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Oscar Munoz: On-Time Ranking “Be D—–,” We’ll Hold Planes for Passengers

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz says that protecting the carrier’s on-time-performance score now takes a backseat to helping passengers make tight connections. The airline executive says that in many cases employees are now encouraged hold flights at the gate if giving connecting passengers a few extra moments to get to the flight won’t seriously inconvenience other flyers.

Earlier this year United Airlines began experimenting with a program known as “Dynamic D.O” at its Denver International Airport (DEN) Hub. The initiative allowed dispatchers to hold flights from departing on time if the delay could help connecting passengers make their flights without seriously inconveniencing other customers. This week CEO Oscar Munoz declared the trial a success and announced that the program has since expanded systemwide.

The new policies haven’t helped United’s on-time performance rankings, but Munoz doesn’t seem especially concerned. In fact, this week he told CNBC’s Leslie Josephs that on-time report cards “be d—–” if it means more passengers make it to their destinations as scheduled.

“We don’t care – we have saved tens of thousands of connections,” Munoz told NBC News this week. “If you’re not on time you fall in the ranks and you read about it in the papers, but what about you who’s running late and you see [the aircraft] there and we’re shutting the door on you because we have to be on time. That’s not particularly caring.”

The carrier says that a new technology known as ConnectionSaver, which was unveiled earlier this year, has helped “countless” passenger to make connecting flights without seriously delaying other air travelers. The software was used in conjunction with Dynamic D.O. trials at United’s Denver and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) Hubs earlier this year.

“ConnectionSaver is powered by new technology that automatically identifies departing flights that can be held for connecting customers while ensuring those who have already boarded the aircraft arrive at their destination on time,” the airline explained in a recent release. “ConnectionSaver also sends personalized text messages to every connecting customer (who has opted-in to receive notifications) with clear directions to the gate for their connecting flight and information about how long the walk will take.”

United’s more generous policies when it comes to holding flights for delayed passengers don’t necessarily mean that your next connecting flight won’t leave you behind. Airline officials caution that the goal is to get as many passengers to their destinations as close to on time as possible – whenever possible.

“ConnectionSaver only works if it allows us to care for as many customers as possible—without inconveniencing others—and that’s exactly what this technology has shown it can do,” United Airlines spokesperson Toby Enqvist explained. “We’re determined to capitalize on as many opportunities as possible to better serve and care for our customers and that’s part of what sets United apart from our competitors.”

Comments are Closed.
chrisfwm September 30, 2019

smart, hold for one pax so 100 other pax can be later too. Its always about UL's bottom line, only fool believes United cares about you.

akl_traveller September 28, 2019

Sounds terrible. 250 passengers delayed by 10 minutes each is 2500 minutes; 41.6 hours. I doubt any passenger they are waiting for is gong to be delayed that long. Utility is distributed.

Global321 September 27, 2019

You can't say "damned" anymore? I am guessing that is the word... “be d—–” Why?

booatx September 27, 2019

@flyguyclipper, I agree with @flyingnone, unions have nothing to do with moving passengers in a timely manner.

FlyingNone September 27, 2019

@FlyGUYClipper, ??? (your comment) .....A decision about making connections (or avoiding misconnects) has nothing to do with employees being unionized.