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All passengers on United Flight 3411 to receive compensation

United Airlines will offer compensation to all passengers aboard Sunday’s Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, the airline announced Wednesday. 

>> Read more trending news

“All customers on Flight 3411 from Sunday, April 9, are receiving compensation for the cost of their tickets,” the airline said in a statement. 

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. United Airlines officials had selected Dao as one of four passengers who would be re-accommodated on a later flight. United had fully booked the flight but needed to provide seats for four airline employees who needed to get to Louisville for work.

>> Read more: Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat on overbooked flight

The announcement about compensating passengers came the same day United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized on national television for the airline’s role in the incident.

>> Read more: United Airlines CEO apologizes as stock valuation drops by $1 billion

“This will never happen again,” Munoz said Wednesday on “Good Morning America.” “We are not going to put a law enforcement official onto a plane to take them off … to remove a booked, paid, seated passenger; we can’t do that.”

>> Read more: United CEO's internal email describes man dragged off flight as 'disruptive,' 'belligerent'

Munoz, who at one point described Dao as disruptive and belligerent, has released multiple statements apologizing on behalf of the airline. 

>> Related: United Airlines passengers describe scene as man dragged off flight

>>Related: Twitter users respond to United Airlines fiasco, suggest mock company slogans

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story indicated that Dao and his wife were two of four passengers selected by the airline to be removed. Additional information from a April 13 news conference revealed that his wife was not selected. 

Delta lost $125 million, canceled 4,000 flights in domino effect after storms

Severe storms moved into the south on April 3 and created havoc for several days for tens of thousands of Delta travelers as the airline was forced to cancel 4,000 flights.

>> Read more trending news

The company wasn’t able to return to normal operations until Sunday -- six days later.

The financial impact of the storms on Delta was an estimated $125 million.

It was an “impact that in my 20 years at the airline we’ve never seen,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said.

>> Related: Hundreds of bags abandoned after thousands of Delta flight cancellations

“Delta currently estimates the storm will reduce its June quarter pretax income by $125 million,” Bastian said.He also apologized to the affected travelers.

“We hold ourselves to a high standard, and we apologize to all of our customers who were impacted by last week’s events,” he said. “I also want to thank the Delta people for working through some incredibly tough conditions to take care of our customers and reset our operation. They proved again they are the best in the business.”

>> Related: Delta Air Lines paid woman $11,000 not to fly, other passengers’ bags go without them

Bastian acknowledged that the company needs to invest in improvements to its crew scheduling and information systems, and said the problem was not understaffing.

“There were seven different thunderstorm cells that happened at a rapid-fire basis starting from early morning to evening” on April 5, Bastian said. “We had the virtual shutdown of Atlanta for the better part of an entire day,” combined with busy spring break travel that left little room to rebook customers.

>> Related: Man’s body stranded for two days during Delta flight cancellations

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.

Merriam-Webster trolls United, defines 'volunteer' after harrowing video goes viral

The internet’s had jokes since shortly after a video emerged showing a dazed and bloodied passenger being dragged screaming from a United Airlines flight.

>> Twitter users respond to United Airlines fiasco, suggest mock company slogans

Now even the dictionary’s joining in.

>> See the tweet here

It’s hard to miss Merriam-Webster’s meaning in choosing to highlight the definition of “volunteer,” a word United used (in addition to “re-accommodate”) in its initial corporate responses.

>> Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat on flight

Other Twitter commentary has been a little more blunt:

United Airlines CEO apologizes as stock valuation drops by $1 billion

United Airlines is continuing to battle fallout after video emerged Monday of a man being forcibly removed from his seat on Flight 3411 after not voluntarily giving it up.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that United Airlines Chief Executive Oscar Munoz has issued another apology after a letter he sent to employees published by The Associated Press appeared to defend the actions of the crew.

>> Read more trending news

“Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right,” Munoz said in the letter, according to The AP.

Related: When can an airline force a ticketed passenger off a plane?

United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said that the Flight 3411 was not overbooked, as had been reported, but that the man, Elizabethtown, Kentucky, physician David Dao, was removed to accommodate airline crew members, according to USA Today.

