Under d.r.S.L.'s Bold Stewardship, United Has Risen to the Top of the Industry

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by HeathrowGuy, Jul 24, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. HeathrowGuy
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    HeathrowGuy Gold Member

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    Congratulations to United for being named The Best Airline in the Americas by the highly discriminating readers of Frequent Business Traveler magazine. United rightfully belongs in the same league as Lufthansa, Emirates, and Singapore Airlines, who won awards for being the best carriers in their respective regions.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/hilton-lufthansa-emirates-singapore-united-123000142.html

    The d.r.S.L. deserves the highest praise for his revival and elevation of the United brand into a synonym for excellent connectivity and a wonderful product offering.
     
  2. LXJenkins
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    LXJenkins Silver Member

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    Hahaha. "Their very selective preferences and extensive patronage of hotels, airlines and everything travel-related make their votes particularly meaningful."
     
  3. bonnerbl
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    bonnerbl Gold Member

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    I'm wondering, just how many "best" award organizations are there now? Seems to be so many that the cache of being best is considerably watered down. (btw not to denigate UA which is my airline).
     
  4. Sedosi

    Sedosi Gold Member

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    That's the real catch. We've become so inundated with groups who name something the "best" that it really doesn't seem to matter all that much any more. I would imagine that UA's fairly extensive route network and multiple tie-ins with different hotel providers (not to mention economies of scale) improve their rankings greatly. (Not that this is something to be overlooked or downplayed, because it's not.)

    For the most part it all comes down to how thin you want to slice the pie.
     
  5. PanAm
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    PanAm Silver Member

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    It kind of makes me think of when my daughter used to do competitive dance team. Every studio advertises that they're "national award winning". Well, there are dozens of companies that put on competitions nationwide during the year, with multiple regional competitions. Then each series has finals, that they always term "Nationals". It's not in any way tied to the outcome of the regionals and is just a way for them to make more money. However, then the dancers and studios can claim that they are "National" award winners!:rolleyes:
     
  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Reminds me of the "My kid is an honor student at XYZ high school" that every car seems to have these days...
     
  7. Captain Oveur
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  8. colpuck
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    colpuck Gold Member

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    BRING BACK THE BBDS meme!
     
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  9. PanAm
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    PanAm Silver Member

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    On a side note, Frequent Business Traveler also voted FT as "best travel site" http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/mile...vel-site-frequent-business-travelers-529.html

    Having never heard of FBT, I googled it. Found out it was originally called "Executive Road Warrior" and was started by a guy named Greg Spira, who also started "The Diesel Driver" magazine. I thought maybe that was a semi truck drivers' magazine, but it's centered on diesel cars like BMWs, etc.

    Found an article about Mr. Spira who died last year of kidney disease. http://www.thedieseldriver.com/2012...r-co-founder-of-the-diesel-driver-dies-at-44/
    Seems he also was really into baseball: "In 1991, two years before the invention of the first Web browser, Mr. Spira founded the Internet Baseball Awards. He was considered an important pioneer in Usenet online baseball discussion groups including rec.sport.baseball, and helped found Baseball Prospectus, a Web site that focuses on the sabermetric analysis of baseball." Kind of an eclectic combination of interests!

    I did end up subscribing (free online) if nothing else because "Every month, one new subscriber to Frequent Business Traveler Weekly will win a valuable piece of airline memorabilia. Prizes will range from a Douglas DC-6 model to a 1954 guide to New York airports to a piece of silverware used in Pan Am’s first class cabin."

    If Lady Luck isn't on my side for 4 Mile Island, maybe I'll still end up with a Pan Am spoon!
     
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  10. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Clarification needed here. Jonathan Spira is an active, helpful member of both Milepoint and FT, his brother Greg is the one who passed away. I met Greg through Prodigy many years ago and then we made the connection that our fathers had been friends for decades, my wife and I visited with Greg and their parents at the parents house maybe 15 years ago. Their father was a pioneer and a leader in the photo industry, and had the most incredible collection of photographic equipment. Quite a wonderful and fascinating family.

    Any of you who were active photographers many decades ago may recall Spiratone, their fathers company.
     
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  11. JSpira
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    JSpira Silver Member

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    Gargoyle is correct and I appreciate his clarification and the fact that he brought this thread to my attention.

    My brother Greg, who passed away seven months ago, was a co-founder of Frequent Business Traveler, along with myself and our other co-founder David Goldes.

    Greg was a great believer in the concept of readers' choice awards and he was responsible for conceptualizing the process we operate the GlobeRunner awards under (as well as how we do balloting for the Diesel Car of the Year). This dates back to his creation of the Internet Baseball Awards in 1991 - please keep in mind that this was two years before the Web browser had been invented!

    As a result, we (the editors and contributors) have no say in who wins. We open up the voting and count the results. Companies that are nominated are free to ask their customers/members/fans etc. to vote for them of course.

    One further clarification to the Original Post: Lufthansa did not win for best airline; rather, it won two awards, one for best first-class lounges and one for best frequent flyer program.
     
