After United Airlines Beat Down, Dems Come to the Rescue With New Senate Bill (VIDEO)
Legislation that would prevent airlines from involuntarily removing passengers who have already boarded a flight is set to be introduced Wednesday. The bill would also remove the caps passengers receive if they are bumped from a flight.
United airlines really did something awful here
Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), who are sponsoring the legislation, say the goal is to prevent a repeat of the incident at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport that resulted in Kentucky Dr. David Dao being forcibly removed when he refused to give up his seat in order to accommodate airline staff.
Called the Transparency, Improvements and Compensation to Keep Every Ticketholder Safe Act, the legislation also requires the secretary of transportation to review ticket overselling practices and to decide whether limits should be placed on the number of tickets being sold per flight, The Washington Post reports.
“The horrifying incident on United Flight 3411 made clear that we need stronger consumer protections for the flying public,” Hassan said. “This common-sense legislation will help prevent incidents like that from happening again and help ensure that travelers are treated with greater fairness and respect by the airlines industry. I look forward to working across the aisle to improve traveling conditions for the public.”
And Schatz added:
“It should go without saying that unless there is a security threat or a safety risk, paying customers should not be forcibly removed from an airplane. But given what happened earlier this month, we need to take action. Our bill will make sure that no matter who you are, passengers are treated with basic respect and dignity.”
Airlines would still be allowed to remove passengers if they pose a health or security risk.
Air carriers would also be required to list their policies on bumping and boarding policies on all flight itineraries and receipts, The Hill reports. Airlines would also be required to post them on the airport gate and require flight crews needing flight accommodations to work out arrangements 60 minutes before take off.
As it stands right now, airlines are allowed to over-book flights and remove passengers against their will. Airlines, however, do have to follow federal rules regarding this.
And every airline is responsible for setting boarding policies, something that passengers agree to when booking a flight, thus entering into a “contract of carriage.”
In light of the United Airlines flap, many airlines are re-working their customer service policies. Currently, they are considering things like increasing the amount they will offer passengers to voluntarily give up their seats and requiring flight crews to check in 60 minutes before boarding.
An additional bill was introduced Tuesday by Illinois Reps. Jan Schachowsky and Raja Krishnamurthy that has some similar language to the Hassan-Schatz legislation. It would also bar airlines from forcibly removing passengers who have already checked in and boarded their flight.
The Hassan-Schatz bill has been endorsed by the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.
“The legislation introduced by Senators Hassan and Schatz is a timely and overdue step to reassert the rights and importance of the American consumer in the marketplace and in our democracy,” said Lisa Gilbert, a vice president of legislative affairs for the non-profit organization.
Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Al Franken (D-MN) are co-sponsors of the legislation, The Washington Post reports.
Hassan, Schatz and several other lawmakers demanded answers from United earlier this month, but the airline has yet to respond.
You can watch the dramatic scene of Dao being forcibly removed in the video below.
Screencap courtesy of DangerBaseAlpha/YouTube
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