United Airlines CEO apologizes for passenger dragged off flight

United airlines CEO apologizes for incident

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS 11)--Three days after a United Airlines passenger was dragged off a flight headed to Louisville, the company’s CEO, Oscar Munoz, spoke out and publically apologized on Good Morning America.  In his first TV interview since Sunday's incident, Munoz reflected on the video that sparked an international firestorm.

“It's not so much what I thought, it's what I felt, probably the word ashamed comes to mind,” said Munoz.

Munoz and his airline are under attack after Dr. David Dao was dragged off an airplane flying from Chicago to Louisville in order to make room for crew members.

“You saw us at a bad moment and this can never, will never, happen again on a United Airlines flight,” said Munoz.

Munoz called the incident a “system failure.”  United says passengers were offered up to $800 to give up their seats for four crew members who needed to board, part of an incentive program Munoz says must be reviewed along with the airline's other policies.

“The use of law enforcement aboard an aircraft has to be looked at very carefully,” said Munoz.

He says he plans to expand and adjust the law enforcement policy but can guarantee no passenger will ever be removed like Dr. Dao.

Munoz says he has not yet spoken directly to Dao but looks forward to the chance to make things right.

“The first thing I think is important to say is to apologize to Dr. Dao, his family, the passengers on that flight, our customers, our employees,” said Munoz.

Munoz initially released a statement defending his employees, calling Dao belligerent and disruptive.  He now says the passenger was not at fault.

“My initial words fell short of truly expressing what we were feeling,” said Munoz.

Despite calls for his resignation, Munoz says he plans to stay.

“I was hired to make United better and we've been doing that and that's what I'll continue to do,” said Munoz.
Dr. Dao is recovering at a hospital in Chicago.  His attorneys released a statement saying in part, 'The family of Dr. Dao wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern and support they have received.'

 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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