United Airlines will now offer passengers up to $10,000 to give up their seat on overbooked flights

 
Rebecca Smith
The airline has suffered some reputational turbulence after a video of a passenger being dragged from one of its flights went viral
The airline has suffered some reputational turbulence after a video of a passenger being dragged from one of its flights went viral (Source: Getty)

After that incident involving a passenger being dragged from one of its flights, United Airlines has changed its policy to try and avoid a repeat of the PR disaster.

The airline will offer more cash - up to $10,000 (£7,755) - to customers who volunteer to give up their seat on an overbooked flight; in the incident involving the removal of Dr David Dao, passengers were offered $800.

Read more: United Airlines will now tie executive pay to customer satisfaction

It comes after rival Delta pointedly said it will offer up to $9,950 in some overbooking situations.

As a result of the situation and its fallout, chief executive Oscar Munoz is looking to change up the culture, implementing 10 policy changes to try and spruce up United's reputation.

New policies going into effect from this week onwards include:

  • Offering up to $10,000 to customers who volunteer to give up their seat on an overbooked flight
  • Passengers on board and in their seat cannot be removed from a flight unless there is a safety or security issue
  • United will cut down on the amount of overbooking, particularly on the last flight of the day, or on those flights where passengers tend to not volunteer to offer up their seat
  • A new app for crews to use when handling customer issues
  • Crews will be booked onto flights at least an hour before departure - unless there are open seats

Munoz said: "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 centre of everything we do and these changes are just the beginning of how we will earn back their trust.

The furore over Dao's removal from flight 3411 on 9 April, was followed yesterday by the news United was investigating the death of a giant rabbit on board one of its flights.

Read more: United’s brand turbulence leaves rivals in cruise control

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