United Airlines wants to repair passenger relations. But are the - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

United Airlines wants to repair passenger relations. But are they doing more harm than good?

(Image: Hawaii News Now/File) (Image: Hawaii News Now/File)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Three weeks after a now-infamous incident aboard a United Airlines flight -- where Dr. David Dao was yanked from his seat and dragged down the aisle -- the company has notified passengers that they'll no longer be required to give up their seat except in matters of safety and security. 

But will it accomplish what United intends, or open the door to more confrontations?

"I think there is the opportunity for passengers to take advantage of it. I'm hopeful they don't," said United passenger Marti Sheil.

United's give-backs include up to $10,000 for voluntary re-booking, a no-questions-asked $1,500 reimbursement on lost bags, and several other concessions. 

"All of these things are going to cost money, so it is going to affect the bottom line," said airline analyst Peter Forman. "But it's a better thing for the airlines to offer these things than to simply see their loads drop." 

After the United crisis, the carrier's stock value plummeted.

Other on-board incidents aboard American and Delta airlines further strained airline-passenger relations. But some flyers say passengers need to settle down.

"I think the flying public has lost their manners at times. The airline is trying to get you to your destination safely," Jamie Lewis said.

"In the short run, I think you are going to have some passengers who are just a little bit more contentious themselves," Forman said.

United hopes its customer-service adjustments will restore customer confidence, but travel expert Wendy Goodenow doesn't think it will extend to the cost of a ticket.

"They're all sensitive to everything now. But I don't think they are going to then raise prices just because of it, or lower," she said.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said Congress may look at instituting legislation that gives passengers certain basic rights.

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