CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on the passenger who was dragged off a full United Express flight at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (all times local):
Leaders of a key Senate committee have asked United Airlines and Chicago airport authorities to explain what led to Sunday night’s forced removal of a man from a United Express flight.
United’s explanation “has been unsatisfactory, and appears to underestimate the public anger about this incident,” four senators wrote in letters Tuesday to United CEO Oscar Munoz and Ginger Evans, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation.
“The last thing a paying airline passenger should expect is a physical altercation with law enforcement personnel after boarding, especially one that could likely have been avoided,” they said.
The senators directed most of their questions at Munoz, including queries about the airline’s policy for bumping passengers off oversold flights, and whether it makes a difference that passengers have already boarded the plane, as happened on the United Express plane in Chicago.
The senators said the incident could have been prevented with better communication or “additional incentives” — an apparent suggestion that United didn’t offer passengers enough compensation to voluntarily give up their seats.
The letter was signed by the four top-ranking members of the Senate commerce committee — the Republican chairman, John Thune, the Republican aviation subcommittee chairman, Roy Blunt, and the two senior Democrats, Bill Nelson of Florida and Maria Cantwell of Washington.
An attorney who represents the man who was forcibly removed from a United Express flight says his client is being treated at a Chicago hospital for injuries he sustained in the incident.
Chicago attorney Stephen L. Golan says David Dao’s family is “focused only on Dr. Dao’s medical care and treatment.” He says the family “wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern and support they have received.”
The 69-year-old from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, refused to leave the flight, saying he needed to get home to treat patients.
Dao was convicted in 2004 of several counts of obtaining drugs by fraud or deceit and was placed on five years of supervised probation and surrendered his medical license, which he got back in 2015.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he has asked the Trump administration to suspend regulations that allow airlines to overbook flights.
Christie, a Republican, sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Tuesday, citing a passenger who was dragged off a United Express flight in Chicago on Sunday.
Christie called the practice of “bumping” passengers off flights “unconscionable.”
United is a dominant carrier at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport.
A message left with Chao’s office was not immediately returned.
The CEO of United Airlines has issued a stronger apology about a passenger who was dragged off a United Express flight, calling the confrontation “truly horrific.”
Oscar Munoz said in a note to employees Tuesday that he continues to be disturbed by the events Sunday night in Chicago.
He said, “No one should ever be mistreated this way.”
Munoz was widely criticized for two statements Monday about the altercation in which he described the 69-year-old man taken off the plane as “disruptive and belligerent.”
On Tuesday, Munoz said he was committed to “fix what’s broken so this never happens again.” He pledged to review the company’s policies for seeking volunteers to give up their seats, for handling oversold flights and for partnering with airport authorities and local law enforcement.
The company plans to share results of the review by April 30.
A spokesman for President Donald Trump says it was “troubling” to watch video of a passenger being dragged off of a United Airlines flight.
But White House press secretary Sean Spicer says it’s unlikely the federal government will launch a separate investigation.
Spicer notes that local authorities and United are reviewing the incident in which a man was forcibly removed from a full United Express flight at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Videotape of the confrontation spread across social media.
Spicer says he’s sure Trump has seen the video but that any comment from the president could influence a potential outcome of the investigations.
Spicer adds that he thinks everyone who has seen the video can agree that the situation could have been handled better.
The man dragged from a full United Express flight is a Kentucky physician who was convicted more than a decade ago of felony charges involving his prescribing of drugs.
But the passenger’s unflattering history quickly became the focus of attention, even though there’s no indication that his past influenced how he was treated or that the airline or airport police were aware of his background.
A person with knowledge of the flight who was not authorized to publicly release the information told The Associated Press that the passenger was David Dao, 69, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
Dao has not returned messages from the AP. He was captured on cellphone video getting removed from a flight Sunday at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
According to state of Kentucky documents, Dao was investigated for fraudulently prescribing drugs to a person with whom he was involved sexually. He was convicted of felony counts of obtaining drugs by fraud and deceit. His license was restored in 2015.
The treatment of the passenger dragged off an overbooked United Express flight at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has prompted outrage and scorn on social media.
The incident risks a backlash against United from passengers who could boycott the airline as the busy summer travel season is about to begin. For Chicago, it is another public relations nightmare following a crime wave in parts of the city that has been highlighted by tweets from President Donald Trump.
United Airlines’ parent company CEO Oscar Munoz defended his employees, saying they followed proper procedures in dealing with the situation. But the Chicago aviation department suspended the security officer who dragged off the flight a man who refused to voluntarily leave.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- Trump tweet attacks Flake, calls Arizona senator ‘toxic’
- After preschool promise, Phoenix couple marries 20 years later
- Pence won’t address Trump comments but condemns supremacists
- Main Street Minute: Glendale health care campus giving out eclipse glasses
- Trump ends business councils after slew of CEOs drop out