United CEO Says Decision To End NRA Discount Was Personal, Not Political

Filed Under: United

In late February a lot of companies cut ties with the NRA, following the Parkland tragedy. This came after companies that were associated in any way with the NRA got bombarded on social media with requests to cut ties with the organization.

This even impacted some major US airlines that offered discounts for those traveling to NRA conferences. Presumably the intent of these discounts wasn’t political as such. Companies offer discounts for volume all the time, though they sometimes shy away from controversial organizations.

The challenge here was that being associated with the NRA suddenly became more controversial. I’m not quite sure that I get why it suddenly became controversial, because I feel like not a whole lot has changed. I guess it’s that gun control is finally becoming more of a consistent topic of national conversation, rather than something we only talk about in the days following a tragedy, and then largely seem to forget about.

Delta was one of the airlines that announced they’d cut ties with the NRA. They said that they had a neutral stance in the national debate over gun control, and that they support the 2nd Amendment. However, they said that they don’t partner with controversial organizations, and that this was why they were cutting ties.

This ended up backfiring for Delta, as Republican lawmakers in Georgia repealed a tax break for Delta that could have saved them up to $50 million. In reality, it was later revealed that only 13 people had ever taken advantage of that discount. Ouch.

At United’s annual shareholders meeting today, the topic of gun control came up, and specifically about United’s decision to cut ties with the NRA. Bloomberg reports that an attendee confronted United CEO Oscar Munoz about United’s decision to cut ties with the NRA:

The shooter wasn’t affiliated with the NRA, the questioner said, “But hey, congratulations on your liberal virtue-signaling.”

How did Oscar Munoz respond?

“Sir, it wasn’t political,” Munoz responded. “It was personal with regard to my family at United.”

For Munoz, the tragedy hit home because one of the 17 people killed in the Florida massacre, Gina Rose Montalto, was the teenage daughter of a United captain.

“That’s why we made the decision,” Munoz said. “We aren’t here to make political conversation or strike political debate. We’re here to serve customers.”

I’m not actually sure what Munoz was going for. What exactly is a “personal” decision for a company with 90,000 people? The way I see it, taking a stance on something like this is inherently a political decision. In my opinion it’s not necessarily wrong to send a message like that. But it’s not like the NRA changed overnight — they’ve had the same stance on things for a long time, and I think it’s hard to argue that this is anything but a political move (which, again, I think is fine, and I think is sometimes the right thing to do).

So while I don’t think it was appropriate to bring this up at the shareholders meeting, I’m also not exactly sure I know what Munoz meant with his response.

Can anyone make more sense of Munoz’s response here?

  1. He was put on the spot and made an effort at spinning this. Not a great effort admittedly.
    Had he had the time to prepare, you see a much more politically tidy response.
    All in all I think the airline did send a highly political message. I don’t disagree with it, I think the NRA are an organisation I wouldn’t want to be supporting either, but this is still a political stance.

  2. I am tired of pansy ass liberals using every tragedy of what ever sort to push their agenda to get rid of guns, free speech and all other things they don’t approve … smoking, SUVs, pick up trucks etc etc etc

    I joined the NRA and so did many other non NRA member conservatives just because of the push back after Parkland

    This was political for sure. United’s headquarters is in Chicago..a super liberal city

  3. That’s the trouble when you open the floor to questions, you never know what you are going to get. Muñoz has gone off the rails before, but I don’t think this was one of those times. For this decision he claims he was looking out for members of his United family. Do I think that was the real reason, probably not. I think he did a fine job responding on the fly. Unlike other off the cuff comments I’m sure this isn’t going to drop the stock $10 tomorrow.

    I wonder how many people used the United NRA discount….

  4. Don’t you make that beeping noise when you back up like that, “de nada” Oscar?

  5. David, If your kids die in a spray of gunfire – that’s evolution. We will eventually get gun control it’s just a question of how many die to get there.

  6. @david,

    We don’t care if you keep those things, we just want you to pay for the costs. I don’t want my medicare taxes paying to treat your lung cancer. The tobacco company should be paying.

  7. @ Tom

    I don’t smoke .

