Skift Take

Oscar Munoz has once more adopted the role of chief apology officer as loyal passengers raise questions about how the airline treats animals. It's a role that he's used to at this point.

With United’s puppygate scandal now a week behind us, concerned passengers have shifted focus to the airline’s service record and overall treatment of animals. And as those wagons circle, United’s embattled CEO, Oscar Munoz, has once more been forced to adopt his role as chief apology officer.

That term was first pushed into the limelight after the airline got into trouble offloading a passenger last year in a widely shared viral video, prompting Munoz to step up, engage with customers, and take the blame. But the real genesis of the role is a product of United’s last CEO, Jeff Smisek, who had a less-than-excellent relationship with both customers and internal employees.

A big part of what Munoz tried to bring back to United was a sense of humanity with his role as CEO, and he’s done a good job at reaching out to both employees and disfranchised, loyal customers over his tenure. Nobody, however, could have predicted the amount of apologizing that the man signed up for.

Skift’s Brian Sumers has more on the dual role of chief executive and chief apology officer that Munoz now plays.

— Grant Martin

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Tags: loyalty, united airlines

Photo credit: On May 2, 2017, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, before a House Transportation Committee oversight hearing. Munoz is dealing with one public relations nightmare after another. Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

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