United Airlines hopes to fly more united with its paying customers and today announced 10 changes to improve customer service after Dr. David Dao was dragged out of his seat on an overbooked flight on April 9th so that another crewmember could get to work on another flight on April 9th. Passenger video of the incident that went viral sparked national and international public outrage. According to United Airlines press release on April 27th, the changes include “limiting the use of law enforcement to safety and security matters, not require seated customers on the plane to give up their seats involuntarily unless safety or security is at risk, increase customer compensation incentives for voluntary denied boarding up to $10,000 and ensure crews are booked onto a flight at least 60 minutes prior to departure.”
“Every customer deserves to be treated with the highest levels of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect. Two weeks ago, we failed to meet that standard and we profoundly apologize. However, actions speak louder than words. Today, we are taking concrete, meaningful action to make things right and ensure nothing like this ever happens again,”
“Our review shows that many things went wrong that day, but the headline is clear: our policies got in the way of our values and procedures interfered in doing what’s right. This is a turning point for all of us at United and it signals a culture shift toward becoming a better more customer-focused airline. Our customers should be at the center of everything we do and these changes are just the beginning of how we will earn back their trust,” said Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines in the press release.
Today attorneys for Dr. David Dao and United Airlines also reached an amicable settlement for the injuries Dao suffered aboard United Express Flight 3411 on April 9th. The settlement includes a provision that the amount remain confidential.
“Mr. Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has. In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411, without attempting to blame others, including the City of Chicago. For his acceptance of corporate accountability, United is to be applauded,” said Thomas A. Demetrio, one of Dr. Dao’s lawyers.
“Dr. Dao has become the unintended champion for the adoption of changes which will certainly help improve the lives of literally millions of travelers….I sincerely hope that all other airlines make similar changes and follow United’s lead in helping to improve the passenger flying experience with an emphasis on empathy, patience, respect and dignity,” Demetrio stated.