Related: United Airlines passengers describe scene as man dragged off flight

Munoz issued another statement and apology Tuesday:

The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way. I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right. It's never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what's broken so this never happens again. This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. We'll communicate the results of our review by April 30th. I promise you we will do better.

The apology may be too little too late. CNN Money reported that United Airlines market value has dropped nearly $1 billion.

The news comes after an initial apology from Munoz said the team is “moving with a sense of urgency to work with authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened” and that it would reach out to the passenger affected “to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”

The letter to employees surfaced after that Monday statement.

Baby delivered midflight with help of Turkish Airlines crew

A special delivery was made Friday on a Turkish Airlines flight, and the crew was right there to greet and assist the flight's youngest passenger.

A woman who was seven months’ pregnant went into labor and delivered a baby around midflight on a trip from Guinea to Burkina Faso, according to a Huffington Post report. The jet was at approximately 42,000 feet when the baby girl was delivered, and cabin crew assisted the mother and baby.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

There were no reported complications in spite of the unusual setting. Photos of the newborn, swathed in a blanket and being cradled by happy cabin crew members, was posted on the Turkish Airlines social media accounts. The airline also posted an animated video on Twitter, documenting the special trip.

The mother and baby were taken to a hospital after landing in Burkina Faso and both are reported to be in good condition.

United CEO's internal email describes man dragged off flight as 'disruptive,' 'belligerent'

After disturbing videos surfaced of a passenger being dragged off a plane because the flight was overbooked, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz told employees that he "emphatically" stands behind them in an internal email circulated to United Airlines employees and acquired by CNBC.

>> Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat on overbooked flight

Munoz’s public apology, also reported earlier Monday by NBC News, read:

“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”

But in an email circulated to employees Monday, Munoz opened with, “Like you, I was upset to see and hear what happened last night,” and wrote that "the facts and circumstances are still evolving, especially with respect to why this passenger defied Chicago Aviation Security Officers."

Munoz wrote that the “situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we asked to deplane refused” and that employees “followed established procedures.”

>> When can an airline force a ticketed passenger off a plane?

"While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right,” Munoz also wrote before including a brief summary of internal reports of the incidents. “I do, however, believe there are lessons we can learn from this experience, and we are taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding this incident. Treating our customers and each other with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are, and we must always remember this no matter how challenging the situation."

The United CEO added that the passenger at the center of the video, who said he was a doctor and had patients to see the following morning, was “disruptive and belligerent.” He said the airline “sought volunteers” before they followed an “involuntary denial of boarding process.”

>> Watch the news report here

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Delta Air Lines paid woman $11,000 not to fly, other passengers’ bags go without them

Five days after the storms that wreaked havoc on Delta's operations leading to thousands of cancellations, only four Delta flights were canceled Monday, according to aviation website Flightaware.com.

Amanda Kowalesky was supposed to be in West Palm, but with day one of her three-day weekend shot at the airport, she stayed home in Atlanta.

>> Read more trending news

She's now lugging fears about a dream trip this summer.

“If there's a storm, am I not going to get to Ireland in time?” Kowalesky said. “We're going to see U2 play in Dublin, that's a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

Delta flew her bag to Florida from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

“I found baggage left in the residue of the airline's spring break meltdown," Kowalesky said.

After a Sunday cancellation, Evelyn Rubin flew in Monday morning from Newark, New Jersey. Delta apparently didn't know her bag made it to Arkansas without her.

Delta says it will hand-deliver bags that don't catch up to their owners.

Suzanna Wasserman said she lost a bag after missing her weekend cruise out of Miami.

“We can't get anyone on the phone,” Wasserman said of reaching the airline.

Delta says it's working on compensation. Yahoo Travel Editor Laura Begley Bloom said she gave up her family's seats on three consecutive days. Delta paid a total of nearly $11,000.  She wrote about the experience on Forbes.com.

“I wanted to get to Florida to have my vacation, but the money kept getting better,” Bloom said. “We walked away with a pretty hefty chunk of change from Delta Air Lines.”

Still, Bloom conceded in her post that the money would not solve every traveler's problem.

“Over the course of two days, (my family) heard horror stories about families with little kids sleeping at the airport and people missing weddings and funerals,” she wrote. “No gift card will compensate for life interruptions like that.”

