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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 15th Apr 2017, 03:54
  #1021 (permalink)  
ZFT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piltdown Man
DavidReid - I have always respected your opinion. I seldom disagree with you and I'm not going to now. As I said in my last post above, this is not a problem for me, only my company. I also know who pays my salary (and soon my pension).

But I find it interesting that contract law appears to trump any aviation law. Once the victims park their bums they appear to be invulnerable. So being a bit naughty, what is a passenger's status after passing the gate, before getting on board? Clarity is essential as I fly 50,000 people every year and I'd like to know what is legal and what is not.


Posted by Matt48

PM, Your last sentence has me astounded, you are a PIC and you are asking on here what are the legal ramifications.
Why so? Operating crew are not lawyers and the query is about pax not even on board!!.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 03:55
  #1022 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Piltdown Man View Post
DavidReid - I have always respected your opinion. I seldom disagree with you and I'm not going to now. As I said in my last post above, this is not a problem for me, only my company. I also know who pays my salary (and soon my pension).

But I find it interesting that contract law appears to trump any aviation law. Once the victims park their bums they appear to be invulnerable. So being a bit naughty, what is a passenger's status after passing the gate, before getting on board? Clarity is essential as I fly 50,000 people every year and I'd like to know what is legal and what is not.
That is an interesting question, because there are lots of incidents of passengers getting removed from a plane for no particular reason. Maybe they were working on an abstruse math paper or they were taking pictures of the IFE screen or they were speaking some foreign language.
Thus far, there has been no protest against such actions, arguably high handed and illegal under normal commercial contracts.
That will surely come under scrutiny and may not be permitted to continue. Certainly one might argue that if someone has gone through security, they should be acceptable to the airline.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 04:14
  #1023 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Airbubba View Post
Some more blog legal discussion from an alleged 'aviation attorney':



https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/unite...ansport-fenton
The legal discussion given in the article is not very convincing.
The author may have contributed it in part as a personal advertisement. If so, he was ill advised imho.

Last edited by etudiant; 15th Apr 2017 at 04:29.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 04:16
  #1024 (permalink)  
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Airbubba,the author of that blog that you posted states that the flight was overbooked.

According to what I've read ,that isn't the case. There's a lot of conflicting 'legal opinions' floating around at the moment,so it'll be very interesting to see how this plays out in a real courtroom with appropriately qualified legal practitioners. I get the feeling that the Doctor doesn't want an out of court settlement.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 06:25
  #1025 (permalink)  
 
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400kgs of luggage doesn't equal four seats for crew.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 07:37
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Originally Posted by TWT View Post
There's a lot of conflicting 'legal opinions' floating around at the moment, so it'll be very interesting to see how this plays out in a real courtroom with appropriately qualified legal practitioners. I get the feeling that the Doctor doesn't want an out of court settlement.
That's a good summing up.

It's reasonable and predictable that there is disagreement among the legal community about the relative weights of Conditions of Carriage, on one hand, and the absolute right (if it exists) of a company to kick an individual off its property (made more complicated by the fact that the crew of an aircraft have wide-ranging powers).

That disagreement is only going to be resolved in a courtroom, and it's probably in United's interest - though not necessarily that of the travelling public - that it never get that far.

I expect the following outcomes:

a) Dr Dao will reluctantly forego his day in court, on the advice of his lawyers, but will become a very rich man
b) the legal situation will remain as muddy as before
c) the industry will pay lip service to the lessons learned, but until those at the top wake up to the fact that they are running a customer-focused business, nothing will really change
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 07:46
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
a) Dr Dao will reluctantly forego his day in court, on the advice of his lawyers, but will become a very rich man
Going on his actions on the aircraft, I don't think he's going to let this go. He knows his rights, and he has the law (not to mention the public and the media) on his side.

UA have already lost a billion dollars in value, which before the days of social media and video phones, would have all been swept under the carpet, with a barrage of PR reps, and the Dr would have been discredited as a rowdy and disruptive passenger who disobeyed legal directives from the police, despite their gentle and meek demeanour escorting him from his seat.

Bad luck for UA that isn't going to wash with all the actual evidence that is available today. UA are going down for this.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 07:57
  #1028 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by twb3
Bottom line is that it's United's aircraft. It would have been far better to deny boarding in the first place than to deboard a passenger, but the incident was escalated by the passenger refusing to leave the aircraft once told that he would not be accommodated on that flight.


I think it will set a terrible precedent if this passenger is rewarded for his behavior. The lesson learned will be that defiance of flight and ground crew and abusive behavior will get you want you want.
twb3 - I think you must have strayed onto the wrong thread, what happened in Chicago was totally wrong, should never have happened and entirely down to gross mishandling by the local traffic staff, there is no evidence of abusive behaviour by the passenger in question, either.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 08:05
  #1029 (permalink)  
 
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You know the CVR (if still available - which it likely isn't) could help a PIC.

Purely hypothetical, but if a PIC ever authorised (or went along with) deplaning a pax, but only after a intercom conversation that said pax was aggressive and threatening and a danger..... a PIC could be very grateful for this CVR evidence. May not get you totally off the hook, but would at least demonstrate you had been given inaccurate information.

