United changes crew-booking policy after passenger's removal

Isaac Cain
April 20, 2017

The lawyer for a man dragged off a United flight says the airline and Chicago officials have agreed to preserve evidence of the incident.

The development comes after the United Airlines announced to compensate all passengers on the flight in which 69-year-old Dr David Daowas was forcibly removed from his seat, after refusing to give up his seat on an overbooked flight.

One policy change implemented is for all staff, including off-duty crew flying to another location for work, to now check in for flights one hour before scheduled departure. In an internal memo obtained Friday by The Associated Press, Delta said gate agents can offer up to $2,000, up from a previous maximum of $800, and supervisors can offer up to $9,950, up from $1,350.

It is legal in the US for airlines to overbook flights to compensate for unfulfilled bookings.

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The practice has been questioned, however, since video of the United Express incident went viral.

A physician on the ground assured the crew that "it was not a life-threatening matter", United spokeswoman Maddie King said in an email on Friday, adding that the airline is "reaching out to the customer to apologize and discuss the matter".

The massive backlash to the airlines prompted CEO Oscar Munoz to call the incident "upsetting" and apologise "for having to re-accommodate" customers. In contrast, United bumped more than 10 passengers per day. Delta earned almost $4.4 billion. Southwest Airlines paid $758, United $565, and American Airlines $554.

"If you offer enough money, even the guy going to a funeral will sell his seat", Ross Aimer, a retired United Airlines pilot said, according to the AP.

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