United CEO Oscar Munoz called the incident in which a passenger was forcibly removed from a flight “a system failure” and vowed to implement policies that would “put the customer at the center of everything we do.”
“It was a system failure across the board,” Munoz said in an interview NBC News on Thursday. “A circumstance like we’ve all witnessed should have never happened, never happened.”
United Airlines released a report Thursday detailing the incident that sparked national outrage after videos emerged of passenger David Dao, a doctor from Louisville, Ky., being pulled out of his seat and dragged by his arms through the aisle of a United flight by law enforcement on April 9.
In the report, the airline company introduced several new policies to prevent future incidents, including limiting the use of law enforcement and not requiring passengers who are already seated on a plan to give up their seat.
“We’re going to teach and broaden sort of the cultural impact of respect and dignity, regardless of where you’re sitting,” Munoz told NBC. “And that’s why we’ve said — once you’ve boarded an aircraft, we’re not going to take you off, except for safety and security.”
The company also plans to improve training for its employees and provide up to $10,000 in compensation for passengers who are willing to opt to take a different flight. (Passengers on the April 9 flight were offered a $800 travel credit to take a different one, and no one agreed to do so initially.)
Munoz told NBC that law enforcement may still be used in certain circumstances when necessary, “but primarily if we start with the basic premise and all our policies in how we fly, putting the customer at the center of this, I think the policies will sort of fan out and avoid issues like that.”
United released information of the report to the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday.
Munoz and United issued multiple apologies for the incident the week it occurred, but faced immense backlash from the public over its handling of the situation.
Dao, who was asked to change flights so a four-person flight crew could make a flight in Louisville, had said he needed to return to his patients by the next morning. Law enforcement then forcibly removed him from his seat after he refused to comply, leaving Dao with several injuries, including a concussion and a broken nose, according to his lawyer.