United Airlines is making an effort to show it’s changing its ways after sparking outrage for having a passenger dragged off a plane earlier this month.
The carrier announced what it called “10 substantial changes to how it flies, serves and respects its customers,” saying the shifts come after a scrutiny of its policies “in the wake of a forced removal of a customer aboard United Express Flight 3411 on April 9.”
“Today, we are taking concrete, meaningful action to make things right and ensure nothing like this ever happens again,” said United CEO Oscar Munoz in a news release issued at 1 a.m. Eastern Time Thursday.
“Our review shows that many things went wrong that day,” added Munoz, who was criticized for his initial responses to the furor over how bumped passenger David Dao was treated. “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.”
The Chicago-based airline drew additional flak on Wednesday following news that a valuable giant rabbit mysteriously died on one of its London-to-Chicago flights. But its planned changes don’t mention the “Who Bun It?” incident, as The Sun tabloid dubbed it.
Here are the 10 big changes United said it will make:
• Customers who volunteer to give up their seats and take a later flight will get up to $10,000, starting Friday. That is a maximum amount, and it’s not clear how many passengers will get that much, an AP report noted. United’s prior payout cap had been $1,350. Rival Delta began offering up to $9,950 to fliers on overbooked flights in mid-April.
• Passengers seated on the plane will not be required to give up their seats involuntarily, unless safety or security is at risk. This takes effect Thursday, United said in its review issued Thursday on the April 9 incident.
• It will reduce the amount of overbooking. This will happen mainly on flights where there has been a lack of volunteers in the past, such as on smaller planes or on the final trip of the day, The Wall Street Journal reported.
• An automated system will be set up to solicit volunteers for bumping. This process, expected to launch later this year, will gauge a passenger’s interest in giving up a seat in exchange for compensation, media reports said.
• A new team will be assembled to provide agents with “creative solutions,” such as using nearby airports, other airlines or ground transportation to get customers to their final destination. The team is expected to be up and running by June.
• Employees will get more power to resolve customer service problems on the spot. This means giving them more discretion in issuing mileage vouchers and other compensation when bad service occurs, according to reports. A new app for employees is expected to help them handle customer issues, with the app rolling out later this year.
• Use of law enforcement will be limited to safety and security issues only, after Chicago’s airport police were used to get Dao off the flight from the Windy City to Louisville. United said it implemented this policy on April 12.
• The airline will make sure crews are booked onto a flight at least 60 minutes prior to departure. Dao was among four customers bumped to make way for United employees. This policy was implemented on April 14, United said.
• Employees will get additional annual training, starting in August.
• A “no questions asked” policy on lost luggage is due to get adopted in June, with the aim of eliminating the red tape around resolving the problem of permanently lost bags.
This article was originally published in Marketwatch.