United Airlines was rocked with a giant backlash and plunging stock price after airport police officers physically removed passenger Dr. David Dao from his seat after he was requested to give up his seat for United Airline crew members.
United Airlines, which is reviewing its policies after the violent removal of a passenger from a flight last week, says it will no longer allow employees to take the place of civilian passengers who have already boarded overbooked flights.
“We issued an updated policy to make sure crews travelling on our aircraft are booked at least 60 minutes prior to departure,” a spokesperson, Maggie Schmerin, said Sunday. “This is one of our initial steps in a review of our policies.”
Schmerin confirmed the validity of a memo dated April 14, that ordered the new policy. She said the change was meant to ensure that episodes like the one that happened last week “never happen again.”
She also emphasized a previously announced change that law enforcement officials would no longer be asked to remove passengers who do not pose immediate security threats.
United is reviewing the circumstances that led to the forcible removal of Dr. David Dao, of Kentucky, by Chicago aviation police officers on April 9. The company said it would share the findings of its review and any proposed reforms by the end of the month.
During the removal, which grew into an embarrassing international episode, Dao had two of his teeth knocked out, suffered a broken nose and a concussion and may require surgery, his lawyer said.
His treatment caused a backlash that lasted for most of the week and spanned continents, as United, its stock price plunging, struggled to come up with a response.
After several days of uproar, the company’s chief executive, Oscar Munoz, apologized on Good Morning America.
But his apology failed to stem the tide, as lawmakers called for an investigation. The episode also set off criticism over the state of the airline industry.