Passenger who was dragged off jetliner settles with United

CHICAGO — The passenger who was dragged off a flight after refusing to give up his seat settled with United for an undisclosed sum Thursday in an apparent attempt by the airline to put the fiasco behind it as quickly as possible.

David Dao’s legal team said the agreement includes a provision that the amount will remain confidential. One his lawyers praised United CEO Oscar Munoz.

Munoz “said he was going to do the right thing, and he has,” attorney Thomas Demetrio said in a brief statement . “In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened … without attempting to blame others, including the city of Chicago.”

The deal came less than three weeks after the episode and before Dao had even sued. The deal means United will not face a lawsuit, which could have been costly, both in legal bills and in further damage to the airline’s reputation.

Keeping settlement amounts secret is standard practice, including because companies often don’t want others contemplating lawsuits or negotiating deals over grievances to know how much they’ve been willing to pay previously.

Several legal observers unconnected to Dao’s case said a payout to him of a few million dollars was possible. Chicago-based attorney Terry Sullivan said United executives may have been willing to pay as much as $5 million to make this particular case go away.