In the aftermath of a viral video showing a Kentucky doctor being dragged off a United Airlines flight, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is requesting the suspension of federal regulations that permit airlines to overbook and remove passengers.
Christie wrote a letter Tuesday to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao asking her to immediately suspend the federal regulation permitting the practice. In the letter, Christie referred to a video showing Kentucky doctor David Dao being removed from a flight from Chicago to Louisville over the weekend.
“This conduct is abusive and outrageous. The ridiculous statements, now in their third version, of the CEO of United Airlines displays their callousness toward the traveling public with the permission of the federal government,” Governor Christie said. “I know the Trump Administration wants to reform regulations to help the American people. This would be a great place to start.”
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In his letter, Christie said Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey is a major hub of operations for United Airlines, stating that United operates over 70% of all of the flights at Newark.
Christie wrote that New Jersey is looking into ways to curtail the “bumping” of passengers at Newark Airport but believes it can be most immediately dealt with by the federal government since it’s a federal regulation.
A passenger recorded a viral video that showed security officers dragging Dao off a sold-out United Express flight at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport Sunday. United initially described the flight to Louisville as overbooked, but on Tuesday said it was sold out - not overbooked, according to USA Today.
The passengers were boarded when United tried to make room for four employees of a partner airline, meaning four people had to get off the flight.
One snippet of the video showed Dao being dragged while on his back to the front of the plane. He appeared dazed with bloody lips and blood had spilled onto his chin.
Dao's treatment prompted outrage and scorn on social media, and anger among some of the passengers on the flight as the man was evicted. As passengers threatened to boycott the airline, its shares slid by more than three percent Tuesday.
United Airlines’ parent company CEO Oscar Munoz apologized to Dao Tuesday in a released statement.