United Airlines CEO apologizes for "truly horrific event"

United apologizes for incident

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Days after a man was dragged off of a Louisville-bound flight, the United Airlines CEO is releasing a strong worded apology.

Video showing the entire incident surfaced Sunday night and has been heavily criticized since.

In a letter to his employees yesterday, the CEO commended their actions. But this afternoon, he has a new message, stating the passenger was mistreated and he takes full responsibility.

"An apology is not enough for what happened,” Ailed Muniz, an airline passenger, said.

The CEO of United Airlines said what lead up to the video, showing a man brutally dragged off of a flight, is the company's policy.

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When staff asked for volunteers to give up their seats on the sold out flight and no one agreed, they randomly selected four passengers and asked them to leave.

“They said, this flight is oversold, we need four seats for our flight crew to fly to Louisville because they have to work in the morning,” Joya Cummings, who was on United Flight 3411 described.

Elizabethtown Doctor David Dao refused to leave the plane. Minutes later, the flight staff called police.

What happened next has caused outrage across the country.

"What happened to him- I just think it’s bad. It’s not fair,” Muniz said.

It even gained a response from the White House.

"I don’t think anyone could look at that video and isn't a little disturbed that another human being is treated that way,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

For the first time Tuesday afternoon, the company said it takes full responsibility for what the CEO calls a "truly horrific event".

The policies that were defended by the CEO in a letter to his employees early Tuesday, are now under review. That included crew movement, incentivizing volunteers, and dealing with oversold situations.

United officials said they will work to make it right, and passengers said that is what they wanted to hear.

"To all the airlines- learn from this experience. It’s not fair,” Muniz said.

United leaders said they will be working with airport authorities and law enforcement to review how they handle similar situations. They plan to share the results of that review by the end of the month.

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© 2017 WHAS-TV


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