San­ders says air­lines ‘dys­func­tional,’ sta­tus quo can’t con­tinue

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - — Ben Wolf­gang

Call­ing U.S. air­lines “dys­func­tional,” Sen. Bernard San­ders said Sun­day that Congress should ex­am­ine the in­dus­try and con­sider re­quir­ing com­pa­nies to be more re­spect­ful and re­spon­sive to their cus­tomers.

The Ver­mont so­cial­ist and for­mer Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date didn’t of­fer much in the way of spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tions, though he did say it is un­fair that cus­tomers of­ten pay wildly dif­fer­ent prices for sim­i­lar seats on a given flight.

“Any­body who flies a lot — and as a United States se­na­tor, I fly a lot — knows how dys­func­tional in many re­spects air­lines are,” Mr. San­ders said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I’ve been on air­lines many, many times where peo­ple have been asked to leave. And I think what we need to do is to take a hard look at the air­lines in this coun­try and make them much more re­spon­sive to the con­sumers than they cur­rently are.”

Mr. San­ders’ com­ments come just days af­ter United Air­lines sparked a na­tional out­cry af­ter forcibly re­mov­ing a pas­sen­ger, David Dao, from an over­booked flight. Dr. Dao suf­fered fa­cial in­juries dur­ing the in­ci­dent, and his at­tor­ney says a law­suit is likely.

Some law­mak­ers, such as Rep. Jan­ice D. Schakowsky, Illi­nois Demo­crat, are push­ing leg­is­la­tion that would pre­vent air­lines from forc­ing pas­sen­gers off over­booked flights. In­stead, air­line com­pa­nies would have to keep in­creas­ing their fi­nan­cial com­pen­sa­tion of­fers un­til cus­tomers vol­un­tar­ily give up their seats.

Mr. San­ders didn’t ex­plic­itly en­dorse that con­cept Sun­day, but he made clear the sta­tus quo in the air­line in­dus­try can­not con­tinue.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sen. Bernard San­ders took the air­line in­dus­try to task af­ter the no­to­ri­ous video show­ing a pas­sen­ger forcibly re­moved from a United Air­lines flight went pub­lic.

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