terça-feira, 2 de maio de 2017
United Airlines CEO calls passenger's removal a 'mistake of epic proportions' / VIDEO: United Airlines CEO takes responsibility for passenger incident
United Airlines CEO calls passenger's removal a 'mistake of epic proportions'
Oscar Munoz contrite before House transportation committee
David Dao’s ‘terrible experience’ described as a ‘turning point’ for airline
Associated Press in Washington
Tuesday 2 May 2017 18.52 BST Last modified on Wednesday 3 May 2017 02.55 BST
The United Airlines chief executive, Oscar Munoz, has told a congressional committee that an incident in which a passenger was forcibly removed from a flight, prompting a blizzard of bad publicity, was a “mistake of epic proportions”.
“It was a mistake of epic proportions, clearly, in hindsight,” a contrite Munoz told a hearing of the transportation committee of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
He added: “This is a turning point for United and our 87,000 professionals. It is my mission to ensure we make the changes needed to provide our customers with the highest level of service and the deepest sense of respect.”
The passenger, David Dao, he said, was treated in a way that no customer – or individual – should be treated, calling it a “terrible experience” that should never be repeated.
Dao was waiting to fly from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, on 9 April when the airline decided it needed four seats on his flight for Republic Airline crew members needed to work on a United Express flight in Louisville the next morning.
When Dao and his wife were selected for bumping, he refused to leave. Dao was then dragged off the flight, suffering injuries that his attorney has said included lost teeth, a broken nose and a concussion.
Video of the incident sparked withering criticism and mockery of United online and in the media. Munoz initially blamed Dao, but later said he was horrified by the event and called it a failure on United’s part.
United reached a settlement with Dao and issued new policies designed to prevent customer-service failures. The airline and lawyers for Dao have declined to disclose financial terms of the settlement.
Dao’s attorney has praised the airline and Munoz for accepting responsibility and not blaming others, including the city of Chicago, whose airport security officers yanked Dao from his seat and dragged him off the United Express plane.
‘Lawsuit? Yeah probably’, says attorney of passenger dragged off United Airlines plane
United has vowed to reduce – but not eliminate – overbooking. The airline will raise to $10,000 the limit on payments to customers who give up seats on oversold flights, Munoz said. The airline also said it would improve employee training.
The incident ignited a debate about poor service and a lack of customer-friendly policies on US airlines. United’s president, Scott Kirby, joined Munoz at Tuesday’s hearing, along with top executives of American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
The House transportation committee chair, Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican, said United and other carriers should use the notoriety of Dao’s removal to improve customer service. If changes are not made, he said, Congress was likely to step in.
“Seize this opportunity,” Shuster told Munoz and the other executives. Otherwise, “we’re going to act and you’re not going to like it”. Shuster predicted a “one-size-fits-all” solution that may serve some airlines, but not all.