United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz said he felt "shame" when watching viral videos of a passenger being dragged from his seat aboard a Sunday night flight, in an interview with "Good Morning America" on Wednesday.
He committed the third-largest USA airline to "a thorough review" of its policies for handling oversold flights and vowed to report back to the public by April 30. United employees explained the situation to the man several times and when he refused, they followed Department of Transportation protocol and called local law enforcement to forcibly remove him from the plane.
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United's decision to have airport security remove a man from his seat to make room for employees overshadows the broader trend in 2016, when airlines forced only six out of every 100,000 passengers to surrender seats on oversold planes. "We can't do that".
The incident has spotlighted the common practice of overbooking and bumping passengers from flights, which airlines rely upon to avoid losing money on seats left empty by no-show passengers.
The extraordinary move comes following an extraordinary event. Shares in United Airlines slipped by 4% Tuesday, and the company's market value plummeted by $1 billion. After the blunder of the initial incident was compounded by a series of botched public responses, the Chicago-based carrier is stepping up the effort to get back in consumers' good graces.
Emirates threw a major shade at the statement made last month by United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz.
"That is not who our family at United is", he said.
It wasn't until Tuesday that Munoz was more contrite. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologise to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard.
When asked if he has spoken to Dr. Dao, Munoz said that while he has not, he has tried to contact him and looks forward to apologizing to the best of his ability.
No lawsuit has been filed, but the legal team has already taken a move in that direction by filing court papers asking that the airline and the city preserve evidence in the case.
A City Council committee is questioning officials from the Chicago Aviation Department and United Airlines about why a passenger was dragged from a United Express flight at O'Hare Airport.
Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans told the committee that the officers had the authority to board the flight but that what happened on the plane is being investigated.
Munoz also said the airline needs to give its employees more latitude to be flexible in trying to resolve situations like the one on the Sunday flight without resorting to calling in law enforcement.
The incident involving Dao happened Sunday evening in Chicago aboard a plane bound for Louisville. The department announced on Wednesday that two more officers have been placed on leave.
Joya and Forest Cummings were sitting behind Dao on the United flight and began recording video after an airline supervisor asked Dao to leave the plane and he refused.
Munoz told ABC he had no plans to resign over the incident.
Three people got off the flight, but the fourth said he was a doctor and needed to get home to treat patients on Monday.