Gonzalez introduces measure relating to United Airlines fiasco

Less than a month after videos showed a United Airlines passenger being violently dragged off a flight in Chicago, a local congressman crafted legislation to combat that.

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, the McAllen Democrat, along with his Republican colleague from Florida, U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, introduced the Secure Equity in Airline Transportation (SEAT) Act, which would prevent airlines from bumping passengers off an over-booked flight if the passenger has already boarded.

“I was disgusted and shocked to see the videos of security forcibly removing a passenger from his seat,” Gonzalez said in a news release Monday. “No passenger should ever have to endure this kind of mistreatment or humiliation. The SEAT Act will make it clear that passengers on an over-booked flight cannot be removed once seated and ensure that an incident of this magnitude does not happen again.”

The legislation would require the Secretary of Transportation to revise federal rules governing how airlines treat travelers with tickets on over-booked flights, Gonzalez said. Airlines would not be able to “involuntarily remove a person from their seat on an over-booked flight simply to make room for another passenger – airline employee or otherwise.”

“The SEAT Act does not impede any airlines’ internal review or conflict with recently announced policy changes, including those that prevent flight crews from displacing seated passengers and restrict employees from using law enforcement to remove passengers,” the news release said. “Further, the legislation is tailored to ensure that law enforcement can act to remove a passenger when he or she is a threat to the safety of others.”