United is – finally – sorry. Now what?

No one will dispute the fact that it took United Airlines way too long to issue the above statement apologizing and owning up to responsibility for the events that took place on United Express Flight 3411.

Too little too late?

Definitely, agrees everyone from the Twitterverse to the 50 or so public relations experts sending me emails offering to weigh in with special insight on the event.

We don’t need experts to tell us that pretty much everyone did the wrong thing in this case.

Now come the investigations; by the US Department of Transportation, the Chicago Department of Aviation, the Chicago Police Department, lawyers galore and many others.

Heads will roll, blame will be officially affixed, reports will be made.

Will anything change?

Let’s hope so. And let’s hope some rules relating to the legal rights of airline passengers – including those on voluntary and involuntary bumping of passengers outlined on the US DOT site in a Fly Rights section last updated in December 2015 (!)  – get tightened up.

Because “This is how it’s done,” “Those are our rules,” and “I’m just doing my job” just don’t cut it.


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One thought on “United is – finally – sorry. Now what?

  1. Alan Bowen says:

    I have been advising the travel industry in UK for nearly 30 years and I have never seen pictures such as those from UA3411. This wasn’t an overbooking situation, there were just 70 passengers for 70 seats, it was a monumental error by UA who, after boarding decided their staff were more important than their own customers.

    Although they appear to have been security staff rather than airline staff who ‘re accommodated’ the passenger (Munoz speak) it appears the crew stood by and let it happen. It is major news throughout the world, not least in China and here in Europe. UA deserve all they get, you cannot treat any human being, let alone a paying passenger, the way they did and hope to get away with it. In years to come this story will be used for both customer relations and PR disaster training and UA have no one to blame but themselves.

    I feel sorry for the good people of UA, I met many of them when I used to fly transatlantic with them, but gave up as the service fell, but when the bell tolls, it tolls for you all. The passenger, who wasn’t lying when he said he was a doctor, deserves every dollar he will no doubt get, but the damage to the reputation of the airline will last far longer than his pain and suffering

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