United Airlines tweaks crew policy after recent fiasco

The new policy states that “no must ride crew member can displace a customer who has boarded an aircraft”.

Last week (April 9), the video of a man on board a United Airlines flight being forcibly removed from his seat by airport security, made international headlines.

It was reported that the victim, 69-year-old David Dao, had been ejected to make space for additional crew on the overbooked flight.

Following the incident, which saw the company’s market share value fall some US$800 million overnight, the airline has gone in crisis mode, introducing new policies to prevent a repeat of the episode.

One policy change implemented is for all staff, including off-duty crew flying to another location for work, to now check in for flights one hour before scheduled departure.

If the crew member has not checked in by the stipulated timing, they will not be allowed to travel on that flight.

United Airlines said in an internal memo that the policy “is so the denied boarding process in an oversell situation may be implemented in a gate or lobby area and not on board the aircraft”.

It added that there will be no deviation from the policy, and that “no must ride crew member can displace a customer who has boarded an aircraft”.

The company has also raised compensation that supervisors on duty can offer to displaced passengers from US$1,350 to US$10,000.

CEO Oscar Munoz, who came under fire for his initial response, in which he maintained staff took the best course of action as they were facing a passenger who was “disruptive and belligerent”, has since apologised to Dao.

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