United Airlines GOOFED Big Time!!! Upgrading From Breaking Guitar to Breaking Passenger!
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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If you have not yet seen or heard about the shocking event that took place from a United Airlines flight #3411 on Sunday (April 9, 2017), from Chicago O’Hare airport to Louisville, KY, you will. The video clip of a 69 year old bloodied Asian American passenger, Dr. David Dao, being forcibly dragged off of a full flight (it was not an overbooked flight, therefore, regulations on overbooking does not apply) by police to make room for airline employees has alarmed us all, wondering if airlines really have the right to do this to any passenger. This is equivalent to: you having ordered a burger at the McDonald, but after having paid for the burger, the wait person comes over telling you “we won’t serve you any burger because our employee, who did not pay anything, wants the last burger we have.” while reporting you to the police and having the police smashing your head against the wall until you bleed and chase you out of the McDonald. McDonald would never permit such treatment of its customers! It is no wonder that United Airlines, Inc. has filed for bankruptcy multiple times.
Apparently, this is not a “bumping the passenger under standard overbooking event”, in which case the airline may and may not have as much rights to remove passenger from the plane, depending on which airline one is dealing with. Of course, after this incident, many of the frequent travelers would think twice about ever traveling with United again. In this particular situation, the United may have broken the law by bumping the passenger for United Airlines employees. As it turned out, United Airlines was trying to bump 4 passengers in order to put 4 United crew members to get to Louisville sooner. Some body really GOOFED at United Airlines, given the fact that this flight from Chicago to Louisville is only a 5 hour drive. United Airlines could have simply ordered a shuttle or taxi or chartered flight for these crew members or offer more to ask any passenger on flight to voluntarily give up the seat (at the time, there was apparently one passenger who offered to give up the seat if United would pay him $1600 (according to a Reddit reader/write-in), but the airline employees just laughed). Now, instead of shelling out $1600, United Airlines, Inc. stock value has already plunged these past two days, drop in valuation of about a $billion. The circulated videos and news will enable United to lose millions of potential customers in the future, not to mention potential civil and criminal law suits await. The Asian American doctor definitely has a case, especially if/when United Airlines was breaking the law, according to some legal discussions at Reddit by an attorney. This is the discussion, in italics, at Reddit, below:
- From a lawyer:
- First of all, it’s airline spin to call this an overbooking. The statutory provision granting them the ability to deny boarding is about ” OVERSALES”, specifically defines as booking more reserved confirmed seats than there are available. This is not what happened. They did not overbook the flight; they had a fully booked flight, and not only did everyone already have a reserved confirmed seat, they were all sitting in them. The law allowing them to denying boarding in the event of an oversale does not apply.
- Even if it did apply, the law is unambiguously clear that airlines have to give preference to everyone with reserved confirmed seats when choosing to involuntarily deny boarding. They have to always choose the solution that will affect the least amount of reserved confirmed seats. This rule is straightforward, and United makes very clear in their own contract of carriage that employees of their own or of other carriers may be denied boarding without compensation because they do not have reserved confirmed seats. On its face, it’s clear that what they did was illegal– they gave preference to their employees over people who had reserved confirmed seats, in violation of 14 CFR 250.2a.
- Furthermore, even if you try and twist this into a legal application of 250.2a and say that United had the right to deny him boarding in the event of an overbooking; they did NOT have the right to kick him off the plane. Their contract of carriage highlights there is a complete difference in rights after you’ve boarded and sat on the plane, and Rule 21 goes over the specific scenarios where you could get kicked off. NONE of them apply here. He did absolutely nothing wrong and shouldn’t have been targeted. He’s going to leave with a hefty settlement after this fiasco.
I’ve gathered quite a few remarks about United Airlines treatment of its customers over the internet:
- Board as a doctor, leave as a patient
- Not enough seating, prepare for a beating
- United Airlines has put the hospital in hospitality
What can I say, I’ve long heard among frequent travelers and musicians that United Airlines break musician’s guitar, below:
Thanks to internet and smart phones, civil behavior will be required from individuals as well as from corporations. Corporations that do not treat its customers civilly will end up paying/losing big time!
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