Aviation Week & Space Technology

Podcast: United in Crisis

Discuss this Video 102

on Apr 13, 2017

Has anyone seen or heard of an United Employee putting a hand on Dr Dao ?

I believe the under trained, over zealous Airport Police may have acted improperly on a belligerent passenger ! By the way, was he drug tested, also how did he get back on the aircraft again and had to be removed again ??

on Apr 13, 2017

Yes, the United staff defered to the security people, which was the correct thing to do.

on Apr 14, 2017

united personnel NEVER touched him was the question

on Apr 13, 2017

Yeah, blame the victim, that's the ticket.

on Apr 13, 2017

Are you not missing the main point of all of this. United made a commercial decision not to increase their offer for passengers to voluntarily take a later flight. They decided to have an outside agency use physical force to remove the passenger. They judged this the lowest cost option. All this to avoid spending a few hundred dollars on increasing the inducement.

on Apr 19, 2017

totally agree; and...if you're gate staff don't start boarding any aircraft, til you're 100% sure you have the required number of off-loads. Much easier to deal with a passenger and tell them you're being offloaded, while they're in the departure gate lounge, than it is when they're in their seat. EVEN if the captain needs to go off-blocks at the STD, they can wait til it's sorted!

on Apr 13, 2017

"no seating? take a beating". I've already shorted United and made some money on this fiasco. The only good thing about this situation is that Munoz is marginally better than Smizek. We may never know the final settlement but let this be a lesson that paying customers trump arrogant executives.

on Apr 13, 2017

I disagree. United was correct in what they did. Oscar was correct in standing behind his employees because they are on the front line having to make decisions which not every customer will agree with. Calling in the security was OK as well. The way security handled themselves is up for debate, but did not seem out of the ordinary for practices in the United States.

You can have a broader debate about the practices of security personnel, but that is not United's fault. In the end Oscar has said, they will not bring in security because people cannot tell the difference between them and United, and that the practices of security may look badly upon United.

A lot of people say that the situation should never have arisen, but eventually it will (where a passenger will not disembark). What do you do then?

on Apr 13, 2017

Please could you tell us which airline you work for. So I can avoid it.

on Apr 13, 2017

I don't.

on Apr 14, 2017

also guessing no one saw a video from a seat behind the dr where he challenged the officers to remove him and put him in jail, also while he was on the phone whoever he was talking to he wanted them to file file suit against United and you can hear him say so

on Apr 13, 2017

Hmmm ... so, at the least, Mr. Munoz was wrong to apologise for the occurence, wrong to change their policy on how to best flvck a paying customer, and will be wrong to settle the lawsuit before it gets to Court.

You don't fly much, do you.

on Apr 13, 2017

I totally agree with you. United crew acted properly. I could choose United without hesitation. The passenger is to blame.

on Apr 13, 2017

How dare a passenger think that buying a ticket, being seated gives you the right to expect an airline to treat you with any respect...I will never fly United again and I have just under 2 million air miles.

on Apr 13, 2017

I'm a little behind you with 40 years of flying UAL ,including 10 years in Denver. The merger, in which the sleazy Continental crowd took control, wrecked them. I recently completed a round the world trip with 12 airlines and 31 flights. UAL was the worst-Emirates best. UAL is getting like Aeroflot. Its reviews say, "the employees all feel the airline would operate so much better without passengers, and let the passengers know it"

on Apr 28, 2017

Shades of Pan Am in its final death throes.

on Apr 13, 2017

When a LEO gives me a lawful command whether I agree with it or not, I'm going to obey the command and pursue my options in a different venue. Had this passenger listened to the simple request of the Officers and got off the aircraft, it never have made the news!

on Apr 14, 2017

oh yes you don't OWN that seat the airline does, and the airline owns the airplane its attached to also , so he should have followed what he was told

on Apr 13, 2017

Words from a United Airlines employee no doubt.

on Apr 13, 2017

As it was pointed out by security experts and Munoz himself: system failure. The cops had the option of declining to intervene in a situation that was entirely created by the airline and resolvable by the airline. It is quite possible that they failed to properly brief law enforcement of the situation at hand. This should be stressed to all the commenters who are attempting to exonerate United

on Apr 13, 2017

One reason people say it should never have arisen is because most of us believe the gate agents could have enticed one more voluntary deplanement by offering the right number. Everyone has a price.

