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'We will work to make it right': United CEO apologizes in response to dragged passenger

Natalia Wojcik

United Airlines (NYSE: UAL) CEO Oscar Munoz issued an apology on Tuesday amid outrage over passenger Dr. David Dao of Kentucky being dragged off an overbooked flight.

In his latest statement Tuesday, Munoz expressed his sympathies and apologized, saying that a "thorough review" of the situation and their policies will take place, the results of which will be shared by Apr. 30.

"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 customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way," Munoz said in a statement.

"I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right," he added.

Also Tuesday, attorneys for Dao issued a statement on behalf of the doctor and his family.

"The family of Dr. Dao wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern and support they have received. Currently, they are focused only on Dr. Dao's medical care and treatment," said Chicago attorney Stephen Golan of Golan Christie Taglia, adding that Dao's family has asked for privacy.

Dao, who is being treated for his injuries at a Chicago hospital, is also represented by Chicago aviation attorney Thomas Demetrio of Corboy & Demetrio.

Videos of the incident went viral on social media and prompted Munoz to apologize for having to "re-accommodate" customers after a two-hour delay. The confrontation happened on a United Express flight operated by Republic Airways.

The Senate Commerce Committee sent the United Airlines CEO a letter late Tuesday, asking the company to supply them with "a full accounting of this incident" and answers to detailed questions by April 20. The committee also sent a similar letter to the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation, Ginger Evans.

"We recognize the importance of having passengers comply with lawful crew instructions, but it is hard to believe that some combination of better planning, training, communication, or additional incentives would not have mitigated this incident or avoided it altogether," the senators wrote to Munoz.

"To date, United Airlines' (UA) explanation of the incident has been unsatisfactory, and appears to underestimate the public anger about this incident," the letter added.

Rep. Bill Shuster, a Republican who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, released a statement on Tuesday expressing his concern over the situation.

"I am troubled by the incident in Chicago in which a paying customer was forcefully removed from a flight without apparent just cause. This entire situation was poorly managed and avoidable," Shuster said. "No one should ever be treated this way. Our committee is actively monitoring the situation and is in regular contact with the Department of Transportation."

Shares of United closed down more than one percent Tuesday. Earlier, the shares were among the worst performers in the S&P 500.

Watch: Senate & Commerce Committee seek info on United situation




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