United Airlines adding Appleton to Denver and Madison to San Francisco service

United Airlines said Monday it will begin new daily nonstop, round-trip service between Appleton and Denver and Madison and San Francisco.The new flights are part of a route expansion in which the airline will connect six of its domestic hubs and eight destinations in Wisconsin, California, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota and Virginia.The service begins June 7. The flights will "offer customers hundreds of connection opportunities" across United's domestic and international route network, the Chicago-based airline said in a statement announcing the new service.Daily service between Denver and Appleton will be offered on Bombardier CRJ regional jets. Daily service between San Francisco and Madison will be offered on Embraer E-175 medium-range jets.The flights will operate as United Express.United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 4,500 flights a day to 338 airports across five continents.This is Madison's first daily service to the West Coast, said Jonathan Guerin, a United spokesman.United's route network includes U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark/New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C."We are excited to begin the new year by adding eight new flights as we continue our focus on making United the first choice for customers," Jake Cefolia, United's vice president of sales, said in the statement.United operates 744 mainline aircraft, and the airline's United Express carriers operate 507 regional aircraft. In 2017, United and United Express operated more than 1.6 million flights carrying more than 148 million passengers.  Continue Reading

Major computer failures delay United Airlines passengers across the country

United Airlines passengers faced delays and long lines after some of its major computer systems and its website failed Tuesday afternoon. The glitch was another in a long string of technology problems that began when it merged computer systems with Continental's in March. United acknowledged at least 200 delayed flights. Its passenger reservation system and website stopped working for about two-and-a-half hours on Tuesday afternoon, although the precise cause wasn't known. The outage didn't affect planes in flight. Passengers in several United hubs reported very long lines at ticket counters. During the outage it stopped sending planes to its hubs in Newark, N.J., and San Francisco. Alex Belo was waiting at Newark to get on a flight to Mexico City. He considered himself lucky to be behind only 100 or so people waiting to check a bag — because there were another 300 to 400 behind him. "The line is not moving, or very slowly moving. And they're giving priority only to first class," he said. United said it will not charge the usual change fees for passengers on affected flights who want to cancel or rebook their tickets. It apologized for the disruption. Simon Duvall spent two hours sitting on his flight waiting for the computer problems to be resolved. People were calm but not happy, he said. "We're on a plane, on the tarmac in Las Vegas in the middle of August. It's warm. It's uncomfortable. It's cramped," he said. United Continental Holdings Inc. has been struggling with computer issues off and on since March, when it switched to using Continental's system for tracking passenger information. The two airlines merged in 2010. Airlines rely on software to know who is filling the seats on its planes, and how many empty seats are available. Those computer systems make it possible to print boarding passes, too. Rich Pearson, head of marketing at professional freelance site Elance, was stuck in Houston on his way to present at a Continue Reading

United Airlines recalling all furloughed pilots

United Airlines announced Thursday morning that it will recall the "nearly 600 pilots" currently on furlough.The company says it's making the move "to address the airline's future staffing needs," adding that "no United pilots will remain on furlough following the recall.""We look forward to welcoming back our co-workers as we complete work to integrate all of our pilots into a single work group," Howard Attarian, United's senior vice president of Flight Operations, says in a statement. "We are pleased to have this group of talented aviators back on our team. They are among the most experienced and most accomplished in the industry."However, The Wall Street Journal notes that United "isn't calling back the pilots because it plans a growth spree."Instead, the airline says the recall is meant to filling positions that will come open as current pilots retire and because of new pilot rest rules that United expects will require it to increase its number of pilots.United says training classes for the recalled pilots will begin next month and run through the end of the year. In total, United has more than 12,000 pilots. RELATED: United Continental pilots merge seniority lists ALSO ONLINE: United to connect Indianapolis to its San Francisco hub"We welcome our brother and sister pilots back with open arms," Captain Jay Heppner, chairman of the leadership council of United's branch of the Air Line Pilots Association, says in a relesae. "We have worked toward this day for more than five years."The recall announcement comes a day after the pilot's union announced a three-member arbitration panel has established a merged seniority list, which is final and binding.United and Continental merged in 2010, and pilots approved a joint union contract in December.But they also needed a merged list that ranks who was hired when. Seniority is important to pilots because it dictates who gets the most favorable schedules, who flies which planes, and who gets laid off first. The Continue Reading

