United Airlines Reaches Confidential Settlement With Forcibly Removed Passenger

Image courtesy of Audra Bridges

United Airlines and Dr. David Dao — the paying passenger who was forcibly removed from his seat to make room for an airline employee — have reached a deal that preempts a potentially lengthy legal battle. Though what that settlement entails will likely remain a mystery.

On the same day that United announced several “substantial” changes to the way it “flies, serves, and respects its customers,” the legal team for Dao says they’ve negotiated an “amicable” settlement for the injuries he received during the April 9 incident.

We’ll likely never know how much Dao will receive, as the settlement includes a provision that the amount remain confidential, which he and his attorneys have agreed to.

A spokesperson for United confirmed the settlement.

“We are pleased to report that United and Dr. Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard flight 3411,” the company said. “We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the center of everything we do.”

Attorney Thomas Demetrio praised United CEO Oscar Munoz for doing “the right thing.”

“In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411, without attempting to blame others, including the City of Chicago,” Demetrio said in a statement. “For this acceptance of corporate accountability, United is to be applauded.”

As a result of his ordeal, Demetrio says Dao has become “the unintended champion for the adoption of changes which will certain help improve the lives of literally millions of travelers.”

The attorney adds that he hopes other airlines will learn from this experience and “follow United’s lead in helping to improve the passenger flying experience with an emphasis on empathy, patience, respect, and dignity.”