United Apologizes — Again — for Dragging Man Off Flight
Is it too late?
United CEO Oscar Muñoz issued another statement on Tuesday, this time taking “full responsibility” for Sunday's incident and promising the airline would “do better.”
The statement came after backlash to the airline's initial response to the violent removal of a 69-year-old man on a flight in Chicago. The airline wanted to put four crewmembers on the flight who needed to work the next day, requested the man give up his seat, and — when he refused — called police who forcibly removed him.
Videos and photos of the incident show the man dragged through the aisle, bloodied after being forced against an armrest.
In an earlier statement, Muñoz had apologized for having to “re-accommodate” passengers — a word choice that was quickly mocked and critiqued for its apparent lack of compassion.
On social platforms, anger at the airline was everywhere. Although the airline's stock did not take a hit on Monday, on Tuesday it dropped so much it potentially erased more than $1 billion from the company's market cap.
Both United's handling of the situation as well as the response to it has been the focus of online outrage since Monday morning.
The incident has even become a joke on other airlines:
Whether or not the new statement will be enough to mollify some of the damage done to the airline's reputation is yet to be seen.
Read the second letter in full:
The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. 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. No one should ever be mistreated this way.
I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.
It's never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what's broken so this never happens again. This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. We'll communicate the results of our review by April 30th.
I promise you we will do better.