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United Is Making Some Changes After Its Passenger Removal Controversy

The airline says it won't let crew members take seats at the last minute anymore.
Posted at 1:50 PM, Apr 15, 2017

Less than a week after a passenger was dragged off a flight, United Airlines is making a change to its boarding procedures.

According to a statement, the airline will make sure it knows where crew members are sitting at least an hour before the flight leaves. 

United is hoping to avoid a situation like the one on April 9, when David Dao was told he needed to leave a flight to make room for crew members. He refused, and aviation officers removed him by force.

Thing is, United's new rule change is somewhat redundant. The company's contract of carriage — basically its rules and regulations — already has a provision meant to prevent similar scenarios.

United's policy on overbooked flights says certain unlucky passengers will be denied boarding if not enough people volunteer to take later flights. United said it was this policy that employees were following when Dao was removed, despite the fact that he was already on the plane.

That policy doesn't specifically mention making room for crew members, though. That may be what this new rule is trying to clear up. The airline also says it will no longer ask law enforcement to remove passengers from a flight unless there's a safety issue.