New Jersey officials want to see changes to airline practices after United overbooking incident

New Jersey officials want to see changes made to airline practices after the United Airlines overbooking incident in Chicago. (File photo)

New Jersey officials want to see changes made to airline practices after the United Airlines overbooking incident in Chicago. (File photo) (4/11/17)

EDISON - Some of New Jersey’s top officials are looking to see changes made to rules allowing airlines to overbook or “bump” paying passengers from flights after a passenger was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight in Chicago.

Gov. Chris Christie says that he wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao asking her to suspend the federal regulation that allows this type of practice. The governor also says that New Jersey will examine ways similar incidents can be prevented in the state.

Sen. Bob Menendez and Sen. Cory Booker have joined 21 other United States senators to demand answers from United Airlines and their practices. They are looking for CEO Oscar Munoz to provide a detailed account of what happened.

State Assemblyman Ron Dancer says that he will introduce legislation that prohibits airlines from forcibly removing seated passengers issued a boarding pass on a flight at New Jersey airports. Dancer says that his bill would apply to all commercial aircrafts taking off from state airports, except for those passengers who may be on the terror suspect list or those passengers who have warrants for their arrest by law enforcement.

The action stems from a recent incident with United Airlines in which 69-year-old David Dao was forcibly removed from a United flight in Chicago after he refused to give up his seat. Dao was selected, along with three other passengers, to give up his seat so that a United Airlines crew could fly instead.

Passengers aboard the flight recorded video of Dao being dragged off the plane, as other passengers voiced their concern at the way he was being treated.

The incident went viral on social media with thousands of people posting about it and creating memes poking fun at United Airlines. Stock for the airline dropped nearly $1 billion for a time.

Munoz released a statement Tuesday calling the confrontation "truly horrific" and vowed to make changes to how the airline handles overbooking situations.

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