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United flight incident would be 'unacceptable' in Canada, government minister warns

United Airlines(NEW YORK) -- Canada’s transportation minister told airline heads that incidents like the recent forcible removal of a paid passenger off a United flight would be “unacceptable” in his country.

“I am sure that you were as disturbed as I was, and as all Canadians were, over the horrific incident,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in a letter Thursday to the heads of airlines that operate in his country. “I am writing to you today to convey that such an incident would be unacceptable in Canada.

 “When passengers purchase an airline ticket, they expect and deserve that the airline will fulfill its part of the transaction. When that agreement is not fulfilled, passengers are entitled to clear, transparent and enforceable compensation,” Garneau said.

He said new legislation on air traveler rights is in the works in Canada, and that airlines have been collaborating on it. Garneau said he plans to introduce the legislation in the Canadian Parliament in coming weeks.

“Once the legislation is introduced, our continued cooperation will be essential as we move to further improve the traveler experience,” Garneau wrote..

The letter is among the latest fallout from the incident Sunday, when aviation police officers forcibly removed 69-year-old David Dao from a plane at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago that was bound for Louisville, Kentucky.

Videos of Dao being dragged off the plane sparked a furor on social media and prompted United CEO Oscar Munoz to apologize on Wednesday in an exclusive interview on "Good Morning America" and to promise that "this will never happen again."

"My initial words fell short of truly expressing the shame" over the incident, Munoz said, adding that the feelings of embarrassment were "palpable" for him and his United colleagues.

United told ABC News after the incident that it had offered passengers on the plane up to $800 to give up their seats for four crew members who needed to board. No one volunteered, so the airline generated a list of four names to be removed from the flight and re-accommodated. Three of those people complied. But one, later identified as Dao, did not, and police were called to remove him.

Dao’s lawyer, Thomas Demetrio, said at a news conference Thursday that Dao suffered a broken nose and other injuries and would be undergoing reconstructive surgery. He was discharged from a hospital Wednesday night, his attorney said.

Dao’s treatment on the flight was "more terrifying and harrowing” than when he left his native country of Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975, his lawyer said.

 Attorney Thomas Demetrio said Dao suffered a broken nose and other injuries and would be undergoing reconstructive surgery. Dao was discharged from a hospital Wednesday night, Demetrio said at a press conference on Thursday.

United released a statement after Thursday’s press conference, saying, "We continue to express our sincerest apology to Dr. Dao. We cannot stress enough that we remain steadfast in our commitment to make this right. This horrible situation has provided a harsh learning experience, from which we will take immediate, concrete action."

United Airlines also told ABC News that it is compensating all passengers on the flight for the full price of their tickets.

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