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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, 20:25
  #1001 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
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I am appalled that some people on this thread are arguing about what "boarded" means. Many are stating that a passenger is not boarded until the door is closed. This boggles the mind. If that were the case why would there be separate clauses in the CoC for reasons that a passenger can be offloaded once seated than those for denied boarding.

If I were trying to defend United in this case I wouldn't try that line of reasoning in front of a jury. Unless you re-define the term "boarded" within the document the term boarded will be interpreted by the public, the legal system and anyone without an agenda to mean what it implies. It's like saying "that depends what your definition of is is".

I am sure that if an airline defense attorney tried that in a trial he would be shredded by the plaintiff's attorney. Parsing words like this will only inflame a jury and lead to a higher punitive damage award. When reading the ToC it needs to be interpreted as a layperson would interpret it.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 20:46
  #1002 (permalink)  
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Lockerbie took down Pan Am.
True, but it was the final straw, sadly Pan Am were in serious trouble before Lockerbie, think it came to the surface when they sold off all their hotels, not certain about that though.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 20:52
  #1003 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2011
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Originally Posted by Jay Sata View Post
It appears the bad publicity continues.

United Airlines passenger 'stung by scorpion' on flight - BBC News

United face an uphill battle. When you google United Airlines this story comes up top of the page.
United Airlines passenger ordeal 'worse than fall of Saigon' - BBC News
Nice PR for the stockmarket.

Lockerbie took down Pan Am.
It is astonishing that the UA management is so oblivious to the above facts.
The most elementary PR would be to displace the bad news with some coherent positive response, something that will shift the debate from UA's failure.
Thus far, it is crickets, apart from a meaningless and belated apology, a promise to do better with no specifics and a reversal of the ticket charges for the people on that flight. That does not address the larger issue.
UA is a leader among US airlines and this is their opportunity to lead, to offer a meaningful passenger bill of rights that would address the awful way passengers are currently treated in the US. That is in their own and the entire industries interest. If they wait till the Senate and the DoT act, they and Wall Street may not like the results so much.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 20:59
  #1004 (permalink)  
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Who called the "Law enforcement officers"?
People supposedly, apparently, in the eyes of the passengers, working for UA, irrespective of whom they were actually working for.
UA tickets, UA flight number, UA uniforms, UA logo on the aircraft. "Perception is reality" unfortunately for a lot of juries.
"Asking" the "officers" to remove the passenger and departing the scene does not obsolve them of responsibility.
Also were these "Officers" aware of their jurisdiction and powers? Had they been properly trained in such actions. It would appear not.
A terrible mess. One that could lead to changes in law.
I foresee a bunch of lawyers making big $$$$$$.
High end car dealerships and real estate folks in both Chicago and Washington must be thrilled!
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 21:03
  #1005 (permalink)  
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I am a Brit and not an American, but am a massive fan of your great nation. However, I cannot help but notice one extremely disturbing aspect of American life - wildly out of control law enforcement agencies in all their many forms. What passes for normality in American life among security, immigration, police, sheriffs, constables, DEA officials etc is just mind blowing to people outside the USA. Americans have a deep love for law enforcement, which is fine, but it seems to make them oblivious to the crazy excesses of the various agents who work within the system. They are often staggeringly rude, ill-mannered and objectionable people who feel empowered to do almost anthing they want whilst on duty. The conclusion I have come to is that their training is fundamentally flawed and they are rarely held accountable for their appalling lack of skill in dealing with difficult people situations. I have observed it so often in the countless embarrassing, and frankly shameful, PR disasters that regularly beset US law enforcement that I can come to no other conclusion. It seems to me that this awful incident with United Airlines is yet another example of over-zealous and under-trained security staff who acted like Nazi thugs, and yet somehow believed their behavior was 'reasonable'. I cannot say this could never happen in Europe but I can say it is infinitely less likely due to the enormous constraints put on police and security staff actions compared to the US. Hopefully they will lose their jobs, but I am intrigued that Munos initially tried to justify this, thus showing an astonishing deference to law enforcement and seemingly accepting of their excesses. Somehow he felt an aggravated assault on a 69 year-old doctor was an appropriate response because he was being difficult. The guy himself will make a fortune but it does not deal with the unqualified support so often given to law enforcement by the American middle classes. It is a remarkable, yet very dangerous, phenomenon that seems peculiarly American.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 21:05
  #1006 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
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I wasn't going to post again but I can scarcely believe the quantity and low quality of ill informed comment.
Someone asked me what I would have done if I had been the captain.
My reply: Bas: (To despatcher) "Let me know when YOUR problem is resolved."
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 21:09
  #1007 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Kewbick View Post
I am not defending United Airlines. The doctor was warned, and then at the point of being dragged, he could have submitted, and walked off the aircraft. He made a decision. Being dragged, in my opinion, is choosing to make a statement. Regardless of his verbal protestations, I think he thought to himself "just how far will these idiots take this?"

