The customer who was dragged off of the United Airlines flight in a scene that triggered public fury toward the airline has taken the first step toward legal action against the carrier.
The passenger, 69-year-old David Dao, has obtained a personal injury lawyer and has asked the Cook County Court to issue an order for United and the city of Chicago to keep all footage, audio recordings, as well as any other reports and material from the flight, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The incident involving Dao occurred on Sunday evening in Chicago, aboard a plane bound for Louisville. The incident was recorded on video by a fellow passenger.
The video showed a disturbing scene of Dao being yanked from his seat and dragged off the plane with blood on his face.
On Tuesday, Dao told WLKY, a local Kentucky station, that he was still being treated at a Chicago hospital for injuries he suffered in the incident.
Dao also told WLKY that he was not doing well and that “everything” is injured.
United Airlines said in a statement that the airline needed room on the aircraft to transfer crew for another flight and that they offered $US1,000 in exchange for customers to give up their seats. When no one volunteered, they selected several passengers to deplane the aircraft. Dao was chosen, but United said he refused to get off the plane.
Employees then contacted the Chicago Aviation Police to help remove Dao. One of the officers involved has since been put on leave, and the department has launched an investigation.
United’s CEO Oscar Munoz quickly came under fire for his initial response to the incident and issued another statement on Tuesday formally apologizing for how Dao has been removed.
“Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologise to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard,” Munoz said. “I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.”
The company also said all passengers on the flight will be reimbursed for the cost of their tickets.