United CEO on Puppy Death Controversy: 'We Don't Always Get It Right'

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz told The Executives Club of Chicago that the airline "got it wrong" last week when a dog died in an overhead compartment

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz described the past years since he joined the company as “eventful” in an address to the press and members of The Executives’ Club of Chicago on March 21

According to the Associated Press, the chief executive of the airline acknowledged “we got it wrong” when Kokito, a 10-month-old French bulldog puppy, died on a United flight last week when a flight attendant demanded the dog’s owner stow her pet carrier in an overhead bin.

“As hard as we try, it’s obvious we don’t always get it right,” said Munoz, referring to the puppy’s death, at the event.

He was likely also referring to a string of dog-related mishaps that quickly followed the tragedy, such as a dog mistakenly sent to Japan instead of Kansas City. A third dog, bound for Ohio, ended up on a flight to St. Louis, which was then re-routed.

As a result of these errors, as well as mounting legal battles and criminal investigations, United announced on Tuesday that it is suspending new reservations for its PetSafe travel program to perform a “thorough and systematic review of our program for pets that travel in the cargo compartment to make improvements that will ensure the best possible experience for our customers and their pets.”

Munoz went on to state that the puppy death “should have never, ever happened. We take this deeply seriously.” He also discussed the controversy over the doctor who was dragged off a United flight last year after refusing to give up his seat on the plane, claiming the airline wants these stories to remain front and center in order to better train its staff and serve and protect customers in the future.

“We constantly want to be reminded of how things can go wrong so quickly,” said Munoz in his address.

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