United Airlines reaches settlement with dragged passenger
Airline faced criticism after a doctor was forcibly removed from an overbooked flight
United Airlines and the passenger who was dragged from one of its flights in Chicago earlier this month have reached a settlement for an undisclosed sum, the airline has announced, in its latest step to contain damage from an incident which has sparked international outrage.
Viral videos of Dr David Dao being dragged down the aisle of an overbooked United jet before take-off and chief executive Oscar Munoz’s subsequent handling of the incident resulted in a public outcry.
The controversy prompted calls from US congressmen for new regulation of the airline industry, and led United’s board of directors to reverse an agreement to make Mr Munoz the company’s chairman in 2018.
United said earlier on Thursday that it would offer passengers who give up their seats on overbooked flights up to $10,000 (about €9,200), reduce overbooking of flights and no longer call on law enforcement officers to deny ticketed passengers their seats.
Southwest Airlines also said on Thursday it would end the overbooking of flights.
Dr Dao, a 69-year-old Vietnamese-American, was injured and hospitalised after Chicago aviation police dragged him from the plane to make space for four crew members on the flight from the city’s O’Hare International Airport to Louisville, Kentucky.
United has taken “full responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411, without attempting to blame others, including the City of Chicago”, Thomas Demetrio, an attorney for Dr Dao, said in a statement.
“We are pleased to report that United and Dr Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard Flight 3411,” United said in a separate statement.
“We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the centre of everything we do.”