Posted: June 28, 2017
By Zuri Davis, Rare.us
2017 is not a good year to be an airline company, especially if that company’s name is United Airlines.
Colorado mom angry at United after infant overheats while airplane sits on tarmac at DIA https://t.co/JrDGjsrV53— The Denver Post (@denverpost) June 25, 2017
Passenger and mom Emily France said her baby became overheated recently on a delayed flight as the aircraft waited on the Denver International Airport (DIA) tarmac, reports the Denver Post. The 39-year-old said that passengers waited for more than two hours on the plane despite a heat wave in the area. France recalled “hot air coming from the vents.”
“We just sat and sat and sat,” she said. “I hit my call button and said, ‘I think it’s getting dangerously hot back here.'”
France also said that despite requesting an ambulance, she had to wait for 30 minutes before she was allowed to leave the plane with her son, Owen.
“They couldn’t evacuate us. It was chaos. I really thought my son was going to die in my arms,” France said as she criticized the airline for not being prepared to handle her situation.
Owen was treated at a children’s hospital after the incident. Doctors said he suffered from the heat but thankfully remained unaffected by heat-related medical conditions.
DIA spokesman Heath Montgomery corroborated the call for an ambulance.
A representative for United emailed the following statement to the Denver Post:
"Yesterday, a child onboard flight 4644 at Denver International Airport experienced a medical issue while the aircraft was taxiing prior to takeoff. The pilot returned to the gate as our crew called for paramedics to meet the aircraft. Our thoughts are with the child and family, and we have been in contact to offer travel assistance."
A Kentucky doctor who made headlines earlier this month when he was dragged off a United Airlines flight in Chicago has settled with the airline, attorneys said Thursday in a news release.
Dr. David Dao suffered numerous injuries when he was dragged off a flight bound for Kentucky on April 9 after refusing to give up his seat.
The confrontation between Dao, 69, and three Chicago Department of Aviation officers was caught on video by passengers on the flight. The footage quickly spread on social media.
Attorneys for Dao declined to share details of the settlement, citing a confidentiality provision in the agreement. Attorney Thomas Demetrio praised Oscar Munoz, CEO of United's parent company, in a statement.
"Mr. Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has," Demetrio said. "In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411, without attempting to blame others, including the city of Chicago. For this acceptance of corporate accountability, United is to be applauded."
Dao was hospitalized for days after the incident on Flight 3411 with injuries that included a severe concussion, a broken nose and an unspecified injury to his sinuses. He lost two front teeth in the scuffle, Demetrio said.
"Dr. Dao has become the unintended champion for the adoption of changes which will certainly help improve the lives of literally millions of travelers," Demetrio said.
The settlement was reached on the same day United announced policy changes aimed at preventing a similar situation from happening to other passengers. Among the changes was the announcement that the airline will offer travelers as much as $10,000 to give up their seats on overbooked flights.
Previously, the airline would offer up to $1,350, according to Bloomberg.
A number of other airlines also announced policy changes aimed at offering passengers more incentive to delay flights in cases of overbooking and to ensure that they are not taken off planes after boarding.
United's response in the immediate aftermath of the confrontation was widely criticized. Munoz first defended the airline and described Dao as "belligerent" before publicly apologizing days later and vowing to do better.
The officers who pulled Dao from the United flight were placed on leave after the incident.
The agency released a report on Monday in which the officer who pulled Dao from his seat, James Long, gave his version of events. Long said Dao was verbally and physically abusive and was flailing his arms before he lost his balance and struck his mouth on an armrest.
The department's roughly 300 officers guard the city's two main airports but are not part of the regular Chicago police force. They receive less training than police officers do and cannot carry guns inside the terminals.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The police report from the aviation security officers who were recorded on video dragging a passenger off an United Airlines flight earlier this month has been released.
The officers said David Dao was aggressive and said they used “minimal but necessary force to remove the subject,” WGN reported.
United had randomly selected Dao to leave the flight to allow employees fly to their work destination in Louisville.
Police reports said Dao told officials, “I’m not leaving this flight that I paid money for. I don’t care if I get arrested,” WGN reported.
