Markets

United Changes Crew Booking Policy in Wake of Passenger Incident

United Changes Crew Booking Policy in Wake of Passenger Incident

United Continental Holdings has changed its policy on employee travel and will now ensure crews riding on its aircraft as passengers are booked at least 60 minutes before departure, according to a statement from the company.

The letter comes five days after David Dao, 69, was dragged off a United flight after refusing to leave his seat to accommodate airline crew members. The 30 percent of respondents who said they hadn't heard about the airline recently were split almost 50-50 when it came to identical United or American flights.

Dao's lawyer Thomas Demetrio on Thursday said there will "probably" be a lawsuit against United Airlines over the incident.

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

As a result, it had the lowest rate among the largest US airlines of bumping people off flights against their will - something that is legal but alienates customers and requires the airline to pay compensation of up to $1,350 per person. "We can't do that. this can never, will never happen again on a United Airlines flight... that's my promise".

Dao suffered a severe concussion, broken nose, and lost two front teeth.

Of the national sample of 1,975 adults, 79% who said they'd recently heard of United chose its competitor.

United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized, saying, "No one should ever be mistreated this way".

United Airlines has weathered a PR nightmare recently.

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The policy change effectively means that if there is a need to displace a passenger from a flight, the decision is made before boarding begins.

She said her husband shooed the scorpion off his tray and it landed in the aisle, catching the attention of a nearby passenger who cried, "Oh my god, that's a scorpion".

An aviation security police officer was placed on leave after videos of Dao's removal sparked a social media backlash against United.

"I don't think it was right", said Keith Harris, of Atlantic City.

They also noted that they believe the majority of blame should be placed on the Chicago Department of Aviation (the department that employs the security officers who removed Dao), for their "grossly inappropriate response".


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