With the entire Internet and most of the free world aghast and appalled by the actions of United Airlines on Sunday, CEO Oscar Munoz has sent an email to employees assuring him he's on their side.
What about the doctor who was violently removed from a Louisville-bound flight this weekend despite sitting in a seat he had legally paid for?
Pishaw! He totally deserved his bloody fate!
That's basically what Munoz told his staff in a message that was obtained by TMZ and other prominent outlets.
As a quick refresher:
On Sunday evening, United boarded all passengers in Chicago for a flight bound for Kentucky.
However, four United employees needed to be included on the plane in order to get to their subsequent posts in Louisville.
In response to this overbooking, United offered passengers $800 to change their plans and get on a later flight. When no one volunteers, the airline randomly selected four individuals to leave the plane.
A 69-year old doctor was among these individuals.
When he refused to get up from his seat (reportedly due to patients he had to get home and see), members of the Chicago Police Department were called in.
He was then forcibly dragged off the plane, bloodied and bruised, as the rest of the passengers sat there in abject horror.
Reaction to the shocking incident has been swift.
The video of the United incident, filmed by a fellow passenger, has been viewed over 200 million times in China alone.
Many residents of that nation believe the doctor was singled out because of his ethnicity and they are calling for a boycott of United Airlines.
Munoz didn't help his company's cause at all when he issued the following, tone deaf statement in response to what amounts to assault of a passenger:
“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United,” Munoz wrote.
“I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers.
"Our team is moving with the sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.
"We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve the situation.”
Yes, he really did use the phrase re-accommodate for what transpired here.
So this brings us back to the email Munoz sent to his 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,” the executive actually said, adding:
“As you will read, this situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it become necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help."
In this memo to employees (below), Munoz describes the doctor as “disruptive and belligerent.”
After he was dragged limp from the plane, the man - blood streaming from his mouth - reentered and ran down the aisle, repeatedly saying, “I have to go home, I have to go home.”
He was clearly confused and disoriented; maybe because he just got assaulted for simply being a passenger on a plane that had been oversold.
With reference to that disturbing scene, Munoz wrote that the man in question “continued to resist - running back onto the aircraft in defiance of both our crew and security officials.”
It’s worth noting a few things here:
1. The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) disagrees with Munoz. In a statement of its own, the CDA says the incident “was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department.”
2. United made $2.3 billion in profit last year. At the very least, they could have increased the compensation amount from $800 to a figure where actual volunteers would have emerged.
3. United also denied flight entry to a 10-year old girl in leggings last month.
We'll continue to update this story as more news breaks.
In the meantime, we'll continue to hope this beaten-down passenger is okay and we'll continue to assert that United's skies are anything but friendly.