Merger pains for United Airlines leave passengers hurting (Chicago Tribune)

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by tommy777, May 27, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    Front page news in today's paper and also a double page article inside the paper. The statistics in the article is just the tip of the iceberg as United have millions of complaints emails they haven't read yet.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-0527-flights--20120526,0,7754938.story


    On a side note:
    Yesterday's 3 class First flight from SFO to Chicago sums it up how the Continental policies have made United customer service a big failure and sets the standard for the future of the airline.

    "sorry, there are no meals loaded on the flight that doesn't contain meat". Answer: "don't you have a Tapas snack box loaded you could serve? Purser: " I do, but sorry, we've been explicitly told not to give out any free meals or anything from BOB in situations like this anymore, we'll get in trouble".

    So much for empowering your employees...

    The purser came back 10 minutes later with my cheeseburger (a part of the CO Taco Bell McDonalds collection) and a tray for my fabulous vegetarian fiancée with the tapas snack box on it stating "I don't care if I get in trouble, this policy is bad customer service. Enjoy". This guy gets what the CO bean counters don't.

    I'd give the guy all of my compliment vouchers for the year, unfortunately, I've not gotten my kit or card yet.
     
  2. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    Bingo. Customer service is a dying art.

    You wouldn't find any compliment vouchers in your kit even if you received it as planned.
     
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  3. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    Would those passenger amenities you mentioned include 9 across seating, Mr Hand?

    Yeah ... talk to the Hand.

    -David
     
  4. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    I just don't see how this is such a big deal. Is there the same outrage over AA's decision to go 3-4-3 on its 77W?

    9 abreast will eventually be the standard on the 787, and UA will not be unique in this regard. If anything, place the blame on Boeing for designing an airplane with a 'catch-22' cross section.
     
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  5. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    Let's not change the topic here. The article mentioned how great their 787s were going to be. I pointed out the seating decision they made, which was the bean counter decision.

    This isn't about AA. They have their own set of problems.

    Now back to ignoring your posts.

    -David
     
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  6. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    It's a business. 3-3-3 with E+ on the 787 gives passengers comparable space to the existing widebody fleet. I've sat in the seats at 3-3-3 and was pleasantly surprised. UA's configuration will hold about 60 more seats than NH's 787, so for a U.S. airline, it's a no-brainer. UA will try to RM the 787 in such a way that it generates higher yields relative to the rest of the longhaul fleet, but you can bet with 100% certainty that customers are not willing to pay more for a 787.

    NH/JL 787s are really wonderfully configured but that will be the exception rather than the rule.
     
  7. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    I don't see Boeing can be blamed for the cross section. Once it's big enough for comfortable 8-across, a bean counter can figure out that by shaving 11% off each seat width, you can put in 9 seats - just like AA took the 777 which was designed for 9-across and by shaving onff 10% they get enough for the 10th seat. Not that they are the first to do it.

    When DC-10's first came out, some airlines were 8-across (I remember NW was that way in the 80's) and when the 747 first came out, PA had 9 across (in a 3-4-2 configuration).

    But launching the 787 in 9-across will mean that Y customers won't be loving the plane, esp. on the 12-15 hour flights it's designed for. Another approach could have been to make Y+ 8-across and increase the fee to upgrade to Y+
     
  8. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    That's an approach I really like.
     
  9. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    Took me 9 weeks to hear back from a message sent about missing promo miles. Finally got the miles plus a 10,000 mile addition for having to wait so long.

    On a separate email to them re: status matching from BD diamond club, they did actually status match my wife from BD gold to Premier Gold without her having prior UA status as a gesture for having to wait so long for a reply. Took 8 weeks on that.

    As behind as they are, they are trying to take the sting out of these issues....just a bit.
     
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  10. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    How do you really feel? :p Now you can ignore me too! ;)
     
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  11. Golden Toque

    Golden Toque Gold Member

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    Bottom line is airlines, like every business should empower their front-line employees to "help" customers. Fix their problem in the here and now, irregardless of momentary cost to the airline. At least that way you have a happy customer. The cost to turn an un-happy customer into a happy one is much greater than anything you would have to do to fix their problem at the airport right now!
     
  12. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Over at the 'other site', we kept hearing over and again, long before the merger, about what a "quality brand" CO was, and how its operation was superior to UA's. My sense all along was that those folks had bought into CO management's PR -- something they excelled at -- about the "quality brand" canard...

    I truly hope that the policies of the so-called "quality brand" will not continue to set the standards for the future. It makes one long for PMUA, ".bomb" and all...
     
  13. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    Took me about 3 to get a response. They promised 15,000 miles to appear within 24-48 hours. That was a week ago.

    As for the comment cards, I still hand out the pmUA ones. Its a good way to get a smile out of the old United FA's. A lot of them don't like the merger any more than we do.
     
  14. stephenbgarvan

    stephenbgarvan Silver Member

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    yes i
    I have used those compliment vouchers whenever I encounter a UA employee who deserves it- over the years maybe 25 given out, I keep them handy when travelling- even recall 1 in LHR a year or so ago.,.Meritorious & caring human service heartily deserves that!
     
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  15. stephenbgarvan

    stephenbgarvan Silver Member

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    YE
    YES- cardinal rule of business at any level !!!! Instilled in me and my business relations and interactions since mid1960s when I got my first job of any sort.
     
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  16. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Agreed on both points.
     
  17. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    Oh, before anyone bashes sCO for everything, CO always had a meat and a vegetarian selection... Usually, sandwich/burger or salad for lunch and meat dish or pasta dish for dinner.

    UA, on the other hand, had to succumb to the tapas box most of the time on dinner flights. Before anyone points out that UA afforded passengers the option to select special meals, I want to mention how often many people got sky kits constantly for meal special meal order screw ups.

    Honestly, let's stop all of this sCO vs sUA crap. Focus, this is UA and how UA customer service is like. If you feel the new UA customer service has deteriorated and how they are not as good as their competitors, feel free to post that along with the usual facts/opinions, but avoid reverting to "oh before the merger they did that, now they don't boo sCO/sUA management". It is just like saying oh the service blows and in the 80s they used to do that. The past is the past, let's move on together and dissect UA's service compared to the competition and how they could be better.

    Just my 2 cents :)
     
  18. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Well said mate!
     
  19. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I've never had a special meal screw upon any carrier, fwiw.
     
  20. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    AS has the policy that once the BoB program has completed a pass through the economy cabin, than F pax can have any of the perishable offerings for free - I think the premise is these would be tossed anyway, and all the Y pax had a chance to buy.
     
  21. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Now that's a customer friendly policy in place.
     
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  22. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    Count your blessings ;) :D
     
  23. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    But, but, but....

    We've heard (and heard and heard and heard and heard and heard and heard and heard) that COdbaUA us getting the new 787 so all will be well, won't it? ;-)

    Memo to United: You are broken. Get yourself fixed!
     
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  24. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    Correct. Then came the February meal service cuts, when legacy CO's more substantial dinner service (soup, salad, two hot entrees, plated dessert) was replaced by what used to be served for lunch (fruit cup, soup, salad or hot sandwich). Of course, it was billed as an enhancement because of the warm nuts and cookies, but it clearly was driven by reduction to the catering budget.
     
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  25. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    It's a major downgrade in the meal service cuts, even the FAs don't like the changes.
     
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