United Airlines will now offer involuntarily bumped passengers up to $10,000

It's part of a new reform package that the airline unveiled to improve its image

By Matthew Rozsa
April 27, 2017 5:50PM (UTC)
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United Airlines (Getty/David McNew)

Considering that United Airlines opened this month by physically injuring and removing one of its own passengers, and then continued it by allowing a famous rabbit to die on its watch, the company desperately needs an image makeover.

It's fair to assume that their newly reformed corporate policies are an attempt to do precisely that.


United Continental Holdings Inc. will now offer passengers up to $10,000 if they voluntarily give up their seats when a flight has been overbooked, according to a report by Bloomberg. The airline had previously only authorized gate agents to offer up to $500, while managers were only permitted to go as high as $1,350.

In addition, United Airlines will now take measures to reduce the risk that they will overbook their flights, utilize an automated system to better find passengers who will voluntarily relinquish their seats in the event of an overbooking, avoid summoning law enforcement unless there is a demonstrable safety or security risk and stop requiring boarded passengers from involuntarily giving up their seats unless there is a demonstrable safety or security risk. They also plan on training employees to more effectively handle difficult situations and creating teams to assist gate agents in helping passengers and crews more effectively arrive at their intended destinations.

The report also identified five errors they committed during the April 9 incident in which David Dao was physically injured while being removed after refusing to give up his seat on the plane, according to a report by The Washington Post. The errors included calling law enforcement when it wasn't necessary, deciding to bump four passengers for its own crew members at the last minute, offering inadequate compensation and transportation options to its passengers when asking that they give up their seats, not providing their agents with sufficient authority to increase the amounts offered, and not training their employees on how to handle "denied boarding situations."



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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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