FINALLY: United’s CEO Issues A Real Apology For What Happened

Filed Under: Media, United

Following the horrible incident that transpired on a United flight Sunday night from Chicago to Louisville, United’s management team somehow managed to make things even worse. United’s CEO issued two statements, both of which were horribly insulting, apologizing that the customer had to be “re-accommodated,” etc. I’ve had respect for United’s new and well regarded CEO up until now, but this was just terrible and undid any goodwill he has generated up until now.

I fear this is probably too little too late, and of course it comes after United lost “re-accommodated” a billion dollars worth of market cap in a day, but I guess better late than never. United’s CEO has just issued the following statement:

Dear Team,

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.


Finally! Was it that hard to:

  • Acknowledge how horrible the incident was
  • Apologize to the customer for what actually transpired, rather than just for the fact that he was removed from the flight
  • Acknowledge that the customer was treated in a way that no one should be
  • Take full responsibility for what happened and to make it right
  • Admit that their response up until now has sucked, but that they’re going to do the right thing
  • Promise to provide an update to the public about what happened

Maybe too little to late, but at least that’s a real apology. If only United had responded this was shortly after the incident. I just wish they’d also apologize for their response up until now, which has been abysmal. They shouldn’t get a pass on that.

This has been a quickly-moving story with myriad updates. The full coverage of the United incident from the One Mile at a Time team is as follows:

Crazy Video: Passenger Forcibly Dragged Off United Flight
What United Really Screwed Up With Their Latest Viral Incident
The Horrible Video I Hadn’t Seen Of The Guy Being Dragged Off A United Flight...
Why United’s Incident Is A Much Bigger Deal Than You May Think
Pathetic: United’s CEO Makes The Denied Boarding Fiasco Even Worse
What Are Your Rights If You Get Bumped From A Flight?
United’s Removal Of Passengers May Not Have Been Legal
The Root Cause Of United’s Denied Boarding Fiasco
Wow: Emirates Throws Major (But Fair) Shade At United In New Video
FINALLY: United’s CEO Issues A Real Apology For What Happened
I’m Sorry: My Initial Reaction To The United Situation Was Wrong
Fascinating: Good Morning America Interviews United’s CEO
United Is Refunding The Fares Of All Passengers On Flight 3411
  1. It doesn’t help much now, given that the previous letter says, basically “We did everything right”.

  2. Crisis management 101 is to issue a statement that shows your horror at what happened, takes responsibility and promises to fix it. How it took so long to do so is mind blowing.

    The way “New Coke” is considered a textbook marketing disaster, this event might seriously go down as how not to do crisis management.

  3. A day late and 800m dollars short?

    Why wasn’t this issued yesterday, maybe he really thought United was in the right until the lawyers reviewed the CoC.

  4. Only after the entire world was in uproar did he issue an apology, and likely because he was forced to by the board and senior management.

    Either this guy is tone deaf or he’s just a major a-hole, I’m not sure which.

    The apology is disingenuous United should be boycotted until it goes under, or at least till all of senior management is fired.

  5. Well you didn’t get it right the first time either did you Lucky? Amazing what a cup of coffee will do. Sorry but I’m afraid it’s true.

  6. Upon reading Munoz’s first internal statement, the only thing I could think of was that he was pandering to the gate agents’ and flight crews’ unions.

  7. Smisek destroyed this company and a storied 90 year franchise in aviation.

    I had high hopes for Oscar to fix it– but he clearly doesn’t “get” it.
    They should be looking for a replacement. Right. Now.

    And, Oscar can go take care of his failing heart.

    “United– Always give your KTN and your Safe Word when you make your reservation online!”

  8. @ evan — No, you’re absolutely right, I got it completely wrong at first, and I have a post coming shortly apologizing for my response. End of story. I still say that I pretty quickly saw the light, and that there was a lot more to this than we initially thought. Meanwhile the horrible statement from Oscar came yesterday evening, after there was already a lot more information out there.

