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United CEO says he felt 'shame' over incident with passenger

POSTED: April 13, 2017 10:41 a.m.
Herb Scribner/

"We are not going to put a law enforcement official onto a plane to take them off … to remove a booked, paid, seated passenger; we can’t do that,” Oscar Munoz tells "Good Morning America."

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United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized Wednesday for an incident that occurred Sunday aboard a United Airlines flight, when a man was forcibly removed from a plane when the flight was overbooked.

"This will never happen again," Munoz said in an interview Wednesday with “Good Morning America” on ABC. "That's my promise."

He added later, "We are not going to put a law enforcement official onto a plane to take them off … to remove a booked, paid, seated passenger; we can’t do that."

Munoz faced heavy criticism for a statement he released Monday following the video’s nationwide takeoff.

Munoz addressed the criticism specifically in the interview.

"I think my reaction to most issues is to get the facts and circumstances," he said. "My initial words fell short of truly expressing the shame."

The passenger, David Dao of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, is a 69-year-old doctor who is currently undergoing treatment for his injuries, ABC reported.

As The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky, reported Monday, airline passengers were told that the flight was overbooked. United said it would pay passengers $400 and a one-night hotel stay to switch flights. No one volunteered. United decided to select people at random.

It chose a couple, who left the plane, and Dao, who refused to leave.

"Everyone was shocked and appalled,” said Audra D. Bridges, the woman who posted the first video to Facebook. "There were several children on the flight as well that were very upset."

According to the Los Angeles Times, Dao wasn’t the only customer threatened with forcible action on a United flight.

Geoff Fearns, president of Tri Pacific Capital Advisors, told the Los Angeles Times that he was asked to leave the flight but, like Dao, held his ground.

“That’s when they told me they needed the seat for somebody more important who came at the last minute,” Fearns said. “They said they have a priority list and this other person was higher on the list than me.”

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