United Airlines changes policy after mistreatment of passenger

A passenger was dragged from a fully-booked United flight in Chicago last week because he refused to give up his seat to make room for crew members

A United Airlines passenger plane lands at Newark Liberty International Airport Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, in Newark, N.J. On Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, United Airlines abruptly replaced its CEO as a federal investigation continued into whether the airline gave preferential treatment to a former chairman of the agency that operates the New York-area airports who has political ties to New Jersey Gov. and presidential candidate Chris Christie. United Continental Holdings Inc. said Tuesday that Jeffery Smisek and two other senior executives had stepped down. Oscar Munoz, a railroad executive and head of United's audit committee, was named CEO and president. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

CHICAGO (AP) — United Airlines is changing a company policy and will no longer allow crew members to displace customers already onboard an airplane.

The change comes after a passenger, Dr. David Dao, was dragged from a fully-booked United Express flight in Chicago last week because he refused to give up his seat to make room for crew members. Cell phone video of the incident sparked widespread outrage and created a public-relations nightmare for United.

Under the change outlined in an internal April 14 email, a crew member must make must-ride bookings at least 60 minutes prior to departure. Crews could previously be booked until the time of departure.

United spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin said in an email Sunday that the change is an initial step in a review of policies and it’s meant to ensure that situations like Dao’s never happen again.

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