Well, THAT didn't go as planned...

 
Old Jun 9, 11, 7:19 pm
  #1  
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Well, THAT didn't go as planned...

June 9th, 2011

Mr. Jeffrey A. Smisek

President and CEO

United Continental Holdings, Inc,

As a 1K flyer who is trying his best to support the UA/CO merger, my patience has worn quite thin. The most recent example has presented itself less than 1 hour ago. On a flight today (UA 1270 operated on CO metal) from Houston to Philadelphia I count myself fortunate to have been upgraded to First. My expectations were modest and I was, as always, primarily looking forward to the additional legroom.
When it came time for lunch orders, I was the last to be addressed (seat 4E). Apparently the salad option had run out and the only available food option was a cheeseburger. No problem. I don't eat meat and so that option was not appealing to me. No worries, this has happened to me before and it seems that food choice availability in First is a relatively random lottery as to whether and when the availability of one’s preference becomes unavailable, largely based on one’s seat assignment.

BUT, I was further interested to note that once all of the food service activities had wound down, Lo and Behold, one of the senior flight attendants in First (who had personally alerted me to the absence of salad availability!) walked towards the back of the plane trying surreptitiously to carry for her personal consumption a (my!) salad from First! Having watched this exact situation unfold in numerous previous occasions, I was not only unsurprised by this but I confess to having received a good chuckle out of my prediction to myself that this would in fact occur. The FA food-option-holdback on First meals is a well-traveled yet unfortunately disturbingly frequent event. Perhaps this is in fact a UA/CO FA entitlement, and one of those unpleasant concessions that was made in the last collective bargaining agreement! If so, my sympathies are with you.

But if not! I have only one suggestion:

1. Why not allocate scarce meals by prioritizing the passengers in First according to a sliding scale of dollars and status? The front-to-back approach is bound to disappoint someone along the way and so why not disappoint those who are at that time most lucky to be in First to begin with!
We all work our way up to that level of status and endure many slights along the way. While very possible, I am doubtful that I was the lowest priority passenger in First today based on that simple and track-able scale.
As I struggled repeatedly to check-in to all of my CO/UA flights on my most recent set of five UA/CO flights this week, I was not surprised to have encountered numerous integration-related difficulties, with numerous related UA/CO systems communication / coordination issues that you as a team are no doubt struggling mightily to overcome. But something as basic as making a worthy ($$$) premium passenger in First happy with his experience, and uninterrupted by the disingenuous acts of a wayward flight attendant, should be standard operating procedure.

As a business leader who struggles with similar issues like this each day, I find it useful to self-reflect on such situations on comparison to how I would like our customers to represent our service offerings if asked to do so. As such, I owe you the benefit of hearing about my unfortunate experience today on UA/CO which may or may not contribute to any decision we make to further affiliate our company travel spend. And, yes, I am the decision maker in that regard for a significant amount of air travel spend within this company.

To be clear, I am not asking for and nor do I want anything in response to this note (…the first I have written to any airline as a result of observed and discouraging developments)

With best regards and good luck,
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Old Jun 9, 11, 7:24 pm
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Seriously? Put of all the things I could think tomwrite the the CEO regarding the merger, you pick a salad? And that weren't asked about your choice first???? How do you know an extra salad was not on board for a crew meal? How do you know it was YOUR salad?
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Old Jun 9, 11, 7:52 pm
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Jeff,

I know you are very busy man, let me summarize for you.

I (1K) didn't my choice of meal. This makes me sad because I have dietary restrictions. I saw the FA eating something that I feel I was entitled to, even if I don't know for sure that I was entitled to it. That makes me angry.
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Old Jun 9, 11, 7:55 pm
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What were the meal offerings in the class of service you bought, you know, the one with the less legroom?
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Old Jun 9, 11, 8:01 pm
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If the FA didn't hold that salad back for herself, I would have eaten it.

Sincerely,
The guy in 3A
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Old Jun 9, 11, 8:02 pm
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All this over a salad? If you really wanted a salad, couldn't you have bought one at the airport?
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Old Jun 9, 11, 8:03 pm
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This try at trolling was almost as bad as LBJ's game 4 performance.
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Old Jun 9, 11, 10:49 pm
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Originally Posted by mdm515 View Post
June 9th, 2011

Mr. Jeffrey A. Smisek

President and CEO

United Continental Holdings, Inc,

As a 1K flyer who is trying his best to support the UA/CO merger, my patience has worn quite thin. The most recent example has presented itself less than 1 hour ago. On a flight today (UA 1270 operated on CO metal) from Houston to Philadelphia I count myself fortunate to have been upgraded to First. My expectations were modest and I was, as always, primarily looking forward to the additional legroom.
When it came time for lunch orders, I was the last to be addressed (seat 4E). Apparently the salad option had run out and the only available food option was a cheeseburger. No problem. I don't eat meat and so that option was not appealing to me. No worries, this has happened to me before and it seems that food choice availability in First is a relatively random lottery as to whether and when the availability of one’s preference becomes unavailable, largely based on one’s seat assignment.

BUT, I was further interested to note that once all of the food service activities had wound down, Lo and Behold, one of the senior flight attendants in First (who had personally alerted me to the absence of salad availability!) walked towards the back of the plane trying surreptitiously to carry for her personal consumption a (my!) salad from First! Having watched this exact situation unfold in numerous previous occasions, I was not only unsurprised by this but I confess to having received a good chuckle out of my prediction to myself that this would in fact occur. The FA food-option-holdback on First meals is a well-traveled yet unfortunately disturbingly frequent event. Perhaps this is in fact a UA/CO FA entitlement, and one of those unpleasant concessions that was made in the last collective bargaining agreement! If so, my sympathies are with you.

