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Kirby: Summer Travel WILL Have Disruptions

United Airlines chief executive Scott Kirby is giving a dire warning to travelers: Book carefully, because your airline may not be able to fly their entire planned schedule.
United Airlines is not holding back on their opinion of other carrier’s summer schedules by making a bold claim that the Summer of 2023 will be marred with cancellations.


The comments were made during United’s end-of-year 2022 financial report, where they announced a net income of $737 million for the endemic year.


United CEO Points Finger at Other Airlines for Not Fulfilling Obligations


While travel demand isn’t going away anytime soon, the Chicago-based airline says that not all carriers are prepared to get flyers to their final destination. This goes beyond the disruption travelers experienced during Winter Storm Elliott. Instead, United CEO Scott Kirby says other airlines are simply not prepared for a surge of travelers returning to the airport during the prime summer vacation months.


“What happened over the holidays wasn’t a one-time event caused by the weather, and it wasn’t just at one airline,” Kirby said during the call, as quoted by an AlphaStreet transcript. “One airline got the bulk of the media coverage, but the weather was the straw that broke the camel’s back for several.”


Image courtesy: United Airlines


So what makes United different than their competition? During the presentation to investors, Kirby said his airline used the pandemic as a bigger opportunity to prepare for future growth. By protecting jobs, buying new aircraft, reducing utilization and investing in technology, Kirby says United will be prepared for travelers when they want to travel throughout 2023 and beyond.


“United has been pretty accurate about the macro outlooks, impact of COVID and what the recovery would look like going all the way back to February 29, 2020,” Kirby said. “And based on that, United really did take a different and unique approach to the recovery. At the onset of the pandemic, we acted first and we acted more aggressively than anyone else to protect our airline and the jobs of the people who work at United.”


Booking with Miles Could Be Problematic This Year

While all of this is good news for the flying public, those traveling on United MileagePlus points could be in for a rough time. Speaking on the relationship with Chase for co-branded credit cards, chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella noted that while the loyalty program is growing, it’s not keeping up with the growth of available seat miles. This could create a situation where flyers may need to spend more miles to get to their destination.


Whats your strategy for navigating United Airlines’ schedule in 2023? Share your thoughts on the FlyerTalk Forums. 

bchandler02 January 29, 2023

Translation: "We are going to continue to overbook and over-extend ourselves, because you - the stupid consumer - will continue to pay and put up with it while goverment allows us to do so with no reprecusions. While we could scale back our schedule to something that we may actually be able to hit and maintain decent customer service, we have no intention of doing so and would rather take money and p!ss off a few people because it is more profitable to do so". There, fixed it for you Scott. 

twb3 January 26, 2023

In other news, water is wet and highly paid executives always make excuses for not being able to deliver on promises their companies made to paying customers.

Daremo999 January 25, 2023

I like how they made the Delta % of flights at weather impacted airports bigger than United's even though they are both 1%.  LOL.

jayer January 23, 2023

It woud have been helpful if the article would have explained the attached graph.  We are left to specuate exactly what it represents.  But it appears to indicate the tradional Big Three and JetBlue did better than the than the other four.  On something.  Maybe two somethings.  We don't know.