United Airlines Announces 10 Policy Changes in Response to Passenger Removal Incident

Carrier released the news Thursday morning

By Francesca Bacardi Apr 27, 2017 3:30 PMTags
United Airlines PlaneYichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In the wake of United Airlines violently dragging a passenger off an overbooked flight, the airline has announced 10 new "substantial" policy changes for better service.

"The changes are the result of United's thorough examination of its policies and procedures, and commitment to take action, in the wake of the forced removal of a customer aboard United Express Flight 3411 on April 9," the statement on the airline's website read.

United will now limit use of law enforcement to safety and security issues. The airline also won't require passengers to give up their seat involuntarily unless there is a security or safety risk. Passengers who do volunteer, however, will be compensated an even higher amount.

Here is the full list of changes:

1. Limit use of law enforcement to safety and security issues only.

2. Not require customers seated on the plane to give up their seat involuntarily unless safety or security is at risk.

3. Increase customer compensation incentives for voluntary denied boarding up to $10,000.

4. Establish a customer solutions team to provide agents with creative solutions such as using nearby airports, other airlines or ground transportations to get customers to their final destination.

5. Ensure crews are booked onto a flight at least 60 minutes prior to departure.

6. Provide employees with additional annual training.

7. Create an automated system for soliciting volunteers to change travel plans.

8. Reduce the amount of overbooking.

9. Empower employees to resolve customer service issues in the moment.

10. Eliminate the red tape on permanently lost bags by adopting a "no questions asked" policy on lost luggage.

On Thursday afternoon, United also confirmed that Dr. David Dao reached an amicable settlement with the airline for the injuries he received in his April 9th ordeal.

"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," Dr. Dao's lawyer said. "For this acceptance of corporate accountability, United is to be applauded." 

Shortly after the incident, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz released a statement apologizing for what occurred. "This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened," Munoz said in the statement. "We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation."

The outrage continued, so Munoz released another statement on behalf of the airline and himself: "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."