United changes crew-booking policy

Owen Stevens
April 17, 2017

United Airlines has released four official statements in response to the backlash against the company since a customer was dragged from an oversold flight Sunday evening at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

The policy change comes almost a week after a passenger was forcibly removed from a flight so a crew member could take his seat. The bill would restrict airlines' ability to bump passengers off a plane to make room for crew members.

It was reported that the victim, 69-year-old David Dao, had been ejected to make space for additional crew on the overbooked flight. Dao suffered concussion, a broken nose and two lost teeth, according to one of his lawyers on Thursday.

Facing public outrage, United finally apologized and promised that this kind of incidents would never happen again. The situation could have been avoided if the airline, which offered $800 travel vouchers and a hotel stay for passengers to rebook on another flight, had simply increased their offer, Demetrio said. The airline would not disclose its current compensation limit.

A Canadian man is now seeking compensation from United Airlines after claiming he was stung by a scorpion last week while eating dinner on the flight, ABC News reports. Attorney Thomas Demetrio said Dr Dao would "probably" sue.

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The latest people to benefit from a battle to offer the best deal might be flight passengers, who stand to gain in a big way as competing airlines respond to United's latest incident. The airline also says it will no longer ask law enforcement to remove passengers from a flight unless there's a safety issue. That was the second-best rate among US airlines.

However, past year Delta Airlines bumped more passengers from flights than any of its competitors, partly because of its generous incentive system.

At least one other airline is rethinking its policy too.

Almost a week since the incident, United is still dealing with the backlash.

The three officers who removed Dao have been suspended from their jobs at the Chicago Aviation Department. If there aren't enough volunteers, airlines can pick passengers - on United, those who paid more for a ticket or fly frequently are less likely to be selected.

Other reports by VgToday

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