Delta is letting employees offer customers nearly $10,000 in compensation to give up seats
 on overbooked flights, hoping to avoid an uproar like the one that erupted at United after
 a passenger was dragged off a jet.

United is taking steps too. It will require employees seeking a seat on a plane to book it
 at least an hour before departure, a policy that might have prevented last Sunday's

Those and other changes show airlines are scrambling to respond to a public-relations
 nightmare — the video showing airport officers violently yanking and dragging
 69-year-old David Dao from his seat on a sold-out United Express flight.
Dao and three others were ordered off the plane after four airline employees showed
 up at the last minute and demanded seats so they could be in place to operate a flight 
the next day in Louisville, Kentucky.

On Friday, a United spokeswoman said the airline changed its policy to require traveling
 employees to book a flight at least 60 minutes before departure. Had the rule been in
 place last Sunday, United Express Flight 3411 still would have been overbooked by four
 seats, but United employees could have dealt with the situation in the gate area instead
 of on the plane.

Delta Air Lines is moving to make it easier to find customers willing to give up their seats. 
In an internal memo obtained Friday by The Associated Press, Delta said gate agents can 
offer up to $2,000, up from a previous maximum of $800, and supervisors can offer up
 to $9,950, up from $1,350.

United said it is reviewing its compensation policies. The airline would not disclose its
 current payment limit.

Other airlines said they were examining their policies. American Airlines updated its
 rules to say that no passenger who has boarded the plane will be removed to give the
 seat to someone else.

None would describe their limits on paying passengers.
When there aren't enough seats, airlines usually ask for volunteers by offering travel
 vouchers, gift cards or cash.

Last year Delta got more passengers to give up their seats than any other U.S. airline,
 partly by paying more than most of the others.

As a result, it had the lowest rate among the largest U.S. airlines of bumping people off
 flights against their will — something that is legal but alienates customers and requires 
the airline to pay compensation of up to $1,350 per person.

Overselling flights is a fact of life in the airline business. Industry officials say that it is
 necessary because some passengers don't show up, and that overbooking keeps fares
 down by reducing the number of empty seats.

The practice has been questioned, however, since video of the United Express incident
 went viral. United Continental CEO Oscar Munoz's initial attempts to apologize were
 roundly criticized. On Friday, company Chairman Robert Milton said the board 
supported Munoz.
The dragging has turned into a public-relations nightmare for the entire industry, not
 just United, and led to calls from politicians and consumer advocates to suspend or
 ban overbooking.

Ben Schlappig, a travel blogger who first wrote about the Delta compensation increase,
 said it shows Delta is trying to reduce forced bumping. He said he couldn't imagine
 many situations in which people wouldn't jump at nearly $10,000.

Delta no doubt hopes that gate agents and their supervisors won't need to make maximum
 offers, and the financial cost to the airline is likely to be limited. If Delta paid $9,950 to
 every person it bumped involuntarily last year, that would total $12 million. Delta
 earned nearly $4.4 billion.

Raising the limits "lets them solve some PR problems" and might head off U.S.
 Transportation Department regulations to curb overbooking, said another travel
 blogger, Gary Leff. "They can say, 'Look, we're already solving the problem.'"

An AP analysis of government data shows that in 2015 and 2016, Delta paid an average
 of $1,118 in compensation for every passenger that it denied a seat. Southwest Airlines
 paid $758, United $565, and American Airlines $554.

After the incident in Chicago, critics questioned why United didn't offer more when
 no passengers accepted the airline's $800 offer for volunteers to give up their seats.
"If you offer enough money, even the guy going to a funeral will sell his seat," said
 Ross Aimer, a retired United pilot.