April 12 (UPI) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants to stop airlines from overbooking flights days after law enforcement forcibly removed a United Airlines passenger from a jet.
"To have somebody pay for a ticket, reserve a seat, be seated and then dragged off the plane physically by law enforcement officers at the direction of United -- it's outrageous," Christie told CNN's New Day on Wednesday. "That's why I've asked the Trump administration to stop the overbooking until we set some more, different rules about how the airlines can conduct themselves."
Christie was referring to an overbooked United Express Flight 3411 flying from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Louisville, Ky., on Sunday.
The airline came under scrutiny after passengers posted videos showing officers dragging a screaming man from his seat so airline personnel could ride on the overbooked flight.
In New Jersey, United controls 70 percent of the flights at Newark Liberty International Airport.
"With United, the customer is always last," Christie said.
"Every day passengers are being 'bumped off' flights under authority given to United Airlines under CFR Part 250," Christie wrote. "Passengers who have paid the fare for their ticket and reserved a seat should not be subject to this arbitrary 'bumping' except in the most extreme of circumstances and certainly not to accommodate employees of United Airlines."
He said United's practice has become "unconscionable" and his state is "looking into appropriate action to be taken to curtail this abusive practice at Newark Airport. We ask, in the context of the president's efforts at regulatory reform to improve the lives of our citizens, that you consider the immediate suspension of this overbooking practice until a thorough review can be done by you department."
Department of Transportation policy allows airlines to keep passengers from boarding a plane if it's overbooked. Passengers agree to it when their flight is booked.
"Overbooking is not illegal, and most airlines overbook their scheduled flights to a certain extent in order to compensate for 'no-shows, '" DOT wrote on its website. "Passengers are sometimes left behind or 'bumped' as a result. When an oversale occurs, the Department of Transportation requires airlines to ask people who aren't in a hurry to give up their seats voluntarily, in exchange for compensation. Those passengers bumped against their will are, with a few exceptions, entitled to compensation."
DOT breaks the practice down by "voluntary" and "involuntary."
In "voluntary," the DOT says: "Almost any planeload of airline passengers includes some people with urgent travel needs and others who may be more concerned about the cost of their tickets than about getting to their destination on time. DOT rules require airlines to seek out people who are willing to give up their seats for compensation before bumping anyone involuntarily."
The airlines will look for volunteers and will be compensated and placed on a later flight.
The agency has not mandated the form or amount of compensation for this situation.
"Carriers can negotiate with their passengers for mutually acceptable compensation," the policy said. "Airlines generally offer a free trip or other transportation benefits to prospective volunteers."
In "involuntary" bumping, passengers must be given a written statement describing their rights and explaining how the carrier decides who gets on an oversold flight and who doesn't."
Payment ranges from $675 to $1,350 depending on the price of the ticket and the time before another flight.
According to the website, airlines set their own "boarding priorities" -- which is the order they will bump different categories of passengers in an oversale situation. The policies are spelled out in a contract of carriage.
In 2015, 46,000 travelers were involuntarily bumped from flights, according to data from the Department of Transportation.
On United flights, people with disabilities and unaccompanied minors should be the last to be removed, according to the company's carriage contract.
American Airlines bases boarding on order of check-in, but will also consider "severe hardships," ticket cost and status within the carrier's loyalty program.
Delta Air Lines considers check-in order, loyalty status and passenger class. Also, it makes exceptions for people with disabilities, unaccompanied minors and members of the military.
JetBlue Airways advertises it doesn't overbook flights but it has that option.
For Southwest Airlines, those who do not hold a boarding pass will be denied boarding if there aren't volunteers.
In the case of the the United flight, four crew members who needed to board the plane from Chicago's O'Hare Airport on Sunday night to work another flight in Louisville the following day or else that flight would be canceled, airline spokeswoman Maddie King said Monday.
United offered passengers up to $800 to give up their seats for four crew members. When no one volunteered, four names were chosen to be removed from the flight and be re-accommodated.
Passenger Dr. David Dao, 69, of Kentucky, was screaming as he was dragged off the oversold flight.
Video of the incident appeared to show Dao's face bloodied after he was dragged through the aisle. Lawyers for the family say the pulmonary disease physician at Chicago hospital underwent treatment for his injuries.
United CEO Oscar Munoz described on ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday, how he felt when he saw video footage.
"It's not so much what I thought, it's what I felt. Probably the word 'ashamed' comes to mind," Munoz said. "That is not who our family at United is. And you saw us at a bad moment."
One of the three Chicago Department of Aviation officers who dragged Dao was placed on leave pending an investigation.
Munoz pledges "this can never, will never, happen again on a United Airlines flight." "We are not going to put a law enforcement official to ... remove a booked, paid, seated passenger," he said.