Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines, is probably a highly qualified business strategist, but must have missed an important day of first grade:
The day everyone else learned to say “I’m sorry.”
His first attempt at an apology wasn’t an apology at all—it was him complaining about the inconvenience of the situation: I’m sorry for “having to re-accommodate these customers.
In his second attempt—admittedly an improvement—he still justified himself by describing the passenger as “disruptive and belligerent.”
Eventually, probably after asking Professor Google for help, he came up with a real apology: “We will take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.”
The third time may be the charm, but no one felt ‘charmed’ by this failure of an apology.
As a professional communicator, Munoz should have known that an angered public never accepts anything less than full admission of guilt, and that a company like United loses nothing by make such an admission.
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