United vows to do better after passenger dragged from plane


As soon as the hearing began, users on social media were quick to criticize United and Munoz, as many have been doing for the past few weeks.

Airline executives explained than snowy or rainy weather may force them to reduce the number of passengers on a flight for safety reasons, in addition to overbooking flights.

"This is on me", Oscar Munoz told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Still, lawmakers, who are some of the most frequent fliers in the country, put the airlines on notice that they needed to do better.

"It's an absolute joke that there's competition in the airline industry", Duncan Hunter, R-Ca., said during the hearing.

Other lawmakers seemed to just want to use the allotted time to vent their frustration with the airlines. The airline settled out of court with the passenger, Dr. David Dao.

The House Transportation Committee also went after American, Alaska, and Southwest Airline executives about their customer policies.

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United Airlines and other big U.S. airlines on Tuesday justified their practice of overbooking flights, saying it allows them to keep fares lower and accommodate more passengers.

Airlines' bad treatment of passengers has to stop, or else Congress will have no choice but to take action.

"If we act, it will be one size fits all", committee chairman Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania warned witnesses.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday that President Donald Trump would not, at this point, weigh in on whether new airline regulations are needed.

Munoz repeatedly apologized for the April 9 incident in which passenger David Dao was smashed in the face - suffering a broken nose, concussion and other injuries - as he was removed from a flight where he was already seated.

Panel members from both parties followed through, blasting United CEO Oscar Munoz and other representatives of American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines.

Eight of the House's ten 10 recipients of airline transport campaign contributions in 2016 are on the Transportation Committee, including Shuster, the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Peter DeFazio of OR, and the chairman of its aviation subcommittee, Rep. He said passengers now had "lowered expectations" and that "we all know it is a disgusting experience".

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WASHINGTON (AP) - United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz is likely to face pointed questions as Congress examines customer service by US airlines and how air travel can be improved.

Members of Congress held a four-and-a-half-hour hearing to scold United execs over that incident when the airline dragged and bloodied a passenger last month.

"I shouldn't need to remind you that Congress will not hesitate to act, whenever necessary, to ensure your customers, our constituents, are treated with the respect they deserve", he added.

Munoz apologized to Dao and other passengers on the April 9 flight "for the awful experience you had".

"In that moment for our customers and our company we failed, and so as CEO, at the end of the day, that is on me", Munoz told lawmakers.

He vowed to do better and work to restore the trust of United passengers.

Bob Jordan, chief commercial officer for Southwest Airlines, said the airline would stop overbooking flights May 8 with a new reservation system that will help estimate how many passengers are expected for flights.

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The policy arm of the nonprofit Consumer Reports called on Congress to enact a "consistent, uniform, comprehensive, clearly written set of passenger rights for US airlines".