Oscar Munoz Tries to Do the Right Thing as CEO of United

Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United spoke eighteen days after Dr. David Dao was assaulted on their jet and forcibly removed by law enforcement agents in Chicago. Mr. Munoz tried to repair the self-inflicted wound to the airline’s brand by declaring new policies including the following:

  • Passengers already boarded will not be forced to give up their seats (except for safety or security issues)
  • Law enforcement will no longer forcibly remove people from their seats
  • United increased the range of reimbursement for giving up seats to go as high as 10,000 dollars
  • United will not overbook flights to the extent they were previously
  • For lost bags, United will pay 1,500 dollars

Do you think this is enough of an apology? Can these new policies adequately make amends to the customers of United?

As CEO, Munoz is ultimately responsible for the policy that forcibly removed ticketed passengers from planes instead of simply keeping a few seats empty. It took a PR disaster for him to address this with the above corrective actions.

The business literature discusses a trend of airlines catering to those seated in the more expensive seats and those with more mileage and upgrades. I recently flew economy on a brand new American Airlines plane where the width of individual seating had been so reduced that my 13-inch laptop could not fit into the customary ample space on the back of the seat in front of me.

Therefore, Airline CEOs have their work cut out for them. Let’s see if they can return to the days when all customers mattered.

Enjoy the day!

Joe

United Takes Added Steps to Win Back Customers and Avoid More Ugly Events by Christopher Drew, New York Times, April 27, 2017

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