CHICAGO (CBS) — From Capitol Hill to City Hall, lawmakers are trying to get answers on just how the United overbooking debacle could have happened.
And at least one legislator wants a new federal law to ensure it never happens again.
After viewing the video of Dr. David Dao being forcibly dragged off a United Airlines flight on Sunday, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky said there ought to be a law. So, she’s now proposing one.
“I think we ought to just deal with this involuntary bumping once and for all, and say it just can’t happen,” the U.S. representative said.
Schakowsky’s proposal would prevent airlines from removing anyone from an overbooked flight against their will. Instead, airlines would offer unlimited bonuses to induce passengers to leave voluntarily. However, such negotiations would have to take place before boarding.
“If you have a ticket, and you’ve paid your money, it’s called a reservation. You should be able to have a seat on that plane,” Schakowsky said.
The chairman of the City Council Aviation Committee is scheduled to hold hearings on Thursday.
“It just couldn’t have been handed worse from A to Z,” said Ald. Michael Zalewski.
And he wants answers.
“We want to hear from United. We want to hear what their plans are to make sure that an incident like this never happens again,” he added.
Zalewski also wants to know why the city’s unarmed aviation police were summoned, rather than Chicago police officers, who have arrest powers.
“We think they’re a little better trained in boarding the plane, because this is not the first time passengers have been escorted off a plane.”
Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans is expected to testify at the city council hearing about how the city plans to handle such incidents in the future.
And Congresswoman Schakowsky said United’s brass may face congressional hearings as well — a step others have called for, and one she said she would support.