    I also don’t want to pay for all the liberal ‘victims’ who sit on their asses all day and get food stamps and welfare and Medicaid because dems have told them the ‘the man’ is keeping them from succeeding in life

  8. @Nick

    really?? Your liberal countries (Canada, EU, Australia) will soon be having forced conversions to Islam or die. it won’t happen in USA as we are armed and ready to fight

  9. Now that turned very political very quickly.
    Funny enouh, as a non American (phew) I have the privilege to line with both sides.
    I think guns are bad. I think cigarettes are bad. I think your crazy reliance on welfare, and generations of people going through life without having to work a single day is also bad.

  10. The holocaust never would have happened if the jews were armed . The 2nd amendment is the only way to protect ourselves from government tyranny.

  11. I’m tired of pansy ass Red-tards using every tragedy to shift blame to the minority du jour, lamenting how these problems wouldn’t exist if we could just bring back the way things were.

    A true neo-con of the Dubya era would applaud United’s skillful sense to let the invisible hand of capitalism dictate business decisions rather than see this as shameful politics.

    This is why America fails to understand that tax cuts for all are only tax cuts for the wealthy.

  12. In 2015, the most recent year I could find statistics for both categories, 475 people were killed in “mass shooting incidents” while 626 people were killed in “boating accidents” in the United States. The answer to these problems is therefore clear: we must ban all boats immediately. I call on the government to enact a comprehensive boat control package to stop the carnage! All airlines should refuse to fly anyone who has ever been on a boat. If you do not support boat control, you are the problem

  13. Well now I love Oscar again but I wish he pushed back harder on guns. Guns do not belong in any civilized society, and gun nuts are quite frankly insane. I hope one day the government really does come to take away everyone’s guns. As a millennial I hope that within my lifetime we can get the 2nd amendment repealed.

  14. We can only have a Frank conversation about gun control one Wayne LA Pierre and Marco Rubio’ and some off the NRA members kids get shot and their brains blown out.

    Then let’s see if they come up with cute slogans about arming teachers and students and Mickey mouse.

    Till then they are BSing. Like world peace, they want to end gun violence but won’t give a shit if it never happens.

    Also gun control is not on people’s mind. If 80% really wanted gun control it would have been done already.

    Also lucky you are a shit stirrer. Anything for clicks and money.

  15. MJolnir,

    Boats provide usefulness. The risk reward radio is determined that the reward is worth the risk.

    Use that argument to justify guns. And on that you may get disagreement with others whose comfort level about guns is different but your argument would be still be valid.

    Right now your argument is non sensical. Something the rapist trump might make.

  16. I would have just given a blank stare and proceed to the next question. The person asking the question was there to throw in an insult rather than asking a straight question.

    And its a shareholder meeting, this question brings zero value to the meeting.

    My take, Oscar shouldn’t have bothered with providing a response.

  17. @ Mjolnir22 – No one chose to be in a mass shooting incident. Boaters chose to be on a boat. If you cant see the difference theres a big problem.

    If boats harmed 626 people without being provoked, sure lets ban boats too. Actually better yet, lets put more restrictions on how you can operate the boat so people dont fucking die.

  18. @debitors

    Of course tax cuts only got to the top 53% of wage earners because the bottom 47% pay no income tax now

    But who creates all the jobs for those 47%..the 53% who own and start businesses…DUH

  19. @David: Sorry to hear about your fatigue. Maybe you need some vitamins or to hit the gym.

    As for paying for all the “liberal victims who sit on their asses all day and get food stamps and welfare and Medicaid,” I can’t imagine then how much you HATE the fact that every single Southern State takes in more in federal entitlements and subsidies than they pay in federal taxes. Yep, every single one of them is run by Republicans and has a majority of Republican-voting citizens.

    Personally, I think it’s hilarious that so many conservatives got their panties in a bunch when Mitt Romney famous spoke in 2008 about the 47% of Americans whose votes he couldn’t get because they were “the takers.” Since the majority of welfare recipients are White and live in the South and Midwest, statistics show that he was actually speaking disproportionately about people who ended up voting for him, believing the opposite.