United Airlines passenger Dr. David Dao was combative, officers claim

The officers who dragged an Elizabethtown, Kentucky, doctor off a United Airlines flight bound for Louisville this month are claiming he was combative and aggressive. A slew of documents released late Monday by the Chicago Department of Aviation revealed the names of the four involved officers, who are now on administrative leave, and sheds light on their versions of the April 9 incident on Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville.Much of what is detailed in the officers' narratives is captured by passengers' videos that have gone viral, provoked outrage and captured international attention. They show an officer, now identified as James Long, forcefully pulling 69-year-old Dr. David Dao from his seat after he refused to leave the plane with his wife.In a "hospitalization case report," a Chicago Police Department officer wrote that Dao was seen hitting his face on an armrest as the aviation officers "attempted to escort" him from the plane.According to the report taken by Chicago police, Dao said he and his wife listened to the announcement made on the plane asking for volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for $800.An airline supervisor failed to get any volunteers to leave the loaded plane to make room for four airline employees who needed to be on the flight to Louisville, United has said.  Related: Yes, it was Kentucky doctor David Dao who was dragged off that United plane Lawyer: Dr. David Dao will become 'poster child' for passengers mistreated by United, other airlines Dao said he and his wife were at first interested but changed their minds after learning they weren’t guaranteed a flight later in the day.“Victim stated he had to see patients tomorrow and could not accept a next day flight,” the report reads.Dao said he was told that he and his wife were randomly selected to deboard.Reports filed by security officers Mauricio Rodriguez Jr. and Continue Reading

United Airlines was just plain wrong | Joseph Gerth

Let’s get this straight. I hate airlines.They treat their customers like crap.They cram them into tiny spaces more suited for Pomeranians than people. They cancel flights on a whim. They push back from the gate when they know that passengers from a late connecting flight are just steps away.They have been known to keep people sitting in hot, stuffy planes for hours on runways.Airlines, to me, rank somewhere between cable television companies and Beelzebub. Leaning toward the Prince of Darkness.So it shouldn’t have surprised me, or anyone, that United Airlines demanded that a passenger on a Chicago-to-Louisville flight give up his seat to make way for a crew that was scheduled to fly out of Louisville on a later fight.What was surprising was the brutality that security officers at O'Hare International Airport used in subduing the passenger David Dao and dragging the bloodied and dazed senior citizen off the plane.When the security officers were done with Dao, an Elizabethtown doctor, airline officials had to order everyone off the plane so they could clean the blood off the seats and armrests. More Flight 3411 coverage ►Experts: United bungled removal of passengerHow often do airlines bump passengers?A timeline of United Flight 3411United Airlines was just plain wrong | Joseph GerthUnited’s stock price down after dragging incidentWho's the worst for bumping passengers?Male High teacher aboard United flight: ‘This didn’t need to happen’David Dao, passenger removed from United flight, now in spotlightJimmy Kimmel rips United with fake ad ►United Airlines video has already become a meme ►Jeff Ruby offers United passenger free steak ►United's fiasco prompts apology, suspension ►United Airlines video has already become a meme ►Security officer placed on leave after United flight incident ►United CEO says passenger dragged from plane Continue Reading