The report was written by Officer Maricio Rodriguez Jr., The Chicago Tribune reported.
Video of Dao’s removal caused an uproar across the country after going viral.
One of the officers said in the report that Dao was “swinging his arms up and down with a closed fist.” He added that the passenger was “flailing and fighting” when Officer James Long tried to remove him and that is what caused Dao to hit his own head on a seat divider, The Tribune reported.
Dao, according to the report, returned to the flight and the flight crew said he had been “spitting blood” in the galley.
It was later discovered that Dao had a concussion, a broken nose, a sinus injury and lost two front teeth, The Tribune reported.
A total of four officers, Rodriguez, Long, Stephen Smith and Sgt. John Moore, are suspended with pay. Long, who is seen dragging Dao down the aisle had returned from a multi-day suspension for not guarding an airport entrance, WHAS and WGN reported.
Moore had also faced suspension during his tenure with the department for not being at work and not telling his bosses, WHAS reported.
The airline apologized multiple times after the incident came to light. It also has changed how and when passengers can be removed from a flight.
United Airlines will no longer allow crew members to bump passengers already on board flights after facing heavy criticism for its removal of a Kentucky physician earlier this month.
The policy change came after video surfaced on social media of officers with the Chicago Department of Aviation dragging Dr. David Dao off Flight 3411 after he declined to relinquish his seat to make room for a crew member.
Dao’s attorney said last week that the confrontation left Dao with a broken nose and a severe concussion. Two of his front teeth were knocked out and he was hospitalized for three days.
The change was outlined in an internal email on April 14, The Associated Press reported. Crew members are required to make “must-ride bookings” at least an hour before the flight is scheduled to leave, according to the AP. The airline previously allowed crew members to make bookings until the time of departure.
A spokesperson for United confirmed the policy update to NPR, saying it “ensures situations like Flight 3411 never happen again.”
"This is one of our initial steps in a review of our policies in order to deliver the best customer experience," the spokesperson told NPR.
United is not the only airline that has adjusted its policies in the wake of the dragging incident.
Delta Air Lines updated its financial incentive policy to offer up to $9,950 to passengers who volunteer to give up their seats on overbooked flights. American Airlines changed its conditions of carriage and said it would not “involuntarily remove a passenger who has already boarded,” The Washington Post reported.
An overweight passenger on a Spirit Airlines flights from Las Vegas to Denver said he was embarrassed and humiliated by the airline when it took away one of two seats he had booked in order to fly more comfortably.
"I am a big person and I know one seat wouldn't fit for me, and to be comfortable, I wanted to have two seats," Cordova said.
"You don't want to overhang on someone else's lap, so you want to make sure you have that extra seat without bothering anybody."
Cordova said his flight to Vegas was fine, but Spirit overbooked his return flight and took one of his seats without asking.
“They stole one of his seats. They sold it out from under him,” Denver 7 quoted one of Cordova’s friend Scott Tenorio as saying.
Spirit apologized to Cordova and said it was refunding the cost of his flights. It also said it was investigating what happened.
United Airlines suffered another problematic PR situation Monday, with the threat of a lawsuit surrounding the death of a giant rabbit who died onboard a flight last month.
The 3-foot-long rabbit named Simon — who was en route from his breeder in London to his new owners in Iowa — was found dead in his crate after the plane stopped in Chicago.
According to ABC News, although the airline apparently reached an agreement with the breeder on Monday, the would-be owners, a group of Des Moines-area businessmen who had bought Simon and intended to display him at this summer’s Iowa State Fair, are threatening legal action. Simon had been expected to grow to as much as 40 pounds, which would have made him the world’s largest rabbit, CBS News reported.
The would-be owners are not only upset about his death but also are questioning why he was cremated so quickly.
Their attorney, Guy Cook, said they are "requesting that United Airlines re-evaluate its policies with respect to the transportation of pets and ask that they take responsibility for this incident," ABC News reported.
United spokesman Charles Hobart said the airline is reviewing a letter from the owners' attorneys and "takes its responsibilities in transporting pets seriously," ABC News reported.
– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
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