    Ultimately, it’s up to you if you want to make everything a partisan issue, but it’s truly much healthier to drop the mock outrage. And besides, people will stop laughing at you.

  20. “I am tired of pansy ass liberals using every tragedy of what ever sort to push their agenda to get rid of guns, free speech and all other things they don’t approve … smoking, SUVs, pick up trucks etc etc etc”

    Gosh. USA is a lost cause. Really. Good luck mending your country where half your population thinks like this.

  21. This isn’t that difficult to understand. A United employee was personally affected by the tragedy and as a result Oscar made the decision to support the employee and his family in their time of sorrow. If he hadn’t made that decision how could he possibly face that family? Doing nothing was not an option.

  22. Lucky you miss the whole point Munoz was trying to make. It was HIS UNITED FAMILY…………Fascism is not an option for “most” thinking Americans………….

  23. As is the NRA or or any of it’s members have any effect on these shootings.

    Most people are not really ready to truly look deep and hard at the issue and admit what the real problem is.
    It is a very sick country that is 21 trillion in debt, over 40% obese and 75% overweight, 1 in 8 people on anti-depressants, never ending foreign wars and a failing political system. These shootings are a symptom of our sick and warped culture. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Kunstler had a really good article on it this week which pretty much sums it up:

    Ben, I never comment on what you post, I know everyone else here talks more than enough shit about stuff you post…but really, this adds nothing of value to your blog.

  24. @David

    Assisted suicide already exists, look up David Goodall. Im guessing that is probably not within your republican pro life bubble.

    All im saying is that you should have a choice about dying. Everything is a calculated risk. People in boats do have a choice, they got in the boat. People in mass shooting incidents dont have that liberty because guns are so unregulated and you dont have to be responsible or stable to own one.

  25. Honestly, your membership and contributions to these organizations is as important as your vote. One could argue more important.
    Please contribute to organizations that support your beliefs. For me it is:
    NRA = YES, (lifetime member)
    Planned Parenthood = NO (obvious reasons)
    GreenPeace = YES (amazing risks of life and limb for their cause)

    Just use your money and time to multiply your Vote.

  26. Lucky I have been a loyal reader for some time but if you don’t get this maybe you shouldn’t post about it… but from here on out hopefully someone else that does get will replace me as a reader

  27. @Mjolnir22 – You’ll find that in 2015, 13,286 people were killed by guns in the US. Why you restrict your statistics to “mass shooting events” I have absolutely no idea – perhaps you think single killings are great? (Or more fairly, you think everyone else is stupid and wouldn’t fall for your ridiculously manipulated statistics?)

    The second way that makes you look stupid is that the comparison is beyond absurd. Guns are designed to kill people, boats are designed to transport people. Being killed by a boat is an unfortunate side-effect of the products purpose, being killed by a gun is exactly what it’s designed to do. “Intent” is important – it’s the exact reason why we have first degree murder, second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

    Finally, the utility of the thing you want to ban to protect lives is important. Cars kill far more people than guns do in the US – the reason that’s allowed to continue is that removing the cars will have an enormous negative impact on society. Aside from the hurt feelings of the precious little souls who live in perpetual fear (amusingly, often the people who like to pretend to others that they’re brave and tough!) and must have war weapons available to them at all time, it won’t have anywhere near the negative impact on society that banning cars or boats would.

  28. The NRA is terrorist organization. I’m glad United stood up against idiot gun owners.

  29. I wish I could be taking the same drugs david and Mjolnir22 are taking…it must be bliss being in that state of light-headed delusion…la la la la la la…head floating in the sky…

  30. “We’re here to serve customers….”

    ….except when our Flight Attendants don’t feel like offering the Polaris bedding.

    …..except when we run out of red wine 1 hour into a 12-hour flight.

    …..except when we feel like killing your animal.

    …..except when I feel like featuring my fat face in the safety video.

  31. @Mjolnir22

    Just out of interest, how many of the mass shootings were considered “accidental” and how many were considered “murder”?

    And then, for the sake of comparison, do exactly the same with boating deaths.

    You’re welcome.

  32. The US have 57 times as many school shootings as all other G7 countries combined. Of course this is not at all related to every idiot having access to guns.

