BigNews.Biz - Apr 16,2017 - Reed, Senators Put United Airlines on Hot Seat Following Forcible Removal of Passenger
Senator Reed criticizes forcible removal of passenger and demands answers from United Airlines CEO
WASHINGTON, DC – Following the forcible removal of a United Airlines ticketed passenger from his seat on Flight 3411 from Chicago, Illinois to Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and 20 of his colleagues in the U.S. Senate are demanding answers from United’s CEO. The 21 Senators asked a series of tough questions they want answered by an April 24 deadline, when the Senate reconvenes.
In the letter, the senators call on United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz to provide a more detailed account of the incident and United’s policy on boarding then removing ticketed passengers to accommodate United Airlines personnel.
“Consumer trust and confidence are critical to ensure this industry continues to thrive, and we hope United Airlines will work diligently to immediately address this incident and make necessary improvements to ensure it does not occur again,” the 21 U.S. Senators wrote.
They also asked why the full federal compensation amount of $1,350 was not offered to those passengers involuntarily and forcibly removed from Flight 3411 and whether that cap serves any benefit to consumers.
“Every flying passenger deserves to be treated with respect by the airlines. United’s handling of this situation was completely unacceptable. United needs to review this incident to prevent it from recurring and Congress needs to examine ways to better protect all consumers,” said Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD).
In addition to Senator Reed, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Warner (D-VA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
The full text of the letter follows:
Dear Mr. Munoz:
We are deeply concerned by the recent incident aboard Flight 3411 in which a United Airlines passenger was forcibly removed from a flight from Chicago, Illinois to Louisville, Kentucky to instead accommodate United Airlines personnel. The Transportation Security Administration and United Airlines cleared the passenger to fly, and he trusted that he would travel on that flight in exchange for the purchase of his ticket.
While it is common practice for commercial airlines to sell more tickets than there are physical seats on an aircraft to account for potential “no-show” passengers, overselling tickets can have severe consequences for the travelling public.
At a time when the airline industry is earning record profits, it is our hope that the industry can make great strides to improve customer service and implement best practices. Consumer trust and confidence are critical to ensure this industry continues to thrive, and we hope United Airlines will work