Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) released a statement Thursday announcing her plans to introduce legislation, when Congress returns from recess, that will “end the practice of involuntarily ‘bumping’ passengers from oversold aircrafts once and for all.”
The announcement comes following the, now infamous, incident that occurred on United Airlines Sunday when an elderly doctor was forcibly dragged from his seat to make room for United employees. The man’s lawyer announced Friday that he suffered a concussion, broken nose, and broken teeth as a result.
“I do not want to rely on voluntary compliance from the airlines to prevent this sort of incident,” Schakowsky said.
“If an airline chooses to oversell a flight, or has to accommodate their crew on a fully booked flight, it is their responsibility to keep raising their offer until a customer chooses to give up their seat,” she said. “My legislation will direct the Department of Transportation to update federal rules to make sure that is the case. It will also ensure that all negotiations with passengers willing to give up their seats are carried out before they board the aircraft. These fixes would prevent the situation we saw on video from ever happening again.”
Schakowsky is not the only lawmaker concerned over the incident. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and Rep. Dan Lipisnki (D-Ill.), both members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation, sent a letter to the Department of Transportation Tuesday.
“What protocol, if any, are local law enforcement personnel and airline employees required to follow when it is determined necessary to forcibly remove a passenger from a flight, particularly when such action is due to a crew travel decision made by the airline?” They asked.
They also questioned whether there were any “federal laws or regulations violated with regard to the manner in which the male passenger in this incident was physically handled?”