United Airlines found themselves in the middle of extreme controversy and serious side-eyeing from around the world for how they treated Dr. David Dao on a flight last Sunday, scheduled to leave Chicago O’Hare Airport.
Video footage emerged of a passenger being forced off a flight due to overbooking. On Monday, with their stock being unaffected by the incident, United offered a half-ass apology, essentially blaming the 69-year-old victim for what occurred. On Monday evening, United Airlines stock closed out at $71.40, up almost 1 percent from Friday. However, as the videos continued to make social media rounds and the public became angrier and angrier, people hit the company where it hurts the most: their pockets.
Beginning on Tuesday, as more and more videos were released, the company’s stock, simultaneously, began to fall, dropping by at least 4 percent, translating in almost $800 million decrease in value.
C.E.O. Oscar Munoz released the following on behalf of United Airlines and is on their site:
The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.
I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.
It’s never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again. This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. We’ll communicate the results of our review by April 30th.
I promise you we will do better.
This was the third apology from the company and the one that actually took responsibility for the event. United better lawyer up, because Dr. David Dao has hired high-profile Chicago attorney, Tom Demetrio. According to Tom’s bio, he has, “negotiatied well over $1 billion in settlements and acquired the largest personal injury verdict ever upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court. He has never lost an appeal.”