  33. Millennials are the first generation of Americans who want rights taken away from them and demand ‘safe spaces’.

    In response, many high schools in Florida, purses and backpacks are no longer allowed, or must be 100% transparent. Good luck carrying extra clothing, or worse, soiled clothing & feminine hygiene products discretely when it’s period time girls! Now everyone knows when it’s your time.

    Millennials are also the #1 group of people who fall victim to scams, per a Federal Trade Commission study. Congrats kids! Prior to your generation it was usually grandma getting scammed by that nice young man at the door. The FTC said that Millennials generally don’t question anything from someone who claims to be an authority.

    /not a fan of guns, don’t own any, hope I’m never in a situation where I would.
    //the real issue is the lack of mental health resources & lack of fathers / broken families. Well-adjusted people don’t go shooting up each other.

  34. @AlexS

    WTF does being a millennial have to do with any of this? And these types of shootings have been going on since the 1990s at least, long before the millennials came of age.

  35. @David Good to see you have no idea about Australia. 604,000 Muslims in a population of 24.2 million, around 0.25%. What’s your definition of ‘soon’? 100 years, 250, 500?

  36. The beauty of the gun control argument brought up by @David is that both sides are only insistent on parrotting their own talk lines.
    Of course, what @David never mentions is that the Republicans demonise Islam because Islam was the religion of black emancipation (hope Ive used the correct word).
    The NRA, like all other “special interests” has taken over the govt. Clowns like Dave only help keep them there.

  37. …and this is how Trump got elected, demonizing the other side. Are any of you adults? When will we learn to respect those with different opinions? Each side has a point and their opinions should be respected. The definition of a bigot is someone who is intolerant of those with opinions different then their own. A lot of bigots in this tread. This is sad.

  38. It’s really amusing to read the triggered (no pun intended) NRA members’ responses to the mere suggestion that guns just might be part of the problem. The only person I know that is an NRA member is a distant second or third cousin, and it’s exactly what you’d expect (someone who routinely refers to our former president as the “N” word). Nutty!

  39. @Debit-Troll much? Your opinions are the epitome of uneducated and do not represent those of the majority.

    Your statements are so CRAZY that they don’t even need a response. I will say this…you will eventually be without your beloved guns, or Trump! Why? Because you right wing crazies are not the sharpest tools in the shed and will be outwitted and out maneuvered.

  40. Even if you agree 100% with Oscar’s position and view here, what he’s doing is completely stupid (even by Oscar’s low standards).

    All he accomplishes is infuriating 50% of his potential customer base by taking a strong political stand on this. When will business leaders ever learn that you should want to sell your product to liberals, conservatives, Green party members, Libertarians, EVERYONE.

    Politics has zero place in business, just like it has zero place in sports. Oh well, now let’s watch UA’s stock drop 20 points over the next 3 months.

  41. I should have known that the lumpenprols would not have had the intellectual capacity to understand boat control. Meanwhile these boats have innocent blood on their propellers. I’ll bet my balance of 800 Starwood/Marriott points that History will prove me right!

    You see it’s all about risk. No one chooses to be a victim of gun violence just like no one chooses to be in a boating accident. If only we could come up with the right words to put on paper to stop both! But we sadly can’t seem to regulate every aspect of people’s behavior all the time. We must try harder! After all, America was founded on the idea of micromanaging every aspect of everything after that mean old King George wouldn’t give the colonists enough regulations.

    I guess you could choose not to go around boats or any other method of modern transportation. Sorry frequent flyers. But if everyone stayed strapped up 24/7 we would have herd immunity against mass shootings. Knife control is working well in London.

    Many more people died from gun violence than mass shootings just like many more people died in car wrecks than boating accidents. It is time to think big and ban all modern transport to reach the acceptable level of 0 casualties. We should seek to return to a pre industrial society where everything is totally safe all the time. After all, people in the 1500s were much happier and lived longer lives.

    That’s progress. Boat control forever!

  42. @mark so you DON’T want women to get cancer screenings? What a nice American you are.

