Speaking with ABC News, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz made some surprisingly frank comments about the current state of air travel. The airline executive said that travelers may not stand for any further attempts to fit more seats into already cramped airplane cabins. He also expressed frustration with United’s inability to provide reliable inflight connectivity.
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz says that the days of cramming more and more seats into passenger planes may be coming to an end. He indicated that cramped cabin quarters may have reached critical mass when it comes to how much flyers are willing to tolerate.
“I think we are nearing a point certainly that we can’t do that anymore,” Munoz confessed to ABC News’ David Kerley. “It’s [air travel] become so stressful, from when you leave, wherever you live, to get into traffic, to find a parking spot, to get through security. Frankly, by the time you sit on one of our aircraft, you’re just pissed at the world.”
Munoz added that customer service efforts, such as menu improvements and enhanced beverage service, can only go so far when it comes to improving passengers’ experience. He notes that flyers who have reached the end of their ropes with the hassles of modern are travel aren’t likely to be impressed with “what coffee or cookie I give you.”
The United chief said that although inflight amenities can’t make up for the inconveniences at the airport and discomfort on the plane, there is one particular service passengers have come to depend on. Munoz admitted that the carrier has struggled to provide air travelers with reliable inflight internet access. He lamented that, in many ways, the solution to the persistent problem is out of his hands.
“It’s complicated technology,” the CEO explained. “We will fix that, and, frankly, we would stop a lot of our growth if we could just stop and find the right provider and get that done. That’s how important Wi-Fi is to us and to our customers.”
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