United Airlines video has already become a meme

It's bound to happen with anything that goes viral. Someone creates a humorous hashtag that catches on, and it starts trending across Twitter.Let's get this straight: The video of a man - identified as David Dao - being pulled from his seat on an overbooked United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville was not funny.Since Monday, it has prompted questions about airline policies and the security team's response, and it's sparked outrage among consumers.However, just like the shooting of Harambe - a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo - produced a somewhat lighthearted meme in 2016, so too has the United video with the hashtag #newUnitedAirlinesmottos. More Flight 3411 coverage ►Experts: United bungled removal of passengerHow often do airlines bump passengers?A timeline of United Flight 3411United Airlines was just plain wrong | Joseph GerthUnited’s stock price down after dragging incidentWho's the worst for bumping passengers?Male High teacher aboard United flight: ‘This didn’t need to happen’David Dao, passenger removed from United flight, now in spotlightJimmy Kimmel rips United with fake ad ►United Airlines video has already become a meme ►Jeff Ruby offers United passenger free steak ►United's fiasco prompts apology, suspension ►United Airlines video has already become a meme ►Security officer placed on leave after United flight incident ►United CEO says passenger dragged from plane was 'an upsetting event' ►Social media explodes after man dragged from plane ►United Airlines had a right to remove that flier. But, was there a better way? Here are a few examples: Additional coverage VIDEO: Man dragged off overbooked United flightWhat we know about a passenger being removed from a United flightThe fleet and hubs of United Airlines Reach reporter Bailey Continue Reading

United Airlines Airbus A319 had only minor damage after emergency landing: official

The United Airlines jet that made a lopsided emergency landing at Newark Airport on Sunday suffered only minor damage, officials said Monday. The Airbus A319 miraculously skidded to a safe stop on the runway on just its nose and left landing gear. It lurched onto one side, shooting sparks as its engine dragged on the tarmac, but none of the 53 passengers and crew members aboard were injured during the dramatic 9:30 a.m. touchdown at one of the nation's busiest airports. The 68-ton bird was moved off the runway about 5:45 a.m. Monday so it could be inspected by the national Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and United Airlines. "There was only minor damage," said FAA spokesman Jim Peters, adding that the right engine covering and wing will need repairs. The agencies will investigate why the right landing gear didn't come down and lock into place. The NTSB will also review the jet's flight data recorder. There is no time line for when the investigation will wrap up, Peters said. "Certainly it's everyone's intention to do a thorough job that's as complete as possible so we understand what happened," he said. Passengers broke into cheers and applause on Sunday when the plane came to a safe stop. United Flight 634 from Chicago had been routine until it approached Newark, its final destination. "The pilot did a beautiful job," said passenger Jim Falk, 40, of Middletown, N.J. "He should be commended." Passengers were prepared for landing when the plane suddenly began ascending and started circling the airport. "Normally a big plane like that doesn't do a bypass, so we knew something was wrong," said Falk, who was sitting near the front. "Brace! Brace! Brace!" the pilot said over the intercom as passengers buried their heads in their laps poised for a crash landing. Falk and other passengers said the landing was "unbelievably smooth" considering the plane's condition. He said the crew remained incredibly calm. "They did a great job," Falk Continue Reading

No drinking and flying: United Airlines pilot charged with being over alcohol limit

LONDON - A United Airlines pilot who was pulled from his trans-Atlantic flight to Chicago shortly before takeoff has been charged with having too much alcohol in his system, British police said Tuesday. Scotland Yard said that 51-year-old Erwin Vermont Washington, of Lakewood, Colorado, was arrested after officers were called to United Airlines Flight 949, which was already full of passengers and due to leave London's Heathrow Airport just after noon on Monday. BAA, Heathrow's operator, said the plane had been due to leave imminently. A BAA spokesman quoted by Britain's Press Association news agency added that the pilot had been reported to authorities by another member of United's staff. BAA did not immediately return a call from the AP seeking comment late Tuesday. It was not immediately clear how much alcohol Washington was accused of having consumed. Under British law, pilots are forbidden from having any more than 20 micrograms of alcohol for each 100 milliliters of blood in their system, or .02 percent. For most average-sized men, that is the equivalent of having just had about half a glass of regular strength beer. Scotland Yard said that Washington, who has been released on bail, would have to appear at a court in northwest London on Nov. 20. If convicted, he faces up to two years in prison, a fine, or both. United Airlines spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said Washington, who she did not identify by name, has been removed from service pending an investigation. She said her airline had strict rules on alcohol "and we have no tolerance for violation of this well-established policy." She declined to say how long Washington had worked for the airline. McCarthy said that the flight was canceled and that the plane's 124 passengers were put on other flights. Monday's incident bears a strong resemblance to the arrest in May at Heathrow of an American Airlines pilot - also scheduled to fly a plane to Chicago - after he failed a breath test. Airport Continue Reading

