United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz told a room of Chicago executives Wednesday the airline is learning from events like the death of a French bulldog and a mixup that shipped a German Shepard halfway around the world and back.
"The last few years, since I have joined the United family have been--for lack of a better term--eventful," he said. "We take this deeply seriously and we have announced immediate steps to make sure that never happens again."
Steps that include suspending reservations for its pet safe program, where animals are shipped as cargo, and ordering new, brightly colored tags to be placed on bags with pets in the cabin.
You have the right to demand the highest level of performance from us," Munoz said. "We own that. As difficult as it is to sometimes accomplish that, we do it more often than not."
One major breakdown came almost a year ago when a Kentucky doctor was dragged from a United flight at O’Hare.
"It’s an event that will never be forgotten," he said. "But it will make us better every day."
United, Munoz says, is now focusing on its future, one that will embrace more technology and more customer amenities and one he says that depends on the recently announced O’Hare expansion.
"The key factor in all of this is, as far as Chicago, is a more modern O’Hare, if we are going to do all that full line, more connections, great customer convenience, all that enhanced capability," he said. "O’Hare has to play a crucial roll in this."
One interesting comment: when asked about autonomous airplanes, Munoz said he is not ready for that yet.
"I have incredible, wonderful pilots who work for us and I very much trust them," he said. "And I don’t know how many of us would get on an airplane that is monitored from afar."