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USA Today: UA forcibly remove random pax from flight

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USA Today: UA forcibly remove random pax from flight

Old 14th Apr 2017, 13:42
  #941 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Airbubba View Post
I think the initial filing for discovery is in the Circuit Court of Cook County. I'm wondering if the case will eventually end up in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
I cant see United wanting this fiasco to get anywhere near a court - more likely a generous settlement with a gagging order.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 13:57
  #942 (permalink)  
 
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Further to WHBM's post, there's the distinct possibility that the ground staff did not stipulate "next flight" but "next available flight". In other words, the next flight which shows available seats. Most passengers will only hear "next flight" and are not aware of the catch. This subtle difference should also be made abundantly clear when asking volunteers to give up their booked seats.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 14:23
  #943 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Jet II View Post
I cant see United wanting this fiasco to get anywhere near a court - more likely a generous settlement with a gagging order.
Really do hope it goes to Court and the good Dr. does not agree to any "gagging order, let him speak out, if he wishes to....
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 14:28
  #944 (permalink)  
 
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Parabellum

t has always been my understanding that captains total command, from a legal point of view, commences when engineers and traffic staff have completed their tasks, the load sheet is signed and the doors are closed. Obviously the captain will have important decisions to make from the time he signs on until the doors close regarding the operation of the aircraft and crew but it is unlikely he will become involved in seating disputes, other than if jump seats are requested. The dispute here is entirely the responsibility of the ground staff and does not come within the captain's remit.
I would like to believe that as well, hence my earlier questions back on the first two pages.

But such defining circumstances need more dissemination to all crews, passengers and barney fifes.

As one can see from reading these pages there is a real chance for anarchy out there now.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 14:36
  #945 (permalink)  
 
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I keep hearing people say that once a confirmed-booking passenger has entered the plane or sat down in a seat, s/he cannot be off-loaded. If you take that position, please explain to me what happens when the seat that the pax sits in is found to be defective (e.g. has a non-functioning seat belt), or due to some change in the weather (e.g., temperature or wind direction) the flight becomes over-weight? I have seen (multiple times) both of these circumstances -- and guess what? I have seen "boarded" pax have to leave the plane.

If the airline is not permitted to IDB people (assuming that even generous VDB hasn't worked), what is it to do? Ask everyone to leave the plane (guaranteeing a huge delay)? Just cancel the flight? And what, then, if someone takes exception and refuses to leave the plane? Remember, not everyone in the world is polite. Please tell us what procedures you would have the airline follow in all of these cases.

There is a reason why IDB rules like EU261 exist.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 14:37
  #946 (permalink)  
 
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This case will IMHO be a game changer. If the industry fails to act to improve their policies towards passengers, the courts and the government will do it for them. I don't think United will simply be allowed to change its CoC to allow this type of off-boarding in the future. There is too much scrutiny now. If they try congress will act and revise the CFRs.

It is time for the industry to step up and do the right thing proactively. The airlines can get in front of this crisis, but they better do it quickly. The right time to act is prior to Munoz congressional testimony later this month.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 14:46
  #947 (permalink)  

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. Were the deadheading crew, for which this passenger was so violently and illegally removed, were that crew United crew or Republic crew?
Republic crew, and the decison made by Republic Airlines.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 14:49
  #948 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SeenItAll View Post
Please tell us what procedures you would have the airline follow in all of these cases.
Well certainly NOT what UA did with Dr Dao on Flt 3411...... Nothing but nothing justifies that, despite what a few on this forum may wish to believe. I really cannot see how anyone thinks it is acceptable to assault your customers.

In the examples you quote there is a technical reason why it may be necessary to ask a passenger to disembark and in many cases the passenger would comply, sometimes grudgingly I guess. In the case of Flt 3411 and Dr Dao the passenger was being involuntarily off loaded to suit the convenience of UA. As has been pointed out several times before, it was UAs problem and there were a number of ways they could have resolved it with out unleashing so called security personnel on a 69 year old Dr going about his lawful business.. Charter a biz jet...????