  9. Sad that it took such a total shitstorm to get a CEO to apologize for what was clearly inappropriate and excessive if not outright violent treatment of a paying customer.

  10. “It’s never too late to do the right thing. ” Except that it is too late. No substance to this latest memo. The first two memos Munoz issued yesterday show us the true intentions of himself and United. This latest memo is laughable and insincere given his response yesterday.

    It’s also too late as I just booked 24 flights on DL over the past two days. In light of the fiasco and United’s “We did everything right” response, I booked all of those on DL, even though UA is almost half as much on some of those routes. Let me emphasize that — I paid almost double on some routes to avoid flying on United. Between UA’s Goose Bay Appreciation Days, front-line employees which are in a perpetual state of pissy-ness, and this mess, I can’t see putting any of our employees on there. They need to arrive at their meetings, on-time, and without bloodied faces.

  11. i feel bad for oscar. he’s forced by what society demands him to be instead of being himself. as usual, a bunch of holier-than-thou on the internet trying to one up each see to see who can raise the max amount of faux outrage for clicks and likes.

  12. @AlexS : excellent …. tell me how much productivity has your company lost from the ATL implosion ? or you’re just gonna lie and say zero ?

  13. @ _ar: Notable there is that JetBlue *does not* oversell flights. They use the no-show space to handle IRROPs and missed connections.

  14. While late is better than never, can this be called a ‘genuine’ apology? This is about damage control.
    I bet if the public outcry had not been this severe and there was no slippage of UAL stock, there would be no apology.

    And what is the obsession that companies have with ‘internal investigations?’ If they’re really serious, external investigations are the way to go.

    I understand that this could have happened to any airline- United just happened to be the carrier in the cross hairs – the company’s response was atrociously incompetent and dispiriting.

  15. Lipstick on a pig….

    Being late in providing this apology is disingenuous at best, and as such, shows the lack of integrity of the leadership at the helm of this organization.

    Haven’t flown UA in over 10 years, and cements that decision.

  16. @lucky

    Thanks for making that acknowledgement. Many of us look to you as quite influential and widely-followed– your viewpoints are well-respected, which is something in the spin-meistered world in which we live.
    (Did you notice that the PR hacks for UAL immediately were out disparaging the doctor with a decade old beef about his practice? United has a whole building of people out trying to ‘spin’ this)

    Billion dollar companies can always put “their version” out there, so it’s important that there are people out there like you, Ben, getting to the truth of the matter.

    We appreciate your commitment to do that.

  17. “Absolute power corrupts…” US airlines enjoy virtual oligopoly status. Those of us Million Mile Flyers and UA Silver Wings Lifetime members found out some time ago.

    They never listened to us reasonable and polite folks. Now along comes this most imperfect passenger who has brought Oscar down to this level of grovel and UA to its corporate knees, at least for the moment.

    The smell of Schadenfreude is sweet indeed today.

  18. Did he overcompensate by taking “full responsibility”? He could have worded it in an equally-effective way that won’t require future backtracking (or legal repercussions). He should have calmed down for a second and said something like “take responsibility for everything within our control”.

  19. Does anyone really think that if the stock hadn’t fallen today we’d be seeing this apology?

    What a difference a day and a sell off makes.

  20. What a fake apology. Wall St and his Board basically told him: our way or the highway!!!! He had no choice but sign that letter that was written by someone else. He is one strike from being out. Strike#1: Leggings; Strike#2: “Re-Accommodating” a passenger with a paid ticket. Let’s see how he is going to strike out. BTW, that doctor will make so much money from this that he will be set for life.

  21. The faux outrage by so many is the most appalling thing. Syrians getting gassed and barrel bombed. Most people suffering from starvation at one time. And yet rich first worlders are breathless about an asshole who refused a police request to leave his seat. Glad we have our priorities right!

  22. @lucky, good on you for quickly changing your mind yesterday. In regards to @evan’s statement, I don’t think there’s any comparison with Munoz’s backtracking. His initial reactions were far more entrenched in defense of United, and persisted significantly longer.

