United Airlines has been in the spotlight all week since a viral video showed the brutal mistreatment of a passenger who refused to volunteer his seat on an overbooked flight.
CEO Oscar Munoz made matters worse with a press release that apologized for the seat re-assignment, but ignored the assault on a paying customer. Public sentiment worsened after a company wide email leaked to the press showed Munoz attempting to shift the blame to the victim and the officers involved in his removal.
Public outrage over the video and Munoz’s “tone deaf” response has become a public relations nightmare for United Airlines resulting in massive losses on the stock market. According to Fortune Finance “shares of United fell as much as 6.3% in pre-market trading, dropping $1.4 billion from the now $21 billion company by market cap. By early trading Tuesday, shares were down 4%.”
Late Tuesday night Munoz released a second statement accepting full responsibility for the treatment of the passenger.
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. 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 this way.
I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.
It’s never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again. This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. We’ll communicate the results of our review by April 30th.
I promise you we will do better.
Do you appreciate his sentiment or is this response too little, too late?
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