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United back on Capitol Hill

Thursday, May 04, 2017 - 01:56

United Airlines President Scott Kirby testified in Senate on the forced removal of a passenger from a Chicago flight last month. Fred Katayama reports.

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United Airlines President Scott Kirby testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee about the forced removal of passenger Dr. David Dao from one of United flights last month. (SOUNDBITE) SCOTT KIRBY, PRESIDENT, UNITED AIRLINES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "On April 9th, our airline broke the public trust. It should have never happened. I apologize again to Doctor Dao, his family, to every passenger on flight 3411, and to all our customers and employees around the world." Kirby was accompanied by Chicago Transportation Department commissioner Ginger Evans, who oversees O'Hare and Midway airports. (SOUNDBITE) GINGER EVANS, COMMISSIONER, CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (ENGLISH) SAYING: "As someone who spent over three decades in the aviation industry, that a passenger at one of our airports was injured in this way, is deeply saddening and personally offensive to me." The Department has suspended four employees in the incident. It also followed United's lead, saying it won't use police or airport security officers to deal with customer service issues. The incident on the United flight also inspired other airlines to change their policies. Airline industry analyst Henry Hartveld: (SOUNDBITE) HENRY H. HARTEVELDT, PRESIDENT & TRAVEL INDUSTRY ANALYST, ATMOSPHERE RESEARCH GROUP (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The airlines know that if they don't live up to their promises that are making, that if they don't walk the walk, that if they don't improve, the government will explore ways to regulate, and, frankly, that could be painful to the airlines, expensive to the airlines, and expensive for travelers." But Hartveld is now concerned about airlines' moves to add extra seats and cut leg room. He is also worried about diminishing competition at certain airports.

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United back on Capitol Hill

Thursday, May 04, 2017 - 01:56