United Airlines boss apologises for ‘horrific’ incident

Oscar Munoz says sorry for passenger removal after airline stock prices fall

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The boss of United Airlines has issued an apology after a passenger was forcibly dragged from a flight.

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Footage of Dr David Dao, 69, being pulled from his seat and dragged, screaming, down the aisle of a United Airlines plane went viral this week. 

Chief executive Oscar Munoz had initially defended his staff’s actions and described Dr David Dao as “disruptive and belligerent”.

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But Munoz on Tuesday issued two follow-up statements on the same day that the fallout over the incident saw the company’s stock price tumble with $1bn (£800m) wiped off the value of the company.

“The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment,” Munoz said yesterday.

“I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened.”

The incident unfolded when passengers onboard the fully booked flight were asked to give up their seats for four of the airline’s employees.

After incentives of up to $800 (£640) failed to convince any passengers to leave the flight, the airline said that the computer would choose which passengers would need to leave. 

Three passengers agreed to leave their seats but Dao refused, telling flight attendants he could not afford to be re-booked because he had patients to see the next day. He was then forced from the plane by law enforcement.