United CEO defends employees in plane incident
CHICAGO - The CEO of United Airlines' parent company is supporting the way his employees handled an incident with a passenger who did not want to go after being asked to leave a plane on Sunday night at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
In a letter to employees Monday evening, Oscar Munoz said he was "upset to see and hear about what happened." He added, however, that the man dragged off the plane had ignored requests by crew members to leave and became "disruptive and belligerent," making it necessary to call airport police.
"Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this," Munoz told employees. "While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right."
United Airlines said the man was removed because it needed to send a four-person crew to Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday evening to avoid canceling subsequent flights.
The airline previously said the flight was overbooked. That was incorrect, according to new information from United.
Munoz said that the airline might learn from the experience, and it was continuing to look into the incident.
Meanwhile, Chicago's aviation department says one of its police officers involved in dragging the man off the flight did not follow standard operating procedures and has been placed on leave.
The department said in a brief statement Monday it did not condone the aviation security officers' actions Sunday night.
The statement did not release the officer's name and it was not immediately clear which of the three men seen in the now-widely seen video taken by another passenger which one was placed on leave.