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