AS the damage control continues, United Airlines has changed its rule on commuting employees boarding its flights while not on duty after an incident which saw a passenger dragged off an overbooked flight in Chicago.
CNN reports that crew members and staff taking a United flight to get to another city for work will be required to check in one hour before departure.
This is meant to prevent ticketed passengers being asked to leave the plane after having taken their seats, a United spokeswoman told CNN.
It came as lawyers for Dr David Dao, the man left bleeding after being forcibly removed from his seat last week, revealed the airline added insult to injury by failing to remove his luggage from the flight, then sending it to the wrong address.
The incident last Sunday on a flight preparing to leave Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has sparked widespread outrage, calls for congressional hearings and a petition urging the airline’s chief executive to resign despite belatedly apologising to the passenger, his family and passengers on the flight.
United later said a seat was needed for a commuting crew member, and no one had volunteered to leave the plane.
Dr Dao was one of several chosen at random to leave the flight.
His lawyer Thomas Demetrio said David Dao suffered a concussion, a broken nose, and lost two teeth.
A lawsuit has not been filed, but Demetrio has indicated one is forthcoming.
The airline also has refunded passengers the cost of their tickets.
The incident has prompted a US congressman to propose legislation to prohibit airlines from forcibly removing passengers from flights to make room for other customers after they have already boarded the plane.
It’s legal to bump a ticket-holding customer off of a flight, but it’s not customary to kick someone off a plane once he or she has boarded.
Had the commuting crew member last week been required to check in for the flight before passengers began boarding, United could have denied a customer boarding before he or she was seated.
“This [policy change] ensures situations like flight 3411 never happen again. This is one of our initial steps in a review of our policies in order to deliver the best customer experience,” said United spokesperson Maggie Schmerin in a statement.
SOURCE: newsnow worldnews