New Jersey governor Chris Christie is reaching out to the Trump administration for help to prevent future incidents like the one this week in which a United Airlines passenger was violently removed from a plane.
Christie sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao asking the department to alleviate overbooking situations, which the governor said led to the United incident on Sunday.
“The recent incident involving United Airlines and David Dao highlights the issue of overbooking of flights,” Christie wrote. “As you are aware, every day passengers are ‘bumped off’ flights under authority given to United Airlines under 14 CFR Part 250. The practice has become unconscionable by United and is abusing passengers coming into Newark Airport and around the nation without cause.”
Christie said that since United operates roughly 70% of all flights at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, the issue is of particular interest to him.
“We would ask, the contexts of the president’s efforts on regulatory reform to improve the lives of our citizens, that you consider the immediate suspension of this overbooking authority until a thorough review can be conducted by your department,” Christie said.
Airlines overbook flights because many people do not show up for flights or cancel their plans at the last minute. So, carriers often sell more tickets than there are spaces on planes in order to avoid losses due to empty seats, using data from the number of no-shows they get.
After the initial response from United was panned by the public, CEO Oscar Munoz apologised in a statement Tuesday and in an interview with Good Morning America on Wednesday.
Interestingly, a poll from Morning Consult/Politico released Tuesday showed that Christie has the lowest approval rating among his constituents of any governor in America.