United Passenger Dragged Off Flight Reaches 'Amicable' Settlement with Airline
Dr. David Dao, the Kentucky doctor who was forcibly dragged off an overbooked flight, has reached a confidential settlement with United Airlines
Dr. David Dao, the Kentucky doctor who was forcibly dragged off an overbooked flight, has reached a confidential settlement with United Airlines, according to a statement obtained by PEOPLE from Dao’s lawyers, Thomas A. Demetrio of Corboy & Demetrio and Stephen L. Golan of Golan Christie Taglia on Thursday.
“Dr. David Dao has reached an amicable settlement with United Airlines for the injuries he received in his April 9th ordeal, which was captured on video and viewed worldwide,” the statement read.
According to his lawyers, the settlement will remain confidential.
Dao’s attorney, Thomas Demetrio, praised United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz for agreeing to the settlement.
“Mr. Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has. In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411, without attempting to blame others, including the City of Chicago. For this acceptance of corporate accountability, United is to be applauded,” he said in a statement.
The settlement was reached on the same day United Airlines announced policy changes to improve customer experience. According to Demetrio, “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 added: “I sincerely hope that all other airlines make similar changes and follow United’s lead in helping to improve the passenger flying experience with an emphasis on empathy, patience, respect and dignity.”
In a video of the incident taken by a fellow passenger, Dao could be heard telling personnel, “I won’t go, I’m a physician I have to work tomorrow, 8 o’clock…”
After the officer on board told Dao they’d have to “drag” him off, the 69-year-old doctor responded by saying he flew from Los Angeles and would “rather go to jail” than be forced to depart the plane.
“You’d rather go to jail than just get off?” questions the officer.
Another video of the incident taken later shows Dao bloodied and bruised as officials with the Chicago Department of Aviation dragged him through the aisle of the aircraft.
Dao suffered a concussion, a broken nose, lost two front teeth and needs facial reconstruction, according to his attorney.
The CEO of United Airlines, Oscar Muniz, said in a statement regarding the airline’s new policies: “Every customer deserves to be treated with the highest levels of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect. Two weeks ago, we failed to meet that standard and we profoundly apologize. However, actions speak louder than words. Today, we are taking concrete, meaningful action to make things right and ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”
The new guidelines include raising the limit on compensation to $10,000 for customers who give up their seats, limiting use of law enforcement to security issues only and reduce the amount of overbooking on flights.
“We are deeply sorry for the loss of anything from your luggage to, of course, a loved pet,” Munoz said.
The rabbit, named Simon and bred to be the largest rabbit in the world, died in the cargo hold of a plane headed from London’s Heathrow Airport to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
In a statement to the BBC, United Airlines said they “were saddened to hear this news. The safety and well-being of all the animals that travel with us is of the utmost importance to United Airlines and our PetSafe team.”
“We have been in contact with our customer and have offered assistance. We are reviewing this matter,” the airline said.