Apology by United “too late” in coming

Airlines bump fare-paying customers to seat personnel
In an ATW Editor’s Blog, Karen Walker argues that United CEO Oscar Munoz’s apology for the incident where a passenger was bumped off then dragged off a plane in Chicago may not be enough.
In his full apology Munoz took responsibility and promised a review of the company’s crew transport and overbooking procedures, calling the incident “truly horrific”.
But it has been a PR disaster for United, with questions remaining such as why the apology was two days after the event. The day before, he issued an email to employees saying that the incident was properly handled.
There is evidence the passenger was assaulted. In a service industry, a chief executive praising employees and appearing to condone violence towards customers is disturbing, Walker points out.
It also opens a new can of worms – the fact that airlines regularly bump fare-paying customers in order to seat their own personnel. According to witnesses, the incident occurred because the airline wanted to send several personnel to the destination the plane was flying to.
US commerce and transport senators are demanding a full explanation from United, Walker says, which will likely examine all airline customer-service practices.


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