United Airlines settles lawsuit over son dragged from flight

United Airlines has settled a class action lawsuit filed by the family of a 9-year-old boy who, in December, was dragged from his seat in Chicago and off the flight when his parents asked to change seats to accommodate his disability.

The settlement with the boy’s family—individually signed— is valued at more than $15 million.

Bingo McClain, the boy’s father, told the Associated Press that he “can’t even begin to explain” the anguish he’s felt since the attack, which made national headlines. The incident occurred at O’Hare International Airport in late December when United was attempting to accommodate flight attendants and gate agents when a family of four pulled a 2-year-old on board.

Related Image Expand / Contract 7-year-old Michael was denied medical assistance after he fell unconscious on the plane. (CNN)

The airline called the families together and ordered the seat changes, one of which flew an infant back to his seats. Michael McClain, who had severe scoliosis, was held by his wheelchair but refused to move while he continued to be “stressed and fearful,” his father said.

The forced removal of the 9-year-old at the request of four Delta Air Lines employees provoked outcries of outrage in social media. Michael’s parents said the crew was more concerned with protecting the carrier’s brand than their own son’s welfare.

A United Airlines spokesman told the AP that the airline had settled with the boy’s family.

“This was a very unfortunate incident, and one we deeply regret,” the spokesman, Charles Hobart, said in a statement. “We’ve reached a resolution with the family and have provided them our sincere apologies for the experience they had. We are pleased to have reached an amicable resolution.”

The settlement also paid for funeral expenses for Michael, the Associated Press reported.

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