been in contact with our customer and have offered assistance. We are reviewing this matter.”
Earlier this month, United Airlines made headlines when a passenger, David Dao, was forcibly removed from a flight after refusing to give up his seat for a United employee on a fully booked flight. United CEO Oscar Munoz said no one would be fired for the incident.
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