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United CFO Rainey Implies Certain Elites were "Over Entitled".

United CFO Rainey Implies Certain Elites were "Over Entitled".

Old May 21, 2012, 1:05 pm
  #661  
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Originally Posted by desperationsearch
And once you get a Joe Shmo to realize the experience sucks he avoids buying your service too.

The only way to grow a services busines is to gain customer advocates. If you're actively growing a body of former customers who advocate against using your service (and that span all classes of customer from biggest to smallest spender) you wan't last long. The Houston boys not only can't see that, they so believe their bullspit that they are not even interested in checking their blind spots. Disaster is the only destinantion.
I don't disagree at all - but I think UA management sees this as a transportation business, not a service business. Gordon and Larry saw Continental as a hybrid between the two, and although Gordon had some unfriendly views on passenger spend (the infamous pizza toppings and the 'if you need to be there tomorrow you'll pay what I charge you'), he knew that service and product were important, if not vital.

Larry learned through the "DO" events that engaged customers were vital - he didn't realize it before, but the FT community was able to prove it.

I don't think current management shares the same passion about product and service. Yes we're getting 500M in product 'upgrades', most of which are just aligning the UA cabin with the CO cabins and had to be done anyway. There is a view that airplanes will fill and incremental revenue will come out of unbundled services - and there is obviously a view that Elite customers do not contribute the same per-segment revenue regardless of their recurring revenue.

Only time can tell. When Mullin drove elite customers from Delta, there was a measurable change in both spend and Medallion counts - the board didn't like it, and added to his other problems, the result was a new CEO and restoration of many of the lost benefits....but now the new CEO is selling the revenue model as well - lots of unbundled services, upsells, adding disadvantages to the program (no award ticket changes inside 48hrs) and perhaps a total overall of the program is coming with a revenue based model designed to offer free tickets and other benefits tailored to the spend of each customer.
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Old May 21, 2012, 1:07 pm
  #662  
 
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Originally Posted by UA Insider
Hi Everyone, we see there’s a lot of interest in our recent presentation at Bank of America. To clarify, the message that we’re investing in our Premier program and ensuring greater access to elite benefits at higher elite tiers is not a new one. An example of this is when our Premier tiers get access to Economy Plus seating. This change has materialized into a meaningfully better experience for our Gold members and above.
Um, please don't tell us how our experience is meaningfully better when your firm's actions and our experience proves it is vastly worse.

Upgrades, access to 1Kvoice email, access to 1K agents, ability to get support from ground personnel, ability to make minor changes to itineraries in a reasonable time, IRROPS handling, mileage crediting, return of refunds and unused instruments. NO ONE IS HAVING A BETTER EXPERIENCE. The words are hollow.
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Old May 21, 2012, 1:10 pm
  #663  
 
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Originally Posted by SFO777
In the coming year?? As in 2013?? Wow, they must be celebrating at DFW today.
Yes, this has been Christmas in May for the folks at AA. I'm sure they can hardly believe their good luck.
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Old May 21, 2012, 1:10 pm
  #664  
 
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Originally Posted by 1KPath
"In successful organizations, lawyers are support staff."...Bean counters should be added to this equation as well!
We refer to the Bean Counters as "scorekeepers." If there is nothing or anything left to "keep score," then their function is no longer needed....

Last edited by goingbananas; May 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm
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Old May 21, 2012, 1:13 pm
  #665  
 
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Originally Posted by UA Insider
Hi Everyone, we see there’s a lot of interest in our recent presentation at Bank of America. To clarify, the message that we’re investing in our Premier program and ensuring greater access to elite benefits at higher elite tiers is not a new one. An example of this is when our Premier tiers get access to Economy Plus seating. This change has materialized into a meaningfully better experience for our Gold members and above. In fact, in markets that have the highest proportion of Premier flyers, a higher percentage of Premier Platinum and Premier Gold members are getting access to Economy Plus (comparing February 2012 to April 2012, and comparing April 2011 to April 2012), while the percentage of Premier Silver members sitting in Economy Plus hasn’t decreased meaningfully. Some of those Premier Silver members may be choosing to purchase Economy Plus seating, but, in general, Economy Plus seating remains available at time of check-in.

