Posted: April 13, 2017
By Douglas Barclay, Rare.us
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.
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.
As the backlash continues after a passenger was dragged off of a United Airlines flight, we’re looking into federal records to see the top issues travelers have with airlines.
Nearly 18,000 people called or went online to file official complaints with the Department of Transportation last year.
Digging through complaints, we found out being bumped off of flights is not one of the biggest issues from travelers.
Fewer than 600 people reported that problem to the DOT.
Flight problems like delays and cancellations were the number one complaint.
Lost or damaged bags were the number two complaint.
The most complained about airline was Spirit. United was towards the bottom as well.
Southwest Airlines had the fewest complaints.
Our Justin Gray learned that out of more than 700 million flights in 2016, only 20 people complimented their air service to the Department of Transportation.
Charlie Leocha, with Traveler's United, said it's travelers who suffer when flights are overbooked.
"They're trying to save money. They're pinching pennies. They're cutting corners and it's not good for consumers," he said.
The total number of customer complaints is actually down year to year.
The internet’s had jokes since shortly after a video emerged showing a dazed and bloodied passenger being dragged screaming from a United Airlines flight.
It’s hard to miss Merriam-Webster’s meaning in choosing to highlight the definition of “volunteer,” a word United used (in addition to “re-accommodate”) in its initial corporate responses.
Other Twitter commentary has been a little more blunt:
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.
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.
News of a man being forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight on Sunday after not voluntarily giving up his seat is making the rounds, raising questions about what authority airlines have to remove ticketed passengers in situations of overbooking.
According to accounts from passengers on the flight, which was leaving from Chicago O’Hare International Airport and bound for Louisville, the airline wanted the seats for employees who needed to travel to be at work the next day. Cellphone video from the aircraft shows a man who said he was a doctor being forced from his seat and dragged down the aisle of the plane as onlookers screamed, “Oh, my God!”
It hasn’t been a great few months for United Airlines. In March, the airline received widespread criticism for barring two teens from their flight because they were wearing leggings.
So in what situations do the airlines have the right to force ticketed passengers from a plane? And what is the protocol for doing so?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, overbooking is legal, with most airlines overbooking their scheduled flights to a certain extent in order to compensate for no-shows. When overselling occurs, the DOT requires airlines to ask people to give up their seats voluntarily in exchange for compensation. If no one volunteers, the airline may then bump passengers involuntarily, although they too are entitled to compensation.
According to United’s Contract of Carriage, “If a flight is oversold, no one may be denied boarding against his/her will until UA or other carrier personnel first ask for volunteers who will give up their reservations willingly in exchange for compensation as determined by UA. If there are not enough volunteers, other passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily in accordance with UA’s boarding priority.”
The contract states that passengers with disabilities, unaccompanied minors under the age of 18 and minors ages 5-15 who use the unaccompanied minor service will be the last to be involuntarily denied boarding. It adds that “the priority of all other confirmed passengers may be determined based on a passenger’s fare class, itinerary, status of frequent flyer program membership, and the time in which the passenger presents him/herself for check-in without advanced seat assignment.”
According to the DOT’s Consumer Guide to Air Travel, airlines must give all passengers who are bumped involuntarily “a written statement describing their rights and explaining how the carrier decides who gets on an oversold flight and who doesn’t. Those travelers who don’t get to fly are frequently entitled to denied boarding compensation in the form of a check or cash. The amount depends on the price of their ticket and the length of the delay.”
DOT statistics show that, on average, only about one of every 10,000 airline passengers is bumped involuntarily, although that number can increase over the holidays and during other busy travel seasons.
United has said little about the incident but did release this response to WHAS: “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 CEO Oscar Munoz later issued a statement on Twitter Monday, saying, “Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”
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