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News United Airlines is a terrible business

  1. Apr 13, 2017 #1
    It seems that they don't know how to run their own business. From their policies that allows for the possibility of an incident like this, to their handling of the situation once it happened.

    At this point, they probably wish that they can pay the guy 20 million dollars to make the problem go away. It's interesting to see how this would all play out.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 13, 2017 #2
    I wonder if it is simply a follow up on the TSA treatment of passengers? I've been manhandled pretty badly by them, to the point that I rarely fly these days and dread it when I do. The whole airline industry is in severe need of some real competition.
     
  4. Apr 13, 2017 #3
    They initially called it overbooking, but the four seats involved were for employees. It's not clear if these empoyees were just getting free flights, were traveling to staff other planes or some combination. Either way, it's not overbooking.

    Dr. Dao was more severely injured than originally reported.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/us/united-passenger-david-dao-chicago.html?_r=0
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  5. Apr 14, 2017 #4

    Borg

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    I think that the overbooking is being used incorrectly in this case. My understanding is that the four employees were being transited to the other city in order to serve on a flight departing from there. Transits like that are pretty routine but I haven't heard of that many passengers being removed from a flight before.

    As for Dr. Dao, I consider his actions to be extremely childish. Four people were removed from that flight - I wonder why the other three weren't injured? People get bumped from flights all of the time but he chose to fight with four officers while trying to hang on to his seat like a child that doesn't want to give up a toy. His face was injured when the officers had to pull so hard that when he lost his grip on the seat, he got slammed into a seat on the other side of the aisle. His injuries are a result of his own behavior from resisting when it was clear that they weren't going to take no for an answer.
     
  6. Apr 14, 2017 #5
    This line of thinking strikes me as very odd. It's not as though he was abusing the staff, or getting drunk and urinating in the isle or acting with a lack of decorum. He was being stubborn after he was told to leave. It doesn't matter how stubborn a customer is being, you can't manhandle them in a way that causes injury. If it's clear he's not going to play ball, then the most pragmatic thing to do is select another passenger and increase their level of compensation.

    They can then take the moral highround that the passenger who refused to be removed was being a PITA.

    The series of events that occured is indicative of people who act like automatons. My orders are to remove you. You are not complying. MOAR FORCE!

    The result is a PR disaster that ultimately does far more damage than being tactful.
     
  7. Apr 14, 2017 #6

    Borg

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    I am not saying that the situation couldn't have been handled better by United. However, this would have never happened to myself since I would have acted like an adult and complied with the rules of carriage that are written on the ticket. No, I wouldn't have liked it but, like the other three passengers who were bumped, I wouldn't be injured and all over YouTube either. He's an adult and should have acted like one.
     
  8. Apr 14, 2017 #7

    russ_watters

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    It could be. I think our post-911 security situation has ratcheted up the tension and seriousness of security and airline personnel, such that their tolerance level/tact has dropped below what is reasonable.
     
  9. Apr 14, 2017 #8

    russ_watters

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    In hindsight, the most pragmatic thing to do would have been to not do random selections, but to increase the compensation until 4 people volunteered. But it isn't just about this flight/passenger: United and other airlines bump thousands of people a year. Upping the bid until someone bites would cost them millions of dollars a year.

    But you can't pick another passenger; that's rewarding the stubbornness, which only encourages more.

    I'm sure the jury is going to reward this J.A. handsomely, but from a legal perspective he was near totally in the wrong. The airline procedure is set and the airline followed it. What they neglected was trying a little harder to explain it to him. But once he's been bumped from the flight, he is essentially trespassing on the plane and has to be removed, by force if necessary.
    I agree, but unfortunately the message that is going to win-out here is something that seems to be spreading in the US: that childishly resisting authority/realities you don't like is a good/useful thing. And that's a pretty bad thing.
     
  10. Apr 14, 2017 #9
    Totally agree.
    Thing is, the passenger was not denied boarding at the gate - he was already on the plane and was given his seat selection.
    Terms and conditions of UA don't say anything about un-boarding - ie taking back what was already given and agreed to.
    A lawsuit could come down to the actual particular meaning of a word, and whether or not industry practice has any actual basis in law.
    Rule 21 - Refusal of Transport. What item in that list did the passenger breach?

    It seems that UA then attempted to break their own terms of contract and tried to "involuntarily" remove him from the flight, for their own economic interests only.
    Being not successful, they called in the Chicago Airport Security, whose actions led to the world wide attention.
    Apparently, the Security over-extended the means by which they "convinced" the passenger that he must leave.
    Most likely the Security were simply told by a UA personnel that there was a passenger on board who needs removal, and they acted as they should have under the limited information, by removing him.
    Perhaps, hopefully, they will not be so keen to act before seeking explanations beforehand. Acting as enforcers of profit for the airline should not be their motivation.

    In the end, bad PR, compensation for the traumatized passengers who witnessed the encounter, a potentially expensive lawsuit, and several employees who aren't too
     
  11. Apr 14, 2017 #10

    russ_watters

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    I don't know what your logic is here, but your conclusion is really, really wrong. Bumping often happens when the plane is already boarding, because that's when they know it is actually overbooked! It's a musical chairs game, where the last one on is left without a seat -- except that that's when the dance begins.

