United passenger dragged off plane has a strong legal case, experts say

Posted April 20, 2017

United Airlines will refund every single passenger who was the plane when a doctor was injured dragged off by airport officers in Chicago.

John Slater, a United vice president, said that bumping passengers to accommodate airline employees happens infrequently, and that federal guidelines requiring rest for crew members made it necessary to get the employees on the Sunday flight to Louisville. Air travelers are drawn to the cheapest price no matter the name on the plane.

Given the wide public outrage over the incident, Dao is in a strong position as he prepares to launch a legal action, lawyers who represent airlines and passengers said.

"All customers on Flight 3411 from Sunday, April 9, are receiving compensation for the cost of their tickets", United said in a statement to USA TODAY's Today in the Sky blog.

As of Thursday, Dr Dao was reportedly still recovering from his injuries in a Chicago hospital.

In the future, law enforcement will not be involved in removing a "booked, paid, seated passenger", Munoz said.

Passengers agree to a litany of terms in any airline's "contract of carriage", which they agree to when purchasing a ticket. Video shot by passengers showing the man's bloodied face went viral on social media, prompting a storm of protest.

Also on Wednesday, a Chicago alderman said representatives from United and the city's aviation department have been summoned before a city council committee to answer questions about the confrontation at O'Hare Airport.

Early on, United CEO Oscar Munoz added to the furor when he apologized for the incident but accused Dao of being belligerent.

United had selected Dao and three other passengers at random for removal from the plane after unsuccessfully offering $800 in travel vouchers and a hotel stay to customers willing to give up their seats.

Likewise, Chicago's aviation department has said only that one of its employees who removed Mr Dao did not follow proper procedures and has been placed on leave.

Two online petitions calling for Munoz to step down as CEO had more than 124,000 signatures combined by Wednesday afternoon.