April 26, 2017

Cortez Masto Cosponsors Legislation in Response to United Airlines Incident

Washington, D.C. – Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) cosponsored legislation to strengthen consumer protections for the flying public and help prevent future incidents like the one that occurred on United Flight 3411 when a ticketed passenger was forcibly removed from the aircraft. The Transparency, Improvements, and Compensation to Keep Every Ticketholder Safe (TICKETS) Act will guarantee that a boarded passenger has the right to fly, address compensation limits for ticket-holding travelers, improve transparency, review ticket over-selling practices, and require flight crews seeking accommodations to provide more advanced notice.

In addition to Senator Cortez Masto, the TICKETS Act is sponsored by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and cosponsored by Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), and Bob Menéndez (D-N.J.). The TICKETS Act has also been endorsed by Public Citizen, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting consumer health and safety. 

“The incident on United Flight 3411 highlighted the lack of certain protections consumers have while flying,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Passengers who have boarded a flight have the right to fly, and under no circumstances should be treated with the appalling disrespect shown in the United Flight 3411 incident. No one should have to face that sort of indignity. The TICKETS Act will ensure that aviation consumers are treated with the basic humanity to which every person is entitled. For Nevada, tourism is a significant component of our economy, and residents and visitors alike ought to fly confidently and with the peace of mind they deserve. The TICKETS Act is a step in the right direction, and I am confident this issue will also arise during the negotiations for the FAA Reauthorization legislation that is due to expire on September 30th, 2017.”

“The legislation introduced by Senators Hassan and Schatz is a timely and overdue step to reassert the rights and importance of the American consumer in the marketplace and in our democracy,” said Lisa Gilbert, Vice President of Legislative Affairs for Public Citizen.


  • Guarantees that a boarded passenger has the right to fly: Prohibits airlines from preventing ticket-holding passengers from flying if they have already been approved by the gate attendant to clear the boarding area and board the plane, unless they present security or health risks.
  • Provides fair compensation to ticket-holding travelers: Eliminates the ceiling for compensation that may be provided to a ticket-holding passenger who is involuntarily denied boarding.
  • Improves Transparency by 1) Requiring air carriers to specify on a passenger’s flight itinerary and receipt its policies regarding voluntary and involuntary denial of boarding procedures, and 2) Requiring those policies to be posted publicly at each gate at the airport.
  • Addresses problems associated with ticket over-selling: Requires the Secretary of Transportation to review ticket over-selling practices and consider whether the number of oversold tickets for a flight should be limited.
  • Requires flight crews seeking accommodation to provide more advanced notice: Requires flight crews seeking accommodation to check in to a flight 60 minutes prior to departure.

On April 11, 2017, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto wrote a letter to United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz asking for a more detailed account of the incident, as well as the airline’s policy on boarding then removing ticketed passengers to accommodate United Airlines personnel. She asked for a response by Monday, April 24, 2017, which United Airlines failed to provide.