Md. State Senator Wants to Protect BWI Passengers from Police Removal

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A United Airlines plane, via Wikimedia Commons.

Maryland’s General Assembly session is over for this year, but one of last week’s most widely viewed viral videos is already setting an agenda for the next session.

According to WBAL-TV, State Sen. Jim Rosapepe is looking to make sure that the scene of a passenger being dragged from their seat in Chicago doesn’t play out at BWI. The College Park Democrat is working on a bill that would ban Maryland transit police from forcibly removing a passenger from their seat — as long as they are not a threat to public safety.

“If the airline wants to use a seat you’ve paid for, and are sitting in, they should pay you fair market value for it, not commandeer local law enforcement to haul you away,” Rosapepe said in a statement.

That probably seemed self-evident before the video of Dr. David Dao being dragged off of a United flight with a bloody face emerged. The incident put a nationwide spotlight on the practice of “bumping.” And the nation is on high alert. Even though they went willingly, a couple made national news over the weekend after being bumped off a Houston flight that was en route to their destination wedding.

Given the backlash, the bill is also designed to “underscore BWI’s brand as a passenger-friendly airport,” Rosapepe said in the statement.

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland is filing a bill at the federal level to update bumping rules.



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