The overall wisdom of Jeff Smisek, the dear respected Supreme Leader of United, is beyond reproach. However, even the most ardent UA loyalists cannot help but be concerned by a steady stream of service degradation which, taken together, lessens the value proposition of being a United customer, and puts the airline in a position to squander the "second chance" afforded by the merger. Most recently, United has implemented a serious degradation to the complimentary product offerings featured in the United Clubs. This change is particularly distressing, since the United Clubs are themselves not a complimentary offering, with many flyers shelling out hundreds of dollars per year for membership to access lounges already featuring laggard amenities. Some might assert that United can (or should attempt to) get away with service quality reductions in a "race to the bottom" because Delta, its most similarly-sized rival, has been engaging in its own round of service quality reductions. This assertion is at once foolish. Delta and United approach the marketplace from very different vantage points. At core, Delta is still a more connection-centric airline, with every hub except JFK a fortress operation where competition varies from modest to virtually non-existent. Delta can afford to degrade itself because most of its customers either have minimal choice, or because the airline's overall network connectivity frequently offers schedule propositions that competitors struggle to match. United, OTOH, remains more focused on targeting O&D travelers from hubs (both legacy UA and legacy CO) that generally feature much stronger domestic and international competition, including rivals that are offering, or will soon offer, enough of a superior value proposition to warrant objective review. Simply stated, in a race to the bottom, Delta wins and United loses (or at least, cannot "win" as much as Delta would). We have seen United try to heal itself in the past by degrading service quality levels. Those past efforts left United the bane of the industry, winning not one industry recognition for its service in the 21st century, and with increasingly undersized hubs as choosy fliers chose other carriers who valued their business. Let us all hope that the service quality renaissance often professed by the drSL and publicly reaffirmed by senior United executives in recent days will be objectively delivered without delay.