Dem wants hearing after United passenger dragged off flight

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is calling for a hearing the forceful removal of a United Airlines passenger from an overbooked flight.

“I deplore the violent removal of a passenger from a United Airlines flight this weekend,” Norton said in a statement Monday. “Airline passengers must have protections against such abusive treatment.

“I am asking our committee for a hearing, which will allow us to question airport police, United Airlines personnel, and airport officials, among others, about whether appropriate procedures were in place in Chicago and are in place across the United States when passengers are asked to leave a flight,” she continued.

Norton’s remarks come after a viral video surfaced showing the passenger being dragged out of his seat and down the aisle by three airport security guards after refusing to give up his seat. 

{mosads}United Airlines reportedly offered $800 to individuals who would voluntarily give up their seat, but not enough people offered. The airline then decided to choose individuals at random.

“The only information available has been that perhaps $800 was offered to leave the flight. Federal rules require airlines to give passengers four times their fare or up to $1,250 if they are bumped from an overbooked flight,” Norton said. 

Norton added that she plans to send a letter Tuesday to House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), seeking additional information about the incident as well as airlines’ common practice of overbooking flights. 

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) also called for more information about the violent event Monday.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) tweeted that “travelers should know their rights,” linking to a website detailing “Airline Passenger Protections.”

United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized Monday in a statement for the “upsetting event,” saying he had to “re-accommodate customers” because of an overbooked flight on Sunday heading from Chicago to Louisville.

“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers,” Munoz said. “Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.”

Tags Richard Blumenthal Sheila Jackson Lee

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