When can an airline force a ticketed passenger off a plane?

News of a man being forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight on Sunday after not voluntarily giving up his seat is making the rounds, raising questions about what authority airlines have to remove ticketed passengers in situations of overbooking.

>> Read more trending news

According to accounts from passengers on the flight, which was leaving from Chicago O’Hare International Airport and bound for Louisville, the airline wanted the seats for employees who needed to travel to be at work the next day. Cellphone video from the aircraft shows a man who said he was a doctor being forced from his seat and dragged down the aisle of the plane as onlookers screamed, “Oh, my God!” 

Related: Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat on overbooked flight

It hasn’t been a great few months for United Airlines. In March, the airline received widespread criticism for barring two teens from their flight because they were wearing leggings.

So in what situations do the airlines have the right to force ticketed passengers from a plane? And what is the protocol for doing so?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, overbooking is legal, with most airlines overbooking their scheduled flights to a certain extent in order to compensate for no-shows. When overselling occurs, the DOT requires airlines to ask people to give up their seats voluntarily in exchange for compensation. If no one volunteers, the airline may then bump passengers involuntarily, although they too are entitled to compensation.

According to United’s Contract of Carriage, “If a flight is oversold, no one may be denied boarding against his/her will until UA or other carrier personnel first ask for volunteers who will give up their reservations willingly in exchange for compensation as determined by UA. If there are not enough volunteers, other passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily in accordance with UA’s boarding priority.”

The contract states that passengers with disabilities, unaccompanied minors under the age of 18 and minors ages 5-15 who use the unaccompanied minor service will be the last to be involuntarily denied boarding. It adds that “the priority of all other confirmed passengers may be determined based on a passenger’s fare class, itinerary, status of frequent flyer program membership, and the time in which the passenger presents him/herself for check-in without advanced seat assignment.”

According to the DOT’s Consumer Guide to Air Travel, airlines must give all passengers who are bumped involuntarily “a written statement describing their rights and explaining how the carrier decides who gets on an oversold flight and who doesn’t. Those travelers who don’t get to fly are frequently entitled to denied boarding compensation in the form of a check or cash. The amount depends on the price of their ticket and the length of the delay.”

DOT statistics show that, on average, only about one of every 10,000 airline passengers is bumped involuntarily, although that number can increase over the holidays and during other busy travel seasons.

United has said little about the incident but did release this response to WHAS: “Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation.”

United CEO Oscar Munoz later issued a statement on Twitter Monday, saying,  “Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”

Hundreds of bags abandoned after thousands of Delta flight cancellations

Although Delta Air Lines’ operations were finally returning to normal Monday after five days of thousands of flight cancellations, hundreds of stranded bags left on the airport floor and thousands of frustrated passengers remained in the aftermath of the airline’s chaotic period.

>> Read more trending news

Delta canceled close to 3,500 flights between Wednesday and Sunday, and many passengers became disconnected from their bags in the process, meaning that even after they got to their destinations, they were left without their packed clothing and other belongings.

>> Related: Here’s why one day of thunderstorms turned into a five-day Delta meltdown

Kerlene Moore was supposed to return home Thursday from a visit with her 3-year-old daughter to see her parents in Palm Beach. But after her flight was canceled, she never got her luggage back and had to buy new clothes during the four-day delay.

When she got into Atlanta Monday morning, she encountered rows of baggage lined up on the floor at baggage claim.

“They just told me to start here,” Moore said as she and her daughter, Kennedi, walked between the rows of baggage. “This is ridiculous. If I don’t find my bags, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Mikeal Dennard was trying to return from a trip to California when he had two Delta flights canceled on Wednesday and Thursday.

>> Related: Delta flight cancellations continue: “It was like a madhouse”

After spending hundreds of dollars extra and then finally booking a flight on Southwest and getting home on Friday, he learned that his baggage wouldn’t arrive until Sunday on Delta.

But on Monday, he didn’t find his baggage in the lines of suitcases as employees searched in the basement.

Dennard, Moore and many other passengers have also run into the problem of hours-long waits for customer service on Delta’s phone lines.

“Right now everybody’s so overwhelmed where they’re starting to lose bags,” Dennard said. “I think it’s partly disorganization.”

