United Airlines reaches settlement with dragged passenger

Posted May 05, 2017

United Airlines and Dr. David Dao have reached a settlement agreement just weeks after he was dragged off of a flight, stirring up a national controversy over passenger rights. Dao's attorney said that the amount remains confidential as one of the provisions of the settlement.

City officials have made it clear that they expected the city would be sued because Chicago aviation security officers pulled Dao off the flight at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on April 9.

During a press conference earlier in April, Demetrio said the lawsuit was meant to "stand up for passengers going forward".

Stung by criticism and a public outcry over the forced removal of one of its passengers, United Airlines is boosting its payments to passengers to give up seats to ease overbooking.

While the incident set off a seemingly never-ending PR nightmare for the airline, Dao's attorney Thomas Demetrio praised United and its CEO Oscar Munoz.

Earlier on Thursday, United said it would offer passengers who volunteer to forfeit their seats on overbooked flights up to $10,000 as part of its efforts to fix the damage from the Dao incident. Not that knowing the actual amount matters, since it's fairly clear from the incident that Dao is swimming in cash since United didn't want to see the case dragged through court.

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United also issued a brief statement, saying it was pleased to report "an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard Flight 3411". Among other things, the airline said it will raise the limit on payments to customers who give up seats on oversold flights to 10,000 dollars (£7,750) and it will improve training of employees.

United said it would no longer call law enforcement to deny passengers boarding, nor would passengers who are already seated be required to give up their seats on overbooked flights.

"Dr. Dao has become the unintended champion for the adoption of changes which will certainly help improve the lives of literally millions of travelers", he said.

The resulting outrage escalated because of a viral video and related news coverage of the impromptu exit.

Munoz first defended the airline and described Dao as "belligerent" before publicly apologizing days later and vowing to do better.

"He said that being dragged down the aisle was more horrifying and harrowing than what he experienced leaving Vietnam" in 1975 when Saigon fell. United has since promised it will no longer use officers to forcibly remove paying customers from flights.