  23. Lucky,
    Can we get a trip report please? I’m so over the United debacle. We all know how this is going to end. United will do some soul-searching and chant “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa” over and over again to anyone who’ll listen. They will revamp their denied boarding / involuntary removal process and give the agents more flexibility/tools when seeking volunteers. United will also settle out of court with the good doctor because there’s no way in hell this case will ever be heard in front of a judge or jury. Congress will get on their high horse and demand changes but in the end nothing will come of it because 1) its not an election year, and 2) anything they do will viewed as not being “business friendly”. And the traveling public will bounce right back onto United as soon as United gives them a fare and schedule that fits their pocketbook better than the competition. All sad, but all true…

    So, a trip report, or a dissertation on what you did on vacation, or frankly anything other than this thread would be greatly appreciated.


  24. @raksiam – my thoughts exactly 😉

    There was an article yesterday mentioning the stock hadn’t moved much and I thought, if it does start moving tomorrow I bet there will be a much different tune from United…and here we are.

  25. I think as a CEO, his performance on this issue is a big FAIL.

    I do not think he has shown sufficient credentials to stay at the hot seat.

    He should be worried about his position.

  26. It’s such a forced departure in tone from his TWO statements yesterday, without any reference or apology for that PR disaster, that no one would believe there’s an ounce of sincerity here. Idiot.

  27. Why is this addressed to ‘Team’ and not to United’s customers? Surely the formal apology should be all encompassing?

  28. @henry LAX: We had *ONE* employee affected by that. One. Their original flight was canceled but were able to get on a later flight which got them to TYS about 3 hours later than expected. Other employees were on B6 and didn’t have their plans interrupted.

    I fully understand weather delays. It’s why I traditionally won’t book connecting flights through the NYC airports from ~January-mid April. Airlines can’t control the weather. How they recover from it is a different situation.

    @Disgusted: We sent a few missiles into Syria and told them to quiet down. That’s more than we’ve done in awhile. Do you propose we invade Syria? The US track record on invading countries is quite impressive. Nation (re)Building, not so much.

  29. According to Jenny Yang TV on facebook/instagram, there is a link reporting that there are two different David Dao’s. There is a link in the post, but it looks like it was edited. Not sure how accurate that is, but I’m having issues viewing the link.

  30. You hit the nail on the head here Ben. Hard to say if United is truly sorry for how this transpired, or they’re only sorry because of the backlash/loss of market cap. Either way, I don’t know why this wasn’t their first response. I didn’t have an opinion on United’s management team, but this has certainly given me one.

  31. Firstly I want to say this exactly what I mentioned in another response as the appropriate “legal” teams response in a potential PR crisis. Management says they are “disturbed and concerned”, says they are “investigating and resolve to get to the bottom of the issue” and then give an approximate date to update the public while “taking steps to ensure such events do not happen to in the future”. Its gobledygook speak but its exactly the non-comittal thing that’s needed to not face multi-million lawsuits and mega million dollar disasters as we see unfolding via UA’s stock price.

    @Tachyon_OGG-SBA-IAD says:

    “(Did you notice that the PR hacks for UAL immediately were out disparaging the doctor with a decade old beef about his practice? United has a whole building of people out trying to ‘spin’ this)”

    Oh I saw this on other forums too, I’m still not 100% sure that’s the name of the doctor either. However if it was leaked by UA then their legal is going to come down like a freight train of bricks on the PR idiots who leaked it, this would blow into potentially a defamation addition and emotional damages seeking on TOP of the PR disaster already happening. Its a can of worms that legal does not want opened. They want this to quietly go away after being settled.

  32. Sorry Oscar. Your apology remains in the boarding area as the doors to the redemption flight has closed.

  33. You’re right, it’s too late. We already know what they really think based upon the previous statement and letter to employees. Think about it… they went from “it’s the man’s and police’s fault” to “we take full responsibility”. Oh do you now…

  34. @hybrid

    Yeah, obviously there is conjecture involved, but it seems odd that a “sealed physician medical board matter” suddenly shows up in the public domain.
    It’s clearly not accidental.

