WASHINGTON — The Department of Transportation kicked off a review on Tuesday to determine whether United Airlines followed the rules in the wake of a passenger being dragged off a plane at O’Hare Airport.
The initial review of the Sunday events on United Airlines Express Flight 3411, will determine if United complied with “the Department’s oversales rule” and other regulations,” the department said in a statement.
The incident, caught in videos shot by other passengers, triggered a national backlash against United because it shows the man being forcibly removed from a Louisville-bound flight on Sunday by Chicago Aviation Department police.
Shares in United Continental Holdings were down on Tuesday morning, as reaction to a passenger forcibly dragged off a plane is growing.
FEDS ARE REVIEWING
“The Department of Transportation (USDOT) remains committed to protecting the rights of consumers and is reviewing the involuntary denied boarding of passenger(s) from United Express flight 3411 to determine whether the airline complied with the oversales rule,” a spokesman said in a statement.
DOT said in a statement that its Aviation Enforcement Office contacted United Airlines “regarding this matter as soon as it became aware of it on April 10.”
The review will look “into potential violations of aviation consumer protection and civil rights laws.”
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS REACT
Rep. Dan Lipinski D-Ill., a member of the House Transportation Committee’s Aviation panel, said Congress may need to look into the matter. Story HERE.
Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., said in a statement, “this was a deeply troubling and unfortunate situation that should never have escalated to the point that it did. Regardless of what the booking policy of an airline may be, every passenger deserves a safe travel experience and should always be treated with dignity and respect.”
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., said in a statement, ““I am absolutely appalled at how United Airlines treated one of their customers flying out of Chicago this weekend. The use of extreme force featured in the video circulating on social media today is shocking and unacceptable.
“The situation that United Airlines faced was one of their own making: United had overbooked its own flight and chose to forcibly remove a passenger instead of increasing their offer until a passenger chose to leave the flight willingly. This use of excessive force is absolutely unacceptable. The Response from United Airlines has been brazenly inadequate – their apology over having to ‘re-accommodate’ passengers is completely insulting, and their attempt to pass the buck by blaming the Chicago Police Department for the incident demonstrates that they do not understand the gravity of this incident. At a minimum, United Airlines must immediately change their policy and give full restitution and compensation to the victim. This is far from the end of the story. ”
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi D-Ill., said in a statement, “I found the footage of the incident disturbing and I hope assessments of this episode will lead to policy changes that prevent this from happening again.”