Move to ban removal of plane passengers

A bill to ban the forcible removal of travellers from flights by state or local government employees has been introduced by a lawmaker in the US state of Illinois.


The Airline Passenger Protection Act comes after Dr. David Dao, 69, was pulled from a United flight at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to make space for four crew members.

The rough treatment of Dao sparked international outrage, as well as multiple apologies from the carrier, and raised questions about the overbooking policies of airlines.

Under the bill, passengers could not be removed from flights unless they were presenting a danger to themselves or others, an emergency was taking place or the passenger had caused a serious disturbance.

“A commercial airline that removes validly seated customers without serious cause breaches the sacred trust between passengers and their airlines,” the bill said.

Dao, who was travelling to Louisville, Kentucky, on April 9, suffered a broken nose, a concussion and lost two teeth when he was pulled from his seat by officers from the Chicago Department of Aviation to make room for four employees on the overbooked flight.

The three officers, who have not been named, were put on paid leave last week, the department said.

“The treatment of the passenger in last week’s incident at O’Hare is inexcusable and must be stopped,” lawmaker Peter Breen said.

United chief executive Oscar Munoz on Monday again apologised for the incident, and the company said on Friday it was changing its policy on booking its flight crews onto its own planes.

Meanwhile, its first-quarter earnings on Monday beat analysts’ expectations on several key measures.

United’s parent company reported earnings of 41 cents per share, excluding special items, beating analysts’ consensus forecast of 38 cents.

Revenue of $US8.4 billion ($A11.1 billion) was up 2.7 per cent year-over-year, slightly above the average estimate of $US8.38 billion ($A11.04 billion).

“In the first quarter of 2017, our financial and operational performance gives us a lot of confidence about the foundation we are building. It is obvious from recent experiences that we need to do a much better job serving our customers,” Munoz said.