United to offer passengers up to $10,000 to surrender seats

Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:03pm EDT
 
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By Alana Wise

NEW YORK (Reuters) - United Airlines (UAL.N: Quote) said on Thursday it would offer passengers who volunteer to forfeit their seats on overbooked flights up to $10,000 as part of the carrier's efforts to repair the damage from the rough removal of a passenger.

The offer came after rival Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N: Quote) outlined plans to offer up to $9,950 in such cases.

United also said it would take actions to reduce overbooking flights and improve customer satisfaction.

"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 had spent the last two weeks embroiled in controversy after videos recorded by fellow passengers showed David Dao, 69, yanked from his seat aboard a Louisville, Kentucky-bound United flight before takeoff from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to make room for airline employees.

Dao lost two front teeth in the scuffle, incurred a concussion and broke his nose, according to his lawyer, and will likely sue the airline.

"Both Dr. Dao and I applaud United for promptly addressing the many issues that have plagued passenger satisfaction in the arena of airline customer service," Dao's attorney, Thomas Demetrio, said in a statement on Thursday. "Dr. Dao is proud, despite his ordeal, to have played a role in spearheading these announced changes."

United typically oversells flights by less than zero to 3 percent of the plane's seat capacity to account for no-shows.   Continued...

 
FILE PHOTO - A United Airlines Boeing 787 taxis as a United Airlines Boeing 767 lands at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California, U.S. on February 7, 2015.   REUTERS/Louis Nastro/File Photo