United Airlines (UAL) today announced 10 substantial changes to how it flies, serves and respects its customers. The changes are the result of United’s thorough examination of its policies and procedures, and commitment to take action, in the wake of the forced removal of a customer aboard United Express Flight 3411 on April 9.
United commits to:
o Limit use of law enforcement to safety and security issues only.
o Not require customers seated on the plane to give up their seat involuntarily unless safety or security is at risk.
o Increase customer compensation incentives for voluntary denied boarding up to $10,000.
o 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.
o Ensure crews are booked onto a flight at least 60 minutes prior to departure.
o Provide employees with additional annual training.
o Create an automated system for soliciting volunteers to change travel plans.
o Reduce the amount of overbooking.
o Empower employees to resolve customer service issues in the moment.
o Eliminate the red tape on permanently lost bags by adopting a “no questions asked” policy on lost luggage.
While several of these policies are effective immediately, others will be rolled out through the remainder of the year. The facts of what happened aboard Flight 3411 and a full review of United’s changes can be found at hub.united.com.
Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines, said, “Every customer deserves to be treated with the highest levels of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect. Two weeks ago, we failed to meet that standard and we profoundly apologize. However, actions speak louder than words. Today, we are taking concrete, meaningful action to make things right and ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”
“Our review shows that many things went wrong that day, but the headline is clear: our policies got in the way of our values and procedures interfered in doing what’s right. This is a turning point for all of us at United and it signals a culture shift toward becoming a better, more customer-focused airline. Our customers should be at the center of everything we do and these changes are just the beginning of how we will earn back their trust,” he added.
United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 4,500 flights a day to 337 airports across five continents. In 2016, United and United Express operated more than 1.6 million flights carrying more than 143 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 743 mainline aircraft and the airline’s United Express partners operate 478 regional aircraft. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 190 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “UAL”.