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"WBS airport board pondering new policy in light of United incident"
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
WBS airport board pondering new policy in light of United incident
By Melanie Mizenko
The Wilkes-Barre (PA) Times-Leader
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport is pondering a new policy
dealing with overbooking, officials say.
At the May 18 board meeting, Lackawanna County Commissioner Patrick O'Malley
will formally ask the board to institute a policy in regards to handling law
enforcement at the airport, Airport Executive Director Carl Beardsley said
"There is currently no policy in place," Beardsley said.
While not explicitly saying a request for a formal policy comes from the viral
video of the United Airlines passenger who was taken off an overbooked plan in
Chicago, Beardsley said the incident brought the fact to light that the airport
In early-April, David Dao, of Louisville, Ky., was forcefully taken off an
United Airlines plane after employees realized that the airline had overbooked
the 80-seat jet and not enough passengers voluntarily gave up their seats.
According to the New York Times, United selected Dao, a physician who told
airline employees he needed to return home to take care of patients, at random
to be taken off the flight. Videos leaked from the flight show him screaming as
airport police jerk him out of his seat and pull him down the aisle.
Department of Transportation law allows carriers to overbook flights, but they
must ask for volunteers and subsequently compensate them for being bumped of a
Beardsley said if law enforcement has to get involved in any airport issue, the
airport will support law enforcement. However, if there is a simple issue such
an overbooking of a flight, the airport will not get involved. Security will
still respond to criminal incidents, Beardsley noted.
"It's so we can partner with airlines," Beardsley said. "We all will know our
Though the formal request will be asked in two weeks, it will still take some
time before the implementation will begin. The board will still have to vote in
the future on adopting a policy.
The airport board will meet at 10:30 a.m. May 18 in the airport terminal.
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