United Airlines – Overbooked flight…Back to Forum
A new video of Dr Dao’s predicament on United flight 3411 has emerged:
The other two policemen involved have now also been put on leave. As I understand it, all three officers were Chicago Aviation Support Officers who are are trained by the Chicago Police Department. Amongst other duties they are dispatched airside to investigate incidents and they do have powers of arrest but only whilst in uniform and on airport premises.
It does not seem clear if Dr Dao was formally arrested – or told he would be arrested -before the plain clothed officer reach over and hauled him out of his seat which, as we have all seen on the previous videos, resulted in Dr Dao’s head being banged against the arm rest of the seat on the opposite side of the aisle.
Surely they Police would have to arrest you before carrying out a physical removal, especially as it is clear Dr Dao was merely sitting in his seat, arguing and simply refusing to leave?
I cannot help but think the Police Aviation Support officers felt they were under pressure from United’s gate staff and the flight crew, who in turn were under pressure to get the aircraft away, presumably within a certain slot time, and in the haste of it all the due process of the law was not followed.
Does anyone know if under UK law, in a similar situation, the passenger would have to be formally arrested before the heavies could lift you out of the seat?13 Apr 2017
Revocation of previously granted permission to board and remain in the aircraft and subsequent asking that the passenger leave would mean the passenger becomes a trespasser if s/he refuses. Under UK law trespass is mostly a civil matter. Certain types of trespass have been criminalised but this would not be one of them. The police have other powers to ‘lift you out of your seat’ but such powers are exercisable during or after an arrest. What constitutes a ‘formal’ arrest is a long debate.13 Apr 2017
It will be interesting to see how far United’s conditions of carriage protect them. Airlines “reserve the right to assign or re-assign seats at any time, even after boarding of the aircraft. This may be necessary for operational, safety, government regulatory, health or security reasons.” But presumably they’ll have to prove the passenger contravened one or more of the above criteria.13 Apr 2017
An even more alarming fact has emerged from this incident. The Aviation Support Officers involved should NOT have been wearing jackets with the word ‘Police’ on them! Their ‘uniforms’ are not supplied to them but they are given an allowance and procure them. In January a directive was issued they were to remove the word’Police’ on these uniforms and use ‘Security’ instead. You can see the Commissioner explain this about 2’15 into this video:
In the article below there is a short video clip and you can clearly see, just towards the end, BOTH uniformed men have ‘Police’, thus masquerading as proper Policemen when neither was entitled nor should have been wearing these jackets at the time. Goodness know what the lawyers will make of this!14 Apr 2017
Munoz is toast – bye
He should definitely resign. Warren Buffet has a large stake in United so maybe he will push for Munoz to go, but go he should.
This now seems typical of the utter arrogance and contempt so many airlines show to their passengers – passengers who have paid good money for a seat to take them on their journey. It’s irrelevant what is paid for that seat as every transaction is between a willing buyer and a willing seller and to try and remove that man to put someone else in that seat is in my opinion criminally wrong – it’s akin to theft.
I just wonder however, why they couldn’t put the last crew member in the jumpseat or crew seat?14 Apr 2017
The whole thing is a mess and my bet is that he will ultimately go. I also wonder who else should shoulder the blame for this; whilst United clearly triggered the sequence of events, the “security” firm and, presumably the airport company on whose behalf they perform work, are also in the frame for a lawsuit, surely.14 Apr 2017
There is another story circulating that two first class passengers were bumped to economy to accommodate Munoz and his wife returning from a skiing trip from Aspen and yet another about a 94 year old grand mother also bumped down to economy from business on a 13hr flight LAX -MEL……. and I am sure they will keep coming and coming!14 Apr 2017
When most fares were flexible and resulted in large numbers of no shows there was some justification for airlines (and hotels ) overbooking. Today most fares are non flex and therefore the seat has been paid for regardless of show or no show. This is compounded even more by the airlines that insist on selling only return tickets. This gives the greedy airlines the chance to sell a seat twice in the hope of no shows. This may be a different scenario from this disgusting case of UA but it is the policy of many airlines to purposely overbook to increase revenue.14 Apr 2017
This very sad incident highlights a different part of the broken USA travel experience. There is zero excuse for dragging a 69 year old passenger off an aircraft, once he has been boarded.
Similarly , there is no excuse for close body searches by the TSA with no accountability. Remember only a week or so ago, there were reports that police had been warned of a possible increase in complaints by passengers due to the TSA having increased powers for even more intrusive body searches.
I listened to the entire press conference presented by the Dr’s legal firm Corboy and Demetrio. I would add to Ahmad’s post above at 12.55, it is not only the Dr who has won the ‘lottery’ but also Corboy and Demetrio.
My hope is that any procedural or protocol review/investigation, will include other areas of the USA flying experience that is considered contentious, including the legal authority for close body searches without due cause…14 Apr 2017
I suspect many airlines after this, if not already, will be releasing an internal communication regarding a change or reiteration of the procedures to staff. It has such major consequences for an airline with a public incident of this magnitude. It will be interesting to see if there are longer term consequences to United than just the initial share price dip.14 Apr 2017