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United Airlines overbooking incident  

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 

It's assumed that everyone has heard the news story by now, The outrage is starting to reach hysterical proportions, This one is my favorite so far, but there are bound to better ones,

 

Quote:
I think the United board needs to think long and hard about this situation and how it reflects on Munoz's leadership. It may be time to demote him to coach — or remove him from the plane altogether.

Maybe the board should "re-accommodate" CEO Munoz? "Re-accommodate" may get awarded second place to "alternative fact" in the 2017 lexicon hit parade.

post #2 of 78

Whatever happened to offering a travel voucher + cash to get people off a plane?  If you offer enough money, someone will get off.  How much is a cancelled flight worth?  $100,000?  If they calculate that the money offered is more than the cost of a canceled flight, then you just leave the employees in the terminal.

 

Forcing people to volunteer to leave without compensation is ridiculous.  In the US, the customer is always right.

post #3 of 78
I'm unsure, but I thought the maximum by law was $1350. That's the problem right there. If there was no upper limit, at some point, someone would take the offer. Now I've read the airline claims they offered a grand, but the passengers are saying $800.
post #4 of 78

The offer is never in cash, it's always a voucher for another flight.  Me, I'm not sure I want to fly with an airline that bumps me ever again.

 

post #5 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I'm unsure, but I thought the maximum by law was $1350.

 

That's for involuntary bumping.    They can offer whatever they want to offer for volunteers.

https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/contract-of-carriage.aspx#sec25

 

Hey, the guy could have stepped up the offer himself.   If it's worth $2K for him to be where he wants to be, he should have offered that to another passenger.

 

EDIT: Looking at 14 CFR 250.5 - it looks as if $1350 is the maximum the involuntarily bumped passenger is entitled to - nothing stopping the airline from giving him more than that.

 

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/250.5

post #6 of 78

IMO, it should be that the airline loses the right to bump people off once they are on board, except for actual emergencies.  They shouldn't issue all boarding passes until they know for sure.  They can issue a 'see gate agent' type boarding pass.  This puts you on notice that you may get bumped and should try to reschedule.  Fastest to reschedule gets the incentive voucher.

post #7 of 78
I'd take the $800.00 in travel vouchers, rent an economy car, drive 5 hours home to Louisville and use the vouchers for a couple trips next winter. I volunteered to get bumped all the time in the 90's. Flew on probably 10 different flights on bump miles.
post #8 of 78
Why offer $2000 to get a volunteer if you can just bump the guy for only $1350? Assuming he leaves under his own steam, of course.

Right now it looks like they should have offered $100,000.
post #9 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Why offer $2000 to get a volunteer if you can just bump the guy for only $1350? Assuming he leaves under his own steam, of course.

 

 

I'm saying the bumpee can offer money to other passengers.    If it's THAT important to him to actually get there, of course.

 

$2K to sweeten whatever the airline offered - I'd consider it, sure.

post #10 of 78
Why should a guy with a legitimate ticket have to pay money to stay on the flight he's already boarded? They shouldn't have loaded the plane.

Given that these are usually vouchers, the airline is paying funny money, whereas to him, it's real money.
post #11 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Why should a guy with a legitimate ticket have to pay money to stay on the flight he's already boarded? They shouldn't have loaded the plane.

Given that these are usually vouchers, the airline is paying funny money, whereas to him, it's real money.

 

To eliminate the risk to himself of involuntary bumping is why.     That legitimate ticket doesn't exempt him from being bumped.     Since he didn't make the offer, it must not have really been worth it.

post #12 of 78
This is a situation where market forces should have been implemented, United sold a product then wanted it back. The man who was removed should have every right to set the value for what was his. If the airline wanted the seat bad enough, offering $$$$ would eventually cause one of the agents on the "supply" side of the equation to sell to the "demand" side.

What are we socialists??? (Trick question.)
post #13 of 78

Seems like they should have "re-accomodated" the United employees that showed up at the last minute, by a charter if nothing else.

post #14 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Why offer $2000 to get a volunteer if you can just bump the guy for only $1350? Assuming he leaves under his own steam, of course.

Right now it looks like they should have offered $100,000.

 

Well allegedly one of the other passengers offered to get off for $1500 and United declined (rudely, allegedly).  So they chose to involuntary remove someone instead of have a voluntary passenger leave to save a whopping $150.  That looks pretty bad on them even if the guy doesn't put up a fight and get his head smacked on the armrest. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Miles View Post
 

Seems like they should have "re-accomodated" the United employees that showed up at the last minute, by a charter if nothing else.

 

To be fair to them (and not trying to defend them, totally not on United's side on this) it's not like they were just sending some employees home casually or something.  They were trying to prevent the (long) delay of another flight.  I guess what happened is a flight out of Louisville got delayed, which put that flight's crew over the number of hours they were allowed to work consecutively, so they could not fly the plane.  Thus they had a plane in Louisville with no one to fly it and were trying to get someone over there to do that.

post #15 of 78

post #16 of 78
Thread Starter 

Larry the Cable Guy said it best:

Quote:
What the hell is this, Russia?

