United Airlines overhauls customer services as fightback begins

United Airlines overhauls customer services as fightback begins

United Airlines has announced ten changes to how it flies after weeks of bad publicity.

The changes are the result of an examination of the airline’s procedures in the wake of the forced removal of passenger David Dao from United Express flight 3411 on April 9th.

United now commits to limit use of law enforcement to safety and security issues only, while also not requiring customers seated on the plane to give up their seat involuntarily unless safety or security is at risk.

At the same time the carrier will increase customer compensation incentives for voluntary denied boarding up to $10,000, while establishing a customer solutions team to provide agents with creative solutions such as using nearby airports, other airlines or ground transportations to get customers to their final destination.

While several of these policies are effective immediately, others will be rolled out through the remainder of the year.

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Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines, said, “Every customer deserves to be treated with the highest levels of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect. 

“Two weeks ago, we failed to meet that standard and we profoundly apologise.

“However, actions speak louder than words.

“Today, we are taking concrete, meaningful action to make things right and ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”

United has also said it will ensure crews are booked onto a flight at least 60 minutes prior to departure, while providing employees with additional annual training.

The airline will create an automated system for soliciting volunteers to change travel plans, reduce the amount of overbooking, and empower employees to resolve customer service issues in the moment.

Finally, United will eliminate the red tape on permanently lost bags by adopting a “no questions asked” policy on lost luggage.

“Our review shows that many things went wrong that day, but the headline is clear: 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 and it signals a culture shift toward becoming a better, more customer-focused airline. 

“Our customers should be at the centre of everything we do and these changes are just the beginning of how we will earn back their trust,” concluded Munoz.