After being dragged off of an overbooked United Airlines flights earlier this month, Dr. David Dao reached a settlement with the airline corporation for an undisclosed sum, an attorney for Dao said on Thursday, according to Reuters.
Dao, a 69-year-old Vietnamese-American doctor, faced numerous injuries in the incident including a broken nose and the loss of two teeth. In a statement announcing the settlement Dao's attorney, Thomas Demetrio, said that United took "full responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411, without attempting to blame others, including the City of Chicago," according to Reuters.
In their own statement, United said, "We are pleased to report that United and Dr. Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard flight 3411." Adding "We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the center of everything we do."
"I hope corporate America notices when you goof up people respect you a heck of a lot more when you admit it, instead of making people go through three years of depositions, motions, court hearings," Demetrio said in a phone call with the Associated Press.
United also announced that they will be making 10 serious policy changes after the incident sparked massive public outrage. They also addressed a number of things that went wrong that day.
"Our review shows that many things went wrong that day, but the headline is clear: our policies got in the way of our values and procedures interfered in doing what's right," said United chief executive Oscar Munoz in a statement, according to CNN:
- United won't use law enforcement unless there's a safety or security issue -- it won't call the cops simply to enforce its own policies.
- Boarded passengers won't be asked to give up their seats involuntarily unless there's a safety or security issue.
- United is increasing compensation up to $10,000 for voluntarily giving up your seat.
- A "customer solutions team" is being created to assist gate agents to get fliers to their destinations. The team will also help crews find alternatives to displacing passengers.
- Traveling crew members must be booked at least 60 minutes before departure.
- United will add new annual training for its agents "that will equip them to handle the most difficult of situations." This begins in August.
- United will ask passengers during automated check-in or on its app if they're interested in giving up their seat in exchange for compensation.
- It is cutting back overbooking for last-of-the-day flights, like flight 3411 -- or flights that historically had few passengers voluntarily give up seats.
- Using a new app, flight attendants and gate agents can proactively dole out miles or other compensation "when a disservice occurs."
- The airline is cutting the red tape for lost bags. If a bag goes permanently missing, the airline is adopting a "no-questions-asked" policy. United will pay $1,500 for the bag and its contents.