When they alerted security, they lost control because security doesn't work for United. Bottom line: No passenger should ever be violently ejected from an airliner, unless there's a safety or security risk.

There wasn't. There was a convenience-for-United risk.

on Apr 13, 2017

Wrong. The crew acted as they were instructed - like good robots, empowered only to follow exact, detailed policies and procedures, and not permitted to use their own judgement when circumstances don't fit the prescribed scenario. That does not make United right.

United is wrong to treat employees as simple robots that will be summarily dismissed if they don't follow the rules exactly to the letter. Had the employees been empowered to use their own judgement and decide on a course of action not prescribed in the "rules and regs" at least one of them would have come up with a workaround that would have avoided the situation.

Corporate CEOs like Munoz never heard the old saw about "the customer is always right". Instead their "profits first, customers last" policies along with attitudes toward employees is why United has the reputation it has. And its reputation as a "customer hostile" airline is what helped fan the flames of anger in this incident.

on Apr 13, 2017

Of course it United's fault. They did not board the flight correctly, they elected to call the police to sort out their mistake, and their Captain did nothing to control the situation. This man had paid for his flight and had every right to fly. If you had paid for a dream holiday and it didn't show up, would you accept that? I think not. More unpalatable, they wanted his seat for their crew. Not a weight or safety issue, not because he was unfit to fly, not for a minor or disabled person, but for them to save money putting their crew on another airline, or chartering a plane to ferry them. And that is the solution that should have been elected. Surely, at what point must common sense kick-in. When the man is beaten bloody? When the man is tazored? When the man is shot dead perhaps? And along, he paid for the privilege. Its outrageous all around. If it was your loved one, how would you feel. This is outrageous. The man is still in hospital. This will cost United dearly. Clearly, cattle class is very much that in United's eyes.

on Apr 13, 2017

Wow, Pete! You're analysis is just about spot on...astute. Probably one of the most sound exposition here thus far...Great example using the dream holiday also. United Airlines has a very valuable lesson to learn. We all do, as passengers, travelers, aviation professionals, safety officials and of course law enforcement. I am thinking about writing a grad thesis. This fiasco is worth documenting in close detail.

on Apr 14, 2017

What about the patients waiting for their doctor to show up ? If I were one of them, with some real need to see him rapidly, I would hire any lawyer to sue UA and get no doubt a comfortable compensation.
Seriously, folks : overbooking is a known procedure. But once you are aboard, you have a right to stay, because they alloted you a seat. Filtering must be before boarding.
What junk is that company ??

on Apr 18, 2017

I Gotta Agree With Dale Well Done.

The Contract of Carriage covers preboarded & boarded passengers. The later can't be removed due to overbooking/Deadheaded Crew under the Contract of Carriage.

on Apr 13, 2017

United should have emptied the plane. Simple as that. It was safer in all accounts. This Dr Dao character got exactly what he was told would happen. He was told he would be arrested and his answer was "That's fine, I would rather go to jail." They should have simply made the PA and told everyone take everything with you and go back to the gate area. Dr Dao would either go or be left with the security people to do their job with no one else around to get in the way.

The real story here is the great hypocrisy of all these people defending the good doctor. If THEY were on that flight and were in danger of missing their connection they would be the FIRST (always remember liberals FIRST that's important to them) ones screaming to have him removed. It all depends whose ox is in the ditch. Which airline to I work for so you can avoid it? TAKE YOUR PICK PAL. It's FEDERAL LAW and we all work under the same rules. 30 years in the cockpit. Rest assured, all you who are concerned for the good doctor, his PNR will be flagged, and IF he is allowed on any flight in the future, EVERYONE working the flight will know about it, and I hope they do EVERYTHING they can to make it right.