    These PR spinmeisters are very, very skilled at manipulating perceptions– so I always wonder what the true story is. I frankly don’t see how some medical board matter from more than 10 years ago is even relevant… But a lot of FUD can-and-will be thrown out there by huge companies who can spend a lot of money sprinkling “perfume” over their biggest stinky piles of doo-doo.

    With airline profits at record levels, capacity in the market clearly being constrained and load factors at unprecedented levels– well, I truly think it’s time for these Contracts of Carriage to be re-examined, especially from an anti-trust perspective as we’re down to such a few number of oft-colluding carriers.

  35. Finally, some semblance of humanity from Oscar Munoz. Nothing speaks to a CEO like losing $hareholder value. There are a lot of expectations for you now Oscar. Better make good changes and not just changes you think we’ll like.

  36. Better late than never, I guess. UA has lost any potential for my business…which, if you read between those lines, means that UA lost my business long ago. This is just more frosting roses on top of that cake…

  37. @Disgusted,
    I think as we get older we learn the uncomfortable truth that we are all deep down terrible hypocrites.
    That does not however change the fact that this is a very important story and it struck a cord with millions of people in the USA perhaps the world.
    Over time we have increased our speed of information and travel exponentially with a trade off in privacy and freedoms lost.
    I’m extremely socially conservative and yet very alarmed at people’s response to this, including Lucky’s first assement brushing this off as business as usual.
    That’s the point, we have been trained to obey law enforcement.
    Remain in line. Respect authority.
    Well fine as long as that doesn’t jeopardize freedoms afforded by our constitution.
    To see a business, negate a contract and then have trained security drag a law abiding civilian off a plane because they changed their minds and decide they need to fix a staffing issue cannot be allowed to continue as a precedent for future corporate behavior.
    Call it bungling by UA or whatever…
    That does not change the fact that this pax paid for a seat, was seated, and then ordered off with no legal reason given.
    If you side with UA and agree that they can just null the contract of carriage, including the transport contact, just because they changed their minds. Where, exactly does that leave us?
    If in fact you see it the way I do, UA broke the contract of transport, and then without even explaining that this is what they did, had security muscle play the judge / jury, and tossed him to the curb.
    In fact it just makes the CEO’s comments even worse.

  38. Can you just send out an email when we’re done posting about United and back to points and miles?

  39. Today, I told my three sons, if a cop tells you to do something, you do it! That includes being asked to get off a plane. As a society, we have to obey the commands from our law officers. Dr. Dao refused to obey, so he was forcibly removed. I have no problem with that.

    If you don’t agree with what is being asked of you, then take it up through our court system.

    My only issue with UA is that they should have off-loaded everyone, the privately dealt with Dr. Dao.

  40. I hope Emirates opens up other routes from Newark in addition the the Athens route, crushing United into bankruptcy. Take that Polaris product and shove that investment straight up Munoz ass

  41. @Tachyon_OGG-SBA-IAD and others, thank you for the alert about stuff being brought up from the passenger’s past. I found some tmz and UK tabloid links. But, I’m wondering where it says this was released by UA PR. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

    Lucky, I’m not sure you’ll see this as there are so many comments lately, but I didn’t chime in when you decided awhile ago to ban some posters, and I noticed in another thread yesterday that you banned Credit, which I felt was misguided. I just wanted to express that I think even the racist/homophobic/off-topic posts are frequently very valuable because it allows us to get a glimpse into how different people think. Also, Credit’s post yesterday did not fall into any of those categories. I admit I am not one of those reader’s that can remember ever single comment, so I cannot form in my mind a “full” picture of Credit, but it is those readers that can remember everything who can glean the most value from uncensored posts as they really can over time see bigger pictures of these individuals of different types in our society. Plus, as others have mentioned, Credit can figure out some other way of continuing to post. Perhaps instead of banning, one of those sorted by “upvote/downvote” type comment systems could be installed, with the option for readers to still view all posts chronologically if they choose.

