United Airlines is changing a company policy so that crew members can no longer displace passengers who are already seated, the Associated Press reports.
The new policy comes nearly a week after a passenger, Dr. David Dao, was forcibly removed from an overbooked United flight from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. After Dao, 69, refused to give up his seat to make room for four crew members, a group of security guards dragged him by his feet down the aisle and off the airplane. Videos of the incident went viral and sparked outrage online.
United’s changed policy was outlined in an internal April 14 email, according to the AP. Crew members are now required to make must-ride bookings at least 60 minutes prior to departure. Prior to last week’s incident, the crew could book until the time of departure.
United spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin told the AP on Sunday, April 16, that the change marks a first step in a review of company policies. The airline wants to ensure that an incident like Dao’s doesn’t happen again.
Dao’s attorney, Thomas Demetrio, said his client suffered a concussion and a broken nose as a result of the aggressive incident.
United CEO Oscar Munoz issued an apology last week, saying, “I want you to know that we take full responsibility, and we will work to make it right. I promise you we will do better.” A day before releasing his statement, Munoz emailed all United employees and said he stood behind the security guards’ actions.