Posted by William Charles on April 27, 2017
Airline Rewards

Published on April 27th, 2017 | by William Charles

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United Releases 11 Page Review & Report Of Flight 3411 Incident, Compensation Increased To $10k For Voluntary Bumping & More

United has released an 11 page review and report of the United Flight 3411 incident (commonly referred to as bump gate). Gary from View of the Wing has uploaded the full report here and you can view his thoughts here. The report is quite interesting to read and overall I think United does a great job to identify the problems and then goes on to make a number of policy changes to address those problems.

united 3411

united 3411aunited 3411b

Overall I like these changes a lot, it’s always good to give your employees more room to move when it comes to compensation. The $10,000 limit seems fair and more balance than the $1,350 maximum the DOT imposes for involuntary bumping. I think putting this limit in place also has a flow on effect of United reducing overbooking on flights that historically have low volunteer rates.

United and other airlines should learn a lot from this incident and it’s nice to see some positive changes because of it. In particular how to handle the immediate aftermath of these incidents. As always feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.



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NinjaX
NinjaX

gonna strictly fly united going forward and during the most statistically insane times…

Joe
Joe

Lol

David
David

Up to $10k compensation allowed, option to bid at check-in, an App for agents and FA’s to give us miles when there’s a problem, a team to offer creative solutions beyond just a voucher, and a guaranteed $1,500 if bag is totally lost? These are solid! This is the kind of pro-customer change we want to see in airlines.

scott
scott

The issue I see with publicizing how high an airline is willing to pay is that passengers will start holding out for more. If an airline offers $300 and you know they can go as high as $10K then there’s no reason to accept. They may not get $10K, but there’s no reason to accept anything nearly as low as $300 now.

Heather
Heather

The reason is basically the prisoner’s dilemma – you can’t count on all other 100+ passengers to hold out for a higher offer along with you; someone is likely to accept the few hundred dollars even if they know the maximum threshold is in the thousands. You may need to arrive at your destination at the originally planned time (for a connecting flight, to depart on a cruise, etc) or simply feel that the time spent waiting for the next flight is more valuable than the compensation the airline is offering, but not every passenger will have that mindset.

When I started traveling as an undergrad, I would have gladly accepted $300 to get bumped to the next flight on my way home (or even on the way to start my trip if I was still arriving on the originally planned day). Even now, when I’m coming home from a business trip, I’d still often accept an offer far below the maximum to get bumped. Besides the airline’s compensation, that additional transit time is more time for me to veg out since I’m not expected to even answer emails when I’m in transit, and I might get an additional goodwill gesture on the flight I’m bumped to. I’ve gotten free drinks or snacks on flights that don’t offer free refreshments because I voluntarily moved seats, my dad has been bumped from economy to economy comfort or even business, etc, just for being easygoing and not trying to milk the situation for all it’s worth.

scott
scott

When I used to get bumped in the late ’90s Continental would offer a free round-trip to anywhere in North and South America, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii. Since then I’ve never accepted those measly $300 offers. $300 is just not worth it.

Matt
Matt

Is it $10,000 in actual money or in mostly useless vouchers?

Heather
Heather

I believe they are required to give you cash compensation if you request it, but they will try to offer you vouchers first.

Thomas
Thomas

I think they’re only required you give cash if you don’t volunteer. Afaik if you volunteer they can restrict it to vouchers

Ann
Ann

And involuntary compensation is still limited to $1350, it seems.

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