United CEO issues statement taking responsibility for passenger incident, promises to ‘do better’

NEW YORK — United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz apologized for the forcible removal of a paying passenger from one of its flights and called the episode “truly horrific.”

Munoz pledged a full review by April 30 “to fix what’s broken so this never happens again.”

United CEO Oscar Munoz

“I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right,” Munoz said in a statement on Tuesday. “I promise you we will do better.”

It was his third attempt to quell growing outrage after a passenger was removed, bloodied and screaming, from a flight that was to take off from Chicago for Louisville, Kentucky. United wanted to give seats to commuting crew members.

In his first statement, Munoz apologized for “having to re-accommodate these customers.” In his second statement, he described the passenger as “disruptive and belligerent.”

The full statement is as follows:

Statement from United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz on United Express Flight 3411

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.

Sincerely,

Oscar

The incident drew outrage across the world, and some took out their frustrations by canceling their United-related credit cards.

Aninda Sadhukhan of Indianapolis visited his shredder to dispose of his United MileagePlus Explorer card with Chase Bank on Monday night after he canceled the account. It’s a potential travel sacrifice for the IT auditor, who flies United frequently.