After Initially Defending Staff, United Airlines Boss Apologizes for 'Horrific Incident'


Passengers on Sunday's now infamous United Airlines flight said they were told by the airline that a computer randomly selected the passenger who was forcibly re-accomodated by airport police.

David Dao, a 69-year-old doctor from Kentucky, confirmed he was the man in the viral videos, which showed him bleeding from his mouth after law enforcement officers tried to remove him from the overbooked flight.

Paul Callan, a civil and criminal trial lawyer in NY, said the public outcry over Dao's treatment would likely push the airline to a quick and generous settlement. No one volunteered. United chose to select people at random.

The practice lets airlines keep fares low while managing the rate of no-shows on any particular route, said Vaughn Jennings, spokesman for Airlines for America, which represents most of the big USA carriers.

PR Week, which named Mr Munoz its USA communicator of the year just last month, described his response as "tone deaf" and framing the event "purely in terms of its effect on United, rather than the injured passenger".

Not allowing overbooking and bumping would also make it more hard for airlines to recover from problems such as storms or computer outages, which lead to canceled flights and the need to rebook passengers.

"No one should ever be mistreated this way", Munoz said.

When the reporter asked him if Dao is at fault in any way, Munoz responded, "No, he can't be".

Munoz came under fire for initially praising employees in a memo and not issuing an apology to Dao for two days.

Munoz said his initial response "fell short" of expressing how he felt.

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Dao filed an emergency "bill of discovery" against United and the city of Chicago to keep all video, cockpit recordings and other reports from the flight, as well as the personnel files of the aviation department officers who pulled Dao off the plane. "I am not going", Dao said.

Royal Jordanian tweeted a no-smoking picture saying "drags on our flights are strictly prohibited by passengers and crew".

Not even after the public relations nightmare suffered by United Airlines this week after a screaming passenger was dragged off a plane by law enforcement when the airline needed to give his seat to a crew member.

United first offered $400 and a free hotel stay, and when no volunteers came forward, upped the offer to $800.

Bumping is rare - only about one in 16,000 passengers got bumped previous year, the lowest rate since at least the mid-1990s. "The key is managing it before you get to the boarding process".

On ABC, comedian Jimmy Kimmel launched his show with a five-minute takedown of United, mocking Munoz for saying the airline had to "re-accommodate" customers - industry jargon for putting people on later flights.

United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized Wednesday for an incident that occurred Sunday aboard a United Airlines flight, when a man was forcibly removed from a plane when the flight was overbooked.

"We have not provided our frontline supervisors and managers and individuals with the proper tools, policies, procedures that allow them to use their common sense". But the bottom line, he said, is that the airline put the police officers in a hard situation by expecting them "to solve an issue that they had created".

Federal rules require that before airlines can bump passengers from a flight they must seek volunteers - the carriers generally offer travel vouchers.

"I was hired to make United better, and we've been doing that, and that's what I'll continue to do", he said. He says the family "wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern and support they have received".