United CEO finally apologises to dragged passenger, says company will ‘work to make it right’

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A United Airlines Boeing 787 taxis as a United Airlines Boeing 767 lands at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California, US on February 7, 2015. Reuters/Louis Nastro

United Airlines released another statement regarding one of its flights. This time, Oscar Munoz, the company’s chief executive, directly apologised to the passenger who was forcibly removed from a full plane. He said “no one should ever be mistreated this way” and assured that United would take “full responsibility” and work to make it right.

“Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard,” the statement reads. The company CEO believes it is not too late to do the right thing.

Munoz committed to making changes to guarantee that the incident, which went viral, will not happen again. He said United would conduct a comprehensive review of crew movement, its policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations and how the company partners with airport authorities and local law enforcement.

The results of the review will be communicated to the public on April 30. Munoz ended his recent statement with a promise that they will do better.

Munoz initially apologized for “having to re-accommodate these customers” but he allegedly called the passenger, who was identified as David Dao, “disruptive” and “belligerent” in a succeeding message to employees. Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at New York University, told Bloomberg Television that it was probably the most tone-deaf response he has seen to such type of issue. “It’s as if they literally sat around and thought, ‘How could we make a bad situation worse?” he added.

Last month, Munoz was named Communicator of the Year for 2017 by PRWeek for having shown himself to be a “smart, dedicated, and excellent leader who understands the value of communications.”As for the latest incident concerning United, Munoz received support from flight attendants.

Sara Nelson, international president of the flight-attendants union for United, said his letter to United employees was only meant to boost morale in a very trying time. She believes that when something like this happens and people need to go to work and ensure order in the workplace to keep everyone safe, the situation can be incredibly demoralizing.

Videos shared on social media sites showed Dao being dragged out of his seat and down the aisle of Flight 3411 to Louisville, Kentucky from Chicago. The passenger said he was a doctor and had to be in Louisville on Monday because he needed to see his patients. Dao was receiving treatment in a Chicago hospital for his injuries.

Video Source: YouTube/CNN