Bumpy wrote on Apr 10, 2017, 21:04:
It's United's plane, they can do what they want for the safety of everyone.
It's in the fine print that no one reads that anyone they choose can get removed for overbooking.
The guy was an ass to everyone for not cooperating.
I assume you're talking about this:Section 25 of United's contract of carriage
Problem there is that entire section applies to situations prior to boarding. That plane was already boarded... So one would think a competant lawyer could argue that once boarded to a plane this section no longer applies based on United's own language.
I do agree with you that United is within their rights to free up that space. At the same time United has had a long history of being horriblely rated for their treatment of customers and even brought on a ceo lauded for his communication skills to improve those customer relations. People also have the right to think the move by United was scummy. You may not, but many vocal people do. United now has a huge PR problem... Not only from this incident but also from the dragging out of previous PR issues like how they deal with pets or the now rather well known "United Breaks Guitars" song. So yes.... They *may* have the right to deplane a passenger for business reasons, but is it worth it to the business when....
1) Anyone involuntarily denied transport in this situation is entitled to 4x their ticket price in cash. The cheapest ticket I could find for at least a month away on a Sunday was $170, so that's $680 in cash they're legally required to pay. This is also a Huge travel week due to spring break for many kids/teachers, so I'd assume the price is probably even higher.
2) For $700 I assume United could find a car service who would drive the 4 employees who needed to be in Louisville the 5 hours, and that's just what it costs to decline 1 person. $2800 for all 4 unless they got tricked into taking the "vouchers", again most likely even more based on time and fare differences.
3) After the man informed the flight crew he was a doctor and had to be in Louisville to see patients in the hospital in the morning, they could have chosen another person.... Or simply offered the cash instead of vouchers (the "compensation" offered) and may have had a person offer to deplane. They didn't even try based on reports.
So I feel like United had plenty of opportunity to stop this chain of events at any time if they had properly trained their employees. Instead, they took a huge PR hit.
Did they have the right to deplane the passenger? Maybe.... But suspect based on wording of their contract of carriage and stated reason for declining his travel (need it for employees) . Is it worth the PR shit storm and likely legal action? Possibly not so much in hindsight.
I get there are folks like you who don't care. There are also folks like me who would rather spend more money to fly another airline with less risk of a bad experience. Which will cost them more? I don't know, and I doubt anyone can... Doubtful the long term effect with hurt them much, but there's now significant risk of exponential bad PR if they have another issue in the near future.