Though he publicly apologized for the situation today, United Airlines CEO took a different tone in an internal email circulated to United Airlines employees and acquired by CNBC.
Munoz’s public apology, also reported earlier today by NBC News, read:
“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with 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 this situation.”
But in an email circulated to employees Monday, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz took a different tone. He opened with “Like you, I was upset to see and hear what happened last night,” and said “the facts and circumstances are still evolving, especially with respect to why this passenger defied Chicago Aviation Security Officers” before including a brief summary of internal reports of the incidents.
Munoz writes that the “situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we asked to deplane refused” and that employees “followed established procedures.”
The United CEO wrote that the passenger at the center of the video, who said he was a doctor and had patients to see the following morning, was “disruptive and belligerent.” He says the airline “sought volunteers” before they followed an “involuntary denial of boarding process.”
“Treating our customers and each other with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are, and we must always remember this,” he wrote in the same email.