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Thune: Airlines need to improve processes regarding overbooking

14 April, 2017, 10:41 | Author: Eddie Kim
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United chief executive Oscar Munoz has repeatedly apologized to the passenger, who is a physician, and the airline has said it will reimburse all of the passengers on that flight. Demetrio says that Dao called the experience "more terrifying and harrowing than leaving Vietnam".

During the same press conference, Dao's daughter, Crystal Dao Pepper told reporters that "what happened to my dad should not have happened to any human being, regardless of the circumstance". "For a long time, airlines - United, in particular - have bullied us".

Last January, one passenger on a 15-hour United flight from Australia to San Francisco caused the plane to be rerouted to New Zealand after becoming unruly towards passengers and yelling profanities at a flight attendant.

The CEO of United has tried to go on the offensive and apologize to the passenger and pledge an investigation and commit that it will never happen again. "I've concluded that based upon hundreds of tales of woe, of mistreatment, by United", Demetrio said.

"I hope he becomes a poster child for all of us", he said. The officers involved in the incident are city employees with the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Clearly, airlines need to rethink the policies by which they book, and often overbook, flights. As for Munoz's public apology, Demetrio said he accepted it, but it felt "staged".

Dao was removed from the plane after he refused to give up his seat on the full flight from Chicago to Louisville to make room for four crew members. Demetrio also said he doesn't believe Dao's race - Dao came to the USA from Vietnam in 1975 during the fall of Saigon - played a role in what happened. She said her parents were returning home from vacation and making a connection in Chicago out of California. The furor could threaten the future of the police force that guards Chicago's two main airports.

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The Aviation Department's roughly 300 officers guard the city's two main airports but are not part of the regular Chicago police force, receive less training and can not carry guns inside the terminals.

At the start of a City Council hearing on the issue Thursday, Aviation Committee Chairman Michael Zalewski warned that city and United Airlines officials would not be able to answer some questions because of "pending litigation".

John Slater, vice president of O'Hare operations of United, said he was "limited in what we can say today".

"They are allowed in the terminal and baggage area, but my understanding is they may not be allowed on a plane, " he said.

She also said that an outside, "international" security expert would review Chicago's airport policies. Evans said the department would pursue increased training in verbal de-escalation tactics and emotional intelligence. One officer was placed on leave on Tuesday.

The response by law enforcement was "standard procedure" but Dao's refusal to leave was "disruptive and belligerent", Munoz said. The city has about 200 armed city police officers stationed at the airports along with about 300 aviation officers.

Chicago's law department spokesman Bill McCaffrey declined to comment in an email, citing the pending litigation.

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