CEO Says United Will Not Use Police to Remove Overbooked Passengers

Industries Reuters

Chicago, IL, USA - March 17, 2016: A United Airlines 747-400 landing on 28C at the Chicago O'hare Airport. (vandervliet93)

United Airlines (UAL) will no longer use law enforcement officers to remove overbooked passengers from aircraft in the wake of a video that showed a Chicago passenger dragged from one of its flights on Sunday.

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"We're not going to put a law enforcement official... to remove a booked, paid, seated passenger," United Continental Holdings Inc Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz told ABC News on Wednesday morning. "We can't do that."

Munoz said the problem resulted from a "system failure" that prevented employees from using "common sense" in the situation and that Dr. David Dao, whom security officers dragged by his hands, on his back, from the cabin before takeoff, was not at fault.

Shares of United Continental were up 1.1 percent in premarket trading. They had fallen as much as 4.4 percent on Tuesday.

The backlash from the incident resonated around the world, with social media users in the United States, China and Vietnam calling to boycott the No. 3 U.S. carrier by passenger traffic.

An online petition calling for Munoz to step down as CEO had more than 40,000 signatures on Wednesday morning.

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Munoz told ABC that he had no plans to resign over the incident and profusely apologized to Dao, his family, passengers and United customers.

"This can never, will never happen again," he said.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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