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Passenger forcibly removed from overbooked flight

United Airlines forcibly removed a passenger who refused to give up his seat to an airline employee. The passenger was injured and subsequently required hospitalization. The incident has since gone viral and triggered a public backlash.
7 years ago, April 13th 2017 No: 1 Msg: #200556  
B Posts: 2,066
Most of us who follow US news have probably seen this story by now. Four Republic Airlines (one of United Airlines regional carriers) employees showed up at the gate after a flight had boarded and stated they needed to fly in order to make it to a crew assignment the next day. A United manager boarded the aircraft and asked for volunteers to give up their seats in return for $800. After this offer was refused, the manager picked four people at random and told them they were bumped. One, a 68 year old physician, refused to leave his seat, at which point the manager called airport police. The police dragged the passenger off the plane, causing injuries severe enough to require hospitalization. The incident has since caused a huge backlash for both United and the airport. To make matters worse, other United passengers have since come forward with tales of being bumped in seemingly callous ways, although not this extreme.

What are your opinions? Plan to boycott United Airlines for years to come? Reply to this

7 years ago, April 15th 2017 No: 2 Msg: #200588  
Ahhh~ the United Airlines of my childhood ceased to exist a loooong time ago. It felt like the friendly services portion of their history quickly gave way to a more militaristic "our way or the highway" over ten years ago. Either way, this most recent publicized incident was unimpressive and doesn't endear me to buy tickets from them. Maybe this is the type of incident that will give incentive to revamp things on their part?

On the upside, I laughed so hard at the alternate United Airlines mottos I saw popping up everywhere. 😉 Reply to this

7 years ago, April 17th 2017 No: 3 Msg: #200623  
B Posts: 2,066
At least both Delta and American seemed to have learned something. Both recently increased the limit for voluntary compensation by a factor of 10, to nearly $10,000. (The involuntary minimum is four times the cost of the original ticket).

On another note, I was once on a flight the day after a big storm. It was overbooked due to cancellations the day before.Gate agents ended up offering two first class ticket vouchers to anyone who would give up their seat. I had an event to get to, so I didn't take them up on it, but I certainly thought about it : ) Reply to this

7 years ago, April 27th 2017 No: 4 Msg: #200732  
I have a few frequent flyer miles to use first. Reply to this

7 years ago, April 28th 2017 No: 5 Msg: #200743  
B Posts: 2,066
More news has come out, and it isn't good for United. Early reports stated the bumped passengers were chosen at random. In response to a Congressional inquiry, United was forced to admit they were chosen according to its bumping policy. I suspect its now being revised, but that policy at the time stated to bump the following passengers:
1. Those on the lowest priced tickets
2. Those who do not need to make connections
3. Those who are not frequent fliers with United
4. Those who check in relatively late.

Score high on all four, plan on not making that flight if there is a storm the day before : (

On the positive side, United has matched American and Delta by raising the voluntary compensation limit to $10,000. They also claim they will now limit overbooking on routes where bumping happens frequently. About time! Reply to this

7 years ago, April 28th 2017 No: 6 Msg: #200745  
On the news tonight they said that Southwest has decided to join Jet Blue by not overbooking flights anymore. So-- maybe things will change. Maybe customers will end up having more rights.

I think this recent event could have happened on any airline run in America. I'm not sure about airlines in other countries. I generally feel like I get better customer service from non- American Airlines. I doubt I'll boycott any of them if they are flying where I am going. For me the bigger issue is finding out how to support change and increase passenger rights. Humanity and sensibility must reign over the dollar.

Long gone are the days of leg room, cloth napkins, a meal served on real plates and real silverware.

I understand they are running a business, have share holders and are required to make a profit. In an article written May 2016-- I read today on CNN Money said that the U.S. airlines made a $25.6 billion dollar profit. That is substantial if that information is correct. A 241% increase over 2014. The article stated customers paid $3.8 billion in baggage fees and $3 billion in reservation change fees.
If that article is even close to being true you have to ask. How much profit is necessary and at what cost?

Rows have gotten closer together, seat have gotten more narrow, flight staff may be over worked but they aren't very friendly anymore.
The flip side of that is people drag too much luggage on the flights, can be rude and there are a lot of plain crazy people flying so working as a flight attendant isn't a job I'd sign up for but they did.

Random thoughts:
If you pay for a seat and show up they should have a seat for you.
There are times they need to bump but it should be voluntary not forced and you should receive reasonable compensation.
Once boarded they should not pull you off-- again only voluntary.

I think they should give sandwich boxes at no cost. .. or fruit.
I was on a flight recently and when they were passing out drinks I asked for some pretzels. They said they would sell them to me. I was surprised. I thought all the airlines still gave peanuts and pretzels.

I think it should be required to tell customers the truth about delays and give updates every 20 minutes even if all they say is we don't have any new information.

I fly Delta the most and have been fairly happy about it for the most part.

For years I have felt that airline crews are a bunch of unhappy people with low or no customer service skills. Because I've had a number of surprisingly hateful experiences with flight crew staff I'm sickeningly sweet when I board a plane in hopes I can win them over.
I will say the past 6 or 9 months this has improved. So-- hopefully times are changing.

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