CHICAGO The chief executive of embattled United Airlines unequivocally apologised yesterday for an incident in which a passenger was dragged off a plane, and promised a thorough review of the airline's practices.
"I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologise to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard", CEO Oscar Munoz said.
Mr Munoz said the company would no longer use law enforcement officers to remove passengers from overbooked flights.
"That is not who our family at United is", he said. "This will never happen again on a United flight".
United Airlines has been at the forefront of airline drama this week due to an incident in which an overbooked flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, resulted in the violent removal of a passenger.
The incident that followed - in which Dr Dao is dragged from his seat by police officers obtaining injuries to his face - has made worldwide headlines.
Dao filed the emergency "bill of discovery" against the Chicago-based carrier in Illinois State Court demanding that evidence documenting Sunday's "re-accommodation" aboard a Kentucky-bound plane be "preserved and protected", CNBC reported.
In images now seen around the world, a passenger was forcefully removed and bloodied in the process - the entire event captured on video by passengers and posted on social media.
Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans will also speak.
Although the lawyers have not yet filed a lawsuit, the legal activity likely suggests they are gearing up to take the airline and airport to court.
Munoz also said the company would reassess policies for seeking volunteers to give up their seats, for handling oversold flights and for partnering with airport authorities.
The department announced today that two more officers have been placed on leave. When no one voluntarily came forward, United selected four passengers at random.
No passengers on the plane have mentioned that Dao did anything but refuse to leave the plane when he was ordered to do so.
Meanwhile, details emerged about the passenger, who was identified as 69-year-old Kentucky physician David Dao. When no one volunteered, the offer was increased to $800. He refused to leave. "But generally they handle that before you board the plane".
That includes all surveillance videos, cockpit voice recordings, passenger and crew lists, incident reports and other items. Screaming can be heard on the videos as Dao is dragged from his window seat and across the armrest, but he is not seen fighting with the officers. "This is wrong", "Look at what you did to him" and "Busted his lip". A day earlier, the top four members of the Senate Commerce Committee asked Munoz and Chicago airport officials for an explanation.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to analyze "the problem of overbooking passengers throughout the industry".