  43. Good on the airlines for showing the rabid NRA ratbags the door. Sometimes I watch the coverage of this issue on Fox ‘News’ and my mouth falls open in disbelief. Fortunately I’ve never met any of the nutters/loonies who believe the crap that constitutional rights, as envisaged by the Founding Fathers, should apply as ‘writ in concrete’ in perpetuity. Truly bizarre, borderline insane argument.

  44. The questioner said that the shooter was not even affiliated with NRA…

    so what’s next? if someone is killed by a Toyota truck, cut the ties with Toyota? …if hateful words are written by Bic pen, ban the pens?…

    I had barely known what NRA was before all this started, but now I am seriously considering joining them…not because of the guns – I don’t own one nor do I plan to own one…but because I believe that maybe today they want to take away something I don’t care about, but tomorrow it might be something I do care about…

    it’s so true what Martin Niemoller wrote:

    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  45. I can’t decide if Mjolnir22 is high on drugs, an idiot, or both.

    Sorry, T., but nobody is buying what you are trying to sell.

  46. For all the folks ragging on the NRA, how are you going to prevent the latest shooting? Ban all handguns? (good luck with that) Ban all shotguns? (really, really good luck with that)

    These were not AR 15, or other assault rifles used to hunt people. (I do agree there is not good reason for those to be on the market and disagree with the NRA on this.) But, if you think the NRA is why all these kids are getting shot, you are making it way too simplistic and we’ll never solve the issues.

  47. So, as a non-American, can someone explain to me… what actually is the point of guns? Why do you have them? As far as I can see, the most logical reason for having a gun is that all the burglars and muggers have guns, so I should have one to defend myself with, but what would be the problem if you just took their guns away?

  48. Why are people commenting about boats here?

    There was NOTHING about boats in the blog post. The post mentioned UNITED AIRLINESand ENDING TE NREA DISCOUNT and LOTS OF SCREAMNG IN THE COMMENTS about how some people are GOING TO JOINT THE NREA OVER THIS but BOATS?


  49. @IAC

    The reason is the United States Constitution. The United States won its freedom from Britain in an armed revolution fought by a volunteer army of citizens-turned-soldiers. The second amendment guarantees the right of the populace to have a means of enacting another revolution should the government fail to uphold its part of the social contract or remove or ignore the protections of other rights guaranteed by our country’s laws. It also guarantees the right of the populace to a means of protection against foreign invasion and criminal acts.

    Simply banning guns does not help the situation. At best you’ll confiscate the weapons belonging to legal gun owners and a small percentage of criminals. Guns will still flow into the US from the Mexican border, just like the drugs that currently come across, but now all the legal gun owners are disarmed.

  50. @Dusty nailed it.

    @IAC some of my best memories growing up were doing target shooting with my dad. So that is another way guns are used. Biggest reason most folks have guns where I live is for hunting, thus, even if the constitution allowed it, you’d never have politicians agree to banning gun based hunting. I never ceased to be amazed by the media ignoring these very simple facts, and just buy into this NRA hysteria. As I’ve said, I do not agree with them on all issues, but they are a scapegoat so some can ignore the major problems in American society that is leading to these problems.

  51. @Dusty @THEsocalledfan
    So, hypothetically, if America were to tighten up border security around the Mexican border and then have more restrictions on buying guns, if not owning them, wouldn’t gun deaths go down slowly as gun ownership naturally declined? Putting certain restrictions on gun purchases would probably not be an ‘infringement on the people’s right to bear arms’, but more of a security measure, designed with the country’s best interests at heart (which, presumably, is the point of the constitution). Even if that does count as an infringement, does changing the constitution really matter that much? I realise that it symbolises America’s sovereignty and freedom, but it can’t be that important to be utterly infallible. If changing the constitution was the best thing for America, surely it should be done? The country’s best interests must be considered more important than a piece of paper written 300 years ago? (Also, having googled the bit in the constitution about guns, I found that it is in a part called the “second amendment”. Does that mean that the constitution has been amended before?)