Just like Rosa Parks. He made a decision. He will be thought of highly by the travelling public.

He made a decision. What world do you live in? Would you have walked after being warned, or would you sit and choose to be dragged. Just saying..

He made a decision. And he won. With bruises. Personally, I would have walked off the aircraft. I am not that stubborn to risk bodily harm. I do not want to be a martyr. If a police office asks me to get out of my car, I will not say "What the f**k for?" I will get out of my car. That is the kind of world I live in.
You do not know how things played out on the aircraft. Maybe he had no explicit warning, maybe no indication at all that he was about to be physically (and violently) siezed. Moreover, a broken nose, missing teeth and concussion is more than a passenger could reasonably expect even from being physically restrained and removed: I'm sure he did not 'choose' that option.

This passenger had no need to ask why he was being told to leave: he knew he had been arbitrarily selected, through no fault of his own, to be thrown off the flight for reasons of commercial convenience. That's not the same as being stopped by a police patrol.

What the airline and several here on PPRuNe seem not to appreciate is that it is the dismissing, minimising and rationalising of this event that has vastly magnified it. People are shocked that it happened, but are outraged by attempts to justify or mitigate it. If you value 'the rules' and see this event as falling within those rules, or as 'reasonable' given the passenger's conduct, then tread carefully or you'll see those rules promptly torn up by legislation: the view of society will now be that anything that makes this event 'right' is wrong and must not stand unchanged.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 21:17
  #1008 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by c52 View Post
If the aircraft's captain, apparently with total authority on board, had told the police to stop what they were doing, would they have obeyed him or arrested him or beaten him up?
On the ground, with doors open, the police are running the show.
That's in the UK - clearly this was in the USA.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 21:48
  #1009 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Everyone on the flight was offered a cash refund which is rather extraordinary, don't you think?

(And its probably not for the reason you are thinking......)
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 22:14
  #1010 (permalink)  
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@ Piltdown Man

I understand your concerns. Now look at it from the passenger side. I would suggest that it's fairly reasonable for a passenger to consider that after they have purchased their ticket, complied with all the rules and requirements, been accepted without condition at the gate and taken their allocated (and booked) seat, the last thing they might expect is to be bumped off AT THIS STAGE of the process. Even more so if they are going to be split from the rest of their family. The bottom line here, which many seem to have forgotten, is that the airline made some sort of monumental cock-up regarding the DH crew and they expected 4 boarded passengers to give up their seats, without even the guarantee of a seat on the very next flight. That's just not right, period.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 22:18
  #1011 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Piltdown Man View Post
What makes me feel uneasy is that some here have the opinion that that as soon as a passenger's bum hits their seat they are protected by some omnipotent legal shield. The passenger can now call the shots. Does that mean that unless my company come up with a sufficiently high enough level of compensation for them to vacate their seat they have a legal right to remain seated, no matter what? Do they have to travel on the aircraft they boarded, in that seat to the prescribed destination, no matter what?
No, not "no matter what".

But if the passenger hasn't breached the Conditions of Carriage that they (and your employer) have agreed to, and they are already sat in a serviceable seat on a flight that's going to their intended destination, then yes, you can only buy them out of their contract by offering them what they consider to be an acceptable sum.

From this point on, you're going to have to get used to that idea.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 22:21
  #1012 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Piltdown Man View Post
Just to be clear, I have no interest in disembarking any passenger on a random whim. PM
But that is just what happened. Not chosen by the captain, to be sure, but randomly chosen nonetheless. Yes, the passenger/customer does have the right to expect the occupy the seat. He had bought (paid for) a ticket, passed through all the necessary formalities and was behaving as civilised member of the human race.

The problem arose because four members crew (working for the airline) turned up at the 11th hour and 59th minute. The airline decide they had to fly so others should be off loaded. Bribery worked on three but not on the four person, Dr Dao. Airline solution, call "security" and have him forcibly removed. Not an acceptable solution for Dr Dao or one suspects many other millions of the travelling public.

PS. PM Seems there are three in a row here who are thinking along the same lines...!! As I said, in reality it runs into millions... In essence I suppose you could ask the question: Are the airlines run for the convenience of airlines or for the convenience of passengers..?
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 22:23
  #1013 (permalink)  
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Jay, you are correct. But the contract exists from you buying the ticket until the contract is fulfilled with you arriving at your destination, providing numerous compliance check-points are met along the way. But flying also requires the weather and airports to play ball. At the same time airlines have become used to using their aircraft as internal transport. Are they wrong to do this? Should airlines keep seats free for position crew? Every airline adverse option means the poster is perfectly happy for you to pay more to fly. Is that OK?
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 22:24
  #1014 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
No, not "no matter what".