It is also possible in your examples someone from the airlines may have taken the trouble to explain to the passenger why the action was necessary. The explanation may have been accepted. As far as one can tell no one bothered to try and explain the situation to Dr Dao. They just called in the "heavy mob" and the rest is as they say is "history".

Last edited by Planemike; 14th Apr 2017 at 15:49.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 14:52
  #949 (permalink)  
 
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From elsewhere on the internet

There is a mess of overlapping parties. A United gate agent summoned airport security officers, who work for the city. The crew that operated the aircraft—as well as the crew members who arrived after a full plane had been boarded, resulting in United telling four passengers they had to get off the flight—worked for Republic.

"To be quite frank, Chicago employees should not be doing the dirty work for the 'friendly skies' airline," Ald. Ed Burke said at City Council hearing today.

The pilot's letter reflects their frustration after United became the subject of public outrage from the U.S. to China, as well as memes, jokes and unwanted congressional attention.

"This violent incident should never have happened and was a result of gross excessive force by Chicago Department of Aviation personnel," the union said. "No United employees were involved in the physical altercation. Social media ire should properly be directed at the Chicago Aviation Department. This occurred on an Express flight operated by Republic Airline, as such, the flight crew and cabin crew of Flight 3411 are employees of Republic Airline, not United Airlines."

For United, this week cannot end quickly enough.

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/artic...oreUserAgent=1
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 14:54
  #950 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Planemike View Post
Well certainly NOT what UA did with Dr Dao on Flt 1344...... Nothing but nothing justifies that despite what a few on the forum may wish to believe.
Well, that was a helpful contribution. I don't think anyone thinks that the way things were handled was the best of all alternatives. What I want to know is what should be the appropriate procedures.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 15:02
  #951 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Mr Optimistic View Post
This occurred on an Express flight operated by Republic Airline, as such, the flight crew and cabin crew of Flight 3411 are employees of Republic Airline, not United Airlines."
Took a couple of days, and it didn't come from the airline but rather the union. To the traveling public it doesn't matter: The probably bought their ticket from a site called 'united.com'; it says 'United' on the ticket; they checked in at a 'United' counter in a 'United' terminal staffed by people in 'United' uniforms; the aircraft livery proudly displays the 'United' name.

But as soon as the smelly stuff hits the spinning bits, it's suddenly nothing to do with United. Pardon me whilst I have a puke!
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 15:07
  #952 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Hotel Tango View Post
Further to WHBM's post, there's the distinct possibility that the ground staff did not stipulate "next flight" but "next available flight". In other words, the next flight which shows available seats. Most passengers will only hear "next flight" and are not aware of the catch. This subtle difference should also be made abundantly clear when asking volunteers to give up their booked seats.
I'm just second guessing, of course, but I suspect that the doctor's initial acceptance and subsequent rejection of the offer(s) made revolves around this point. And I agree completely that full and frank disclosure of those conditions needs to be prioritised when explaining any such offer to the "bumpee".

Most passengers will only hear "next flight" ? Maybe.
Or maybe that's exactly what they offered, initially.
Maybe they only explained the full implications (flight next day) when further queried by the good Dr.
That's an equally distinct possibility and is just the sort of sequence that would stimulate my ire.
Might even make me recalcitrant or, worse still, belligerent.

Whichever way it was explained, and that detail is not terribly important, it seems evident that the doctor would probably have been ready to accept "next flight" but to not accept "next available flight" if that was going to mean "late the next day".
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 15:10
  #953 (permalink)  
 
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@ newfoundglory
The (aviation) lawyer talking on the live broadcast, if you didn't see, did make a clear firm statement about how the captain was the one in charge.
Maybe he got that idea from reading some of the comments here! Since the PIC was joined in this action, there seem to have been notably fewer posts about "I am in charge" and "Nothing happens without my consent."


