my statement to united airlines customer support, 2017-04-11

my statement to united airlines customer support, 2017-04-11 was:

you guys have always been good to me. i like your flight and ground crews; i like your web server team and your customer service teams (both on the phone and online). i've complained about stuff and you've always made it right.

but, we're coming to an ending, in spite of that. it's because of the abhorrent treatment of the passengers in chicago the other night, even before the even more abhorrent laying on of hands suffered by the passenger who refused to yield the seat he was in and deplane. note, he should have complied with all crewmember instructions, as i have always done and would have done in chicago and will do in the future. i take transportation safety seriously and i won't try to defend that passenger's refusal to exit the plane when told to do so.

the violence, and the injury at the hands of the chicago aviation police, are not the cause of this message. rather, it's the united airlines manager who stepped aboard that plane and said, this plane isn't going to take off until four of you give up your seats.
i can't and won't take the risk of something like that happening to me or any member of my family.

i recently challenged american airlines for EP status, because i'll be traveling 250K or more air miles this year, and i wanted more choice in my air carriers. i had planned to give UA and AA each 125K air miles worth of business in 2017.

the only hope you have of that happening now, is if you publicly fire the manager who stepped on board that plane in chicago and spoke those words. no need to notify me; i'll know from the press whether you take this step or not.

i have three flights booked on UA at the moment, and i'll use each of them to thank ground and flight crews for their wonderful work on my behalf over the last 29 years, and to say goodbye.

this will be painful. but even if UA has learned no lessons from your mistake, i think that american has learned some important ones here. i think i'll be perfectly safe in their care.

to retain me as a customer would take a statement along the following lines from United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz:

To all customers, employees, and shareholders of United Airlines. We apologize for the injuries sustained by during his forced eviction from our aircraft in Chicago, and United Airlines bears full responsibility for the incident and for those injuries. Furthermore, we apologize for attempting to force any of our passengers, once aboard our aircraft, to deplane for any reason not directly related to safety. The United Airlines manager who announced that the plane would not take off until four passengers gave up their seats and deplaned, has been involuntarily terminated without severance. We assure the flying public that a full review of our boarding policies will occur immediately, and that all or our employees will be required to attend sensitivity and policy training, to prevent anything like this from happening again. Oscar Munoz


wow. it's as if they read my comment to their support web site. he apologized, he called it horrific, he took full responsibility, and he kicked off a review. wild. in the united hub blog, mr. munoz wrote as follows:

Statement from United Airlines CEO, Oscar Munoz, on United Express flight 3411
By Oscar Munoz, CEO, United Airlines
April 11, 2017
Dear Team,

The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.

I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.

It's never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what's broken so this never happens again. This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. We'll communicate the results of our review by April 30th.

I promise you we will do better.



on the strength of this, i will delay until the review results on april 30 before i make any decisions about my future as a UA passenger. --vixie

united airlines has published all kinds of findings and policy changes related to the Dr. Dao incident. however, the most important questions remain unanswered: was the manager who stepped on board that airplane and announced that four passengers had to give up their seats following company policy (as it was then) or not?

if so, why was company policy incompatible with united's common carriage agreement (as it was then) which made clear that once boarded, a passenger could only be de-boarded for reasons of safety? please don't say that Dr. Dao was yet-unboarded because boarding had not been declared complete for the flight; he was seated, belted, belongings stored in the overhead bins. we all know what "after boarding" was taken to mean. how could united put this manager in a position of following corporate policies which were in clear contravention to united's contract with this paying customer. where was your legal department's mind at?

if not, then what will be the consequences to this manager as a result of violating both company policy and the common carriage agreement? will she be reassigned, reeducated, suspended, docked, fired, or what? will there be any sign to all other employees and contractors of united airlines that a failure to follow documented procedures and to honour the airline's agreement with its customers, will end very badly indeed?

i need to know your answers. the self help industry describes your answers as "owning your sh*t" and i need you to do that. i am fairly sure at this point that this is a relationship-ending injury for united airlines and i if you sweep this under the rug or otherwise fail to address it. i put myself on a lot of planes every year, and i put my children on a lot of planes every year, and i need to know if we are safe in united airlines' hands, or not.


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