Maryland Senator Proposes ‘Customers Not Cargo Act’ in Response to United Airlines Debacle

Chris Van Hollen is calling on his colleagues to co-sponsor a bill that will require airlines to offer better incentives in “re-accommodating” passengers.

David Dao’s story has dominated headlines this week, as the Louisville doctor who was forcefully dragged from a United Airlines plane at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has sparked an international conversation about, among other topics, the practice of “overbooking.” Despite United initially claiming that Flight 3411 was overbooked, it has since been revealed that the flight wasn’t actually overbooked; however, that doesn’t mean much to the people who are still immensely outraged that Chicago aviation officers even laid a hand on Dao in the first place.

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen is now asking his colleagues to help him do something about the safety of paid, seated passengers. The Customers Not Cargo Act “prohibits airlines from forcibly ejecting passengers from airplanes unless there is a public safety reason.” It would also require airlines to offer “sufficient incentives to have passengers voluntarily deplane.”

In a letter to his fellow senators, Van Hollen demands better from airlines.

Airlines already offer various incentives, be it cash or vouchers, as Dao and his fellow passengers were reportedly offered as much as $800 for their seats. Of course, one woman also proved this week that an airline can be much more generous when desperate, so perhaps Van Hollen was inspired by her slightly-less-viral tale.

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