"United Airlines' public response to this situation has resulted in more questions than answers," Rep. Judy Chu, D-California, wrote
to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in a letter Wednesday. "Although overbooking is a common practice among many commercial airline carriers and is not illegal, I am deeply concerned by the disturbing actions taken aboard United Airlines Flight 3411 to remove Dr. Dao."
A passenger told CNN that Dr. David Dao, a Vietnamese-American
immigrant, was overheard saying he was being profiled for being Asian before police officers forcibly removed him from his seat on the overbooked flight at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
Video of Dao being dragged off a Louisville bound flight with a bloodied nose has gone viral and attracted tens of thousands of outraged posts. Many reactions on social media called for a boycott of United, accusing the airline of racial discrimination.
"It is imperative that we have more information on the industry practices that led to this particular incident and whether these policies meet Federal standards," Chu wrote to Chao. "Your Department is uniquely positioned to protect passengers from such gross violations of their basic rights."
"I request that you share any findings from your review with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, including whether any Federal laws or regulations were violated during this incident," Chu added.
The Senate Commerce Committee also indicated Wednesday it will consider holding hearings related to the United Airlines incident, according to a committee spokesman.
"We'll be looking to the responses we receive to guide any potential next steps," committee spokesman Frederick Hill told CNN.
Committee leaders sent bipartisan letters to both United Airlines and the Chicago Department of Aviation Tuesday requesting information by April 20 on the incident and the practices involved in handling it.
"It is hard to believe that some combination of better planning, training, communication, or additional incentives would not have mitigated this particular incident or avoided it altogether," the senators wrote in the letter to the Chicago department.