The episode happened because the flight was fully booked and United was trying to transport a four-person flight crew to Louisville, Ky., the destination of Dr. Dao’s flight.
When no passengers volunteered their seats for an $800 flight credit, gate agents invoked a process that allowed for certain customers — those who had paid the lowest fares, were not connecting to other flights or had checked in the latest — to be removed from the plane.
Security officers forcibly removed Dr. Dao after he refused to give up his seat. He sustained a concussion and a broken nose, and lost two teeth in the episode on a Chicago tarmac, in which his face struck an armrest as he was pulled from his seat. He was then dragged down the aisle by his arms, as his glasses slid down his face and his shirt rode up.
Dr. Dao, who had threatened to sue United, was paid an undisclosed sum in a settlement with the airline, which took responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411.
Asked for Dr. Dao’s reaction to the firings of the security officers, Thomas Demetrio, his lawyer, said on Tuesday: “He wasn’t asking for that. He’s not celebrating. Two people lost their job, and that’s unfortunate.” But he added that the measures that United, other airlines and the city of Chicago had taken since then had been positive.
United announced in late April that it would significantly raise the maximum amount it could offer passengers who voluntarily give up their seats to $10,000, from the $1,350 cap that most airlines use.
The airline also said that it would create a new automated check-in process to let customers note their willingness to give up their seats for compensation and that it would work to reduce the number of overbooked flights. It also said that it planned to create a special team to tackle overbooking problems.
United Airlines responded to a request for comment on Tuesday, but had not replied before publication.
Chicago’s Aviation Department said in July that under a new policy, airport security officers would be sent onto planes to respond to a disturbance only at the request of the Chicago Police Department and that the word “police” would be removed from security agents’ uniforms and vehicles. The department conceded that the uniforms had been “improperly” marked.
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