United Continental Holdings Inc. has changed its policy on employee travel and will now ensure crews riding on its aircraft as passengers are booked at least 60 minutes before departure, according to a statement from the company.
The change, issued Friday, came after the backlash created by a video showing a United passenger being pulled from his seat and dragged down the aisle after refusing to leave an April 9 flight to make room for an airline employee.
The passenger, David Dao, suffered a concussion, a broken nose and two lost teeth, according to one of his lawyers on Thursday. Attorney Thomas Demetrio said that Dao will "probably" sue.
A hearing scheduled Monday was canceled after United and the city of Chicago agreed to Dao"™s request to preserve and protect evidence, Demetrio"™s office said Saturday. A filing last week asked a judge to require the airline and city to preserve surveillance videos, crew lists and other information.
United crews previously could be booked on flights until the time of departure. The change will allow employees to bump passengers, if necessary, in the gate area to avoid what happened on Dao"™s flight: forcing passengers to leave their seats after they already boarded the airplane, said Maggie Schmerin, a United spokeswoman.
"This ensures situations like Flight 3411 never happen again," she said…