The District of Columbia’s Democratic Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, called for a hearing after seeing video of airport security personnel forcefully remove 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 to The Hill 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 added.
— Ryan Ruggiero (@RyanRuggiero) April 10, 2017
Norton released her statement after a video surfaced across the internet showing a United Airlines passenger being dragged out by security when he refused to give up his seat on an overbooked flight. According to reports, not enough passengers gave up their seats for $800 each, so the airline proceeded to choose passengers 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.
United CEO Oscar Munoz sent a letter out to his employees Monday night explaining the company’s side of the story:
This situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help. Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure that we fly right.