TMZ: United changes policy for overbooking and removing passengers

A United Airlines jet taxis at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) - United Airlines has just made a big change to its overbooking policy, in the wake of the disastrous removal of passenger Dr. David Dao.

Effective immediately, a passenger cannot be removed to accommodate a United crew member unless it's essential for the crew member to make the flight in order to work another flight, AND the crew member arrives at least 60 minutes before the doors close.

The idea is that the airline will make decisions on who to boot from a flight at the gate or lobby area ... before the passengers board the jet.

If a crew member arrives less than 60 minutes before the doors close, tough luck ... they have to take a later flight.

There have been a flurry of internal emails Friday. A Senior VP of In-Flight Service confesses about the Dao incident, "No one should ever be mistreated this way ... The world saw us in a bad moment."

In another email, Chairman of the Board Robert A. Milton concedes, "We need to use this regrettable event as a defining moment and pivot off it to craft friendly policies and redouble our efforts to win back the trust of everyone -- something I know we will do."

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