Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

P.R. expert weighs in on United Airlines incident

P.R. expert weighs in on United Airlines incident

DOT does not dictate what compensation airlines offer, but passengers should be told what it will be.

Screaming can be heard on the videos, but nowhere is Dao seen attacking the officers. But the CEO of United's parent company, Oscar Munoz, has been notified of the hearing scheduled for Thursday.

The incident sparked global condemnation and allegations of racism over the airline's treatment of the Asian man. Shares in the company also took a significant hit.

A doctor who was violently dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight so that staff could take his seat was filmed with blood flowing down his chin afterwards, saying: "They'll kill me, I want to go home, I want to go home". He was a paying passenger sitting in his seat on our aircraft.

United Airlines officials are left picking up the pieces after officers with Chicago's Department of Aviation were videotaped dragging a passenger from an overbooked flight Sunday.

In images now seen around the world, Dao was forcefully removed and bloodied in the process - the entire event captured on video by passengers and posted on social media.

As heartfelt as Munoz's talking points were, however, ABC News correspondent Rebecca Jarvis was quick to ask why the United CEO hadn't expressed similar sentiments in his first apology - let alone the internal company letter that leaked.

As for the initial turf-out response, which included the infamous "re-accommodate" language, and the internal communication that called Dao "belligerent and disruptive", Munoz said he didn't issue a full-throated apology because details were still coming in. "This will never happen again on a United flight". However, one passenger had to be dragged away after he fought airport police who tried to remove him. "Look at what you did to him".

"This will never happen again", he also said in the interview.

Munoz also said the company would reassess policies for seeking volunteers to give up their seats, for handling oversold flights and for partnering with airport authorities. When no one voluntarily came forward, United selected four passengers at random.

The skies might be friendly for United, but not so much on the ground, where some of the airline's employees seem to be suffering from a dearth of common sense. The fourth person refused to move, and police were called, United spokesman Charlie Hobart said. Various Chicago organizations gathered to demand accountability from United Airlines after a passenger was forcibly removed from a flight last weekend. If the airline wouldn't or couldn't make its employees wait for another flight, or fly a different route, or rent a vehicle and drive to Louisville, then United should have accepted what Delta evidently accepts: This may cost us a lot, but it's cheaper than the headaches if the world sees us manhandling our paying passengers. Many people give up their seat willingly in exchange for money, but previous year some 40,000 people were bumped involuntarily.

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