United Airlines chief executive Oscar Munoz on Tuesday took personal responsibility for an incident last month in which a passenger was battered and dragged from a flight, saying at a congressional hearing, “We had a horrible failure three weeks ago.”

Munoz again apologized personally to David Dao, the passenger who boarded a United plane in Chicago and then refused to give up his seat when the airline needed it to accommodate crew members. Police were summoned, and Dao, 69, was dragged bloodied from the flight as other passengers captured the scene on video.

“There will come a day when Americans won’t accept your apology,” said Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., during the hearing before the House Transportation Committee. “We have a problem. It shouldn’t be as bad as it is.”

Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., said that “there’s something clearly broken when passengers have been treated the way they have.”

Warning, the footage below may be disturbing to sensitive viewers:

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Internal investigation

Last week, the airline released the results of an internal investigation into the matter, saying it had failed on multiple fronts and promising changes in an effort to win back the public’s trust. That same day, it also announced it reached a confidential settlement with Dao, a Kentucky physician.

In addition to two hearings this week, Dao’s ordeal has prompted a flurry of legislation, including a bill that would ask the secretary of transportation to review the practice of overbooking and whether there should be limits on the number of seats an airline can sell on a flight.

It was a long day for airline executives, and United’s Munoz in particular, who called Dao’s forced removal “a mistake of epic proportions.”

United was not the only airline that had to answer for recent episodes involving passengers

Officials at American Airlines again apologised for an April 21 incident that involved a flight attendant who allegedly tried to pull a baby stroller away from a customer who was holding a baby. A video of the incident shows the mother in tears as another passenger confronts the flight attendant.

American publicly apologized in the aftermath, removed the flight attendant from service and upgraded the woman and her family to first class for the balance of her international flight.

“It shouldn’t take a media event or a viral social-media outcry to get executives in this industry to rethink how they treat their customers,” said William J. McGee, an aviation consultant with the Consumers Union.

Author: ANA Newswire