@ BusAirDriver
Also unfortunately there are sometimes overzealous ground agents and cabin crew, who feel extremely empowered with their position.
Yep. There is a pervasive attitude of "We treat you this way because we can, and you can't do anything about it." There is a substantial power imbalance in the airline / airport industry, and a few employees seem to take maximum advantage of this. Every frequent pax has experienced this. Every journalist has. And that is a problem for a defendant trying to find a sympathetic jury.


@ MrOptimistic
The people are available to ask, should it be deemed relevant and in any conversation there are at least two witnesses. I could understand the industry feelings against the relevance of the CVR.
The problem is that people's recollections are sometimes inaccurate or incomplete. Lots of reasons why memories are not infallible - there may be a long delay before you are asked what happened, and stress or fear make for imperfect memory formation.

Final one, chosen by algorithm, pushes back. Argues, won't budge. So CC walk back annoyed that their rightful request has been ignored.Think how can I make this guy realise I am within my rights and he must stand, walk and go. OK, I'll find someone in uniform with 'security' on their vest to make the point. That will convince him. Never think the security guys anticipate they will only be called upon when muscle power is needed and with that mindset they board the aircraft. Everything is still OK until they lay hands on a 69 year old professional. That's when the jobs are lost, careers terminated and the millions leave United's bank account.
Very possible it unfolded along these lines.
Very likely airlines are now giving their CC some memos and information sessions about "rightful requests" and "lawful directions."


@SalNichols
The absolute disdain that the industry feels for it's clients is displayed right here
It is very odd that an industry has such contempt for its customers. No other industry would survive with this attitude. Maybe it is an unintended consequence of all the security measures and constantly seeing every pax as a potential threat. Maybe that is part of the explanation. Happened in Vietnam - VC hid out among civilian population and some soldiers started seeing all civilians as potential enemy combatants.


@PaxBritannica
As someone who married into a family of aviation professionals, I'm not so surprised at the attitudes of some posters here. Aviation is a peculiar industry in that it can only provide a safe service if its employees adhere absolutely to rules and SOPs, and obey others without question. However, the industry exists for the sole purpose of servicing human beings who are NOT trained in that strict obedience. Moreover, airlines are hugely keen to sell themselves on the basis of providing a comfortable and effortless service - the last thing they want is pax feeling intimidated by quasi-military authoritarianism. I can see why those who must conform to strict rules and discipline resent those who don't - but the resentment is unfair and irrational. Airlines can't exist without passengers, and passengers are simply people paying money to get from one place to another, not volunteers enlisting in the marines.
An interesting observation.


@rob_ginger
I went to Hawaii with my wife for a holiday in the early 1980's, and I was shocked at the aggressive attitude of the immigration officials.
I think thats a bit over the top. Every country (Aust included) has its share of over-bearing and officious security / immigration personnel. Unfortunately these PITA individuals are everywhere.
The best experience I ever had was many years ago (shortly after 9/11) at....Hawaii. Someone who absolutely did their job, but did so with flexibility and goodwill.


@SalNichols
The UA pilots union has weighed in and they place the blame on the Chicago Airport authority.
Here we go. The lawyers always love this bit when the defendants start falling out.

But who decided it was morally right to deplane pax in favour of company personnel? Who believed the request to deplane pax was a lawful directive when it probably wasn't? Who decided / authorised LEO involvement?
You can't say all the blame rests with the very last slice of cheese. Reason's model doesn't work that way. All these upstream decisions contributed.
Anyway, it will all be decided elsewhere than PPRuNe.


@TowerDog
The Captain is not involved in the boarding process, nor responsible for how the boarding goes.
Maybe. Maybe not. That too will be decided elsewhere. A few purported PIC here have stated it is their decision and an airplane is not a democracy and they call the shots.....
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 15:15
  #954 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SeenItAll View Post
Well, that was a helpful contribution. I don't think anyone thinks that the way things were handled was the best of all alternatives. What I want to know is what should be the appropriate procedures.