  12. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    That M&M won for best FF program makes me discount the rest of the awards completely. Sorry, but that's a farce. Just like the Freddies, which are a ballot-stuffing joke.

    I like the idea of letting the customers pick their favorites, but pretending that it actually can be translated into what is really best is a stretch in most cases.
     
  13. sfo1
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    sfo1 Silver Member

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    How would one know which is the best unless one had sampled that was out there? If you have sampled only one, two or three, how do you know it is the best? Just because someone says its the best doesn't make it so, best is in the eye of the beholder.
     
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  14. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    I guess the three choices are:

    1. Have the awards selected by a committee that uses its knowledge, experience and personal biases to pick the winners.
    2. Have the awards selected by an open vote of readers/customers, which will lend itself to campaigning by the companies- whoever has the best social marketing team has the best chance of winning. Just like political elections in the U.S.A.
    3. Don't have any awards.

    Each choice has its advantages and drawbacks. The awards contests are good for the magazines (and they need things like this to survive in this competitive world), and good for the companies, and fun for the readers, so that rules out option #3. If they go with option #1 people will discount it, claiming the best advertisers buy the victories, so that hurts the magazines credibility. Doesn't leave much choice, does it?
     
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  15. JSpira
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    JSpira Silver Member

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    Your analysis is correct. And there are awards in many industries (or so I have heard) that advertising can buy.

    Greg advocated the readers' or people's choice concept because he trusted the people to vote appropriately. Several votes were very very close but ultimately there was only one winner.

    (Incidentally, in the case of Miles & More, the reason that program won has probably much more to do with the fact that multiple airlines, notably Lufthansa, Austrian, and Swiss, use a single FF program and thus have multiple fan/customer bases versus the one airline/one program concept such as Delta's or American's. I watched the voting live (although not on a vote-by-vote basis) and I could see waves of Austrian or Swiss fans showing up and voting for their airline and M&M, the same way I saw people voting for a particular airline such as DL or AA and then voting for that airline's FF program.)
     
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  16. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Then maybe it should be called "program with best social marketing team" instead of something like "best loyalty program" or "best elite program"?
     
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  17. JSpira
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    Just like the political elections in the U.S. I guess as it seems to be coming to that.
     
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  18. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Indeed. So how many people here have sampled or studied airBaltic's BalticMiles and voted for it as having the best elite program in Europe/Africa in the Freddies?
     
  19. lhrsfo
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    lhrsfo Silver Member

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    This list of choices is spot on, but omits some of the biases involved. In particular, the bias benefiting UA, LH and SQ in the FBT survey is one of enormous global reach. Far more people travel these global airlines than others so they tend to win. Good as Virgin America is within the USA, it will never win because it is useless to many/most of the magazine's readers. Likewise Turkish Airlines.
     
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  20. lhrsfo
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    lhrsfo Silver Member

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    This list of choices is spot on, but omits some of the biases involved. In particular, the bias benefiting UA, LH and SQ in the FBT survey is one of enormous global reach. Far more people travel these global airlines than others so they tend to win. Good as Virgin America is within the USA, it will never win because it is useless to many/most of the magazine's readers. Likewise Turkish Airlines.
     
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  21. Wandering Aramean
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    I think there are a few other options out there you haven't considered.

    And I'd say it will not win because it actually isn't so good as a carrier for business travelers, ;)
     
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  22. Sedosi

    Sedosi Gold Member

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    First off, JSpira, thanks for coming on here and discussing your organizations awards. Much appreciated.

    The single most important charactaristic of any program like this is that we're talking about 'opinion'. As such there are going to be people who immediately discount the program because others' opinions differ, those who will (rightly) point out that ballot stuffing in online voting is inevitable, some people who will look at it and say "neat" and some that will just shrug and move on their way.

    At the end of the day it's all opinion. Despite their high rankings I know of several ppl who will NOT fly WN unless it's the last option available and the covered wagon is booked full. Then there are ppl (espeically now, in Houston) who think that WN hung the moon and that their planes fly on fairy farts and their pretzels are made w/water from the fountain of youth. There's always going to be that disconnect from one user to the next.

    The next important issue is the problem with online voting itself. In Texas, we have a pseudo-media organization called the Texas Tribune that runs an on-going internet political poll out to their subsciber base. In the two years that they've been doing this their polling results skew toward the Democrats somewhere around 20-30%. In the last Governor's race the Bill White campaign held that poll up as proof he was going to win. On election day he lost by 20. Rick Perry wiped the floor with him.

    I see the same thing happening here, where a group of like-minded travellers join an organization and (unwittingly) skew the results. Not that Miles & Miles are trying to game the system, but that the sample set is significantly off from the travel population as a whole. Since this is a voting "contest" and not a "poll" I'm not suggesting that statistical analyisis come into play, but that the results should be taken for what they are, nothing more: Something fun to cuss and discuss.
     
  23. JSpira
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    My pleasure.

    Exactly.
     
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  24. PanAm
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    PanAm Silver Member

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    Which is what I wrote and quoted.
     
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