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United CEO takes a second stab at an apology, contradicts email to employees

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz issued a second apology Tuesday for how the airline handled the removal of a passenger from a flight. (Mira Oberman/AFP/Getty Images)

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz released a second public apology Tuesday sharply contrasting his email to employees Monday.

Munoz's first apology came in a statement Monday, when, as the Chicago Tribune reported, he said: “I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.”

In the second apology — issued 24 hours later — Munoz called the incident "horrific" and claimed full responsibility for what happened Monday when United Airlines forcibly removed a passenger from a flight because they needed to free up space for their own employees to fly last-minute.

"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," Munoz's statement read. "No one should ever be mistreated this way."

Munoz also communicated that the company would implement a thorough review of their policies to ensure the situation does not ever happen again.

"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," he continued. "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."

However, on Monday, Munoz sent out a companywide email that had a vastly different tone from his Tuesday statement.

In the letter to employees, he apologized only for the "belligerent and disruptive" man and for having to "re-accommodate" passengers. He also commended his flight staff, insisting they followed procedures and went "above and beyond," and said that he stood by his employees.

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