While I accept that Creighton did what you say, there is a greater question about his tenure.
Under UAL's own corporate laws, a CEO must resign at 70. Therefore, Creighton, who was 69 when he was appointed, could only be interim.
Now, it always said that he was interim, but the board did very little about finding a permanent replacement until just a very few weeks before that 70th birthday. This was a disaster for the incoming CEO, Tilton, because time was short and critical decisions had already been made.
Throughout this entire saga, as outlined by Speedport above, the role of the Board of Directors (BOD) has been largely ignored. Yet it is the BOD who must bear more than a small degree of the blame.
It is the BOD who rubber stamped the various disastrous side ventures (Avolar, etc.), the BOD who approved the pilot contract, the BOD who approved (or engineered) the dismissal of Goodwin and appointed one of their own, it is the BOD who dallied finding a permanent replacement CEO.
It is the BOD who approved the submission to the ATSB. But the ATSB is not the demon here.
The ATSB knew they faced political wrath if they denied the application. At the same time, they were entrusted with the administration of public monies. They had a charter from Congress and they stuck to it.
And they are not financial fools. Or, if they are, then since in their real jobs they variously have charge of a deal of public money and aspects of the national economy, we should be deeply worried.
The submission was deemed inadequate by the ATSB, and then, in the first bankruptcy hearing, UAL admitted that the submission was inaccurate.
It was at that same first hearing that the judge told the UAL lawyers that the financial projections for the future seemed not to be based on any reality, but were effectively pie in the sky.
And the BOD allowed all this to happen.
The role of the BOD in any corporation is grossly underestimated - or has become so.
They are not there to approve, without question, everything the CEO wants to do. They are there to protect two things: (i) the corporation with which they are entrusted, and (ii) the owners of that corporation, including the shareholders.
To my mind, the BOD of UAL has been grossly negligent on both counts. If I were a shareholder in UAL, I'd be talking to my lawyer.