    Now, regarding the passenger’s past, I am completely fascinated that he may have paid for male-male sex or written prescriptions in exchange. I treat this blog as a pretty “safe”-type space for gay people and other sexual minorities and am curious to see where the comments will now lead and am comfortable exploring this type of topic here. Will the outrage change in any way if these new details become widely known? What about the outrage overseas, which articles have mentioned mushroomed overnight? Will their view of this member of their diaspora change? How does our society view the concept of this man having gay sex as opposed to how they would view Lucky and Ford? Or Daniel? They are all of different ages and backgrounds. Whether or not it is true, what if we learn that it was indeed United that dug up these details–would that not be reminiscent of smear campaigns from the past, even though United is supposedly a more “progressive” type company? What would that reflect on the various employees that decided to go ahead with a mission like that? There is a photo circulating of presumably the passenger with a woman and child–a symbol of “high” (straight) socioeconomic status. If he is married with a wife and pursued gay sex, potentially coercively, what does this say about our society that he would feel the need to get married to a woman and pursue gay sex in the way that he did? Plus most importantly, how does this stuff alter the way we view him and UA as right or wrong? Truly a fascinating case and I appreciate Lucky’s space in allowing us to explore all the issues and themes here.

  42. This was no drunk Sally grabbing passenger A’s tool or Crazy Joe pooping on the seat.

    It was about a passenger stating his point, he bought a seat and was being forced out not because he endangered the safety of the flight. but to save an incompetent airline for incompetent crew scheduling issues.

    So you send minimum wage Lola to fix the problem and when she cant she calls the state Securitate like in the old Soviet Union or Romania.

    Lets say no to crony capitalism and state intimidation. I am proud we are voting with our wallets!
    We are humans and deserve dignity.

    Asians, boycott United Asian markets !

  43. Nothing that surfaced was a sealed medical board matter, all that stuff with his license suspension was in the press at the time it happened. It was probably all dragged out again during his WSOP appearances. It’s a bit tinfoil hat to say that people at United have a building of people working on dragging out past news to smear David Dao. People want to know all the details in a story like this and the press is absolutely gonna mention it if the victim has a colorful background. Here’s an article from 2005 that it took me literally <30 seconds to find :

  44. @Seatback

    In certain contexts, I would agree, but not in this case. This man was acting well within his right. United was in flagrant violation of its own contract of carriage (see below), and was using the police to protect its own self-interest. Blindly submitting to the police would only make it okay for United to keep doing what they’re doing, as they have been doing for ages. Chances are things won’t change much in the long term, but at least United getting the backlash it deserves for treating its customers like sh*t.

    “United makes very clear in its own contract of carriage that employees of their own or of other carriers may be denied boarding without compensation because they do not have reserved confirmed seats. On its face, it’s clear that what they did was illegal– they gave preference to their employees over people who had reserved confirmed seats, in violation of 14 CFR 250.2a.”

  45. I find it interesting that even though, for the most part, the apology was pretty decent, he still uses the term “oversold.” From my understanding, the flight itself at the time of boarding was NOT oversold and all previously ticketed passengers were seated. It was, and only after, United determined that they had to transport some crew to another airport to staff a flight in another city, that this flight became “oversold.” To me that still smacks as trying to pass the buck as an unforeseen circumstance. When it was determined that crew needed to get to Louisville it became foreseen really quickly. They could have dealt with it, and they attempted to up to a certain point, but clearly not enough to prevent this situation. Any time you end up with a situation that turns out this way that was not instigated by a passenger, there is a major problem. Many other commenters on here are trying to read the legal tea leaves, well I suppose in a court of law during a civil trial that might prove useful, but in layman’s everyday terms of business what transpired could become a good case study in ineffective situation management. So while I applaud the CEO’s Johnny Come Lately apology, the question really is what lasting change will come of this?

