United Airlines today announced major changes to its customer policies after the forced removal of a passenger from Flight 3411 two weeks ago.
In a news release this morning, United promised “10 substantial changes to how it flies, serves and respects its customers,” including raising the offer for volunteers to give up their seats from the $800 offered to passengers on Flight 3411 to $10,000.
United CEO Oscar Munoz said the new policies signal a “culture shift toward becoming a better, more customer-focused” airline. “Today, we are taking concrete, meaningful action to make things right and ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”
United pledged to “limit use of law enforcement to safety and security issues only,” to “not require customers seated on a plane to give up their seat involuntarily unless safety or security is at risk,” and to reduce the amount of overbooking overall.
United also will create a customer solutions team to help customers find another way to reach their final destination when flights are overbooked, and will empower its employees to resolve customer service issues “in the moment.” It will provide employees with more training. And it will automate the process of soliciting volunteers to surrender seats, rather than making gate agents responsible for doing that.
Finally, United will adopt a “no questions asked” policy on lost luggage, doing away with the current lengthy process when it loses a passenger’s bag and just coughing up $1,500.
“Our policies got in the way of our values and procedures interfered in doing what’s right. This is a turning point for all of us at United,” Munoz said.
The news, which fulfilled a promise United made during its earnings conference call earlier this month, is just the latest in a series of steps that United has taken since April 9.
Despite the bad press, United said it has seen no fall-off in bookings.