United Airlines pledges new protections for fliers in wake of passenger-dragging incident

United Airlines, acknowledging that "many things went wrong" on the day a passenger was dragged off one of its flights, pledged on Thursday a sweeping series of changes for passenger protection, including up to $10,000 compensation for travelers who voluntarily give up their seat on an overbooked flight.The move comes as the carrier has been beleaguered by a wave of negative press since a passenger was bloodied and forcibly removed from one its flights April 9. The incident on United Express Flight 3411 was captured on cellphone video and quickly went viral.The airline announced 10 new or updated customer service polices aimed at preventing episodes such as the one that occurred on that flight and released an "action report" on how the events on that ill-fated flight unfolded.."That breach of public trust is something we have to rework," United CEO Oscar Munoz said in an interview with USA TODAY, calling the service changes part of an effort "to ensure this never happens again."LIST: United Airlines' 10 customer-service policy changesAmong the changes, United said that starting Friday, employees will be able to offer up $10,000 to try to entice overbooked passengers to take different flights. United also said it would reduce overbooking. The airline did not give a specific number but said in its formal Flight 3411 "Review and Action Report" that it intended to limit the practice "on flights that historically have experienced lower volunteer rates, particularly flights on smaller aircraft and the last flight of the day to a particular destination."United also said that effective Thursday, it will no longer attempt to involuntarily remove passengers who’ve already boarded their flights “unless safety or security is at risk.” And the carrier is making permanent a policy it adopted April 12 that it will no longer call law enforcement officers to remove passengers except for in Continue Reading

What United Airlines must do after PR nightmare to win back customers

United must make amends for its gaffe on a plane and immediately start the process of rebuilding trust among fliers and the general public, media specialists said Wednesday.Where did it all go wrong for CEO Oscar Munoz, who last month was named PRWeek's Communicator of the Year? Chris Ann Goddard, president of CGPR public relations, says some of the airline's efforts at quelling the uproar since video went viral of a passenger being dragged screaming from a flight have done more harm than good.Goddard says United needed to immediately shift into crisis mode. A crisis plan, she said, should include a heartfelt apology, release of a specific plan for addressing the mistakes, clear communication with front-line employees and a statement sent to frequent fliers and loyal customers."Three apologies in two days? Really?" Goddard says. "Put the heartfelt apology out there, issue a thoughtful statement, admit a company's wrongdoing, be consistent on social media. ... And, oh by the way, don't blame anyone else, especially the victim."Eric Schiffer, CEO of Reputation Management Consultants, said United will be hurt in the short term. But the situation still can be managed, he said."They have the money to do the ads, and they can get by through just the power of the scale they have," Schiffer says. "But they are definitely going to lose customers. And they should." More on United:United's brand crisis began Sunday in Chicago. Passengers had already boarded United Express Flight 3411, bound for Louisville, when the airline attempted to make room for a crew needed to fly out of Louisville the next day. When offers of almost $1,000 failed to clear the necessary four seats, passengers were selected at random and told they had to exit the aircraft.Boom. First mistake, says Paul English, travel industry veteran and Kayak.com co-founder."Never force a customer to change behavior, always offer incentives," English says. "United Airlines could, and Continue Reading