  46. @Zymm

    Your point being that anyone who’s had past legal problems doesn’t have the legal protections of the Contract of Carriage any longer?

    As for your, seeming, assertion that United Airlines doesn’t employ a huge staff of PR, Social Networking (and,now, certainly, “Crisis Management”) and other communications staff strikes me as exceedingly naive. They have a huge staff working overtime to dig up (old) dirt on this guy to try to salvage some of their remaining brand. They are working to phones nonstop to feed “story ideas” and “perspective” to anyone who will listen.

    The video speaks for itself. And, again, those aren’t standard issue Airport PD cops on that video… those are private security guys.(aka thugs, aka “muscle”) Plain and simple.
    And, that should scare the kraap out of all of us that the big airports have ex-Special Ops guys waiting in the basement to drag us out of our seats for a commercial dispute over when we get to go where we are going.

  47. LET’S REMEMBER- The passenger had already boarded and has his assigned seat. So.. boarding was not denied- this is worse, he was bumped out of the plane. This is a violation of the Contract of carriage- why ?
    The 4 crew members for the next day flight from KY, that needed those seats, can’t take priority ( company employees) over passengers on a seat , and boarded…

  48. Lucky, you quickly changed your tune because you read the comments in your first post and realized your stance was incorrect. Appreciate the change in tone but initially your response was in United’s defense so please don’t take the moral high ground over Munoz.

  49. @ Jeffry — Again, I apologized, and sincerely think I was wrong. However, I think there’s a difference between me being wrong five minutes after I see the incident but changing my tune within an hour (as more facts come out), and United’s CEO issuing a tone deaf statement 24 hours later, after so many more facts had emerged.

  50. In certain contexts, I would agree, but not in this case. This man was acting well within his right. United was in flagrant violation of its own contract of carriage (see below), and was using the police to protect its own self-interest. Blindly submitting to the police would only make it okay for United to keep doing what they’re doing, as they have been doing for ages. Chances are things won’t change much in the long term, but at least United getting the backlash it deserves for treating its customers like sh*t.

    “United makes very clear in its own contract of carriage that employees of their own or of other carriers may be denied boarding without compensation because they do not have reserved confirmed seats. On its face, it’s clear that what they did was illegal– they gave preference to their employees over people who had reserved confirmed seats, in violation of 14 CFR 250.2a.”

    I don’t disagree that the guy had a “right” to his seat. However, if “rights” are quashed, we have a system in place to correct what’s wrong, it’s called the court of law. Every night on the news we see the effect of people not obeying law officers. The kid in Ferguson, MO would still be alive if he obeyed the commands of the officer, so would the guy in Oklahoma City that was shot by the female cop. The list goes on and on. Fight back, but fight back with a lawyer.

    Also, the employees were not flying as part of their personal flight benefits, but were in fact being repositioned in order to conduct the business of the company. I think that is a key difference.

  51. This is termed delayed mitigation of loss. This horribly mistreated man must sue the pants off United for himself and every other at risk traveler.

  52. @Tachyon
    As far as I’m concerned the passenger’s background is totally irrelevant. And sure, United has a PR staff. I was addressing the assertion that United was responsible for leaking all this stuff as part of some underground smear campaign. It’s public information, it’s far more likely that someone googled the guy and wrote a quick article. Not everything is a conspiracy.

  53. Give that passenger free & forever lifetime flights on United: worldwide, anywhere, anytime, anyplace, any flight. In FC and/or BC.

  54. How are we to know something like this won’t happen again. Another airline had a female passenger removed a few months ago. Is the all part of making America great again? The companies can call in police/Pinkerton officers/TSA officers/airport security guards and toss you off the plane?

    I am done with United& Delta, there are lots of other options out there.

  55. A true apology has to admit personal wrong doing and he does not. He does not apologize for calling the victim disruptive and belligerent. This is not an apology.

  56. That guy deserves free flights on United for life. They could easily have continued to raise the offered compensation until someone took it.

