Traveling with ExCons

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Infinite1K, Apr 4, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Infinite1K
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    Infinite1K Silver Member

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    I recently flew a United flight that was operated with a sCO aircraft, flight attendants and pilots. The flight was at a sCO gate but did have a mix of sUA and sCO agents (4 of them total) working the gate. As has been my experience with all my flights on United recently, the boarding process was chaotic - though more so than ever due to the flight being oversold and the need for volunteers. Apparently the gate agents never had a good handle on the count, because they yo-yo-ed from not needing anymore volunteers, to needing more volunteers, to having open seats. We finally pushed away from the gate with a plane full of passengers after a 30 minute delay.

    Once we boarded I noticed that the flight attendants were wearing some interesting accessories. One of the flight attendants was wearing not one, but three of those "cause-based" rubber wristbands. The lettering on the wristband had the words ExCon on it. Another flight attendant had a big rhinestone brooch pinned to her chest that also spelled out ExCon.

    Apparently this particular set of flight attendants was not very happy about the merger and chose to express it with their accessories. Personally I think the term ExCon is rather unfortunate and it would be interesting to see the look on the face of that once a year traveller when they saw the term ExCon on a bracelet or brooch. Now it is certainly fine for people to be able to have freedom of speech and accessorize however which way they want. But what isn't OK is when you let your opinions interfere with your job performance.

    And unfortunately that was the case with this crew.

    They managed to avoid mentioning the word United during the various announcements. And despite the purser having his big United manual handy, the various announcements were quite short and not anywhere close to the normal announcements. For instance after takeoff, you typically hear "We'd like to extend a special welcome to our MileagePlus members who will earn xxx miles on their flight today" or after landing "We know you have a choice in air travel and would like to thank you for choosing United for your travels today". But you didn't hear any of that on this flight. The pilots were similarly brief and curt, didn't mention their names, and their sign off was a short " on behalf of your legacy Continental crew, thank you for flying with us". And no mention of any apology about being delayed 30 minutes.

    Service was also sub-par, and no re-fills were offered. When the flight attendants did walk up and down the aisle, they avoided any eye contact. And perhaps the classiest move was towards the end of the flight, when they emptied out all the extra snacks from the snack tray into the blue trash bags and distributed it amongst themselves for later consumption.

    For the sake of all of United's customers, I hope that the attitude observed with these and other similar crews gets corrected. Otherwise, to quote a wise man:

     
  2. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I had a crew announce they were CO recently, but they were friendly, and I didn't see any of the other signs you mentioned, they were professional and service-oriented. The weirdest part, though, was that this was a ps flight, so I wouldn't normally expect ex-CO crew on it.
     
  3. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    That sounds like fodder for a letter to customer service. No compensation claim is necessary, but they should be told when their employees are acting out of line.

    I love the "ExCon" term, but agree they shouldn't be openly displaying it on their persons.
     
  4. DCA1K

    DCA1K Silver Member

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    I have also noticed the "legacy Continental" tag being used on flights. What I don't get is since almost everything I see in terms of on-board service is CO-policy based, the only thing that I can see the Ex-Cons have lost is the name. Is this really all about the name?
     
  5. chrislacey
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    I've heard the legacy Continental (or similar) announcement over the PA...but I've yet to feel like the crew was acting different toward passengers because of some hatred towards the new company (with the exception of one COEX FA prior to the close of the merger). He still provided decent service though. It doesn't matter whether it is PMUA gate or lounge agents (who seem to be a bit miffed about the system change) or PMCO FAs (that can't handle the reality)...but I really hope, for everyone's sake, that everyone moves on. Employees who can't should be let go.
     
  6. zippypinhead

    zippypinhead Gold Member

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    Me? I get a chuckle out of the "Ex Con" stuff. Kinda deja-vu all over again....
    I fly out of the cle* hublet and have a long memory... United was the big player in cle until the 80's when they decided that instead of flying anyplace direct, you could connect through ORD or IAH..... what a PITA.:rolleyes:
    Well along came Continental, probably one of the worst of the mainline American airline companies at that time. I got to ride them from worst to first and, by and large, they would bend over backwards to make a wrong right.
    One of the other carriers I used back then was Peidmont. Teh little airline that could. Again, they would do whatever they could during irreg opps and bend over backwards to help you out.
    To this day, I'll step on to a USair flight, and if I get decent service, ask if the FA is ex-Peidmont.... Usually get an affirmative to the query....
    I figure that, ten years from now, I'll be on a UA flight and ask if the FA is ExCon......

    ETA: *-cle.... it's a hublet. There's no point in typing it in capital letters.
     
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  7. HeathrowGuy
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    HeathrowGuy Gold Member

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    Why not? United management loves the ExCons, and not just because Smisek is ex-CO -- ExCon labor is far more flexible and cost effective for the company to use than deflowered employees.
     
