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Human Interest

United CEO Says David Dao Incident Was a ‘System Failure’ and Apologizes for Death of Rabbit

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Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz says the headline-making incident when a passenger was forcibly dragged off the plane “should have never happened” and their new policy changes will ensure nothing like it happens again.

“It was a system failure across the board,” Munoz told NBC News‘ Lester Holt, explaining that he implemented the changes at the company with the goal to “put the customer at the center of everything we do.”

The new guidelines include raising the limit on compensation to $10,000 for customers who give up their seats, limiting use of law enforcement to security issues only and reduce the amount of overbooking on flights.

“We’re going to teach and broaden sort of the cultural impact of respect and dignity, regardless of where you’re sitting,” Munoz said. “And that’s why we’ve said — once you’ve boarded an aircraft, we’re not going to take you off, except for safety and security.”

In the interview, which aired Thursday morning on Today, Munoz also apologized for the recent death of a prized giant rabbit on a United flight.

“We are deeply sorry for the loss of anything from your luggage to, of course, a loved pet,” Munoz said.

RELATED VIDEO: Huge Bunny Dies in the Care of United Airlines

The rabbit, named Simon and bred to be the largest rabbit in the world, died in the cargo hold of a plane headed from London’s Heathrow Airport to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

In a statement to the BBC, United Airlines said they “were saddened to hear this news. The safety and well-being of all the animals that travel with us is of the utmost importance to United Airlines and our PetSafe team.”

“We have been in contact with our customer and have offered assistance. We are reviewing this matter,” the airline said.