United won't kick paying customers off a boarded plane anymore

United Airlines has a new policy.

United Airlines didn't have a great week in terms of PR. That video of a doctor getting dragged off a flight spread quickly, and led to absolute roastings by clever people on the internet.

In fact, it damaged the airline's rep so much that 44 percent of people surveyed by Morning Consult that had heard of United recently said they'd pick a longer, indirect, more expensive flight rather than flying United.

So it's probably not surprising that United is changing the policy that led to the whole dragged-off-a-plane debacle in the first place.

TMZ first got a hold of an internal email (read it here) which says that effective immediately, "must-ride deadhead" bookings on oversold flights have to be made at least an hour before take-off time.

"No must ride crew member can replace a customer who has boarded an aircraft," the memo goes on to state.

Andy's Travel Blog helpfully explains the term deadhead – basically it's when airline crew that has to get to another city bumps a paying customer. That's what happened in the case of Dr. David Dao, who refused to give up his seat when United announced four crew members had to replace four customers so they could make their next job.

Since TMZ published the new policy, United has confirmed it's legit, with a spokesperson telling the New York Times it's "one of our initial steps in a review of our policies."

United's CEO eventually apologized, and promised they would never let it happen again. And he said they won't use law enforcement to remove passengers from planes anymore.

United is now facing the possibility of a lawsuit, with Dao's lawyers taking steps to get one going, USA Today reports.

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