Despite a huge online backlash, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz is barely apologetic for security officials violently dragging a 69-year-old Kentucky doctor off an overbooked flight on Sunday. And in a letter he sent to United employees hours after the incident, Munoz said he "emphatically" supports airline employees involved in dragging the "disruptive and belligerent" passenger off the plane, AP reports.
The passenger, who said he was a doctor on his way to see patients, had been asked to "voluntarily vacate" his seat on an overbooked flight from Chicago to Louisville. When he refused, he was aggressively dragged off by United employees, getting visibly bloodied and injured in the process.
You can watch the extremely upsetting video here:
After the video went viral and sparked mass outrage on Twitter (and a hilarious burn by Jimmy Kimmel), United CEO Oscar Munoz did issue an apology yesterday. Kind of. His official statement said:
This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.
"Re-accommodate?" The correct term is "violently remove." But then hours later he sent a letter to United employees in which he basically took back his half-non-apology.
"This situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused, and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help," he wrote in the letter. "While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right."
You can read the whole letter here.
Munoz did add that "there are lessons we can learn from this experience" (umm, don't drag people off airplanes?) and he promised an "investigation." But don't hold your breath.
Gordon Bethune, the Chief Executive of United Continental Holdings (the former parent company of United Airlines), also issued a non-apology yesterday. In an interview with CNBC on Monday, he said: "Denied boarding is usually handled with a whole lot more maturity," insulting the passenger's maturity level.
Speaking of maturity levels, how hard is it to apologize, United Airlines? All you have to say is: "We're very sorry. Dragging a human being across the floor until they bleed is wrong. This will never happen again. Also, free flights for everyone until you can find it in your hearts to forgive us."
But United Airlines seems to think dragging humans across the floor is okay. So I guess we'll all just have to continue dragging them across Twitter.