Committee Leadership Statement on United Airlines and Chicago O’Hare Missing Deadline for Information on Forcible Passenger Removal

Senators call delay ‘unacceptable’ as both the airline and airport promise answers next week

April 21, 2017

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) who serve respectively as the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation along with Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) who serve as the chairman and ranking member of the Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee issued the following joint statement today on letters received yesterday evening from United Airlines and the Chicago Department of Aviation, which operates O’Hare International Airport.

“We’re disappointed that neither United Airlines nor the Chicago Department of Aviation has yet provided substantive answers to the straightforward questions we asked about the forcible removal of a passenger on April 9, 2017. Getting answers for the public about what happened and what can be done to prevent such an incident from happening again is a priority for the members of our committee. We find any further delay in getting necessary answers unacceptable.”

Both United and the Chicago Department of Aviation have failed to meet the committee's original deadline of April 20. In telling the committee they could not meet the deadline of April 20, United Airlines committed to providing a full response to the committee no later than April 27. The Chicago Department of Aviation similarly committed to provide a response no later than April 26.

Click here for the original letters of inquiry sent by Sens. Thune, Nelson, Blunt, and Cantwell on April 11.