    And to think the police are willing to get involved. They obviously are not frequent flyers; they should have told United to do the right thing and simply grounded all United flights until they did.

  57. Meaningless pandering following only after a very real market effect to his company’s bottom line. Note how he did not even retract his earlier two statements. Someone’s head should roll.

  58. Has anyone else bothered to read about our dear pulmonologist Dr. Dao? The Kentucky State Medical Board said his practice constituted “a danger to the health, welfare and safety of his patients or the general public” and that the board had “probable cause to believe that the physician has committed certain violations in the recent past that present probable cause to believe that (Dao) will commit similar violations in the near future.” It was surprising that it took so long for the news to report on Dr. Dao’s past. I saw information about his crimes and the loss of his medical license posted on bulletin boards yesterday. Dr. Dao received Axis I diagnoses of R/O PTSD and R/O MDD as part of the psychiatric evaluation for regaining his medical license. A subsequent examination resulted in an Axis I diagnosis of Mood Disorder NOS, with the examining psychiatrist finding that Dr. Dao “lacked the foundation to navigate difficult situations, both interpersonally and in a complex profession,” as well as noting “a need to control, avoidance, withholding information and magical thinking as problematic.” Knowledge of these psychiatric problems might help explain why he squealed like a pig when the thug started to remove him from his seat and then was chanting “just kill me” when he ran back on board the aircraft. Did the good doctor’s behavior strike anyone one as “normal?”

  59. Kudos to him. There’s no such thing as “too little too late,” in my opinion, when it comes to genuine apologies.

  60. Truly an unfortunate event; however, you have to respect authority and when you are told by a flight crew member to exit the plane, you exit the plane. It’s a lot like trying to negotiate a different outcome when a State Trouper tells you 3 times to put your hands on the hood of your car… the predictable outcome is not pleasant if you don’t comply.

    It sucks to be pulled from the plane, but you don’t get a vote. If you don’t like the rules, don’t play the game. I bet 100% of the people taking Greyhound between Chicago & Louisville yesterday were not requested to get off the bus… we all have options, and opting into a US flight comes with being having to exit the plane if directed.

  61. If I was the CEO and my team hopefully is a group who have the balls to tell me “umm dude that was so uncool” and finally realizing this I would do the following. Give the poor guy we roughed up 1 million miles because how much could that possible cost ual vs bad publicity. And then donate $250K to his charity. Then go to the guy’s office and personally apologize. Also, ask the wife what a genuine apology should sound like because we all know CEOs are so far removed from humanity there is no way they know sincerity anymore.

  62. Ok, playing devil’s advocate here… What happened to this passenger should have been handled in a much different way, agreed. No excuses for this!!!

    How about the way the passenger acted? Do the actions of this individual resemble those of a doctorate level person or that of a 2 year old! Really??? At some point he should have realized that he was not going to win this battle, rather win the war later.

    So many people rallied behind this person and never called the behavior out. Such behavior is more and more accepted which represents a sad state of affairs for our society.

    If I saw my doctor throw this kind of tantrum, I would fire her!

  63. In the past UAL broke guitars and now they bump passengers off theirs planes. Something has been very wrong up there for quite a long time.

  64. What previous goodwill did united ceo earn? By being greedy & retarded ? Like every other ceo

    They only get one thing that is $

  65. Guys please continue to boycott United, they deserved to have their stock tank deep and cause the executives their job. This is pathetic they initially said they have done everything right, their stock tanked today and they came out again saying they are wrong, give me a break.. please continue to boycott united for at least a month.

  66. “We apologize for the previous apology. We apologized insincerely and for that we take complete responsibility and sincerely apologize. It is never too late to apologize for an improper apology and so we apologize. We are completely right in saying that we were wrong to say we were right when in fact we were wrong. And for that we apologize. The people who are responsible for the original apology have been sacked. And the people responsible for sacking the people who were sacked have also been sacked. Sorry. Now buy our stock and fly the sorry skies. Apologetically yours, etc.”