“I fly a lot ... This is the worst it’s ever been,” Dennard said. “It’s horrible.”

>> Related: Woman allegedly kicked off flight because of revealing top

>> Related: Pilot 'congratulates' passengers for drinking all alcohol on plane

Delta cancels 3,000 flights in thunderstorm fallout

Dozens of long lines of thousands of passengers trying to get help extended through the terminal Friday at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, where Delta Airlines has its headquarters, as fallout from the airline’s flight cancellations extended into a third day.

>> Read more trending news 

Some flight cancellations continued Friday as the airline continued to struggle with getting available crews and aircraft positioned to operate flights.

Delta said it has canceled about 3,000 flights this week after a severe thunderstorm in Atlanta and the ensuing crew and aircraft positioning issues, making the total impact greater than the massive system outage that the airline experienced last year and snowstorms that virtually shut down flights at an airport.

The thunderstorm in Atlanta, which hit Delta’s largest hub on Wednesday, has caused effects that have reverberated through its flight network for days.

But the airline also warned that heavy spring break travel means there are few open seats for rebooking, leaving limited options for passengers whose flights were canceled.

Long lines for rebooking, baggage assistance and check-in at Delta counters filled the terminal in Atlanta on Friday morning, two days after the thunderstorm that triggered the flight disruptions.

For the second night in a row, weary travelers spread across the floor of the Hartsfield-Jackson terminal to try to sleep overnight after their flights were canceled Thursday. Some said they had been stuck on planes until 2 or 3 a.m. before a final flight cancellation left them stranded.

Delta’s systems were also overtaxed: Many travelers struggled to get information or rebookings from Delta’s app, its website or from its customer service phone line.

Thousands of people stood in line for hours in the concourses and in the terminal to try to get rebooked on flights back home or to their destinations.

Delta said those whose flights are canceled and who don’t travel are entitled to refunds. The airline is also waiving certain change fees for passengers affected by the disruptions who want to reschedule their flights.

“It looks like a disaster zone,” said traveler Shadow McKnight, who was trying to get home to Starkville, Mississippi. “Just how everybody is piled up on every available surface... I’ve never seen it like this.”

McKnight was scheduled to fly back to the Memphis airport Thursday evening at around 8 p.m., but said her flight was delayed until 10 p.m., then 11 p.m., then midnight. “And then they cancelled it,” she said, because the crew wasn’t able to get to Atlanta on their own flights.

“I was like, ‘This is just crazy,’” McKnight said, seeing the line stretching down the concourse for customer service. A Delta agent at the gate helped her and a few other passengers get rebooked.

To get to Memphis would require waiting until Saturday and spending another night in Atlanta. McKnight tried to get a rental car but found none available.

Instead, her husband will drive from Mississippi to Atlanta to pick her up, then head to the Memphis airport to pick up her car before going back to Starkville.

“At this point, I just have to get home,” said McKnight, a furniture designer who is trying to return home from a business trip to Louisville. She spent the night in the terminal. “I kind of just walked around for a while, then found a table and laid my head down.”

McKnight said she is understanding of the challenges that Delta has faced.

“It was just a series of unfortunate events,” McKnight said. “Nothing was in place to work out easily for them. I’ll fly Delta again. Everybody has bad days, right?”

Traveler Farzad Saghian said his flight back home to New York after a business trip was scheduled to depart at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, then was delayed until 11:30 p.m., 12:30 a.m., then 1:30 a.m.

“First they didn’t have a captain, then they didn’t have a crew” of flight attendants, Saghian said. “We waited until 3:30 (a.m.) until they just said yes, it’s canceled.”

Everyone was frustrated, he said: “They kept on giving us hopes: ‘Don’t worry, it’s not going to cancel.’

“I always fly Delta everywhere,” Saghian said. “For the past 20 years I’ve been with Delta. So I’m with them. I understand. It’s the weather. But they could have been a little more courteous. People were frustrated. There were babies in people’s hands.”

Saghian, who travels to Atlanta five times a year, had been in the airport for 14 hours by Friday morning and expected to wait another several hours for his rescheduled flight.

“It’s always busy, but I have never seen this airport like this,” Saghian said. “It was like a madhouse.”

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