A Minneapolis man has created a Change.org petition requesting that United Airlines Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz resign over the now-viral incident with passenger Dr. David Dao. In less than a day, the petition has gained more than 53,000 signatures. And the signatures are still adding up quickly, showing that many people remain upset over the video of United security officials forcibly removing Dao from his flight, as well as Munoz’s so-called “non-apology” statement he posted on Monday.
On Sunday evening at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, a passenger named David Dao was dragged out of his seat by United Airlines security officials, yelling at the top of his lungs as he was forcibly removed after initially refusing to give up his seat. According to CNN, this was done in order to accommodate commuting crew members, and with Dao’s flight being overbooked, some passengers had to make way for United’s crew. But the way in which Dao was reportedly removed had shocked and disgusted passengers, who took to social media to share the video of the incident.
After videos of the Dao incident went viral, United CEO Oscar Munoz issued an apology, which, as reports had suggested, only made matters worse for the embattled airline. Vox wrote that it was the language Munoz used that had gotten so many people upset, as his use of the words “I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers” supposedly lacked gravitas, considering the violent way in which David Dao was removed from his flight.
Munoz issued a second apology on Tuesday, promising that United will make sure that such incidents would never happen again. But just as he was posting a new, re-worded apology, Minneapolis resident Eugene Belinski’s Change.org petition was gaining traction on the internet, with thousands of users calling for Oscar Munoz to resign, or even for United to be sanctioned by the government over the David Dao fiasco. Belinski believes that simply avoiding “the brutal use of force” would have kept the incident from taking place.
As an aside, the petition also mentioned another recent United Airlines incident, where the airline didn’t allow two girls in their early teens to board a flight due to the fact they were wearing leggings, a violation of United’s “surprisingly strict” buddy pass dress code policy, as NPR put it. What made the incident infuriating, said Belinski was the fact that the girls’ father, who was wearing shorts and potentially in violation of the dress code, was still allowed to board.
United CEO response to United Express Flight 3411. pic.twitter.com/rF5gNIvVd0
— United (@united) April 10, 2017
— United (@united) April 11, 2017
One woman who signed the Change.org petition referenced the David Dao incident from Sunday, but she also called United out for a bad experience she claims she had while the airline was on strike. She also referenced the 2008 incident involving musician Dave Carroll, where the allegedly cavalier way in which United baggage employees handle guitars resulted in his guitar getting broken, with the airline refusing to pay for the damages.
“Your brutality toward this doctor is unconscionable. Stop overbooking and treating passengers worse than cattle. I already boycott United because of 1) waiting 2 hrs in line at DC only to have you go on strike when I reached the counter and was left stranded with zero help, and 2) the United Breaks Guitars incident where you destroyed a local musician’s valued instrument and did nothing.”
— Walt Kowalski (@getoffmylawn80) April 11, 2017
In an interview with CBC, Carroll commented on the David Dao video and on the two apologies issued by United Airlines. While he didn’t ask that Oscar Munoz resign from his post as CEO, he suggested that United and Munoz issued a second apology only after losing a lot of market value.
“The first (apology) was so awful. I think a billion dollars in (lost) market cap later, they realized that this one story is actually affecting the profitability of their company, so he had to step up and give a more heartfelt apology that showed caring and showed respect for the person who was affected.”
Although the above petition suggests that thousands of people want Oscar Munoz to resign, the United Airlines boss told ABC’s Good Morning America (quotes via BBC News) that he is still committed to “(making) United better” and continuing to do so as he remains in charge as chief executive.
[Featured Image by Richard Drew/AP Images]