United changes policy, crews no longer can displace passengers

SHARE United changes policy, crews no longer can displace passengers
screen_shot_2017_04_10_at_12_35_12_pm.png

Dr. David Dao is dragged off a United Airlines flight April 9, 2017. | Twitter

After suffering a public relations nightmare when a passenger was dragged off a fully booked flight a week ago, United Airlines said Sunday it is changing policy and will no longer allow crew members to displace customers already aboard a plane.

The change comes after a passenger, Dr. David Dao, was dragged from a fully booked United Express flight at O’Hare Airport after he refused to give up his seat to make room for crew members trying to get to Louisville, Ky., where they had a flight to work.

Cellphone video of the incident sparked widespread outrage aimed at United.

Under the change outlined in an internal email dated Friday, no crew member “can displace a customer who has boarded an aircraft.” And flight crews have to make must-ride bookings at least 60 minutes prior to departure. Previously, they could be booked until the time of departure.

United spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin said Sunday the changes are the first steps in a review of policies and are meant to ensure that situations like Dao’s never happen again.

RELATED STORIES: Sun-Times archive on Dr. David Dao

Dao suffered a concussion and a broken nose, lost two teeth and needs reconstructive surgery to repair damaged sinuses, his attorney Thomas Demetrio said last week. Demetrio said Dao — who was released from a hospital Wednesday night — is poised to become the poster child of an airline industry gone awry.

Dao has yet to speak publicly on the matter but will when the time is right, said Demetrio, adding that a lawsuit against United is likely.

United CEO Oscar Munoz, after initially defending his employees, issued a more contrite statement and then appeared on ABC-TV and said the video of Dao being dragged off the plane filled him with “shame.”

He promised a full internal review and to release the results by the end of April.

Police officers from the Chicago Department of Aviation took Dao off the plane. Three of them have been placed on leave. Their names haven’t been released.

Contributing: AP

The Latest
Former President Trump wasn’t going to repeat his Mike Pence mistake. He needed someone he could count on to follow orders.
With Bulls exec Arturas Karnisovas still looking to move LaVine, an NBA source said the team could be headed for locker-room headaches. DeMar DeRozan served as a buffer between LaVine and coach Billy Donovan, but he’s with the Kings now.
Sale once wanted to be like Mark Buehrle, the “gold standard” of dependability. After a long bout with injuries, the 35-year-old is happy to be as dominant as ever.
Anthony Driver, president of the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability, said the referral to Inspector General Deborah Witzburg was based on ‘information from multiple knowledgeable sources that raised serious concerns’ about the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
Austin Wayne, 33, was discovered unresponsive in the 1200 block of East 71st Street about 2:05 a.m. Monday with a gunshot wound to his chest, Chicago police said.