United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz’s Late Apology
The saying “better late than never” is what United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz effectively said today, as he went out of his way, again, to issue a third statement to the brutal passenger debacle that happened Sunday night.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you now know what’s happened with United Airlines and their ridiculous actions in removing a passenger from a Chicago to Louisville flight.
In an attempt to save face, and perhaps after seeing the huge internet backlash over the past 48 hours, United released a statement today. I’m shying away from saying that it was actually Oscar Munoz, but instead it was a statement issued by United with Oscar’s signature on it.
The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customer aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way. I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.
United’s stock took a plunge today, with Wall Street wiping off hundreds of millions of dollars of market value, which in today’s after hours trading, is still falling.
Call my cynical, but until I see a video of Oscar Munoz saying all of this, I’m not going to believe that this was actually him, nor that things are going to change.
In an interview with USA Today, Eric Schiffer, CEO of Reputation Management Consultants, said it best.
“When you go onto a United flight, you shouldn’t have to be concerned there will be blood or you will get slammed in the face,” Schiffer said. “I think you will see an effect on sales from those who are disgusted by the gruesome action. And it’s catastrophic for a brand’s trust.”
A situation like this is not an easy one to recover. I can appreciate that the PR teams at United are working overtime, but moving forward, I think they’ve learned a valuable lesson as to how they can avoid situations like these. Everyone that I’ve spoke to in my normal day to day dealings today has vowed not to fly United ever again, but time will tell if they have long memories or not.
Oscar put out a YouTube video not too long ago, saying that if you had anything to say, you could feel free to tell him. I’d suggest that you go ahead and do that!
What could have been done?
Hindsight is 20/20, and I think now that United realizes that there were so many other options that they could have taken. If they only got up to $800, or even $1000, offer more money. I recently read a report of Delta offering someone up to $1,800 to take another flight. For that kind of money, I’m sure that you would happily have found someone to get off the flight. Hell, there aren’t that many places that I need to be with such urgency that I wouldn’t have taken $1,800.
Many people suggested that the crew could have driven or taken a cab to their destination. I don’t see this as a viable option as there are strict regulations regarding crew rest and time away from work. They might not have had sufficient sleep to operate the next day.
What about other flights? American operates a flight that day, as does United. Could they not have placed the employees on another flight?
Happily Accept the Vouchers
Last year Delta gave me $500, three nights in a row, when they oversold three consecutive flights to JFK from Seattle. I happily showed up every day at the airport and when they said that they were oversold, I raised my hand, volunteered, and collected the voucher. It was becoming almost a game to the gate agents everytime they saw me.
Using these vouchers we were able to get discounted business class tickets to Morocco, for which we just flew last week.
Shame on you United
Hopefully, this isn’t just lip service, and United will actually change. It’s hard to say, as only time will tell. Tell us below. Are you changing your habits? What would YOU like to say to United if you could?