Experts say police who dragged United Airlines passenger had other options

Lask said Dao has a strong case against both United as well as Chicago's airport police.

The airline made headlines this week after passengers filmed and voiced outrage over an incident in which David Dao, a 69-year-old physician aboard flight 3411, was dragged off the plane after refusing to deplane.

Bruce Hicks, a public-relations consultant for carriers, said his former employer, Continental Airlines, once reimbursed all passengers for a flight that involved long delays and poor customer service.

According to the airline, the passengers will be compensated equal to the cost of their tickets. He received treatment for his injuries at a Chicago hospital.

Airlines are allowed to sell more tickets than there are seats on the plane, and they routinely overbook flights because some people do not show up.

"I think the key is managing it before you get to the boarding process,"Delta (DAL) CEO Ed Bastian told reporters during a conference call Wednesday to discuss the company's earnings".

The backlash from the incident resonated around the world, with social media users in the United States, China and Vietnam calling for boycott of the No.3 USA carrier by passenger traffic and an end to the practice of overbooking flights.

In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" aired Wednesday, United parent company CEO Oscar Munoz said he felt "ashamed" watching video of the man being forced off the jet.

"The use of law enforcement aboard an aircraft has to be looked at very carefully", said Munoz.

"To remove a booked, paid, seated passenger - we can't do that", he told ABC.

One of Dao's five children, Crystal Pepper, said the family was "horrified, shocked and sickened" by what happened. He refused to leave.

Airlines instead ask for volunteers, offering free tickets for ever-increasing sums to get fliers to take the next available flight.

Neeleman said that on a flight he once took, the airline asked for volunteers, and when no one agreed to leave, the airline simply canceled the flight and ordered everyone off. However, conversations with several industry insiders give a sense of how airline systems decide who gets bumped.

Passenger Audra D. Bridges posted the video on Facebook.

But once passengers are in their seats, "that incentive program needs to change", Munoz said. But since deviating from procedure can cause additional problems down the line, the airline is reviewing ways to help employees strike the right balance between sticking to the playbook and being flexible to solve a problem. Only after the airline came under intense criticism and its stock price plunged did Munoz fully apologize and acknowledge the airline's responsibility.

"It's fair to say that if PRWeek was choosing its Communicator of the Year now, we would not be awarding it to Oscar Munoz", editor-in-chief Steve Barrett said in a column.

  • Salvatore Jensen