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  8. RRK

    RRK Silver Member

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    It is very sad to be a long time 1 K and 3 MM United member and to see what is happening now at the NEW United. I took 10 flights within the last month and on EVERY single trip I have to listening to flight attendant issues, CO was better, UA was better, loosing out on trips, or being more "on call" because of the new company rules.
    The moral and the service of the new united is awful. Getting them on the phone, almost impossible. Still waiting for my new 1 K card, it was never mailed out. Never received any e-mails update since the merge and a CEO who
    is in denial, for creating a better NEW UNITED, and is promising from day one, that we will all gonna love the new changes at the New United. Besides his welcome video onboard, I have not seen or heard anything from this guy. I am still hoping to get some kind of public response from him. How he is gonna handle all the problems everybody is having lately. Shame on you for letting your employees and more importantly your loyal customers down !!!!
     
  9. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I could see people being upset about losing the name. I think United's a better name than Continental as it does fly to more than one continent. God knows I've worked for companies that have had far stupider name changes over the years. Every few years I need to update my resume with the current idiotic names so they can be looked up by headhunters.
     
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  10. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    I love the ExCon terminology and I have a bag tag that says ExConEx and get a chuckle out of it everytime I fly on the new United...

    However employees should not be making service suffer or cut on it regardless of whether they're happy or not with the merger but I do see employees doing the bare minimum lately and then there are employees who are going above and beyond lately too so it's a YMMV.
     
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  11. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    It's quite likely that the FAs and even the pilots feel like they have come out as the junior partners in the merger. The UA FA union won the representation election, and there likely are more senior UA FAs. On the pilot side, I don't think anything is final yet, but it's the same union, and probably on the whole the UA pilots are more senior, so the CO side may feel like they are losing something.

    Having said that, it's not professional to take it out on the passengers. And as a mainly pmUA flyer that perspective has strong dissonance with what we are experiencing. Clearly it is CO management, policies, and systems that have taken over the combined airline. Many of the station managers are CO. Computer systems and website are CO. Pricing and upgrade policies are CO. So it is rather odd to see the CO employees feeling disenfranchised.
     
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  12. Art234
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    I think there's a fair amount of frustration and disappointment to go around on both sides. No one likes change, especially those who have done their jobs for 20 years or more and who now have to relearn how to do it.....the grass always looks greener on the other side, but it is not always the case.

    Let's see where we are 6 months or a year from now, when much of the dust has settled--if it has.......I mean look at US- almost 7 years in and no joint ops.....and like that situation, how much of the employee agitation is due to union posturing????
     
  13. Tom
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    Tom Silver Member

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    Somebody should point out that when hearing ex-con, one can think ex-convict. That should stop this silliness quickly. :confused:
     
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  14. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    I think that was their point.

    But I agree they should stop this behavior
     
  15. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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    I'm sure FFOCUS has their hands full right now interceding on behalf of all these aggrieved UA elites...or do you guys still just have a problem with US Airways (despite there really not being any major problems right now)?
     
  16. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    I have heard United pilots say something to the effect that they are "the legacy United" on legacy UA metal flights within the past month or so.
     
  17. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    I have absolutely seen improvement here, I just literally called a half hour ago to sponsor a GPU for a colleague's international trip and wasn't even on hold a minute on the 1k line.
     
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  18. Art234
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    We are company neutral when it comes to helping those who ask..your little dig was somewhat uncalled for.

    Yes we are very active in a number of areas right now, and I will say in all fairness, that when called upon, US management has been very responsive. Their issue is the need for things to escalate to a senior management level. And while UA's problems are making news right now, we're beginning to see calls for help with AA issues, among others.
     
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  19. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    Can you share a pointer for information about FFOCUS?
     
  20. Art234
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    FFOCUS started out as the "US Cockroaches" in 2002. When the name changed in 2004, it was originally Frequent Flyers Organized and Committed to US Airways Success, but after a few years and a serious deterioration in customer relations attitudes there, we did expand to the point of helping US elites find new airlines.

    Since changing our name to the current iteration, we have remained active, quietly but effectively helping those with issues which have not been resolved through normal channels. We evaluate all requests for help on the merits of the individual cases, and while not always successful, we do make sure that concerns and comments reach people who have the power to make things right.

    You can read about our history, origins etc. at www.ffocus.org and we can be reached there.....
     
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  21. Infinite1K
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    Infinite1K Silver Member

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    If this was in fact a .p.s flight with the sUA p.s. configuration 757-200, then I highly doubt that there was a sCO crew. Due to both union and certification issues, crew members are not being "cross-fleeted" yet.

    If you are familiar with the concept of sarcasm, perhaps their announcement falls into that category?
     
  22. United Connection

    United Connection Silver Member

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    Anyone else open this thread expecting to read a story about a group of actual ex-convicts harassing other pax on a flight?
     
  23. Art234
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    Yes, I initially thought it might have had something to do with being seated next to a person in handcuffs, but apparently that is not the case ;)
     
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  24. Infinite1K
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    Infinite1K Silver Member

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    I didn't pick the name. That is what they've chosen to call themselves and have gone to the extra effort of getting wrist bands, luggage tags, brooches, etc. made.
     
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  25. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    You may have to be patient as the attitude still shows up on former America West (now United Airlines ) employees years after the merger. I think all the airlines need to implement a system to resolve employee discontentment before the merger is finalized for the sake of employees and customers.
     

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