But if not! I have only one suggestion:

1. Why not allocate scarce meals by prioritizing the passengers in First according to a sliding scale of dollars and status? The front-to-back approach is bound to disappoint someone along the way and so why not disappoint those who are at that time most lucky to be in First to begin with!
We all work our way up to that level of status and endure many slights along the way. While very possible, I am doubtful that I was the lowest priority passenger in First today based on that simple and track-able scale.
As I struggled repeatedly to check-in to all of my CO/UA flights on my most recent set of five UA/CO flights this week, I was not surprised to have encountered numerous integration-related difficulties, with numerous related UA/CO systems communication / coordination issues that you as a team are no doubt struggling mightily to overcome. But something as basic as making a worthy ($$$) premium passenger in First happy with his experience, and uninterrupted by the disingenuous acts of a wayward flight attendant, should be standard operating procedure.

As a business leader who struggles with similar issues like this each day, I find it useful to self-reflect on such situations on comparison to how I would like our customers to represent our service offerings if asked to do so. As such, I owe you the benefit of hearing about my unfortunate experience today on UA/CO which may or may not contribute to any decision we make to further affiliate our company travel spend. And, yes, I am the decision maker in that regard for a significant amount of air travel spend within this company.

To be clear, I am not asking for and nor do I want anything in response to this note (…the first I have written to any airline as a result of observed and discouraging developments)

With best regards and good luck,
Agreed. Continental's way of going front to back is simplistic.

And, I've had two FA's who had ZERO social skills and simply announced to me "you'll be having the pasta".

We're upgraded ahead of time, so previous poster's suggestion that we buy dinner in the terminal is wrong. Besides, these upgrades are not "free" - we pay for them by demonstrating loyalty with our ticket $'s .

I sure HOPE the new United goes the way of UA's method of serving meals up front.
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Old Jun 9, 11, 11:16 pm
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I'll go so far as to summarize further:

"Waaaaah! I'm a 1K and didn't get my way! I'm going to make sure EVERYONE in Chicago knows I didn't get my salad! Waaaaaah!"
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Old Jun 9, 11, 11:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Critic View Post
I'll go so far as to summarize further:

"Waaaaah! I'm a 1K and didn't get my way! I'm going to make sure EVERYONE in Chicago knows I didn't get my salad! Waaaaaah!"
I will go this way:

"Waaaaah! I am the most professional man/woman in this industry!! I am going
to make sure EVERYONE in Houston knows I have the higher priority of meal choice than paid passengers!! Waaaaaah!"
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Old Jun 9, 11, 11:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Critic View Post
I'll go so far as to summarize further:

"Waaaaah! I'm a 1K and didn't get my way! I'm going to make sure EVERYONE in Chicago knows I didn't get my salad! Waaaaaah!"
So no Plats ever have the same complaint?

I forgot - all (CO) elites are created equal, whether flying 25K or 250K. The nerve of a customer who's much more valuable to the airline thinking he/she might actually get their first meal choice regardless of what F seat they're in.

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Old Jun 9, 11, 11:57 pm
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Wow. You guys are a tough crowd!

The FA eating a salad after telling FC pax that the salads are all gone is pretty bogus to me too. Don't they realize that people can see them? Maybe that was a FA designated meal, but it still did not do much for appearances or PR, which was one of the OP's points, right?

Last edited by maureenb93; Jun 9, 11 at 11:57 pm Reason: typo
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Old Jun 10, 11, 12:07 am
  #13  
 
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If you were upgraded ahead of time, and you knew you had dietary restrictions, why did you not change your seat assignment so that you would be sure to have a choice?

It strikes me that UA flyers believe the airline should be mindreader as to your wants and/or needs. Then if you don't get your way you whine about it. Yes, CO flyers can be whiners too, but I can't remember seeing so many petty post from CO ff'ers.
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Old Jun 10, 11, 2:16 am
  #14  
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To the OP:
  1. Who said the salad the FA was eating was your salad? Perhaps it was from Y or an FA-designated meal?
  2. If you want to be taken seriously, on FT, or more importantly by the airline, perhaps complaining about a salad aint the right way to go about things.

But welcome to FT!!

To people blasting the OP:
Nowhere did the OP say he has dietary restrictions. Perhaps he didn't realize that meal choices aren't the same as they are on UA.

To people blasting people blasting the OP:
Chill. While UA may very deal with F meal choices better than CO, this is a letter being written to the CEO about a salad. Just a salad...
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Old Jun 10, 11, 2:46 am
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
So no Plats ever have the same complaint?

I forgot - all (CO) elites are created equal, whether flying 25K or 250K. The nerve of a customer who's much more valuable to the airline thinking he/she might actually get their first meal choice regardless of what F seat they're in.

No what everyone is saying is that the FC cabin is created equal and CO lets people know how meals are taken, AA does FEBO and UA does by F, Status, and fare class.

With all the complaining about how CO policies are complex this is where UA fails. Does a person who uses miles to upgrade deserve a higher priority than a 1K.... sure they do as they paid more for that particular flight to ugrade than the 1K who used UDU.

I HOPE that COs policy makes it going forward. I know that if I sit near the front I can get my meal choice.

If we go with UAs method then I expect it to be applied in the Y cabin so I can get first dibbs on BOB items when upgrades don't clear. Its the same argument most UA folks are making with regards to FC, but could also apply to the Y cabin.

RAH RAH....WAH WAH!!!!

To the OP if indeed the FA did take your meal choice then maybe one our resident FAs can tell us on average how many salads are loaded. This would be a good indication if your meal was taken for furture reference. Honestly this is of in consequence with regards to UA/CO as on AA sometimes pilots are given first choice over PAX(now that is just wrong).
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