  67. LMAO @ Seatback! Comrade Putin agrees with your statement. Obey, do not question, accept all orders from authority or else! Then take it up with the courts belonging to the very same authority that you demand we all be like you and grovelingly and cowardly and unconditionally surrender to.

    Because, Seatback, nonviolent civil disobedience never once ever in all of our history accomplished any changes in society, am I right? LOL!

  68. I don’t feel the slightest bit sorry for the CEO. As a very long term loyal (remained all through their financial problems) Premium Class United passenger, in early 2015 I addressed a detailed personal email to him outlining a litany of problems and bad experiences on two separate First Class flights. Not only was he so uninterested that he or even his PA could not even acknowledge my email which I know was delivered to him and advise it was being attended to by someone else, but the only response I did get was a brush off / get lost from some person of unknown position and authority. I at least honoured my commitment not to publish or circulate the letter, which would be embarrassing to United and potentially hurt the many long term hard working employees. He is the head of the airline and he needs to be proactive and genuinely concerned about problems and to be up front, rather than to delegate and hide behind others. United’s Management structure obviously is to filter out rather than face them head on. They seem to forget there are many other alternatives for travel. My respect for him and his airline is now zero.

  69. I think we’re being a little hard on United. United probably didn’t design the system that accepted the victim’s reservation and deposited his money. United probably didn’t design the system that intentionally sells more seats than it can carry through the air. United probably did not train the thousands of people who are responsible for dealing with the chaos that will predictably ensue when the paid, reserved victim is told the seat is gone or needs to be relinquished. United probably has no idea that the millions of victims is carries each year each have a personal story that goes with their trips and unknown requirements to get to their destinations on time (much like deadheading crews). United’s boss probably has no idea of the phone calls between board members probably taking place.

  70. @joe
    “No excuses for this!!!”
    And then go on to tell us how you would fire your doctor, hmmm.
    I’ve seen another cell phone video that showed him asking to call his lawyer and clearly there was a communication breakdown, perhaps due to language, before he was dragged from his seat.
    If you didn’t understand what was going on and then were humiliated by forcing, dragging your behind off a airplane that involves smashing your face, when all you wanted to do was go home, perhaps you think that’s a tantrum. I don’t agree.
    I’m not alone:
    @ YULtide lol!

  71. This whole thing is worse than a can of worms for United. More like a can of maggots being served to everyone in United Polaris all the way to the back of the bus!

    I use to work closely with this dreaded airline’s management (with one of their United Express carriers) and nothing this airline does surprises me. They were always arrogant and their attitude was “my way or the highway”. I tend to avoid flying them unless I know I’ll be flying a route staffed by a Continental crew, but that can be tricky. So if I must travel I make sure I am not in coach, and then hope for the best.

    The true question is how will United compensate the victim to make it right? Throw him a bag of peanuts? No, seriously though it is certainly in their power to grant him 1K or Chairmans status for life, even “fly free” for life. But if that had happened to you, what would you feel is fair compensation? Perks? Cash? Or a combo of both?

    Very curious too to see how the outcome of United’s revamped DBC guidelines and how well it is implemented throughout the system. Staff training among an airline that already has morale issue is not going to be easy to implement by April 30th.

    @ lucky — appreciate you keeping us posted on future developments surrounding this story.

  72. Stop flying UA or other North American airline until they truly understand good customer service. Learn from major Asian carriers. American unions are way too strong.

  73. It is not an insult to a passanger but the fault of American system. They first insult and invade then excuses.

  74. So much rancor about this event and the underlying root causes, but I think this particular scenario is easy to fix. Don’t let people onto the plane and later try and take away their seats! Much easier to set priorities, do crowd control and people management prior to boarding- hats why they have a gate!

    Sure, you need to decide 10 minutes before you board who gets every seat, so cannot squeeze in a late arriving flight crew who has to be in Louisville in the morning. But I bet that United wishes it had done that originally anyway…

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