United Airlines CEO: We won't let police drag people off planes anymore

Posted at 7:05 AM, Apr 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-12 08:34:25-04

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- United CEO Oscar Munoz says the airline won't allow law enforcement officers to haul seated paying passengers off its flights again.

"We are not going to put a law enforcement official to take them off," Munoz told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Wednesday. "To remove a booked, paid, seating passenger -- we can't do that."

Munoz spoke three days after a passenger was dragged off a plane, bloodied and screaming, by authorities at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

The man refused to give up his seat on a United flight to Louisville, Kentucky, after the airline said it needed to make room for crew members commuting to the city.

Munoz apologized on Tuesday, calling the episode "truly horrific," and pledged a full review by April 30.

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On Wednesday, he said United did not give its managers "the proper tools, policies, procedures" they needed to use "common sense."

The airline offered passengers up to $800 to give up their seats before it began choosing people to leave, according to other passengers. Munoz said in a letter to employees that the airline offered $1,000.

Speaking of his employees, Munoz said: "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," he added.

Munoz was widely criticized for two earlier statements, including one in which he described the passenger as "disruptive and belligerent."

On Wednesday, Munoz said he did not blame the passenger, and added that his initial comments "fell short" of what he felt. He also said he had no plans to resign.

"It's not so much what I thought, it's what I felt," he told ABC. "Probably the word 'ashamed' comes to mind."