United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz went all contrite on Tuesday – one day after Twitter torched him for suggesting the bloodied passenger dragged off a plane Sunday by law enforcement had been “disruptive and belligerent” when United sent law enforcement to forcibly remove him from his seat to give it to a United employee.
“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,” Munoz said Tuesday, in marked contrast to his Monday statement and memo to staff.
“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 in this way. I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.”
On Monday night, however, Munoz had claimed, in a memo to staff, that United employees “followed established procedures” in ejecting the passenger, who he described as “disruptive and belligerent.”
Maybe not coincidentally, in between Munoz’s two stabs at handling the situation, United Airlines stock took a nosedive and the Department of Transportation announced it is reviewing United’s handling of the situation.
Video had gone viral of the bloodied passenger being dragged off the flight from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Louisville, Ky, while fellow passengers expressed their horror. Jimmy Kimmel and Funny or Die are among those who have savaged the airline for the incident.
United said that on Sunday it had asked for four volunteers to leave the plane; when no one took them up on their offer, the company selected four lucky paying customers, one of whom declined to give up his seat.
On Monday, Munoz had said in a statement: “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.” Later that day, he issued that memo to staff.