But if the passenger hasn't breached the Conditions of Carriage that they (and your employer) have agreed to, and they are already sat in a serviceable seat on a flight that's going to their intended destination, then yes, you can only buy them out of their contract by offering them what they consider to be an acceptable sum.

From this point on, you're going to have to get used to that idea.
Well I am sure this will all look good on United Airlines next sale pitch.

Dragged of your flight with a bloody nose....That's United
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 22:24
  #1015 (permalink)  
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Piltdown Man - your post reveals exactly what I have said. Somehow the actions of law enforcement seem irrelevant to you here. I would strongly suggest that they are at the root of the problem. That is not to say that Dr Dao was completely reasonable. What we all have to recognize is that if you have a flight with 150 assorted passengers on board, some will be trickier to handle than others. Given that we are all likely to be faced with some difficult and less compliant passengers, the default action by law enforcement cannot be to carry out violent attacks on such people, simply because they can. This is all about training - there is no achievement in handling nice people who, when told to jump reply, 'How high'? The skill is dealing with perfectly law-abiding but idiosyncratic people who think they have rights or absolutely reject the idea of being booted from a flight to accommodate staff. The future costs of travel are nothing to do with Dr Dao - they are all to do with inadequately trained and selected security staff who are totally ill-equipped to perform their basic duties due to an astonishing lack of common sense and temperamental inadequacies.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 22:31
  #1016 (permalink)  
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PM, I fully understand and appreciate what you say. In fact you use the phrase "on a whim" which seems to apply to this case as there were many other options available that were either not considered, or considered and discounted. The path of least resistance would have appeared to be to remove the passenger who had already expressed a willingness to do so in the belief that a later flight was on offer; once it was clear this meant a flight the next day the circumstances for him changed and he rejected that offer.

Anyone who buys a ticket for an airline flight, has a boarding pass and is seated in a perfectly serviceable seat and doing no harm to anyone certainly has the right not to be assaulted; and subsequently humiliated and denigrated.

Unforeseen circumstances can occur and will continue to do so. These must be addressed on a case-by-case basis to ensure the safe conduct of the flight, and/ or the safety of the passenger(s). As you say, you have bought yourself out of those situations in the past; sadly in this instance UA closed the wallet too soon and it will cost them dearly. I am sure that for a few hundred dollars more someone else on that plane would have voluntarily relinquished their seat.
Old 14th Apr 2017, 22:33
  #1017 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Next up? AA

Spreading to other airlines now.

Internal Error
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 22:34
  #1018 (permalink)  
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A few purported PIC here have stated it is their decision and an airplane is not a democracy and they call the shots.....
and a few purported PIC are quite wrong when discussing this particular, (or similar) situation(s), involving an airline, rather than a third level operator with 20seat aircraft at remote out stations. There are multi layers of airline traffic management, (ground staff), between the person who approached the doctor to ask him to leave and the most senior traffic services manager in the airline. At no stage do the lines of traffic management authority cross with those of the PIC when it comes down to a passenger seating dispute and the traffic staff would have valid grounds for complaint if a PIC tried to intervene. There would have been several more senior staff available that night who could have become involved, right up to and including the UAL Duty Station Manager, Chicago, if necessary.

To those posters using this thread to denigrate the pilot work force; PPRuNe is a professional pilots forum, please leave the chips on your shoulders at the door, before entering.
To those taking exception to the term Self Loading Freight (SLF); An understanding of aviation humour would probably be enough to stop you rushing into print.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 22:43
  #1019 (permalink)  
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Surely this isn't as difficult to understand as some people are trying to make out.

If there is a genuine safety reason (broken seat, last minute need to add fuel for changing Wx and now above MTOW or whatever), the PIC has legitimate authority to request a pax to get off). 99% of pax will get that. Hopefully the carrier will compensate the pax for something which is really no ones fault but rather circumstances beyond everyone's control. Next possible flight, lounge access, upgrade .....whatever. Isn't that what most of us would expect if we drew the short straw for the greater good? This safety reason separates airlines from other businesses like restaurants or cinemas or whatever.

LEO have dragged pax off for legitimate reason - intoxicated or whatever. And the other pax support that and won't come to the defence of the clown. The fact the video shows outraged pax (some of whom allegedly subsequently refused to reboard) should be a hint that this was not right.

Could a hotel or cinema or restaurant demand someone vacate so an employee could take their place? Of course not - it's not safety related. So why should an airline?

The fact some people still don't seem to get this is the centre of the pupil of the bullseye of the failed customer service culture that so many pax have experienced.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 22:47
  #1020 (permalink)  
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slats11 You sum it up very well.
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