April 14 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
The airline, owned by United Continental Holdings Inc
, said it would make sure crews traveling on their
aircraft are booked into seats at least 60 minutes before
departure, in an emailed statement.
It said the new policy would ensure that a situation in
which a passenger is forcibly removed from a plane does not
occur again. United said the change is an initial step as it
reviews policies in order to "deliver the best customer
The passenger ejected from the plane, David Dao, suffered a
significant concussion, a broken nose and lost two front teeth
in the incident, and he will need reconstructive surgery,
according to his attorney, Thomas Demetrio, who has signaled
that Dao will likely sue the airline.
United's board on Friday apologized to Dao and his family,
and said it stands behind Chief Executive Oscar Munoz, who has
been under fire in the wake of the incident. Munoz has said he
has no plans to resign.
Even before this week, Munoz was under pressure from
activist investors to improve the airline's performance,
including its customer relations.
In an unrelated yet bizarre incident, a United passenger
complained that a scorpion stung him during a flight from Texas,
also on Sunday.
A physician on the ground assured the crew that "it was not
a life-threatening matter," United spokeswoman Maddie King said
in an email on Friday, adding that the airline is "reaching out
to the customer to apologize and discuss the matter."
(Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Bill