Wednesday, 26 July, 2017

United Airlines to refund fares to all Flight 3411 passengers

Airlines overbook — meaning they book passengers to more seats on a particular plane than are available — to maximize profit calculating that a percentage of people will not show up for the flight United pledges to review policies on removal of passengers
Melinda Barton | 21 April, 2017, 17:10

The passenger was identified as Dao, a 69-year-old physician from Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" aired Wednesday, United parent company CEO Oscar Munoz said he felt "ashamed" watching video of the man being forced off the jet.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told CNN on Wednesday that President Trump should "stop the overbooking until we set some more different rules about how the airlines can conduct themselves". Officials have refused to say what procedures should have been followed. He said the company would reassess policies for seeking volunteers to give up their seats, for handling oversold situations and for partnering with airport authorities and local law enforcement.

But the public relations damage was done, with calls for boycotts and the US Department of Transportation promising to review the airline's actions.

Even the White House weighed in.

Asian and Arab American groups rallied at Chicago's O'Hare airport Tuesday night, insisting airlines and security personnel improve treatment of minority groups.

"All customers on Flight 3411 from Sunday, April 9, are receiving compensation for the cost of their tickets", United said in a statement to USA TODAY's Today in the Sky blog.

But police officers should try to find out what they are going into and to defuse the situation, if possible, experts said. The airline first asked for volunteers to take another flight, but when no one volunteered, four people were chosen at random.

The furor battered United's stock Tuesday, which closed down 1.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the airline's CEO promised "this can never, will never, happen again on a United Airlines flight". While airlines are required to maintain and provide data on customer complaints, they don't have to turn over information about every complaint that they get, allowing them to hide some of their operational problems. He sustained injuries during his removal and was taken to hospital. "They said they'd put me in cuffs if they had to". Hot on the heels of the infamous leggings incident, the airline has grabbed global headlines again after its shocking removal of passenger David Dao.

If they were to stop overbooking, "the only way of trying to compensate for that over the long term would be to raise fares on everyone else", said industry analyst Robert Mann. The explanation he was given was that they need the seat for "somebody more important who came at the last minute". Video of police officers dragging the passenger from an overbooked U.

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.