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United offering up to $10,000 to give up seats after dragging incident

(CHICAGO) Chicago-based United Airlines is announcing a major policy change to deal with the public relations fallout after a passenger was violently dragged off a United Flight at O’Hare Airport in Chicago earlier this month.

United now says it will offer as much as $10,000 to customers who give up their seats on overbooked flights.

The airline is also pledging to do everything it can to reduce overbooking whenever possible.

On April 9th, City of Chicago Aviation Police officers dragged 69-year old Dr. David Dao off a full United Express Flight 3411 when he refused to give up his seat to accommodate a United Flight crew that needed to fly to Louisville Kentucky.

United took out full-page ads in the Chicago Tribune and New York Times on Thursday in which it said what happened to Dao was “shameful.” United CEO Oscar Munoz issued a statement that said “Every customer deserves to be treated with the highest levels of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect. Two weeks ago, we failed to meet that standard and we profoundly apologize. However, actions speak louder than words. Today, we are taking concrete, meaningful action to make things right and ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”

Dao’s Attorney Thomas Demetrio also issued a statement in which he said “Both Dr. Dao and I applaud United for promptly addressing the many issues that have plagued passenger satisfaction in the arena of airline customer service. All of its policy changes announced today are passenger friendly and are simple, commonsense decisions on United’s part to help minimize the stress involved in the flying experience. Dr. Dao is proud, despite his ordeal, to have played a role in spearheading these announced changes. And going forward, he hopes United takes the lead in inspiring the entire airline industry to supply passengers the dignity, respect, and fairness we all deserve.”

Demetrio has said he is planning on suing United and the City of Chicago for what happened to Dr. Dao.