on Apr 13, 2017

You seem to have anger against defiance. Your comments about leaving the passenger alone with security imply so that they could harm him without witnesses.
This kind of anger / frustration is what fuels escalation and "rough ride" type events.
You imply "blackballing" him is a suitable punishment for his defiance.
If any one of us encounters a frustrated cop who angers at what he sees as inadequate submissiveness, escalation follows and the consequences are out of whack with the situation.
An airline is a service provider. They had opportunity to de-escalate but chose to bring in Police who by nature apply force to obtain results. This is an obvious PR train wreck. It could easily have gotten much worse, for instance had another passenger intervened he would have been arrested / taken down.
The costs of this event are completely out of control because of poor judgement or, as I sense from you, frustration over lack of empowerment and permission to apply judgement / instead are obliged to follow standard practices. Exactly the issue behind many excessive use of force events by police. I can guess UA will spew a fresh batch of "policy".
Meanwhile I avoid UA as best I can.

on Apr 13, 2017

R: Other than the "blackballing" he didn't say that, you did. He's exactly right about the reaction of the folks who are the champion of this former doctor if the busted connection was theirs and the passengers the next morning who were dead in the water because there was no crew would have been furious at UA. This then obviously cascades throughout the entire following day inconveniencing a far greater number of passengers than just one full aircraft.

The crew that reported at ORD was on duty and had they, as some have suggested, been sent to SDF by vehicle they would have already been on duty for at least seven or eight hours when they arrived.They can't go to the hotel for three hours then go flying the next day. Sorry. You may think treating a flight crew like a rifle company is fine but there's good reason it can't be done legally. I'll bet if there was a competitor with seats they would have used them. Do you know otherwise?

If you want stories about airlines doing shameful things to passengers I'll bet I can provide better than you can but I really don't think this is one of them. If you want to war game this after the fact and propose theoretical solutions then go right ahead but the former doctor is entirely to blame for what happened to him. Any Captain that allowed the man back on the airplane after he struggled with security would have been remiss. At that point they should only have needed three "volunteers."

Cordially

on Apr 13, 2017

What about sending a special flight from Chicago to Louisville just for the 'crew', its only a hour away

on Apr 13, 2017

30 years in the cockpit. Did you fly Tupolevs????

on Apr 13, 2017

LoosMoose, I supposed the same should have happened--deplane the jet and handle the situation accordingly; albeit professionally. One could agree with your second statement as well; passengers tend to be impatient and disgruntled considering alternative circumstances, correct. haha..wow..when the shoe is on the other foot eh?

on Apr 18, 2017

If The LoosMoose had 30yrs in the cockpit & knows his "Federal Law" why doesn't he know the difference between Department of Transportations definition of "Denied Boarding" & "Refusal To Transport"?

Though he may not know the limitations of United's specific Contract of Carriage clauses for "Refusal To Transport" I understand their fairly common to all airlines? The Airline had no recourse if the good Dr. wasn't drunk, fighting or smelly(ya there's a couple more) & they called in the Chicago Airport Police(not the Chicago Police their PUED Too) who put a Senior Citizen in the Chicago Hospital with a Concussion!

United Airlines has publicly acknowledged this legal pickadello their in by changing the Dead Head Crew Policy to require they present themselves more than a hour before the boarding time of any flight they wish to board.

on Apr 13, 2017

Once a flight is boarded, it would appear for everyone to have a seat and gate closed. Whether or not a priority flight crew exists at the last minute should not be considered at all. How would you feel once seated only to be asked to leave and presumed the flight will take off? A paid seat in my opinion does not give up my right to a flight crew, period. If an airline over books a flight and employees appear after passengers are boarded, that airline should send employees on another plane. If boarding didn't occur, denying seats and giving incentives to give up a seat is fine but not after all are boarded. United failed here with this incident a hard lesson in mismanagement.

on Apr 13, 2017

What the airline people still don't get, is that a large majority of the flying public are sick and tired of of the airlines acting as a law unto themselves.
They are sick of the airlines in much the same way as the public was sick of banks during the depression.

The doctor was sitting in his bought and paid for seat. Plane too crowded?
NOT his problem and it shouldn't be any other seated passenger's problem either. The airline should fix it without involving anybody in the airplane.

