United cuts overbooking, hikes compensation after passenger fiasco

Friday, 28 April 2017 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

AFP: United Airlines on Thursday announced it will offer bumped passengers up to $10,000 in compensation and reduce overbooking following the dragging incident on board one of its flights that caused worldwide outrage. 

Those and other changes, which the airline called “substantial,” are the result of a two-week internal probe of the April 9 incident, video of which went viral. Passenger David Dao was pulled from his seat and dragged off the full plane by airport security in Chicago to make room for airline crew. The 69-year-old doctor suffered a concussion, and a broken nose and teeth, according to his lawyers. 

The footage of the incident captured by fellow Flight 3411 passengers -- which included images of a bloodied Dao -- resulted in widespread indignation. After initial missteps in which they appeared to at least partially blame Dao, the carrier and its CEO Oscar Munoz apologized repeatedly and launched the internal review to find out what went wrong. The carrier’s report highlighted 10 changes, including increasing its cash enticement to $10,000, effective Friday, to get customers to voluntarily give up their seats on overbooked flights. 

“There was ambiguity (on the maximum cash offer) under our previous policy, which is why we are changing it moving forward,” United spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin told AFP. 

The crew on Flight 3411 had only offered $1,000, the report said.