United Airlines’ CEO Oscar Munoz has issued the a statement concerning the passenger who dragged off an oversold flight yesterday–
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. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation
This statement strikes a wise and cautious balance between assuming guilt and discarding the passenger. Even so, I would have expressed outrage over how the passenger was dragged off. That deflects the blame from United. Perhaps even mention that United did not operate the flight (it was Republic).
Unfortunately, United already opened its mouth earlier. The company’s first statement was tame enough–
Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation.
But spokesman Charlie Hobart added–
We followed the right procedures. That plane had to depart.
We wanted to get our customers to their destinations, and when one gentleman refused to get off the aircraft, we had to call the Chicago Police Department.
That may well be the case. But it is still tone deaf when most of the country is outraged over the incident.
I just exchanged a flurry of heated text messages with a friend (and lawyer) in Atlanta who is absolutely convinced that the passenger was in the right. I’m not convinced.
I find myself deeply divided both from an emotional and legal perceptive. Thus, I will withhold my commentary until I can come to greater internal consensus on the issue.
Even with the videos that have come out, I am not ready to lay blame at the foot of anyone. But my heart does go out to the gentleman below.
— Kaylyn Davis (@kaylyn_davis) April 10, 2017