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Also, In the Skies 15 Hot Aviation Happenings in Week 17

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It is (almost) all about United Airlines this week.

This weekly post is my ‘round tuit’. Included are stories which caught my eye and others which I couldn’t cover in-depth during the week, but thought Flight Chic readers would want to know about.

 1. United’s change of heart

United Airlines (UAL) announced 10 substantial changes to how it flies, serves and respects its customers. The changes are the result of United’s thorough examination of its policies and procedures, and commitment to take action, in the wake of the forced removal of a customer aboard United Express Flight 3411 on April 9.

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.”

“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,” he added.

United’s 10-Point Plan:

  • Limit use of law enforcement to safety and security issues only.
  • Not require customers seated on the plane to give up their seat involuntarily unless safety or security is at risk.
  • Increase customer compensation incentives for voluntary denied boarding up to $10,000.
  • Establish 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.
  • Ensure crews are booked onto a flight at least 60 minutes prior to departure.
  • Provide employees with additional annual training.
  • Create an automated system for soliciting volunteers to change travel plans.
  • Reduce the amount of overbooking.
  • Empower employees to resolve customer service issues in the moment.
  • Eliminate the red tape on permanently lost bags by adopting a “no questions asked” policy on lost luggage

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

2. United settles with Dr Dao. The impact of the incident on the industry is lasting.

“We are pleased to report that United and Dr Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard flight 3411. We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the centre of everything we do.”

Southwest drops overbooking policy

3. Extending the electronics ban would be a worse nonsense than instituting it in the first place.

4. Delta’s new LSTN premium headsets raise funds for hearing aids charity.

LSTN Sound Co. is on a mission to change lives through the power of music. For every premium headphone or speaker sold, proceeds are donated to their nonprofit partner, Starkey Hearing Foundation, to help provide hearing aids to people in need around the world. LSTN products can be found in luxury boutiques across the globe as well as online. The company was founded in 2013 in Los Angeles, California by Bridget Hilton and Joe Huff. Additional information can be found at LSTNsound.com, Instagram @LSTNsound, as well as Facebook.com/LSTNheadphones.

5. IATA’s NDC standard comes with complications, but that may not be all bad.

6. Say what you will about love and marriage but weddings can be expensive.

7. Gogo extends coverage.

8. ViaSat and Eutelsat are ready to launch.

9. CAPA on the benefits of connected aircraft.

10. Asiana Airlines gets its first A350.

11. Oh, Alitalia.

12. UK aviation taxes are huge.

13. Comac C919 certification advances.

14. This passenger carry-on may be problematic.

15. Friendly beluga.

 

Week 18 starts with May 1: International Worker’s Day and also the celebration of the rite of Spring.

Thursday is May 4th, so keep your lightsabers handy.

May the week prove productive and fruitful for you!

(Keep clear of the dark side of The Force.)

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