Despite Uproar Over Forcible Removal of Passenger, United’s CEO Will Remain After Profuse Apology


The drama unfolded when David Dao, a doctor from Louisville, refused a request to give up his seat on the Chicago to Louisville flight in order to accommodate a United crew that needed to get to its next destination.

When he adamantly refused to leave his seat, the plane’s crew summoned Chicago Aviation Security officers who ultimately dragged Dao down the aisle toward the aircraft exist. In the skirmish that ensued, he was bloodied around his mouth.

Footage of the incident soon appeared on the Internet and then major media broadcasts worldwide. Public outrage at United Airlines was widespread.

In his original defense of the airplane crew and security officials on Monday, Munoz characterized Dao’s behavior as “disruptive and belligerent.”

By Wednesday, Munoz totally changed his tune after realizing what a public relations disaster the event was for his airline.

In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, the embattled CEO was asked what procedure the airline would follow in the future for similar situations.

Asked how the company would deal with a seated passenger who refused voluntarily to leave an overbooked plane based on an offer of monetary or ticket compensation, Munoz was emphatic.

We're not going to put a law enforcement official to take them off. To remove a booked, paid seated passenger, we can't do that.”

Munoz also was asked if he planned to step down from his position because of the debacle. Again, he was explicit.

No. I was hired to make United better and we've been doing that and that's what I'll continue to do.”

Munoz and United have profusely apologized to Dao, and made it clear they do not think he was at any fault.

No. He can't be. He was a paying passenger sitting on our seat in our aircraft and no one should be treated that way. Period.”

Because of the incident, the U.S. Department of Transportation is investigating the matter to see if United properly complied with rules on overbooking.  One of the security officers involved has been put on leave while the incident is investigated.  The Chicago Department of Aviation said it does not condone the officer's conduct.

Since assuming the helm at United on September 8, 2015, Munoz has had a rocky tenure. He came to the CEO position after serving as a member of the Board of Directors.

Just one month into his leadership, Munoz suffered a heart attack on October 15. On January 6, 2016, he underwent a heart transplant. He returned to work on March 7, 2016.

Source: BBC

 



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