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United to offer passengers up to $10k to give up seats

United Airlines has committed to offering up to $10,000 to passengers who voluntary give up their seats on overbooked flights.

It is one of 10 new policies the airline has announced following the incident where a man was dragged from the aircraft - Dr David Dao suffered injuries when he had to be removed by security staff after refusing to give up his seat.

The incident caused outrage and widespread condemnation of the airline.

Before this announcement United offered £622 in compensation for passengers who agreed to forfeit their seats.

After a review of its policies, the airline has also announced it will offer extra training for staff, create an automated system for soliciting volunteers to change travel plans, reduce the amount of overbooking, ensure crews are booked onto a flight at least 60 minutes prior to departure and limit the use of law enforcement to safety and security issues only.

Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United, who faced calls to step down following the incident, 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.” 

He added: “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,” Munoz said.

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