In an effort to continually provide satisfactory services and excellent customer-experience to its valued clients, United Airlines is now making substantial changes on its ways. The big change includes a $10,000 offer to the passengers who volunteer to forfeit their seats on overbooked flights -and those who still refuse won’t be hauled out of their seats by law enforcement, as result of addressing the Chicago incident earlier this month.
The carrier announced what it called “10 substantial changes to how it flies, serves and respects its customers,” saying the shifts come after a scrutiny of its policies “in the wake of a forced removal of a customer aboard United Express Flight 3411 on April 9.” The United’s report says its mistakes on April 9, when 69-year-old David Dao was dragged out of his seat by aviation police, included trying to make space for off-duty crew members at the last minute by bumping passengers involuntarily, only offering $800 in compensation to try to persuade people to give up their seats, and calling police when Dao refused to get off the plane.
“Today, we are taking concrete, meaningful action to make things right and ensure nothing like this ever happens again,” said United UAL, -0.88% CEO Oscar Munoz in a news release.
“Our goal is to reduce incidents of involuntary denial of boarding to as close to zero as possible and become a more customer-focused airline,” the carrier said in the statement.
United also said it would take actions to reduce overbooking flights and improve customer satisfaction. Here are the 10 big changes United said it will make:
- Customers who volunteer to give up their seats and take a later flight will get up to $10,000, starting Friday. That is a maximum amount, and it’s not clear how many passengers will get that much, an AP report noted. United’s prior payout cap had been $1,350. Rival Delta DAL, -1.36% began offering up to $9,950 to fliers on overbooked flights in mid-April.
- Passengers seated on the plane will not be required to give up their seats involuntarily, unless safety or security is at risk. This takes effect Thursday, United said in its review issued Thursday, on the April 9 incident.
- It will reduce the amount of overbooking. This will happen mainly on flights where there has been a lack of volunteers in the past, such as on smaller planes or on the final trip of the day, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- An automated system will be set up to solicit volunteers for bumping. This process, expected to launch later this year, will gauge a passenger’s interest in giving up a seat in exchange for compensation, media reports said.
- A new team will be assembled to provide agents with “creative solutions,” such as using nearby airports, other airlines or ground transportation to get customers to their final destination. The team is expected to be up and running by June.
- Employees will get more power to resolve customer service problems on the spot. This means giving them more discretion in issuing mileage vouchers and other compensation when bad service occurs, according to reports. A new app for employees is expected to help them handle customer issues, with the app rolling out later this year.
- Use of law enforcement will be limited to safety and security issues only, after Chicago’s airport police were used to get Dao off the flight from the Windy City to Louisville. United said it implemented this policy on April 12.
- A “no questions asked” policy on lost luggage is due to get adopted in June, with the aim of eliminating the red tape around resolving the problem of permanently lost bags.