    A passenger has very few rights when on the plane, and being on the plane is itself not among them. The terms are here:
    https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/contract-of-carriage.aspx

    As with most personal injury claims, it will come down to the sympathetic jury vs the big meanie company - which is probably United, the company that runs the airport and also the private security company if that's where they came from. Unfortunately, in the USA you don't have to be right to win a lawsuit, you only have to be sympathetic. Remember, this is the country that awarded a woman $2 million for essentially claiming that she was too stupid to know that hot coffee could burn her:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck_v._McDonald's_Restaurants
    These:
    Um:
    Stop this country, I want off.
     
  12. Apr 14, 2017 #11
    Ha Ha.

    http://fortune.com/2017/04/12/united-airlines-passenger-dragged-compensation/
    I was under the understanding that the brutal details ie blood, would have had to be cleaned up before departure. To do so, all the passengers would have to have debarked. UA would have to be admitting that the passengers were not likely to be conducive to be seeing the evidence of the mess while in air - in other words, minimize the reminder of a horrific scene of violence.

    Did that plane actually take off to its destination? Eventually, yes, but still an unscheduled delay for UA.
    Was the 4 person crew able to meet their timetable for duty rest for that scheduled flight that started this whole thing?
    If they did not make it, the whole episode was totally unnecessary.
    Someone forgot their customer training that day, and rather than diffuse the situation, they managed to escalate it, to the whole companies disadvantage, and to all its other employees and shareholders.

    This is one main point . Security should not be used for economic reasons.
    Some in Chicago voice the same opinion.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ual-passenger-idUSKBN17F1WT
     
  13. Apr 14, 2017 #12
    I see overbooking as a breach of contract. When I buy a ticket to fly, I make a contract with the airline to perform a service for me at a specific date and place. They will not let me out of that contract, except under the most extreme circumstances. Why should i, a passenger, be inclined to let them out of the contract?

    I understand that the airline needed to move four people from point A to point B. Would have not been better, since they knew they were oversold, to simply charter a plane and send their own on their way in luxury?

    Air travel was once a real pleasure. Now, it is a most unpleasant ordeal, to be avoided if at all possible. I will certainly drive 1000 miles to avoid flying any day of the week.
     
  14. Apr 14, 2017 #13

    russ_watters

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    Pilot's union trying to say it is all the Chicago Aviation Dept (security?)'s fault:
    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/real-time/United-pilots-blast-police-David-Dao-removal.html

    While that's almost true, it also never would have happened if United gate personnel and flight crew had handled it better. And either way, United can't totally separate themselves from a forceful removal they asked for, even if it was more forceful than they intended.
     
  15. Apr 14, 2017 #14

    russ_watters

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    You should read the contract: it's in there.
     
  16. Apr 14, 2017 #15

    OmCheeto

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    I liked UA's CEO's statement;

    [ref]

    I worked for mega corporations all of my adult life. The CEO is, IMHO, rarely aware of the minor details involved with running the company. But once a "minor detail" leads to a "MAJOR" problem, a good CEO will fix it.

    So I just consider this a "teaching moment".

    ps. Just checked the prices for a one way UA flight for Portland to Orlando: $122
    from my rough calculations:
    3000 miles
    30 mpg (my truck)
    100 gallons
    2.50 $/gal
    $250 in gas​

    pps. I have no idea how airlines stay in business at these prices, nor why I didn't visit my friends in Florida this winter.
     
  17. Apr 14, 2017 #16

    RonL

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    If 200 passengers paid that price, approximately $25,000 US dollars to fly the plane one way ? :smile:
     
  18. Apr 14, 2017 #17

    OmCheeto

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    Economies of scale!

    ps.
    I just noticed this:

    When there's an overbooking issue the first step is to offer an inducement to the passengers to take a later flight. On Sunday passengers were offered $400 (£322), a hotel room for the night, and a flight the following afternoon.

    When no-one took the offer, the amount was upped to $800. Still no-one bit, so a manager boarded the flight and informed passengers that four people would be selected to leave the flight.
    [ref]

    Perhaps we've evolved(devolved?) to the point where bidding should start not from the bottom down, but the other way around:
    "Who will give up their seat for $10,000?"
    200 hands go up
    "Who will give up their seat for $5,000?"
    200 hands stay up
    "Who will give up their seat for $2,500?"
    100 hands stay up...​

    etc. etc. etc. until you get to 4 hands.

    pps.
    OMG! This was a 300 mile flight.
    Flight origin O'Hare International Airport [Chicago IL]
    Destination Louisville International Airport [Kentucky]​
    [ref = wiki]

    And..... the price is the same as the PDX to MCO flight?

    hmmm.....

    Ah ha!
     
  19. Apr 14, 2017 #18

    RonL

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    I'm surprised they didn't start in first class, might be more greedy people ready to jump at a chance to make a fast buck ? :rolleyes: :biggrin:
     
  20. Apr 14, 2017 #19

    Drakkith

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    I doubt the average first class passenger is any greedier than the average passenger anywhere else on the plane.
     
  21. Apr 14, 2017 #20

    RonL

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    I should not have used the word greedy, it is sometimes confused with the good business sense to not leave any money on the table. Twice I have been in a situation of being offered compensation for overbooking or error of type on the boarding pass, the first time was cash, but I was too sick to spend the night in a compensated room and the second involved travel vouchers for future flights, which in no way could I use in the allotted time frame.
    I wonder if the $800.00 was actual cash? out of all the passengers and no one accepted the offer, I think I better go and recalculate my net worth ????? :nb) :eek: :wideeyed: :biggrin:
     
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