Thoughts on Oscar’s written public response – #Bumpgate

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Had Oscar Munoz responded the way he did yesterday, a lot of damage would’ve been contained. I discussed my issues with United’s CEO’s letter to employees here.  It was dry.  It was unapologetic.  It was ways short of what it should’ve been.  It didn’t matter who it was directed to, it was just the wrong message at the worst possible time.  Since then, Oscar and company realized the mistake after the mistake and proceeded to draft another -this time public- apology in United’s Hub website.

This is Oscar’s statement:

Dear Team,

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.

Sincerely,

Oscar

Hits

  • The feelings described were on point: ‘outrage, anger, disappointment’.
  • Hands down apology to the customer who became a victim, and also to the other passengers that had to see that.
  • Accepting FULL responsibility for the incident, regardless of whether or not the full blame should fall on United.  It doesn’t matter.
  • Plan of action.
  • Setting a date to communicate a thorough analysis of the situation and specifics of what United will do to fix it.  This is the point that I appreciated the most, as setting a date for themselves, there will be accountability.

Misses

  • Not mentioning the passenger by name.  Mentioning the passenger by name would’ve shown further contrition and ownership.
  • Taking too long to put this out there.  I wish we could quantify ow much more damage was done by not coming out with a response like this from the get go.  It’s mind-blowing, as many of us could’ve drafted something like this ourselves.

The misses boil down to the an outright blatant lack of common sense or use thereof, which Oscar finally addressed in an interview this morning with Good Morning America.  I’ll be commenting on that interview on a following post.  This secondary communication by Oscar might have just been enough.  Barely.

Give me your thoughts