United CEO apologizes, promises changes and reimbursements after passenger is dragged off plane – Los Angeles Times

United Airlines Chief Executive Oscar Munoz went on an apology tour Wednesday, pledging to change policies and reimburse customers on a flight in which a passenger was dragged off a plane — all in an attempt by the company to put behind it a raging public relations disaster.

“It’s never too late to do the right thing,” Munoz said as the company began to issue mea culpas Tuesday.

But experts in branding and crisis public relations say it may be too late to minimize the damage that video of the incident — and United’s original non-apology blaming the passenger — wreaked on the 91-year-old airline.

“This was a brand dirty bomb,” said Eric Schiffer, chief executive of ReputationManagementConsultants.com, who added that the company’s handling of the incident will, like nuclear fallout, stick around for a long time. “It was self-built and self-ignited.”


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