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fly the unfriendly skies

United changes policy so crew members will no longer displace customers on planes

In the aftermath of the much-publicized dragging of a passenger off of a United Airlines flight last week, the company has changed its policy that gave crew members the authority to displace customers already onboard planes.

On an overbooked flight last Sunday from Chicago to Louisville, United said four crew members had to get to Kentucky, and after passengers did not volunteer to give up their seats, the airline picked four people to get off the flight. Dr. David Dao refused to leave, and he was dragged off the plane; other passengers filmed the incident, and the video went viral, causing outrage.

Crew members used to be able to book seats until the time of departure, but in an April 14 internal email, United said it is changing the policy so they must make their bookings at least an hour before departure. A spokeswoman told The Associated Press on Sunday that this change, effective immediately, is the first step in reviewing policies, and is meant to ensure a similar situation never happens again.