(He used to do that as a radio bit before he got famous)

 

I started this thread in the humor section hoping we'd get more funny clips (e.g. the Airplane scene), but serious discussion was inevitable.

 

The rules are that the airline is required to pay a max of 4 times the fare paid or $1350 for being involuntarily bumped. There's a story this weekend of a lady getting $11K from Delta for being bumped. Normally, being bumped means you've been denied boarding. This guy was taken off the plane. My reading of the United "contract for carriage" does not show that United has a contractual right to kick people off the plane once they have boarded for strict bumping purposes. They are about 2 dozen reasons listed. The closest is if the passenger becomes belligerent, but I doubt any judge would allow that if the belligerence happens as a result of being illegally forced off the plane, The contract for carriage also specifies how people may be chosen for being involuntarily bumped. The gate people said the method was random. That does not match with the documented policies. The guy was 69 years old. One might make the case from the level and type of screaming that was captured on tape that the guy was in no shape to do the drive home in lieu of taking the compensation. In order to contest the involuntary bumping, one must not accept any compensation offered. The "contract for carriage" is described as being overly broad with respect to what the airline is entitled to do. I may have missed the legalese that United could use to successfully defend themselves from a lawsuit, but it looks really really bad for them.

 

It's important to note that this has been described as an "over booking" situation. That is questionable. The stories I've seen is that United became aware of the need to fly the 4 crew members on the flight only at the last minute after the plane has been loaded. Under those circumstances, there's a damn good case that this is not "over booking". The other item of note is the description of this event as a "denial of boarding". The guy was already boarded. Regardless of how broad the contract for carriage is (and boarding could technically apply to the point that the plane backs our of the gate), a judge may deny the argument that "denial of boarding" applies because the contract for carriage specifically refers to reasons for someone being removed from the plane.

 

The policeman who caused the injury has already been placed on leave. If the removal is judged to be unlawful, that injury could be construed as "assault". There already have been 100 million views of this story in China. China is a yooge market for United. The social media comments in China are heavily referencing "asian" bias as the reason why the guy was selected. While the case for bias is dubious, the damage to United's reputation is already a fait accompli. Munoz came out with a revised apology today. It sure looks like a pro PR person wrote that one. Among other things he's promised to fix is the relationship and procedures with the local authorities. There were several media reports of Munoz's first apology as being tone deaf. This case is going into the textbooks as how not to do PR. You want to know how bad this is? Fox News opinion is defending United (including Bill O'Reilly laughing at the incident). Well, they do have a reputation to uphold. Congress is talking about an investigation. United has dug such a deep hole, it's hard to imagine themselves getting out of it whole.

 

 

back to the humor

 

#NewUnitedAirlinesMottos Bringing domestic violence to domestic flights

post #17 of 78
My bet is that Munoz gets "re-assigned" (fired) with at least $10mil. in severance package.
post #18 of 78
post #19 of 78
Thread Starter 

Here's the Kimmel clip. The fake United ad at the end is a gem, but not safe for work.

post #20 of 78

As a doctor who flies a fair amount I can relate to this guy. The monetary cost of getting a hotel, cancelling a full day of patients, and covering your overhead is well over $5000, not $800 which is apparently what they offered him. The bigger yet unquantifiable cost results from screwing your patients who have taken the day off for a procedure, and screwing your partners who have to cover your emergencies and call without warning. I have always feared this happening to me. It would take a lot of money to get me off that plane, and for $800 I would resist just like that guy in the video.

post #21 of 78

Imagine buying an expensive ticket to a rock concert, travelling to a far-away city to see the show, getting to the gate and being told, "Sorry, we're giving your seat to someone else."

 

Imagine closing the deal on a house, and when moving in you get there with a truck, and the real estate agent meets you at the door and says, "Sorry, I sold the house to these other folk."

 

If they sold the ticket, the should have to honour it, OR buy their way out with an accepted offer to you or one of the other customers.  Yeah, I know that's not the way it works, but that's the way it should work.

post #22 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

 

If they sold the ticket, the should have to honour it, OR buy their way out with an accepted offer to you or one of the other customers.  Yeah, I know that's not the way it works, but that's the way it should work.

There are laws that actually prohibit this... because corporations are so much more important than humans that we pass laws to protect them from us.

post #23 of 78

I will never fly United again until Oscar Munoz resigns !!!

 

Now, that is funny ...

post #24 of 78
I got bumped off a Delta flight last weekend in SLC and had to take a flight the next day. Delta had flights disrupted nationwide for many days by a single weather incident in Atlanta on/about April 5th. Their crew scheduling got super messed up, so empty planes sat on runways all around the country. Initially, I was told no compensation because the cause of my bumping was weather related. But the next day I started asking questions and eventually got $200+ in vouchers, which was more than the cost of my flight. In March of 2016 my wife and I got a total of $1600 from Delta for taking voluntary bumps on a flight out of SLC. I'll likely be back on Delta next winter for another trip(s) to SLC. You pays your money and you takes your chances:-)
post #25 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