Need to schlep some extra crew? Oh well, shoulda thought about that before you loaded the airplane. Let 'em fly in uniform on Aeroflot - whatever.
It's not the passenger's' problem. The process should be invisible to the paying customer.

Having the doctor thugged off the plane by use of force was inexcusable.
Would you accept the same imperious declaration if you were sitting in a restaurant.? "Sorry to interrupt your meal, bud, but we have more somebody important that needs your table. Pay up and leave quietly or we'll have our bouncers dump you in an alley."

If the doctor's suit goes to court, I'd LOVE to be on that jury!!

on Apr 18, 2017

Burgs-Can you imagine the monumental headache of finding a uncompromised jury with the coverage this things had. No Possible

on Apr 13, 2017

United has planes flying all over the place! The crew they were trying to transport did not have to be at work till the next day--so there were no other flights they could have transferred these people too? Not another plane they could have properly DE-flighted a few customers? BEFORE, they took their seats? De-speciable, unacceptable and a disgrace! Since United has already lost hundreds of millions of dollars in stock options, I would say most of the world agrees this was the ultimate in Corporate greed and stupidity. THAT'S why I say Corporate regulation, not DE-regulation is badly needed to keep big companies from abusing their employees and the public.
Don't forget what is happening to airline pilots now! Low pay, long hours, Back to back flights and no rest! Pilots should be treated like the kings they are! Lots of rest, able to take time off to see the sights when traveling overseas, and enough money to do it all--shame on the airline industry!!!!

on Apr 13, 2017

Why couldn't United have paid to fly the dead head crew as civilians on a competitor flight for a few $$?
A little lost face (maybe) vs a vast drop in image and market capitalisation.

on Apr 13, 2017

Remember, this is a procedure that occurs several times a day without issue. Putting the crew on their own aircraft is reasonable. They can track where the crew is and be certain that they will be in position on time.

The crew could not have foreseen how the passenger eventually responded.

Essentially, you are hoping to avoid the issue, but eventually there will come a time when a crew must be put on a full flight. What do you do then?

on Apr 13, 2017

Paying customers are beaten and dragged off aircraft several times a day???

on Apr 13, 2017

JDD: He obviously didn't say that and he is correct. There will be numerous times in the future that irregular and unexpected events demand that a crew be moved to an airplane to get things rolling again. It will happen at all airlines despite the most meticulous of planning. You can mock the both of us all you want but that's what's going to happen and your ride later in the day or the following day is just as important as the former doctor's no matter what he thinks.

Cordially

on Apr 13, 2017

Put them on another airline, charter a flight, put them on a train, give them a rental car, call up a reserve crew at their destination, I can think of several options. Remember, Chicago O'Hare is one of the largest, busiest airports in the world and a main hub for United. United has many, many options at O'Hare. Anyone who couldn't come up with a workaround in this situation either couldn't think or wasn't permitted to think.

on Apr 13, 2017

Good Grief. United abrogated its contract of carriage, for its convenience, and called the cops. That is wrong to start with. The cops shouldn't have intervened in what was a contractual dispute between the passenger and the airline, not a safety issue.

Defending the cops' behaviour as "usual" makes the US a brutish place, in the thrall of corporate interests without common sense or humanity.
Defending United, who were the cause of it all, is blaming the victim of violence for convenience.

on Apr 13, 2017

I can only agree with you, Tom.

on Apr 13, 2017

You have captured the situation perfectly.
I will add that the costs of this mis-adventure should result in revised policy. For example simply offering more money for a seat surrender.

on Apr 13, 2017

Sorry but United should have put the dead head crew on the later flights from Chicago to Louisville. This was not the last flight of the day, they had other options available. This route has 5 later scheduled flights later that day including one from United. Delta, American, and Southwest also fly this route.

on Apr 13, 2017

If that is the case, then the Dr. could have easily made it home that day. So, why did he make such an issue?

on Apr 13, 2017

Do you always blame the victims???

on Apr 13, 2017

For sure the passenger isn't a victim, he's a dumb, problematic person. He acted like a criminal and a possible terrorist

on Apr 13, 2017

He did not act as a criminal. He is a senior citizen, to begin with.

Please or Register to post comments.

Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×