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Flood of recent flight issues prompt airlines to take steps to win back customers

27

April

2017

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CHICAGO (Salvi Law) – Several airline PR disasters in recent weeks have airline companies scrambling to win back the trust of their customers.

The onslaught of woes began on April 9, when Dr. David Dao was violently dragged off a United Airlines plane in Chicago. Dr. Dao sustained a concussion, broken nose, and lost two teeth as a result of the incident. A video of the altercation which shows the chaos on board went viral on social media.

Shortly after the United Airlines incident in Chicago, another onboard incident captured the eyes of the nation. A video posted to Facebook on April 21 showed an intense confrontation between a flight attendant and at least two passengers onboard an American Airlines flight from San Francisco to Dallas. The incident reportedly unfolded while the plane was still on the tarmac in San Francisco.

The heated moment began when a flight attendant took away a stroller from a female passenger. In the video, the woman is heard crying and asking the flight attendant to give her back the stroller. The altercation escalates when a male passenger chimes in, provoking the flight attendant further.

The incident prompted American Airlines to release a statement apologizing for the flight attendant’s behavior. The flight attendant in question was suspended.

READ MORE | American Airlines suspends flight attendant after altercation over stroller

Days later, a beloved rabbit died on a United flight from London’s Heathrow airport to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. It was not immediately clear how the rabbit died, but United was reviewing CCTV images to determine what may have happened.

READ MORE | Giant rabbit dies after United Airlines flight

And just when consumers thought the PR woes were over, it came to light that a Delta Airlines passenger was kicked off a plane earlier this month after using the restroom while the plane was waiting to takeoff on the runway. Kima Hamilton told news outlets that the plane was waiting on the tarmac for about 30 minutes, so he got up to use the bathroom and was told by a flight attendant that the plane would lose its spot in the takeoff queue if he went inside the restroom. But Hamilton said he couldn’t hold himself any longer, so he quickly relieved himself in the plane’s restroom. When he returned to his seat, he was told he had to leave and was escorted off the plane. A video of Hamilton being asked to leave was captured on video by a fellow passenger.

As a result of the bathroom blunder, all passengers on Hamilton’s flight were ordered to deplane, resulting in a significant delay. In addition, Hamilton was forced to purchase a ticket on a Southwest flight for three times his original ticket price.

Many passengers on board the flight said they were disappointed with the way the incident was handled. However, according to U.S. Department of Transportation laws, “passengers are required to remain seated after being ordered to do so prior to takeoff.  However, when tarmac delays last two or more hours, airlines are required to provide passengers waiting on the tarmac adequate facilities, water or food.”

READ MORE | Delta passenger kicked off flight after bathroom emergency

Prior to that incident becoming highly public, Delta announced they would offer passengers up to $10,000 to relinquish their seats on overbooked flights.

Since the recent incidents, United has laid out a series of changes which include more training for employees, up to $10,000 reward for passengers who voluntarily give up their seats on overbooked flights. In addition, United will make an effort to reduce the number of overbooked flights and will not require passengers who are already seated to give up their seats.

American Airlines also changed their policies, promising that no passenger who has boarded the flight will be removed.

If you have questions regarding an incident on board a flight, the attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. are available to offer you a free consultation on your potential case. We represent clients against all the major airlines, military, United States government, and the aviation industry in general. Call our office today at (312) 372-1227 for your free consultation.

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