While John was not referring to upgrades, we know they remain a hot topic, especially with respect to selling upgrades. As discussed in other threads, our continued goal is to simply sell our First Class seats as close to their intended retail price as possible. The Y/B/M instant upgrade fares that we offer our Premier members, for example, are only a modest discount from our retail First Class fares, and the buy-ups we offer based on these fares are simply an extension of this. In the coming year, we will be adding more transparency to the upgrade process, and will also be making important improvements to the upgrade system itself. Please be assured, whether your concern is that we reward loyalty solely or that we also offer a higher level of benefits to those loyal members who also spend more, we are listening.

Thanks as always for allowing us the clarify these points.

Shannon Kelly
Director, Customer Insights
United Airlines

Shannon, No disrespect, but words are no longer good enough. Your Management team cannot be trusted. Some of us have decided to move on and not until others report good deeds being "acted on", will we look back.

Bolding mine. Why would it take "the coming year" to communicate out to your customer how the system works. No one at an elite level will want to wait that long for clarification. At least not me. Thats crazy.
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Old May 21, 2012, 1:13 pm
  #666  
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Originally Posted by SFO777
In the coming year?? As in 2013?? Wow, they must be celebrating at DFW today.
From http://www.businesstravelnews.com/Bu...irlines&a=mgmt

"We picked Shares [a legacy Continental system furnished by HP] for a couple of reasons. One, we have significant intellectual property rights in Shares. And secondly, we have spent a lot of time offloading the host on Shares—making it more web-based and less tied to the mainframe, which means we can be much faster to market with product innovations. That's the right platform for us to get to."

So much for "much faster."
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Old May 21, 2012, 1:15 pm
  #667  
 
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I have met Shannon and she seemed a genuinely nice person. However, she and her management really needs to understand that their collective credibility is low and dropping and that platitudes like this most recent post do little to nothing to help that. Telling 1Ks and GS (and other elites for that matter) that more of them are getting to sit in E+ is just plain silly - they are creating more E+ seat for god's sake. And truthfully, how many elites (leaving aside the silver issue) have been complaining about not getting into E+. UA has big problems with the customer service levels from phones, to upgrades, to attitudes and platitudes won't fix those. They have to find a more concrete set of improvements if they want any credibility - not a promise that things will get better in some unspecified way in a year. Perhaps if things get better then folks will come back - but more likely they will have discovered that they get better service elsewhere and stay whereever they have gone. It doesn't take a year to create transparency and if they are serious about a fair relationship with their best customers that doesn't take a year either. I have been giving UA the benefit of the doubt throughout a lot of this but at some point you get to the "fool me once . . . " stage and I am pretty much there.
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Old May 21, 2012, 1:16 pm
  #668  
 
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Originally Posted by UA Insider
Hi Everyone, we see there’s a lot of interest in our recent presentation at Bank of America. To clarify, the message that we’re investing in our Premier program and ensuring greater access to elite benefits at higher elite tiers is not a new one. An example of this is when our Premier tiers get access to Economy Plus seating. This change has materialized into a meaningfully better experience for our Gold members and above. In fact, in markets that have the highest proportion of Premier flyers, a higher percentage of Premier Platinum and Premier Gold members are getting access to Economy Plus (comparing February 2012 to April 2012, and comparing April 2011 to April 2012), while the percentage of Premier Silver members sitting in Economy Plus hasn’t decreased meaningfully. Some of those Premier Silver members may be choosing to purchase Economy Plus seating, but, in general, Economy Plus seating remains available at time of check-in.

