United Airlines won’t use police to remove passengers, says CEO
CHICAGOThe chief executive of United Airlines said the carrier will no longer ask police to remove passengers from full flights after the uproar over a man who was dragged off a plane by airport officers in Chicago, adding that he would not resign.
In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” aired on April 12, Oscar Munoz said he felt “ashamed” watching video of the man being forced off the jet, The Associated Press reported. He has promised to review the airline’s passenger-removal policy.
Munoz, who leads United Airline’s parent company, apologized again to Kentucky physician David Dao, his family and the other passengers who witnessed him being taken off the flight.
“That is not who our family at United is,” he said. “This will never happen again on a United flight. That’s my promise.”
In the future, law enforcement will not be involved in removing a “booked, paid, seated passenger,” Munoz said. “We can’t do that.”
He also said he would not resign.
“I was hired to make United better and we’ve been doing that and that’s what I’ll continue to do,” Munoz said, when asked about calls for his resignation as leader of the embattled airline.
United also said it would compensate all passengers on Dao’s flight.
Also on April 12, a Chicago alderman said representatives from United and the city’s Aviation Department have been summoned before a city council committee to answer questions about the confrontation at O’Hare Airport.
Alderman Mike Zalewski said he did not know who will represent the airline before the Aviation Committee, but Munoz has been notified of the hearing scheduled for April 13.
Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans was also set to speak.
Munoz called the embarrassment a “system failure” and said United would reassess its procedures for seeking volunteers to give up their seats when a flight is full. United was trying to find seats for four employees, meaning four passengers had to deplane.
It was at least Munoz’s fourth statement about the confrontation.
After the video first emerged, he said the airline was reaching out to the man to “resolve this situation.”
Hours later on April 10, his tone turned defensive. He described the man as “disruptive and belligerent.”
By the afternoon of April 11, almost two days after the events, Munoz issued another apology.
“No one should ever be mistreated this way,” Munoz said.
The passenger was identified as Dao, a 69-year-old physician from Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
Attorneys for Dao filed court papers on April 12 asking the airline and the city of Chicago to preserve evidence in the case. Those documents are often the first steps toward a lawsuit.