Top 5 Turbulent Moments From United CEO Munoz's Congressional Testimony
Top 5 Turbulent Moments From United CEO Munoz's Congressional Testimony
New Video Audio Recordings Show United Incident as It Unfolded
08 May, 2017, 05:50
"We're here today to look and hear about where we can prod push or legislate to get better service for passengers", said Rep. Peter Defazio (D) Oregon RELATED: United's full review of passenger incidentUnited Airlines' CEO Oscar Munoz was up first and the star witness.
"If we act, it will be one size fits all", committee chairman Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania warned witnesses.
United Airlines reached a settlement with passenger Dr. David Dao, 69, last week.
CEO Oscar Munoz appeared before the House Transportation Committee on Tuesday, along with executives from other major airlines, to address the April 9 incident on board a United flight when a passenger was forcibly removed from an overbooked flight. "For our customers and our company, we failed". "What happened on that United flight shouldn't have escalated to where it was", said the Brownsburg Republican.
American Airlines experienced its own black eye last month when a video went viral showing a woman in tears holding her young child after a fight with a flight attendant over a baby stroller.
Whether or not Congress actually takes steps to regulate airline customer service will depend on whether companies can prove they've made amends and changed their ways, the Tribune reports.
Lawmakers have already proposed bills to prevent airlines from selling more seats than are available on flights or preventing airlines from removing passengers once they are seated, unless for safety or security reasons. 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. He joked that he wanted to ask why airlines hate the American people so much, but he wouldn't.
Munoz apologized again for the incident in written testimony and took responsibility for a series of problems that led to the incident.
"Something is clearly broken when we see passengers being treated the way some of them have been treated on recent flights", said Shuster, R-Pa.
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which held a hearing to examine airline customer service and consumer protection for passengers.
"We're all sick of it", said Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Massachusetts, referring to the flying experience in general. "Seize this opportunity, because if you don't, we're going to come and you're not going to like".
Alaska Airlines told the committee in written testimony it is considering changes to its overbooking and other customer service policies.
United President Scott Kirby said most airlines supported the move because it would make flights more efficient.
One of the most contentious issues facing the aviation industry - whether to shift control of the government's air-traffic service to a nonprofit corporation - crept into the discussion. "Starting from the minute I go on the computer to try to figure out which flight I want to take ... some charge fees, some don't charge fees, some charge fees for bags, some charge fees for oxygen - who knows?"
DeFazio said that for all the attention paid to corporatizing the ATC system, 60 percent of delays are caused by problems such as computer outages that are the airlines' fault.
Southwest announced last week that it would no longer overbook flights.
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