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Testimonials

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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Airline reaches settlement agreement with Dr. David Dao, a passenger violently ejected from his seat on a UA flight to make room for staff.

United Airlines, which suffered a public relations disaster this month when a passenger seated on a UA flight was violently ejected to make room for UA employees, has agreed to settle a lawsuit with the injured passenger out of court.

The settlement agreement was announced by the passenger’s attorney last Thursday, ending a lawsuit against the company for injuries suffered by the passenger during the incident.

The settlement includes a non-disclosure agreement, preventing Dr. Dao or his attorney from publicly stating the amount of compensation United Airlines has agreed to pay.

Estimates on the sum paid out range from $5-10 million, though given the unique nature of the case, the figure could be potentially much higher.

Dao’s attorney, Thomas Demetrio, praised United Airlines and its CEO, Oscar Munoz, for the terms of the agreement accepted by UA.

“Mr. Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has,” said Demetrio.

In addition, the airline announced a series of policy changes on Thursday, intended to prevent a repeat of what happened on flight 3411.

On April 9th, Dr. David Dao, a physician in Kentucky, was injured while airport security officers from O’Hare Airport in Chicago removed him from the seat he had booked and paid for on UA flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville.

Dr. Dao and three other passengers had been ordered off the plane after being boarded, when the UA crew discovered that it was required to ferry four UA employees from Chicago to Kentucky for work on a separate flight out of SDF airport the next day.

The crew offered volunteers $400 in vouchers to any passenger who voluntarily vacated their seat and accepted a nearly 24-hour layover until the next flight to Kentucky, but no passengers accepted.

While three of the passengers accepted the crews’ demand to exit the plane, Dr. Dao refused to surrender his seat. UA employees called in O’Hare security officers, who violently removed him from the plane. Dr. Dao lost consciousness during the incident, and was later revealed to have lost several teeth and suffered a concussion and a broken nose.

Video recordings of the incident showing Dr. Dao being dragged off the flight quickly went viral, leading to a fierce public backlash against United Airlines.

In the days immediately after the incident, United Airlines took a $1.3 billion loss in value after its stock (UAL) tumbled.

Subsequent polling of flyers showed customers were significantly less likely to purchase tickets from UA after the incident, with nearly 44% of people who had heard about flight 3411 saying they were not fly UA, even if an alternative flight would cost 33% more and include an extra stop over. 

By: David Rosenberg
(INN)