  52. Seriously, what’s next. If terrorists use cars to kill people, should we ban AAA? If alcohol impairs judgement and, just like guns, can be disastrous in the wrong hands, should we ban alcohol? It had actually been done in the US history, how did that turn out? I don’t drink alcohol, but those salivating over champagne in F might care.
    It’s easy to ban something you don’t care about. It’s a different tune when it starts to affect one personally.
    Let’s ban pain killers, let’s ban marijuana, let’s ban coffee, soda, greasy foods. Seriously what else.
    How many NRA members committed any of these crimes? Probably none, yet let’s ban them. Criminals will always find an access of weapon. There is a will there is a way. It’s law abiding people whose rights will suffer. Banning is as good a solution as sweeping trash under the rug.
    As for Mr Munoz, rather than playing political games, he should better spend his time trying to turn that disaster, better known as United, into a semi decent company.

  53. @ IAC
    Yes the constitution has been amended before. But have you considered the possibility that perhaps the majority of the US citizens want the second amendment stay the way it is?
    @ Too Much Flying
    I totally agree. Regardless of one’s position on guns and/or gun control, one can’t help but seriously doubt Mr Munoz business acumen. What good businessman would want to alienate half of his customers? Perhaps shareholders and the board should reconsider having such businessman at the helm.

  54. @IAC I agree reasonable restrictions are okay, but how does that prevent deaths when shotguns are used like the last shooting? It would unreasonable to ban shotguns and a court would strike that down and it would cause riots to even try. That is the rub of it. Yes Constitution can be amended but crazy hard and both myself and most of the country would not support it. To me the current wording does allow reasonable restrictions and they should be pursued. (Like banning bump stocks, AR 15s etc)

  55. @IAC

    This hypothetical test would succeed if gun ownership rates directly correlated to gun death rates. It does not. A majority of gun deaths in the US are suicides, which would still end up as suicide in some other manner if the gun is removed from the equation. Of the remainder, most gun deaths occur as part of gang activity in urban areas, which would largely be unaffected by putting more restrictions on gun ownership. In addition, if controlling the border was as easy as anonymous internet posters make it seem, it would have been done decades ago. Mass shootings, which are the highest profile gun crimes, account for a very tiny subset of gun deaths, and many would have been prevented before they happened if not for failures by various government entities to keep the background check system up to date.

    I have no issues with the current controls, IE instant background check against a national database to check for criminal or mental illness history. I’d have no objection to a mandatory firearms license with gun safety courses and mental health checkup, so long as data on what weapons the licensee owns and such is not kept and logged. I do disagree with wholesale banning of weapons or accessories simply because of what they look like, who manufactures them, or how many rounds they can fire in a minute. That goes directly against the intent of the second amendment and is the first step down a slippery slope of destroying the one right that guarantees all others in the Constitution. I’d rather see us as a country fix our mental health system and our anti-social behavior of screaming at and belittling those who disagree with us before knee-jerking legislation that will erode our civil liberties and will be unlikely to be repealed even if it does turn out to be ineffective at combating gun violence.

  56. Respectfullt, this is the kind of post that made me leave View From The Wing. I get plenty of politics elsewhere.

  57. “[Delta] said that they had a neutral stance in the national debate over gun control, and that they support the 2nd Amendment. However, they said that they don’t partner with controversial organizations, and that this was why they were cutting ties.”

    Since all the NRA does is advocate compliance with the 2nd Amendment on behalf of its 4-million members, Delta is talking out of its ass when they claim they support the 2nd Amendment but are against the NRA.

  58. Reminds me of one of the back and forths in Die Hard with a Vengeance:

    McClane: You’re a racist! You don’t like me because I’m white!
    Zeus: I don’t like you because you’re going to get me killed!

    This doesn’t have to be about politics. I’ll take it at face value. The group that fights for something that ended up with the daughter of one of their employees killed lost their discount. Sounds like sour grapes over a pretty cut and dry response. Boo fucking hoo

  59. De Nada Munoz = Dumbest CEO ever. How this imbecile still has his job is amazing….BUT….if they let him go then those like me who are stuck living within the former Continental occupied area of IAH are going to be stuck with the Scott The Airline Killer Kirby.

    How this ridiculous Board makes decisions is almost as bad as the idiots they keep bringing in. Way to continue devaluating yourself UA.

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