Thursday, 27 April, 2017

United pledges to review policies on removal of passengers

Theresa Hayes | 18 April, 2017, 02:25

On Sunday, United Airlines overbooked its Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville.

Munoz said the company would no longer use law enforcement officers to remove passengers from overbooked flights. "We don't kick our passengers out", the picture reads in a jibe at United Airlines.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Dao wasn't the only customer threatened with forcible action on a United flight.

Real-estate executive Geoff Fearns, 59, says staff on the embattled airline threatened to have him arrested if he didn't give up his first-class seat to Los Angeles for a "more important" passenger last week, the LA Times reports. "We can't do that".

He starts to scream as he is dragged off while other passengers look on - some recording the event with their phones.

Also on Wednesday, a Chicago alderman said representatives from United and the city's Aviation Department have been summoned before a city council committee to answer questions about the confrontation at O'Hare Airport.

But if the passenger posed no threat and was not being disruptive, officers nearly certainly could have tried an approach other than dragging him out of his seat and down the aisle, including simply telling the airline to resolve the situation itself, experts said. Hours later on Monday, his tone turned defensive.

United CEO Praises Employees After Passenger Bloodied And Kicked Off Plane: After the assault, the man cried "just kill me".

By Tuesday afternoon, nearly two days after the Sunday evening events, Munoz issued another apology.

The entire incident, Munoz said, was a "system failure".

Attorneys for Dao filed court papers Wednesday asking the airline and the city of Chicago to preserve evidence in the case.

Dao's lawyers already have taken steps toward filing a lawsuit.

A spokesman for Corboy & Demetrio, one of the firms acting on behalf of the doctor, said he is still being treated in hospital but one of his relatives is expected to give a news conference on Thursday in Chicago.

The incident involving Dao happened Sunday evening in Chicago aboard a plane bound for Louisville.

"To be quite frank, Chicago employees should not be doing the dirty work for the friendly skies airline", said Alderman Ed Burke, who played video of Dao being removed. Neeleman said that on a flight he once took, the airline asked for volunteers, and when no one agreed to leave, the airline simply canceled the flight and ordered everyone off. In order to make space for four stand-by crew members, United demanded four people voluntarily leave the plane in exchange for a monetary incentive.

When too few volunteers came forward, law enforcement was tasked to select random passengers and force them off the plane.

Of course, it's good for some passengers, too: Of the 475,000 people who were bumped off flights on the 12 largest airlines previous year, 91% did it voluntarily, agreeing to take cash or a travel voucher and a seat on a later departure. Footage shot by other passengers showed Dao screaming and struggling as aviation officers removed him from his seat and pulled him down the aisle of the aircraft.

The backlash from the incident resonated around the world, with social media users in the United States, China and Vietnam calling for boycotts of the number three U.S. carrier by passenger traffic and an end to the practice of overbooking flights.