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United Airlines Settles With Passenger Who Was Dragged From Plane

Dr. David Dao was injured after he refused to give up his seat for a United employee.

28/04/2017 5:36 AM AEST | Updated 28/04/2017 6:51 AM AEST

United Airlines announced Thursday it has reached a settlement with a passenger who was injured and bloodied after officers dragged him from his seat on a flight earlier in April. 

Dr. David Dao’s lawyer said he reached an agreement for undisclosed terms over the incident in which his nose was broken and several teeth were knocked out after he refused to give up his seat for a United employee on a flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky. 

As part of the deal, Dao agreed not to sue the city of Chicago, whose Department of Aviation police officers physically removed him, his lawyer told Crain’s. The airline took full responsibility for the ordeal, according to Thomas Demetrio.

In a statement, United said that it had “reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard flight 3411.”

“We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the center of everything we do,” the statement added.

The settlement with Dao came the same day that United announced new policies to handle similar situations when flights are overbooked. Passengers can receive up to $10,000 in incentives if they get bumped from their seat. 

“Dr. Dao has become the unintended champion for the adoption of changes which will certainly help improve the lives of literally millions of travelers,” said Demetrio, his attorney, in a statement. 

Other passengers recorded video of Dao screaming before police at Chicago O’Hare International Airport dragged him through the plane’s aisle. Some passengers could be heard complaining about how Dao was treated. 

The flight was not technically overbooked, but United staff demanded that four travelers who had already boarded, including Dao, give up their seats for employees needed in Louisville the next day. 

No volunteers aboard flight 3411 accepted United’s offer of $800 to forfeit their spot. Dao and three others were then selected at random for removal.

United bungled its response to the altercation with a series of statements that criticized Dao and contained industry jargon that rang hollow.

“After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate,” the airline said in one statement. 

Later, CEO Oscar Munoz followed up by saying on Twitter that “I  apologize for having to re-accommodate these passengers.”

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