United Airlines has announced a set of 10 new policies it promises will “improve customer experience,” and, presumably, ensure that the company never repeats the incident that happened earlier this month in which a passenger was violently removed from an overbooked flight.
In the new rules, United pledges to “limit use of law enforcement to safety and security issues only”; to not require customers to involuntarily give up their seats “unless safety or security is at risk”; and to raise compensation for passengers denied boarding from $1,350 to $10,000. The company also promises to “empower employees to resolve customer service issues” — a key pledge, as employees involved in the April 9th incident stated that they did not have the authority to act otherwise.
United has also reached a settlement with the passenger removed from that flight, one David Dao. A spokesman for the company said in a statement: “We are pleased to report that United and Dr. Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard flight 3411.” During the incident, Dao suffered a concussion, a broken nose, and lost two teeth. He had paid for his seat on the flight, but was randomly selected for “de-boarding” after United overbooked the trip.
For United Airlines, the new policies and settlement should bring to an end one disastrous month. Not only was the company criticized for its removal of Dao, but also for barring teenagers from wearing leggings on a different flight. More bizarrely, a giant, potentially record-breaking rabbit also mysteriously died on one of the company’s planes. United’s new policies can be read in full below:
United commits to:
Limit use of law enforcement to safety and security issues only.
Not require customers seated on the plane to give up their seat involuntarily unless safety or security is at risk.
Increase customer compensation incentives for voluntary denied boarding up to $10,000.
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.
Ensure crews are booked onto a flight at least 60 minutes prior to departure.
Provide employees with additional annual training.
Create an automated system for soliciting volunteers to change travel plans.
Reduce the amount of overbooking.
Empower employees to resolve customer service issues in the moment.
Eliminate the red tape on permanently lost bags by adopting a "no questions asked" policy on lost luggage.