In the aftermath of a Web video showing a man dragged off a United Airlines flight that went viral, a North Florida Republican announced plans to file legislation to stop airlines from bumping booked passengers when flights are overbooked.
Earlier this month, on an overbooked flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. David Dao was forcibly removed from the plane after passengers refused to voluntarily give up their seats. Dao was removed by law enforcement based out of O’Haire International Airport. The recording of the incident garnered national attention as it was seen on the Internet.
U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., said on Tuesday he would file the “Secure Equity in Airline Transportation (SEAT)" Act. The proposal “requires the secretary of Transportation to revise federal rules governing how airlines treat travelers with confirmed tickets on over-booked flights" and ensures “airlines cannot involuntarily remove a person from their seat on an over-booked flight simply to make room for another passenger – airline employee or otherwise.”
Dunn made his case for the proposed legislation.
“Passengers should have the peace of mind to know they will not be dragged off a plane once they’re in their seat,” Dunn said before pointing to the Web video of the United incident earlier this month. “Americans everywhere were shocked at the treatment of the passenger in Chicago. The SEAT Act will require airlines to sort out over-booking before allowing passengers to board the airplane.”
Dunn’s office stressed that the proposal ensures law enforcement can still remove dangerous passengers.
First elected to Congress in 2016 and picking up an open seat, Dunn sits on three House committees--Agriculture; Science, Space, and Technology; and Veterans' Affairs. Dunn represents much of the Big Bend and parts of the Panhandle.