United to stop staff from taking seats of boarded passengers

United to stop staff from taking seats of boarded passengers

United Airlines will no longer let its staff take the seats of already boarded passengers on overbooked flights, a policy change born of the aftermath of an incident earlier this month in which a passenger was violently dragged from his seat.

“We issued an updated policy to make sure crews traveling on our aircraft are booked at least 60 minutes prior to departure,” spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin wrote in an email Sunday to The New York Times.

“This is one of our initial steps in a review of our policies.”

The policy change is intended to make sure incidents like the one earlier this month "never happen again," the spokeswoman said. 
 
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The incident earlier this month in which a passenger was violently dragged off a United Airlines flight sparked nationwide outrage and calls for congressional hearings.
 
The passenger, David Dao, boarded the flight last Sunday evening and took his seat before the crew announced four seats were needed to accommodate airline personnel. Passengers were selected at random to be bumped from the flight when there were no volunteers.

The man refused to give up his seat, so United brought aviation authorities on board to assist in removing him.
 
Video surfaced following the incident of Dao being forcibly removed from his seat and dragged down the aisle.
 
Dao's attorney on Thursday said his client had suffered a concussion and a broken nose and lost two teeth.