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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 
Monday.

"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 
had none.

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 
flight.

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 
role."

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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