While John was not referring to upgrades, we know they remain a hot topic, especially with respect to selling upgrades. As discussed in other threads, our continued goal is to simply sell our First Class seats as close to their intended retail price as possible. The Y/B/M instant upgrade fares that we offer our Premier members, for example, are only a modest discount from our retail First Class fares, and the buy-ups we offer based on these fares are simply an extension of this. In the coming year, we will be adding more transparency to the upgrade process, and will also be making important improvements to the upgrade system itself. Please be assured, whether your concern is that we reward loyalty solely or that we also offer a higher level of benefits to those loyal members who also spend more, we are listening.

Thanks as always for allowing us the clarify these points.

Shannon Kelly
Director, Customer Insights
United Airlines
Dear Shannon,

I don't envy you your job. You are in a terrible position.

But with all due respect, I don't buy this spin.

Thank you for taking time out to speak with us, but the damage has been done, and the CFO's comments are the first real and candid statements from the airline since integration.

I wish UA had been frank and straightforward from the start, and then let us decide what works for us.

The reality of the experience does not match the spin, I'm sorry to say.

But it does match what Rainey said.

Last edited by eyevision; May 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm Reason: clarity
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Old May 21, 2012, 1:16 pm
  #669  
 
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Originally Posted by desperationsearch
Um, please don't tell us how our experience is meaningfully better when your firm's actions and our experience proves it is vastly worse.

Upgrades, access to 1Kvoice email, access to 1K agents, ability to get support from ground personnel, ability to make minor changes to itineraries in a reasonable time, IRROPS handling, mileage crediting, return of refunds and unused instruments. NO ONE IS HAVING A BETTER EXPERIENCE. The words are hollow.
i don't know how other people feel, but i am somewhat offended when i read the PR spin machine from UA telling us that things will get better when the wheels have clearly already fallen off the wagon. DL and AA are having a field day with UA's incompetence in handling of their elite customers, among other things. the fact that these people are running a large corporation is scary, to say the least.
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Old May 21, 2012, 1:16 pm
  #670  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen
Well they buy the same fare (in theory, but mostly in practice as well) and I believe the market has enough Joe Shmos to compensate UA for every lost 1k.

Where it gets a little sticky is when UA starts losing GS who earned the status through spend or influence - when their spend goes away, it's going to hurt.
You seriously think that when an airline has a load factor of 81.5% that there are enough Joe Shmos to make up for losing thousands of 1ks?

Good luck.
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Old May 21, 2012, 1:17 pm
  #671  
 
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Originally Posted by UA Insider
Hi Everyone, Please be assured, whether your concern is that we reward loyalty solely or that we also offer a higher level of benefits to those loyal members who also spend more, we are listening.
I am sorry, but loyalty is a two way street. You might not be left with any loyal members by next year, if your management continues to "enhance" the experience of existing elites. Has your management team measured the loss in future bookings with all those flocking over to other carriers?
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Old May 21, 2012, 1:17 pm
  #672  
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Originally Posted by UA Insider
Hi Everyone, we see there’s a lot of interest in our recent presentation at Bank of America. To clarify, the message that we’re investing in our Premier program and ensuring greater access to elite benefits at higher elite tiers is not a new one
Has United not decimated the differentiation that previous "higher tiers" like 1Ks valued? Are the 1K security lines restored anywhere? 1Kvoice?

As far as I can tell, United has done nothing but decrease benefits for all elite levels.
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Old May 21, 2012, 1:17 pm
  #673  
 
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That's extremely disheartening. You diluted benefits for 1Ks , upgrade priority, amenities in F, check-in etc, and you say that? Is this a joke?

Last edited by demkr; May 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm
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Old May 21, 2012, 1:22 pm
  #674  
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Originally Posted by bocastephen
I believe the market has enough Joe Shmos to compensate UA for every lost 1k.
The nonsense embodied in this statement only becomes CLEAR when CO doesn't have the fortress hubs OR the supply / demand imbalance that leads them to believe that high frequency travelers are an "inconvenience"

Oh well.

Dave
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Old May 21, 2012, 1:23 pm
  #675  
 
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Please .... don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining. More 1Ks and Plats have E+ seats now, sure. Because the F seat we would have been upgraded to was sold for pennies on the dollar to a non elite.
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