United executives take questions about dragging passenger

Faith Castro
April 20, 2017

According to Kirby, United has already reassured some corporate clients that its making policy changes in the wake of the now notorious April 9 incident, in which Dr. Dao was dragged bleeding from a plane in Chicago.

The chief executive said no one will be fired over the incident.

United Airlines published first-quarter financial results on April 17, posting its first-quarter net income at $96 million, diluted earnings per share at $0.31, pre-tax earnings at $145 million and pre-tax margin at 1.7 per cent.

His lawyers said he plans to sue the airline.

Munoz reiterated that United will make policy changes, including not using law enforcement to take passengers off a flight unless there is a security issue and requiring that crews be booked at least an hour before takeoff. He and other executives vowed to treat customers with dignity, and said that what happened to Dao will never happen again.

Kirby said it is "really too early for us to tell anything" about whether bookings have been negatively affected by the flight 3411 incident.

He had initially said, in an internal email later leaked to journalists, that Dao had been "disruptive and belligerent" and staff were "left with no choice".

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"There was never a consideration for firing an employee or anyone around it", Munoz told Wall Street analysts on a Tuesday conference call.

Those results give the airline "a lot of confidence about the foundation we're building", Munoz said.

The damaging passenger dragging incident, caught on video, was down to a 'system failure'. The flight had been overbooked, as the airline was trying to make room for four crew members from a sister airline.

And some United States politicians have called for a total ban on overselling flights. Other airline stocks also declined in the same period.

Even in normal times, airlines closely — even daily — scrutinize numbers such as advance sales and occupancy levels on planes. He said United is "talking right at business travel, and when you're talking about business travel, there's going to be a fight to keep it".

However, United President Scott Kirby told reporters during a conference call yesterday that it was now too early to tell if the company's business in China would be hurt by the incident.

United showed first-quarter earnings of 41 cents per share on $8.42 billion in revenue Monday, better than the 38 cents per share on revenue of $8.38 billion experts predicted, CNBC noted.

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