Saturday, 27 May, 2017

United CEO Oscar Munoz talks about passenger removal controversy

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Mae Harvey | 19 April, 2017, 05:47

On Wednesday, Mr Munoz said he felt "shame and embarrassment" and vowed it would never happen again. The footage records an initial conversation between Dao and an airport law enforcement officer and seemingly refutes the airline's assertion that passenger was "disruptive and belligerent", before he was dragged off the plane.

The Sunday incident has grabbed headlines worldwide after being captured on a video that has gone viral. United employees explained the situation to the man several times and when he refused, they followed Department of Transportation protocol and called local law enforcement to forcibly remove him from the plane. "We can't do that".

The backlash from the incident resonated around the world, with social media users in the United States, China and Vietnam calling for boycotts of the No.3 USA carrier by passenger traffic and an end to the practice of overbooking flights. Passengers said blood dripped from his mouth after he hit his head on an armrest.

The flight was loaded and preparing to leave Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Sunday when the man was dragged off.

In more bad news for the airline, another video has surfaced, this one filmed shortly before the passenger was dragged off the plane.

Alderman Mike Zalewski says he does not know who will represent the airline before the city council's Aviation Committee.

Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans will also speak.

Last year, USA airlines filled 82% of seats with paying passengers, a statistic known as load factor.

It was at least Munoz's fourth statement about the confrontation.

Has United Airlines implemented any policy changes as a result of this incident?

Hours later on Monday, his tone turned defensive.

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Munoz came under fire for initially praising employees in a memo and not issuing an apology to Dao for two days.

By Tuesday afternoon, nearly two days after the Sunday evening events, Munoz issued another apology.

"No one should ever be mistreated this way", said Munoz.

After the incident, Dao remains hospitalized at a Chicago area medical facility, according to his lawyers.

Dr Dao's lawyers on Wednesday filed court papers seeking to have United Airlines and the city of Chicago keep all evidence related to the case in a sign that further legal action may be pending. Those documents are often the first steps toward a lawsuit.

In a news release, the attorneys say they plan to talk to the media and that they will be accompanied by a relative of Dr. David Dao.

Dao also tells officers he'd rather go to jail than willingly leave the plane.

The event stemmed from a common air travel issue - a full flight. Finding none - and no takers for financial compensation - four passengers were selected at random to give up their seats.

That's when three Aviation Department police officers boarded the plane.

Screaming can be heard on the videos as Dao is dragged from his window seat and across the armrest, but he is not seen fighting with the officers.

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