UNITED STATES NEWS

Passengers were stuck because United Airlines canceled their flights. The CEO took a private plane

Jun 30, 2023, 6:10 PM | Updated: 7:22 pm

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby apologized Friday for hopping on a private plane to get out of the New York area earlier this week while thousands of United passengers were stranded because the airline canceled so many flights.

“Taking a private jet was the wrong decision because it was insensitive to our customers who were waiting to get home,” Kirby said in a statement issued by the airline. “I sincerely apologize to our customers and our team members who have been working around-the-clock for several days — often through severe weather — to take care of our customers.”

Kirby concluded by promising “to better demonstrate my respect for the dedication of our team members and the loyalty of our customers.”

Kirby caught the private flight from Teterboro, New Jersey, to Denver on Wednesday, when United canceled 750 flights — one-fourth of its schedule for the day. That figure does not include flights on United Express.

hit by thunderstorms for much of the week.

Kirby blamed disruptions in Newark last weekend on a shortage of Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers. He said in a note to employees “that the FAA frankly failed us” by reducing the rate at which planes could arrive and depart the airport, where United is the dominant carrier.

Canceled flights left United planes and crews out of position, hobbling the airline when bad weather hit on Sunday, Kirby said.

As United continued to struggle throughout this week, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, whose department includes the FAA, said on Twitter that airlines had recovered from the storms “with the exception of United.” He drove home the point by including a bar graph that compared United’s cancellation rate with the rest of the industry.

United’s operation has improved since midweek. The percentage of canceled flights fell from 26% on Wednesday to 18% Thursday and 8% through Friday evening, according to tracking service FlightAware. However, even on Friday, United was on pace to lead all U.S. carriers in canceled flights for a seventh straight day.

United vowed to fix its operation in time for the July 4 holiday weekend, which promises to be a hectic one at the nation’s airports. More than 2.7 million people were screened Thursday at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, and Friday was expected to bring similar crowds — possibly bigger.

United passengers have taken to social media and talked to reporters about long airport lines and sleeping in airports after flights were canceled.

Unions representing the airline’s pilots and flight attendants have joined in the criticism, accusing United management of poor planning, a lack of crew schedulers, and operating too many flights.

Chicago-based United said it did not pay for the CEO’s flight on Wednesday. The airline declined to say whether Kirby frequently takes private planes.

United States News

Associated Press

Four people charged in the case of 2 women missing from Oklahoma

Four people were arrested and charged with murder and kidnapping over the weekend in connection with the disappearances of two Oklahoma women. Veronica Butler, 27; and Jilian Kelley, 39, of Hugoton, Kansas, were driving through the Oklahoma panhandle to pick up Butler’s children for a March 30 birthday party in Kansas but never showed up. […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Detectives solve 1968 killing of World War II veteran who became milkman, Florida sheriff says

VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — More than five decades after a World War II veteran was slain while working as a milkman in Florida, investigators say they’ve solved the case thanks to two people who came forward after the killer died. Hiram “Ross” Grayam was delivering milk in April 1968 and failed to return home […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Gene Herrick, AP photographer who covered the Korean war and civil rights, dies at 97

RICH CREEK, Va. (AP) — Gene Herrick, a retired Associated Press photographer who covered the Korean War and is known for his iconic images of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and the trial of the killers of Emmett Till in the early years of the Civil Rights Movement, died Friday. He was 97. In […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Wife of ex-Harvard morgue manager pleads guilty to transporting stolen human remains

WILLIAMSPORT. Pa. (AP) — The wife of a former Harvard Medical School morgue manager has pleaded guilty to a federal charge after investigators said she shipped stolen human body parts — including hands, feet and heads — to buyers. Denise Lodge, 64, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in the […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting at Baltimore mall sends girl, 7, to hospital

BALTIMORE (AP) — A 7-year-old girl was hospitalized Saturday after she was shot at a Baltimore shopping mall. Baltimore police say the girl was shot Saturday afternoon at Mondawmin Mall. According to police, two groups at the mall got into an altercation, and an unidentified male fired a shot as he was running away that […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Chicago shooting kills 8-year-old girl and wounds 10 people including small children, police say

CHICAGO (AP) — Eleven people standing outside a family gathering Saturday night were shot including a young girl who was killed in what Chicago police believe was gang-related violence on the city’s South Side. Four victims were children, police said Sunday. An 8-year-old girl was fatally shot, while a 1-year-old boy and a 8-year-old boy […]

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Passengers were stuck because United Airlines canceled their flights. The CEO took a private plane