CHICAGO – United Airlines executives said Tuesday that it's too soon to know if last week's dragging of a man off a plane is hurting ticket sales. The chief executive said no one will be fired over the incident.
CEO Oscar Munoz and other executives apologized again on Tuesday before discussing the airline's latest financial results with analysts and reporters.
Munoz said he takes full responsibility "for making this right" after the April 9 incident aboard a United Express plane at Chicago's O'Hare airport. He said the airline will have more to say later this month after it finishes a review of its policies on overbooked flights.
Munoz started the call with an apology to David Dao, the 69-year-old Kentucky physician who was dragged off the plane by Chicago airport officers who had been summoned by United, and to all other customers.
"You can and should expect more from us, and as CEO I take full responsibility for making this right," Munoz said. He and other executives vowed to treat customers with dignity, and said that what happened to Dao will never happen again.
Munoz's early statements on the incident were widely criticized. He initially supported employees and blamed Dao, calling him "disruptive and belligerent." On Tuesday, he was asked if the company ever considered firing anyone.
"I'm sure there was lots of conjecture about me personally," said Munoz. Then he noted that the board of United Continental Holdings Inc. has supported him.
"It was a system failure across various areas," Munoz continued. "There was never a consideration for firing an employee."