Posted: 6:43 am Friday, April 28th, 2017
By Eric "Hollywood" Davis STAR 94.5
A Kentucky doctor who made headlines earlier this month when he was dragged off a United Airlines flight in Chicago has settled with the airline, attorneys said Thursday in a news release.
Dr. David Dao suffered numerous injuries when he was dragged off a flight bound for Kentucky on April 9 after refusing to give up his seat.
The confrontation between Dao, 69, and three Chicago Department of Aviation officers was caught on video by passengers on the flight. The footage quickly spread on social media.
Attorneys for Dao declined to share details of the settlement, citing a confidentiality provision in the agreement. Attorney Thomas Demetrio praised Oscar Munoz, CEO of United’s parent company, in a statement.
“Mr. Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has,” Demetrio said. “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.”
Dao was hospitalized for days after the incident on Flight 3411 with injuries that included a severe concussion, a broken nose and an unspecified injury to his sinuses. He lost two front teeth in the scuffle, Demetrio said.
“Dr. Dao has become the unintended champion for the adoption of changes which will certainly help improve the lives of literally millions of travelers,” Demetrio said.
The settlement was reached on the same day United announced policy changes aimed at preventing a similar situation from happening to other passengers. Among the changes was the announcement that the airline will offer travelers as much as $10,000 to give up their seats on overbooked flights.
Previously, the airline would offer up to $1,350, according to Bloomberg.
A number of other airlines also announced policy changes aimed at offering passengers more incentive to delay flights in cases of overbooking and to ensure that they are not taken off planes after boarding.
United’s response in the immediate aftermath of the confrontation was widely criticized. Munoz first defended the airline and described Dao as “belligerent” before publicly apologizing days later and vowing to do better.
The officers who pulled Dao from the United flight were placed on leave after the incident.
The agency released a report on Monday in which the officer who pulled Dao from his seat, James Long, gave his version of events. Long said Dao was verbally and physically abusive and was flailing his arms before he lost his balance and struck his mouth on an armrest.
The department’s roughly 300 officers guard the city’s two main airports but are not part of the regular Chicago police force. They receive less training than police officers do and cannot carry guns inside the terminals.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.