Errrr.........fly the DH crew out to Louisville by biz jet, as but one example. Assaulting a boarded fare paying passenger just doesn't even go on the list. What I find disturbing is that the culture within an airline could even allow this train of events to commence. Surely there must have been someone there who stands up and says...... "Whoa, this is not the way to go to solve this problem". In particular I mean unleashing so called security on Dr Dau....

Last edited by Planemike; 14th Apr 2017 at 15:26.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 15:21
  #955 (permalink)  
 
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421dog, best not to base your misconceptions about captains on film heroes. In the real world they are expected ( and paid) NOT to display " a certain hesitation to jump headlong into a potentially sticky situation etc etc". Thats one of the reasons they are called Pilot-in-Command.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 15:21
  #956 (permalink)  
 
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fly the DH crew out to Louisville by biz jet
Not the worse idea in the world but as I think has been pointed out:

What was the avalability of a charter? Some airlines have strict rules ( possibly audit based) on which companies are acceptable for such charters? Slot pairs at both ends? Charter aircraft and crew immediately available, or available soon enough to not compromise rest before the next days duty?

I suspect in hindsight DH by road might have been a more robust solution.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 15:39
  #957 (permalink)  
 
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Yes, I accept that solution may have had to be discarded for very valid reasons, quoted it as ONE possible solution. Your suggestion of limousine travel is another. Other solutions were there but somebody had to make them work. No, easier to remove a passenger involuntarily....I don't think so!!!
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 16:01
  #958 (permalink)  
 
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I think there will be some interesting things to come out of this incident besides lawsuits. For example, the selection process for removal of a paying passenger from flight or class of service. I have always been under the impression that frequent flier reward programs were exactly that, reward frequent fliers that accumulate enough miles flown with free travel, upgrades or reduced ticket purchase prices. Apparent this idea has expanded into airline decision making via of programing a computer to decide who goes and who stays. If two people purchase tickets at the same price, why should a rewards program be a deciding factor at all in which one stays or goes?
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 16:11
  #959 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SeenItAll View Post
I keep hearing people say that once a confirmed-booking passenger has entered the plane or sat down in a seat, s/he cannot be off-loaded. If you take that position, please explain to me what happens when the seat that the pax sits in is found to be defective (e.g. has a non-functioning seat belt), or due to some change in the weather (e.g., temperature or wind direction) the flight becomes over-weight? I have seen (multiple times) both of these circumstances -- and guess what? I have seen "boarded" pax have to leave the plane.

If the airline is not permitted to IDB people (assuming that even generous VDB hasn't worked), what is it to do? Ask everyone to leave the plane (guaranteeing a huge delay)? Just cancel the flight? And what, then, if someone takes exception and refuses to leave the plane? Remember, not everyone in the world is polite. Please tell us what procedures you would have the airline follow in all of these cases.
It's simple. In a safety-related issue like this (which was NOT the case with Dr. Dao), you offer apologies, sufficient compensation, and every effort to get that displaced pax where they need to go in a reasonable timeframe. Something like this:

"We're very sorry, but your seat is broken and we didn't spot it before boarding. It would be unsafe for you to fly in that seat. Here's $300 cash in partial compensation, a hotel room if necessary, and we will make every effort to get you to your destination ASAP, even if it means buying you a ticket on another carrier."

Increase the offer if it means the pax was traveling with spouse and kids, if they don't want to fly separately. In a clear safety-related incident like that, with sufficient compensation, I think the number of pax you'd have trouble with would be extremely low.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 16:25
  #960 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SeenItAll View Post
I keep hearing people say that once a confirmed-booking passenger has entered the plane or sat down in a seat, s/he cannot be off-loaded. If you take that position, please explain ...........
AND
There is a reason why IDB rules like EU261 exist.
In fact, what you keep hearing is people say that once a confirmed-booking passenger has entered the plane and sat down in a seat, s/he cannot be off-loaded WITHOUT REASONABLE CAUSE.
Safety and security concerns are considered to be reasonable cause, without exception.

Unloading Dr Dao was neither safety nor security related.

Certainly there is a reason why IDB rules exist. But not in order to intimidate paying passengers out of their contractual entitlements.
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