Many Americans have been wrapped up in the new fad of bad-news plaguing the airline industry. It began in earnest with the now infamous video of a United airlines passenger being forcibly relocated. Now, news is breaking that the passenger involved has settled out of court with United.
Fox News is reporting that Dr. David Dao, the passenger who was brutally handled by the police force responsible for removing him from the plane, has settled. No word yet on what Dao was paid.
If you’re thinking that this settlement came quickly, you’re not alone. Lawsuits like this typically drag on for months, if not years, before settlements are reached. One reason for United’s fast action on the suit may be an effort to get beyond this public relations disaster.
Fox News received this statement from United spokesman Jonathan Guerin Thursday afternoon:
“We are pleased to report that United and Dr. Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard flight 3411. We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the center of everything we do.”
Dao was seated on a flight at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. He was headed to Louisville, Kentucky. The flight, on April 9th, was about to go viral. When the meager incentives the airline offered failed to entice passengers off the flight, United decided to choose passengers at random.
Dao had been chosen to leave the plane. United had another flight crew that needed to get to Louisville. The passengers they were bumping were being bumped to get United’s crew to another flight.
When Dao refused to leave, United called in the Chicago Department of Aviation. They removed Dao from the plane, violently. The video of him crashing into the armrest and being drug down the aisle of the plane left Americans shocked.
In addition to the settlement, United CEO Oscar Munoz has announced major policy changes. Passengers may be offered up to $10,000 to be voluntarily bumped from flights.
Munoz stands behind the practice of overselling flights. United, and other airlines, all rely on assertions that overselling is a common practice, even though the philosophy behind the practice has yet to be articulated to the satisfaction of the flying public.