-- United CEO Oscar Munoz appeared at a Capitol Hill hearing this morning, telling the House Transportation Committee that his airline “will do better” as federal lawmakers grilled him and other industry executives over recent dust-ups between U.S. airlines and their customers.
Apologizing for last month’s incident that left a passenger bloodied, Munoz said: “The reason I’m sitting here today is because on April 9, we had a serious breach of public trust.”
“No customer should be treated the way Mr. Dao was,” Munoz added.
Munoz went on to talk about a series of changes the airline had introduced in response to the incident.
“We will do better,” the United CEO said.
Worldwide criticism of United began last month when a passenger, Dr. David Dao, was recorded on video being dragged off a plane to make room for airline employees.
United and Dao's attorney announced that a settlement had been reached last week. The airline has repeatedly apologized to Dao for the incident.
"I'm personally sorry for the fact that my immediate response and the response of our airline was inadequate to that moment," Munoz said today.
The settlement includes a provision that the amount must remain confidential, Dao's attorney, Thomas A. Demetrio, said in a news release.
Demetrio and the United CEO both described the settlement as "amicable."
Munoz was joined today by several of his airline industry colleagues, including the senior vice president of customer experience at American Airlines, the senior vice president of external relations at Alaska Airlines and the executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Southwest Airlines. United Airlines President Scott Kirby also accompanied Munoz.
For now, lawmakers said they will continue to let airlines figure out how best to move forward and improve their customer service on their own. But they also threatened to fix the issues through additional regulation if carriers don't make needed changes.
Southwest Airlines announced at the hearing that the company will stop overbooking flights as of May 8.
United and American, however, argued that overbooking flights helps keep fares low and generally benefits customers.