United pilots: Dragged passenger not our fault

A study released Monday found that U.S. airline quality is higher than ever but air travelers may disagree. Passengers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport wait in line for security screening in May 2016

Members of the U.S. Congress have also expressed concern, as U.S. House Representative Judy Chu, a Chinese American, has written both to the United Airlines and to the U.S. Department of Transportation demanding answers.

Last week, one family received almost £9,000 in compensation from Delta, after they volunteered to delay their flights.

United crews previously could be booked on flights until the time of departure.

"This terrible situation has provided a harsh learning experience from which we will take immediate, concrete action", said the airline on Thursday, vowing to change its rules on overbooking and booking crew, removing passengers and training its staff on how to handle such an event. Whoever ordered the use of force to remove a passenger from the flight deserves to be charged with assault, since the passenger clearly had the right to be on the plane by virtue of having a valid ticket.

About the headline-making incident, which occurred on April 9, United had said a seat was needed for a commuting crewmember and no one had volunteered to leave the plane.

The National Consumers League blames airline consolidation - with four big carriers (United, Delta, American, and Southwest) flying 80 percent of US passengers - for more crowded planes, shrinking seats, extra fees, and reduced flight service to smaller cities.

An attorney for Dr. David Dao, the passenger forcibly removed from a United flight, said at a press conference that there will "probably" be a lawsuit.

That includes all surveillance videos, cockpit voice recordings, passenger and crew lists, incident reports and other items. "Imagine if the tweets from United flight 3411 had been 'Whoa, United just paid four people two grand so they could get their crew to tomorrow morning's Newark flight!' rather than the sight of the airline calling the cops on a 69-year-old man". Adding that the change is "one of our initial steps in a review of our policies in order to deliver the best customer experience". I am sure there would have been four bump volunteers on that flight well before the airline bid $10,000 for each seat and everyone would have been happy. He also sent a reassuring letter to his employees, which appeared to blame Dao, saying he "refused" to cooperate after he was "politely asked" to leave, prompting crews to call for help.

Munoz had said that Dao was acting disruptively and belligerently.

By Tuesday, United's stock prices had plummeted, and Munoz issued a more humbled apology the same day.



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