Airlines in the US could be prohibited from involuntarily bumping travellers with confirmed reservations to make room for others, under legislation introduced in Congress this week.
The bill, sponsored by Illinois Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Raja Krishnamoorthi, is the first of what is expected to be a flurry of measures designed to prevent a repeat of an incident this month in which a Kentucky man was forcibly removed from his seat after refusing United Airlines’ request that he leave the plane to make room for its crew members. The video of the incident subsequently went viral.
The “Bumping on Overbooked Airplanes Requires Dealing Fairly Act” (BOARD Fairly Act) would require the Department of Transportation to modify its rules regarding the practice of “bumping” passengers from their flights. In instances in which a flight is overbooked, airlines would be required to negotiate with passengers before they board their flight. Airlines also would be prohibited from removing passengers from a plane unless it is for safety or for “genuine security” reasons.