WASHINGTON – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie asked the federal Department of Transportation on Tuesday to temporarily ban airlines from overbooking flights in the wake of a man dragged off of an United flight at O’Hare Airport on Sunday to free up a seat.
Christie called on the Trump administration “to stand up for our traveling Americans” in his letter to Transportation Sec. Elaine Chou.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at the Tuesday briefing President Donald Trump had viewed the video of the bloodied man dragged from his seat.
Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation said late Tuesday that it launched an initial review of the Sunday events on United Airlines Express Flight 3411, to determine if United complied with “the Department’s oversales rule.”
Christie said the state of New Jersey is looking into ways to ban overbooking at Newark Liberty International Airport, where United controls 70 percent of the flights.
Though Christie used the word overbooking, United admitted on Tuesday that was not the case in the Sunday Louisville-bound flight.
United admitted that the flight was not oversold – the airline wanted four seats on the full plane in order get a crew to Louisville “to prevent a flight down the line from canceling.”
David Dao was dragged from his seat by Chicago Aviation Department police on Sunday. The United flight to Louisville was full — not overbooked – and United wanted four booked passengers to give up their seats for the four United crew members. When enough people did not volunteer, a bloodied Dao was removed by force.
“This conduct is abusive and outrageous,” Christie said in a statement, who also did not buy a late-coming apology, issued Tuesday afternoon, from United CEO Oscar Munuz.
“The ridiculous statements, now in their third version, of the CEO of United Airlines displays their callousness toward the traveling public with the permission of the federal government,” Christie said. “I know the Trump Administration wants to reform regulations to help the American people. This would be a great place to start.”
“The Governor said that New Jersey is examining ways it could curtail this abusive practice, but because of the federal regulation, it can be most immediately dealt with by the federal government.”