I got bumped off a Delta flight last weekend in SLC and had to take a flight the next day. Delta had flights disrupted nationwide for many days by a single weather incident in Atlanta on/about April 5th. Their crew scheduling got super messed up, so empty planes sat on runways all around the country. Initially, I was told no compensation because the cause of my bumping was weather related. But the next day I started asking questions and eventually got $200+ in vouchers, which was more than the cost of my flight. In March of 2016 my wife and I got a total of $1600 from Delta for taking voluntary bumps on a flight out of SLC. I'll likely be back on Delta next winter for another trip(s) to SLC. You pays your money and you takes your chances:-)

Were you bumped or did your flight get cancelled?
post #26 of 78
Not sure of correct answer to your question because the flight took off (albeit delayed), but I had a ticket with an unassigned seat. About an hour before boarding time I got in a long line at the gate and eventually spoke to an employee about getting a seat number. There was a whole lot of people from other cancelled/delayed flights clamoring to get on my flight and when I finally got my seat assignments/tickets they were for flights on the next day. A few days later I got an email from Delta apologizing for my cancelled flight. How would you describe it? Bumped or cancelled?
post #27 of 78

The big issue to me here is that they bumped paying passengers to deadhead crew. To an airport that was a 5 hour drive in a car for a shift 20 hours in the future. The issue isn't so much how the passenger was treated when it was decided that he needed to be removed (that was airport police not United), but more the systemic issues with United's (lack of) customer service. 

 

I stopped flying United about 2 years ago. I fly back and forth between the US and Costa Rica at least once, usually two or three times a year. I used to fly exclusively with United because they had a cheap, direct flight between San José and Newark which was about as close as any major airport from middle of nowhere PA where I'm from. Their prices have stayed more or less competitive, but after dealing with "Puerto Rican Hitler" (as I call her) the check-in agent on one flight, some not so friendly airline crews, constant issues with their website when I needed to reschedule (literally three flights in a row over a year and a half their site was down the first time I tried to log in to check on or adjust something), and now gouging for check bags ($25 for first bag on international flights) and no snacks I stopped flying with them. The route I flew was an old Continental route (my first flight to Costa Rica was post merger but plane still said Continental). That was when you got a sandwich, snack, beverage and first checked bag was free. 

 

After this incident I called United and asked to have my FrequentFlyer account suspended. I was very polite with the phone agent as it's not his fault, but as I explained the executives at United need to see accounts being closed and drops in fares if they're going to change the systemic flaws that exist in their business. 

post #28 of 78

Now that I got my serious reflections on the subject out of the way...joke time!

 

"United we treat you like a king....Rodney King."

 

United's new seating plan: 

 

 

Excerpt from United employee manual:

 

 

post #29 of 78
Thread Starter 

Here's exactly what the United CEO Munoz should have said. (I do miss the Trib)

 

Quote:
While United's stock was dropping and people around the world were eviscerating the company on Twitter, Dao was in a Chicago hospital recovering from his injuries and following the advice of a personal injury lawyer who must feel like he just won the lottery.


 

Quote:

We pulled a dude off a plane! What the hell was that? His mouth got bashed and these security lugs used his limp body to smooth out the carpet in the aisle of the aircraft!

 

Do anything, just don't use a passenger's face to test the sturdiness of the jet's armrests.

 

I apologize, on behalf of myself and my company and whoever the meatheads were who hauled off one of our customers like a used mattress. We screwed up at every level, and then we screwed up some more and, just to drive home our remarkable incompetence, we screwed up some more after that. I don't care who the passenger is or what his background happens to be. He could've just been released from prison for beating a family of penguins to death and he still wouldn't deserve the treatment he received from our airline.

(snort) (snicker)

 

Caveat emptor - I've been boycotting United for the last 25 years. The final straw for me was when I was complaining to an official behind the counter about a horrible luggage experience (the handling of the incident vs just losing the luggage) and the guy patted me on the shoulder and explained "we know what we're doing". I had just finished explaining to him why they didn't have a clue about what they were doing. He could not have cared less or been more condescending. United is the only airline that has ever flat out lied to my face. It is very gratifying to see karma finally work its magic.

post #30 of 78
So much for the "Random Pick" shenanigans. From NYC United covers the most Skiing destinations, and I've been a long time MileagePlus member. But I'll try my very best to stop flying them going forwards. 
Passenger: The man initially volunteered to leave

 

After passengers already boarded the plane, United said it needed to clear some seats because four members of another flight crew needed to sit down. If those crew members didn't get on board, a United spokeswoman said, their flight would have been canceled.

 

But Dao agreed to get off the plane, passenger Jayse Anspach said.

 

"Him and his wife, they volunteered initially," Anspach said. "But once they found out that the next flight wasn't until (Monday) at 2:30 p.m., he said, 'I can't do that. I gotta be at work.' So he sat back down."

 

The harder the officers tried to get the man to leave, the harder the man insisted he stay.

 

"He was very emphatic: 'I can't be late. I'm a doctor. I've got to be there tomorrow,' " Anspach recalled.

 

His pleas didn't work. Moments later, he was being dragged down the aisle. At one point, passengers said, Dao hit his head on an armrest. Video shows blood streaming from his mouth.

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