June 27, 2017

United, airlines slammed at hearing: "Something is broken"

08 May 2017, 12:46 | Chelsea Rogers

United, airlines slammed at hearing: "Something is broken"

United, airlines slammed at hearing:

Congressmen on the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee grilled Munoz and other airline leaders about how they plan to improve their customer service policies in the wake of the United incident. The airlines should then start to make a change.

The House of Representatives transportation committee carried out a hearing including the most important airlines.

"Seize this opportunity because if you don't, we're going to come, and you're not going to like it", Shuster said.

Just remember, as they say, you have a choice when you fly, and our money speaks louder than Congress.

Lawmakers also asked the executives how their airlines determine who to bump involuntarily from an overbooked flight.

The April 9 incident, in which United passenger David Dao sustained a concussion, a broken nose and two lost teeth, has prompted changes.

Some lawmakers - and frequent flyers - are acknowledging that airline executives are in a tough spot as they testify before lawmakers at a hearing on problems with USA air travel.

Munoz told Larsen he "couldn't agree more" and said United has changed its policies so passengers will never be removed from a flight once they are seated unless there is a security or safety issue.

The passenger, David Dao, he said, was treated in a way that no customer - or individual - should be treated, calling it a "terrible experience" that should never be repeated.

Munoz outlined numerous failings of old policies, and acknowledged United never should have called in law enforcement to remove a paid passenger from a plane for refusing to give up his seat for an airline employee who needed to be on the same flight. Munoz initially blamed Dao, but later said he was horrified by the event and called it a failure on United's part.

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"We are calling for a consistent, uniform, comprehensive, clearly written set of passenger rights for USA airlines", he said. He said United would reduce its reliance on overbooking and now offer up to $10,000 in flight vouchers to fliers who give up an overbooked seat.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the panel's ranking Democrat, said passenger rights have gotten short shrift as the industry has consolidated into four major carriers that handle 80 percent of flights.

United reached a settlement with Dr. Dao last week but the terms of the settlement have not been revealed.

Besides Philipovitch, who is senior vice president of customer experience for American AAL, +3.68%, United President Scott Kirby, Southwest Airlines' LUV, +2.97% Chief Commercial Officer Bob Jordan and Alaska Airlines' ALK, +1.72% Senior Vice President of External Relations Joseph Sprague testified.

Senior lawmakers urged United States airlines on Tuesday to fix their customer service issues after recent high-profile problems, or face a crackdown from Congress.

Lawmakers griped about crammed flights, confusing pricing policies for food and bags and excessive fees for customers who change flights.

While United, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines officials were there, Delta Air Lines didn't send a representative.

The incident on the United flight sparked a debate over customer service on USA airlines; the topic of the hearing today, which featured a range of airline executives in the spotlight. United recently settled with Dao for an undisclosed sum.

When Mr Dao and his wife were selected for removal, he refused to leave.

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