Sunday, 21 January, 2018

Lawyer: United will save evidence in dragged passenger case

Sherri Watson | 20 April, 2017, 06:23

The airline had to cancel more than 3,500 flights, leaving customers fuming and crew members in limbo.

The increases came after United came under fire after it called security officers to forcibly remove passenger David Dao from an overbooked flight in order to seat crew members for another flight.

The treatment of Dao sparked global outrage, as well as multiple apologies from the carrier, and raised questions about the overbooking policies of airlines.

United Airlines said on Friday it is changing its policy on booking its own flight crews onto its planes after a man was dragged off an overbooked flight to make way for a United employee on Sunday, video of which went viral and made the airline the target of global criticism and ridicule.

United crews previously could be booked on flights until the time of departure.

The backlash was not limited to United's domestic territory and calls for boycotts emanated from as far as Vietnam and China.

Videos taken by other passengers show a now-suspended security officer with the Chicago Department of Aviation leaning over to grab Dao and pulling him up. Later, Munoz offered a more emphatic mea culpa, saying: "No one should ever be mistreated this way".

The incident shined a new light on the practice of overbooking, which airlines increasingly rely upon to avoid losing money on seats left when some passengers do not show up for scheduled flights. "I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard", Munoz said of the passenger he seemed to fault in his letter to employees.

United Airlines has tweaked it employee travel policy to ensure there is never a repeat of the nightmare scenario of Flight 3411 again.

One of Dr. David Dao's lawyers, Thomas Demetrio, said as much Thursday during a news conference in which he suggested that Dao could be "a poster child" for the mistreatment of passengers by the airline industry.

Pepper said her father and mother had been traveling from California to Louisville, Kentucky, and had caught a connecting flight at O'Hare. Video evidence later disputed that Dao was acting aggressively.