United Airlines now has a new policy preventing last-minute employee boarding. The change comes after fallout over a video that showed security violently dragging a passenger who refused to give up his seat for a crew member.
“We issued an updated policy to make sure crews traveling on our aircraft are booked at least 60 minutes prior to departure,” United spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin told The Huffington Post on Sunday, noting that previously “crews could be booked up until the time of departure.”
The change is effective immediately and is a response to outrage over a viral video that showed security personnel dragging passenger David Dao off a flight from Chicago, Illinois to Louisville, Kentucky, last week.
“This ensures situations like Flight 3411 never happen again,” she said. “This is one of our initial steps in a review of our policies in order to deliver the best customer experience.”
Videos from witnesses that filmed Dao showed him bloodied and in distress after security forcibly pulled him from his seat and dragged him by his arms down the aisle. Media coverage created a PR nightmare for the airline.
A lawyer for Dao says his client suffered a concussion, a broken nose and missing teeth as a result of the incident.
TMZ first reported on the policy change Friday after it obtained internal emails.
“This is so the denied boarding process in an oversell situation may be implemented in a gate or lobby area and not on board the aircraft,” read an email dated last Friday, according to TMZ.
Schmerin said the airline is continuing a review process and will share “additional concrete actions we will take by April 30.”