United Airlines is doubling down on its apology after a Kentucky doctor was violently dragged from a plane on Sunday.
“That is not who our family at United is. You saw us at a bad moment,” United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz told ABC News in an interview that aired Wednesday on Good Morning America. “This can never, will never happen again on a United Airlines flight … that’s my promise.”
The airline has been in the midst of a fierce media storm after 69-year-old David Dao was forcibly removed from an oversold Louisville-bound flight from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
Passengers were offered at least $800 to leave the flight and make room for United employees who needed the spots. Three people, including Dao, were eventually chosen at random to leave the plane. But Dao, a Kentucky doctor, refused, saying he had patients he needed to see in Louisville.
The altercation saw Dao bloodied and bruised as officials with the Chicago Department of Aviation dragged him through the aisle of the aircraft.
Munoz said he is “ashamed” as a result of the incident, calling the situation a “system failure.”
“As I think about our business and our people 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,” he said.
“We are not going to put a law enforcement official onto a plane to take them off … to remove a booked, paid, seated passenger; we can’t do that.”
United Airlines CEO Doubles Down on Passenger Being Dragged Off Overbooked Flight: He Was ‘Disruptive and Belligerent’
“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. Currently, they are focused only on Dr. Dao’s medical care and treatment,” the family said in a statement released by lawyers.
Munoz’s latest declarations come just days after he faced criticism for an initial email to employees in which he faulted Dao for being “disruptive and belligerent.”
However, in a statement on Tuesday, Munoz changed his tune, declaring that the company would “do better.”
“My initial words fell short of truly expressing the shame,” he told ABC News.
Now, Munoz said he is shouldering the blame for his employees’ apparent lack of “common sense.”
“They all have an incredible amount of common sense and this issue could have been solved by that,” he said. “This is on me; I have to fix that, and I think that’s something we can do.”