United Airlines reaches
settlement with passenger dragged from plane
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[May 03, 2017]
By Timothy Mclaughlin
(Reuters) - United Airlines and the passenger who was dragged from a
Chicago flight earlier this month have reached a settlement for an
undisclosed sum, they said on Thursday, in the carrier's latest step to
contain damage from an incident that sparked international outrage.
Viral videos of Dr. David Dao being dragged down the aisle of a United
jet and Chief Executive Oscar Munoz's handling of the incident touched
off a public outcry, prompted calls from congressmen for new industry
regulation, and led United's board of directors to reverse an agreement
to make Munoz company chairman in 2018.
United said earlier on Thursday that it would offer passengers who give
up their seats up to $10,000, reduce overbooking of flights and no
longer call on law enforcement officers to deny ticketed passengers
Southwest Airlines also said on Thursday that it would end overbooking
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.
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 Dao, said in a statement.
Demetrio said there was no need to proceed with separate litigation
against the city. Republic Airways, United's regional partner which
operated the flight that Dao was on, has also been released from
responsibility as part of the settlement, Demetrio's office said.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office declined to comment on the
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A United Airlines Boeing 787 taxis as a United Airlines Boeing 767
lands at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco,
California, U.S. on February 7, 2015. REUTERS/Louis Nastro/File
three Chicago Department of Aviation officers who pulled Dao off the plane and a
supervisor involved in the incident remain on paid leave, said Chicago
Department of Aviation spokesman Karen Pride, who declined to comment on the
United said in a separate statement that it was pleased to reach "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 airline said.
Munoz stressed that point in a letter sent on Thursday to customers, saying the
airline would increase its focus on their satisfaction.
"We can never say we are sorry enough for what occurred, but we also know
meaningful actions will speak louder than words," he said.
Separately, officials at 10 of the busiest U.S. airports said their rules
prevent security officers from physically removing passengers from airplanes
unless a crime is committed.
(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Additional reporting by David
Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Richard Chang)
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