United Airlines settles with bloodied passenger, overhauls policies

Thomas A. Demetrio Chicago aviation attorney and co-founder of Corby & Demetrio represents the family of Dr. David Dao. Kamil Krzaczynski Reuters

An amount of money was not disclosed because of a condition of the settlement in which Dao agreed to keep the settlement confidential.

Dao, a 69-year-old Vietnamese-American doctor, was injured when Chicago aviation police removed him from his seat and then dragged him from the plane to make space for four crew members on the flight from O'Hare International Airport to Louisville, Kentucky.

According to one of Dao's lawyers, his client suffered a broken nose and concussion, and lost two teeth.

"Both Dr. Dao and I applaud United for promptly addressing the many issues that have plagued passenger satisfaction in the arena of airline customer service", Dao's attorney, Thomas Demetrio, said in a statement on Thursday.

It took a viral video showing the violent removal of a bloodied passenger from one of its flights to do it, but United Airlines is trying to improve its customer service. Demetrio had earlier in the day lauded the airline for operational changes it announced in an effort to avoid a repeat of the incident.

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 and it will improve training of employees.

As a result of the incident, United announced it will no longer involve law enforcement officers for issues not concerning the safety and security of a flight.

An image made from a video shows a passenger being removed from a United Airlines flight in Chicago

"I breached public trust with this event and how we responded", Mr Munoz said. However, the approach backfired and ultimately United's CEO Munoz apologized for the incident repeatedly and vowed to bring in positive changes in the company's policies and practices.

The airline uses offers to encourage volunteers to deboard a plane and had 16 volunteers for each passenger who had to be involuntarily denied boarding, Munoz said in the letter to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee late on Wednesday.

The incident was captured on video and widely circulated on social media.

In addition, travelers who voluntarily give up their seats due to overbooking will receive up to $10,000.

Southwest spokeswoman, Beth Harbin said on Thursday that a new system for reservations and a better tool for forecasting will come online in next month which will negate the airline's need to have overbooking in flights.

Dr. Dao was violently removed from his seat by airport security personnel and dragged through the aisles of an April 9 flight.



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