Representatives from United Airlines were on the hot seat Thursday as state lawmakers held a hearing on airline practices.
The hearing comes after several viral videos of passengers being mistreated on flights, particularly the situation involving a doctor who was dragged from a United flight after he refused to give up his seat to a crew member.
Various hearings have already taken place in Washington about the issue and now it was New Jersey’s turn.
United Airlines was the only company to attend Thursday’s meeting. United’s hub is at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Representatives said that the airline is retraining staff to improve customer relations, and will offer passengers more money to give up their seat on an overbooked flight.
“Our agents are now empowered to go up to $10,000,” said United Airline representative Nathan Lopp.
Passenger rights advocates also testified. They said that there is not enough pressure for airlines to offer better service to the millions of people who fly each day.
“It’s mostly because the airlines can do what they want. There’s very little airline competition. The four major airlines control over 80 percent of traffic,” said Andrew Applebaum with Flyer Rights.
Airlines are federally regulated so any changes to law will have to come from Congress. Changes have been proposed to laws governing overbooking, customer compensation and fees.