Published: Thu, May 11, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Congress Warns US Airlines to Improve Customer Service


United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, left, accompanied by United Airlines President Scott Kirby, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 2, 2017, to testify before a House Transportation Committee oversight hearing.

"We will hold you accountable and expect real results", said Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pennsylvania, the committee's chairman.

Republicans largely back President Donald Trump's push to cut rules and regulations they say hamper business growth, but said, without offering specifics, that they would not hesitate to clamp down on airlines.

Lawmakers also called out airline executives on "contracts of carriage" which customers must sign when purchasing a plane ticket.

"We had a frightful failure three weeks ago", Oscar Munoz, United's CEO, told the House Transportation Committee during the hearing. "Clearly what happened was wrong", said Kerry Philipovitch, the airline's senior vice president of customer experience, at the hearing.Airline stocks rose after the hearing and Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) reported a gain in April traffic. "Starting from the minute I go on the computer to try to figure out which flight I want to take ... some charge fees, some don't charge fees, some charge fees for bags, some charge fees for oxygen - who knows?"

Then, we had an American flight crew ready to square off with a passenger who was standing up for a crying mother, both caught on cell phone video flooded social media.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, asked the airline executives, "How much do you hate the American people?" He can't sit up straight, and his legs stick out.

Munoz repeated apologies for the incident and said the airline has made many policy changes, such as increasing compensation for people who have to give up their seats. "This has to be a turning point for 87,000 professionals here at United".

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said testiness between passengers and airline crews stems from a deterioration in airline service with crowded planes, narrow seats and breakdowns such as when computer failures strand thousands of passengers at a time. The April 9 incident ignited a debate about poor service and a lack of customer-friendly policies on US airlines.

The hearing took place five days after United settled with David Dao, the doctor that United staff dragged and bloodied a few weeks ago while trying to remove him from an overbooked flight to give his seat to someone else.

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New South Korean President Moon Jae-in said. "We must put the days of fierce competition behind and hold hands marching forward". Moon has said the decision had been made hastily and his government should have the final say on whether to deploy it.

Munoz apologized to Dao and other passengers on the April 9 flight "for the bad experience you had".

After initially blaming the passenger as "belligerent", Munoz apologized and promised to change in airline procedures.

United moved to head off criticism last week by reaching a settlement with passenger David Dao and issuing new policies created to prevent customer-service failures. United and lawyers for Mr Dao have declined to disclose financial terms of the settlement.

The transportation panel is holding a hearing on airline service after a passenger was forcibly removed from a United flight last month. The airline has repeatedly apologized to Dao for the incident.

Or the House will interfere putting up new laws.

Facing a grilling by Congress, Munoz has pledged his airline "will do better" after a public backlash following the incident, which was filmed and uploaded online.

The United Airlines CEO has now said he is "personally sorry" for the incident, according to CNN Money.

Members of Congress complained about having to squeeze uncomfortably into tight seats, paying fees to check bags or change flights, having their luggage lost, paying extra to get a window or an aisle seat, and so on.

Today, United Airlines chief executive Oscar Munoz apologised in a congressional hearing in Washington for the incident.

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