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United CEO 'Ashamed' Of Shameful Removal, Says Law Enforcement Will Not Be Used That Way Again

By Stephen Gossett in News on Apr 12, 2017 2:44PM

United CEO Oscar Munoz / ABC

After the public-relations fiasco and subsequent stock nosedive that followed the violent removal of Dr. David Dao from a booked United Airlines plane at O'Hare International Airport, CEO Oscar Munoz landed on Good Morning America to continue what could be an extended mea culpa tour. He apologized again, to Dao and his family, and vowed to not use law enforcement to deplane seated passengers.

"We are not going to put a law enforcement official onto a plane to take them off... to remove a booked, paid, seated passenger; we can't do that," the hyper-embattled CEO said on Wednesday morning in Chicago.

He added:

“It was a system failure. We have not provided our front line (employees) with the proper tools policies, procedures that allow them to use their common sense. They all have an incredible amount of common sense and this issue could have been solved by that. That’s on me. I have to fix that and I think that’s something that we can do."

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

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.

"I think my reaction to most issues is to get the facts and circumstances. My initial words fell short of truly expressing the shame," he said.

Dao was dragged down the aisle of United Express flight 3411 before takeoff on Sunday evening. United said that seats were needed for crew members; and passengers were reportedly offered up to $800 to incentivize a flight change. It's not clear why United didn't offer the full $1,350 allowed in overbooking circumstances.

Video quickly spread of the violent removal, including the dragging and Dao's bloodied face. An aviation officer was placed on leave, the Chicago Department of Aviation said on Monday. "The incident... was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department," the CDA said. Dao is recovering from injuries in a Chicago hospital, according to a statement from his attorneys.