Port Authority police will not help airlines remove people from overbooked flights, officials said, issuing the new policy the same week a United Airlines passenger was injured after he was forcibly taken off one of its planes.
The bi-state authority’s police superintendent, Michael Fedorko, in a statement Thursday instructed his officers to tell any airlines that request such aid that they are on their own.
“If/when an airline representative calls your respective command for such assistance, the tour commander or commanding officer will inform the airline this is an internal, non-law enforcement related matter and the PAPD (Port Authority Police Department) will not respond to this type of request,” the statement said.
A spokesman for the airline regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, said the agency “had no role” in the matter.
A video of the United Airlines passenger being hauled off the plane Sunday in Chicago sparked global outrage and caused the airline’s stock to plummet.
United’s public relations response, which initially included blaming the passenger, was roundly criticized. The airline later apologized
Fedorko, in addition to instructing his officers to document such requests, also freed them to exercise judgment.
“As with all operational response matters, however, please examine each instance on a case-by-case basis to determine the totality of the incident before reacting or responding,” he said.
Representatives for United and Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma were not immediately available for comment. Republic Airport in East Farmingdale has no commercial flights.
The passenger, Dr. Dao, who was dragged from a United flight lost two front teeth and suffered a broken nose and a concussion, his lawyer said Thursday, accusing the airline industry of having “bullied” its customers for far too long.
Dao, has been released from a hospital but will need reconstructive surgery, Demetrio said at a news conference, appearing alongside one of Dao’s children. Dao was not there.
The 69-year-old physician from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, was removed by police from a plane at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport after refusing to give up his seat on the full flight to make room for one of four airline employees.