CHICAGO (WJZ/AP) — A Kentucky doctor who was dragged off a United flight after he refused to give up his seat to crew members has reached a settlement with the airline for an undisclosed amount, but the payout may extend to all passengers.
This comes as other airlines answer to their own caught-on-camera conflicts.
The fourth largest airline in the U.S. admitted it screwed up.
David Dao’s legal team announced the settlement Thursday in a brief statement. The agreement includes a provision that the amount will remain confidential.
Cellphone video of the April 9 confrontation aboard a jetliner at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport sparked widespread public outrage over the treatment of Dao.
The footage showed airport police officers pulling the 69-year-old father of five from his seat and dragging him down the aisle. His lawyer says he lost teeth and suffered a broken nose and a concussion.
“It happened because policies were placed ahead of our shared values,” said Oscar Munoz, United Airlines CEO.
Munoz announced ten new policies including: United will only use law enforcement for safety issues, it will pay passengers up to $10,000 for taking a later flight and the company has reduced overbooking.
“This will help United recover, but it’s going to take the airline a long time,” said travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt.
If airline specific sales are down, Baltimore travel agent Scott Babus hasn’t seen it.
“It’s not stopping them from booking one company or another,” said Babus of Going Places. “I believe the rules are there in place for a reason, and if you do follow the rules, you’re not going to have trouble.”
This comes as two other major airlines face controversies of their own.
Last week an incident occurred over a stroller on board an American Airlines flight and on an Atlanta tarmac. Video on a Delta plane showed a passenger’s bathroom emergency which turned into a bathroom battle.
Experts are tying the rising tensions to crowded flights, smaller seats and added fees.
“It’s something to endure, not really something to enjoy,” said Paul Hudson of Flyersrrights.org.
Experts say airline employees are also dealing with a tougher job in recent years, due to less staffing and crowded planes add to the problem.
The officers who removed Dr. Dao from the United flight are on leave and the American Airlines flight attendant in last week’s incident is grounded.
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