Dem unveils bill to ban airlines from bumping passengers

Dem unveils bill to ban airlines from bumping passengers

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) on Tuesday unveiled legislation to ban airlines from involuntarily bumping passengers off flights.

The bill was designed to prevent a repeat of a controversial bumping incident that occurred on United Airlines earlier this month.

Videos emerged on social media of a passenger being violently dragged off a United flight in Chicago in order to make room for airline personnel.

The incident ignited a firestorm and put a spotlight on airlines’ treatment of passengers.

Airlines are legally allowed to overbook flights and bump passengers against their will, although there are federal rules that need to be followed.

But each airline is responsible for setting their own boarding policies, which customers agree to whenever they book a flight and enter into a “contract of carriage.”

“The treatment of Dr. David Dao on United Airlines Flight 3411 demands a permanent response,” Schakowsky said. “My bill says no more involuntary bumping — period.”

Schakowsky’s measure would still permit airlines to overbook flights — a common practice that allows carriers to compensate for no-shows.

But it would force airlines to keep offering higher compensation until someone volunteers to give up their seat.

“My bill, the BOARD Fairly Act, will ensure that is the case,” she added. “It is time for airlines to start treating their customers with respect.”

A number of airlines are already revamping their customer service policies in the wake of the United flap, including increasing how much they will offer passengers to voluntarily give up their seats.

The effort could help keep federal regulators off the industry’s back, especially with lawmakers planning congressional hearings and crafting bills that target airlines’ overbooking and passenger-bumping policies.