LEO carry recorders and most of the time it helps them. Of course if it records improper conduct then LEO is screwed. But most of the time this evidence protects.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 08:07
  #1030 (permalink)  
 
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Dave, What you say seems on the money, but we cannot forget that this whole incident is about money and this will affect your item (c)

To recover their lost customers, UA will need to establish and publish a more client friendly bumping procedure. Otherwise they could be known for years as the "drag on, drag off" airline!

In court the ramping up of crew authority would possibly establish an increased level during pushback, more during taxiing and full authority at some point during the take-off roll. Original legislation might not have considered what a court might. Prior to crew boarding, as an example of the complexity, captain authority includes refusal to operate if aircraft is unserviceable, his fuel decision not met etc. In practice he simply makes his requirements known and his ultimate authority to refuse the flight forces company to treat his requests with a similar authority as would his crew and pax during flight.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 08:11
  #1031 (permalink)  
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The legal discussion given in the article is not very convincing.
Have to agree, as soon as the second paragraph he seems to go off the rails.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 08:15
  #1032 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
That's a good summing up.

It's reasonable and predictable that there is disagreement among the legal community about the relative weights of Conditions of Carriage, on one hand, and the absolute right (if it exists) of a company to kick an individual off its property (made more complicated by the fact that the crew of an aircraft have wide-ranging powers).

That disagreement is only going to be resolved in a courtroom, and it's probably in United's interest - though not necessarily that of the travelling public - that it never get that far.

I expect the following outcomes:

a) Dr Dao will reluctantly forego his day in court, on the advice of his lawyers, but will become a very rich man
b) the legal situation will remain as muddy as before
c) the industry will pay lip service to the lessons learned, but until those at the top wake up to the fact that they are running a customer-focused business, nothing will really change
Dave,

You may well be correct but, do you not think that the awareness of pax rights has been highlighted by this so much that maybe the industry will now want this resolved?

Of course costs will be borne by the consumer but I would suggest this is a small price to pay for (hopefully) an improvement in the typical abysmal service that most US and EU so called full service carriers have lowered themselves to.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 08:22
  #1033 (permalink)  
 
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There is also the matter of criminal proceedings. A potential crime was commited on Republics (?) Property so all involved are standing ready to assist the authorities one hopes. If charges are raised, this would be more defining for the industry in terms of clarification of authority than civil negotiations.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 08:37
  #1034 (permalink)  
 
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It is probably in the public _and_ airlines interest (in the long term) that this discussion goes to court.
Hopefully there will also be discussed some of the imposed commercial practices that favour this situation, and which can create an unsafe environment.

I do appreciate that, for instance, had the Captain intervened to prevent this outcome (one way or the other) he/she may then be given some hard time afterwards (e.g. had he refused to transport his colleagues).
Also clearly the gate agent had a problem to try to solve (either due to his mistake or someone else's) in a short time; even in a confrontation I cannot think they want to get to a point when someone is getting hurt! I hope (s)he also gets all the support (s)he may need.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 08:48
  #1035 (permalink)  
 
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I would suggest the local buck stops at the station manager; nothing to do with the captain. The orders to the S.M. would have come from 'mission control'. The SM was "only obeying orders, m'lud". My question would be who authorised/coordinated the use of 'unnecessary force'. Was that a decision made on the spot by the bouncers? If UAL had said "create seats at all costs," then that is the fault. If the bouncers went beyond their remit, and should have backed off, then that is their fault. Someone has to discover who made the decisions to man-handle the pax in such an extreme manner.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 08:51
  #1036 (permalink)  
 
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United will not want this case to go to court. It is already an A1 PR disaster and with the evidence available a good attorney will make mincemeat of any defence. The defendants are themselves divided; perfect cannon fodder for the plantiffs. Dr Dao happens to have hired a very good litigation firm. Expect a very generous offer unless United are really stupid.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 08:53
  #1037 (permalink)  
 
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Matt48 - I asked the question because the passengers were NOT on board. Onboard I'm pretty clear about what I can and can not do, I was asking about the transit area between gate and aircraft door.

And Rat 5, I think you are spot on.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 09:33
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Originally Posted by SATCOS WHIPPING BOY View Post
or rather than offload 4x 90kg pax you remove 400kg of hold luggage that won't argue back.
The traditional way of dealing with the problem on charter flights home from the Med on hot days.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 09:58
  #1039 (permalink)  
 
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remove 400kg

Don T, quite right. for the uninitiated, if you took off 1000kg of baggage or indeed any amount, you still cannot carry four extra pax because THERE ARE NO SEATS for them.

Which airline employee in his/her right mind thinks it's ok to offload a pax without considering how this affects his wife? Oh she will get off with him.......that gives us a spare seat...
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 10:12
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Originally Posted by Count of Monte Bisto View Post
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 ....
There is a good reason that the "Police Forces" in the UK were re-christened "Police Services" some years ago. The moniker "Law Enforcement Officer" has a certain vibe to it which some protagonists seem to interpret over zealously.
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