The recent forcible removal of a United Airlines ticketed passenger on a flight from Chicago to Louisville Kentucky has prompted serious questions from a group of Democrat U.S Senators including Oregon’s Ron Wyden regarding airline policies and procedures.
In a news release Wyden states, “Consumer trust and confidence are critical to ensure this industry continues to thrive, and we hope United Airlines will work diligently to immediately address this incident and make necessary improvements to ensure it does not occur again.”
In a letter signed by 20 members the senator’s call on United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz to provide a more detailed account of the incident and ask for United’s policy on boarding, then removing ticketed passengers to accommodate United Airlines personnel. FULL LETTER HERE
Joining Wyden on the letter were Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.). Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Minn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).
An interesting fact revealed in the letter, that has not been accurately reported up to now is that there is a federal cap on the amount of money a commercial airline may compensate passengers for being involuntarily denied boarding or rescheduled for a flight. The senators ask why the full amount of $1,350 was not offered to those passengers involuntarily denied and forcibly removed from Flight 3411. The senators ask if that cap serves any benefit to consumers.
That’s just one of the tough questions the senators expect Munoz to answer by a April 24th deadline.
This morning Munoz says he felt "ashamed" watching video of a passenger being dragged off a United Express flight and has promised to review the airline's passenger removal policy. In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday, Munoz apologized to Dr. David Dao of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, his family and the other passengers who witnessed him being forcibly removed from the plane.