Lawmakers press United on man dragged off plane (UAL, LUV, ALK)
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 11, 2017,
May 11, 2017, 16:34
The incident on the United flight sparked a debate over customer service on USA airlines; the topic of the hearing today, which featured a range of airline executives in the spotlight.
"Something is broken", Rep. Bill Shuster, the chairman of the committee, said at the opening of the hearing.
Shuster provided no specifics on what steps Congress would take to fix airline service.
Some lawmakers, who happen to be frequent flyers, acknowledged that airline executives were in a tough spot as they testified at the hearing. Otherwise, "we're going to act, and you're not going to like it", he said, predicting a "one-size-fits-all" solution.
Munoz apologised again and reviewed changes the airline has implemented in the wake of the incident, including reducing the amount of customer overbooking and offering passengers up to $10,000 in compensation to be bumped off overbooked flights.
Munoz began with another apology for the incident on April 9 in which a United passenger was dragged off an overbooked flight in Chicago. Rep. Peter DeFazio, the leading Democrat on the committee, urged the other airlines to follow Southwest's new policy.
"We failed", said United CEO Oscar Munoz, who's endured weeks of criticism for the incident and the airline's response to it.
Members of Congress have warned warned U.S. airlines to improve customer services or they will step in following global outrage over a passenger being dragged from a United Airlines flight. He also said that no passengers who have been seated would be asked to leave the airplane, except in situations involving security or safety. The incident ignited a debate about poor service and a lack of customer-friendly policies on USA airlines.
"Mr. Munoz, you asked us to trust you, today, to make the changes that will be needed for United". Shuster also suggested Congress might look beyond just the issues before them Tuesday, saying tort reform could free airlines up to make simpler declarations of passenger rights.
During the hearing, the United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines agreed to shorten their lengthy customer service contracts, which customers must agree to whenever they book a ticket. "Higher salaries for executives and less for customers". "But I shouldn't have to remind you that Congress will not hesitate to act, whenever necessary, to ensure your customers are treated with the respect they deserve".
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, left, accompanied by United Airlines President Scott Kirby, right, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 2, 2017, testifying before a House Transportation Committee oversight hearing.
The issue of airline relations with customers burst onto the stage on April 9 after a passenger was dragged off a United flight in Chicago.
"Clearly what happened was wrong", Philipovitch said, adding that airline employees "should have helped" the passenger handle the extra-wide stroller and put it away safely.
The video sparked public outrage, not only against United, but against the airline industry in general for its practice of overbooking and treatment of passengers.
Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines all sent representatives.
Members of Congress criticized numerous airline procedures, such as complex carriage contracts, overbooking, cramped conditions and excessive fees, and threatened to impose legislation if incidents persist.
"We all know it's a awful experience", said Representative Michael Capuano, a Democrat from MA, throwing his arms in the air in frustration.