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

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

Old May 22, 2012, 6:05 am
  #841  
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Originally Posted by TWA Fan 1
I would venture to say that they never work well, since the marketplace, by definition, is a dynamic arena.

The other issue, which of course is not quantifiable the way up-front static analysis is, is that all the perks of elite status also act as incentives. Remove the perks and, sure, you remove the cost. But you also remove the incentives and thus the impetus to keep purchasing the product.
I understand that UA probably looked at my 108000 miles last year as no big deal from a revenue standpoint, given the cost of the "perks" that went along with me reaching 1K. What I don't understand is why they believe that eliminating the incentives that reaching 1K used to provide won't drive me to the competition.

I hate to break it to the folks in the executive suite, but your admittedly good route network isn't that much of an incentive, when the rest of the product isn't any better - or in some cases worse - than the competition. So far this year there hasn't been one destination I needed to get to that I had to use United. I always have a choice in what carrier I fly, and right now, I can fly AA and get upgraded at the same rate as on UA, enjoy much better food in F, and use a shower at the AC when I arrive at most destinations.

I know United needs to field a viable business model to succeed. I don't understand why insulting and playing games with your customers has to be a part of that model.
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Old May 22, 2012, 6:10 am
  #842  
 
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Originally Posted by UA Insider
*snip*

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.

*snip*

Shannon Kelly
Director, Customer Insights
United Airlines
Based on the content of the beginning of the post (we took from 2P's to give to 1P's/Plats), these two goals seem in opposition to one another.
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Old May 22, 2012, 6:19 am
  #843  
 
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Priceless. 57 pages of "UA hates 1Ks" when the quote was directed to silvers and maybe even MRs, but certainly not the traditional 1Ks. Reminds me of the "OMG we're not going to be able to get into the lounge!!!" which was 48. Almost forgot about my personal favorite, the 148 page "Blog speculation on UA/CO new Mileage Plus scheme". Trust me folks, the sky is NOT falling.
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Old May 22, 2012, 6:27 am
  #844  
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Originally Posted by njcommodore
Priceless. 57 pages of "UA hates 1Ks" when the quote was directed to silvers and maybe even MRs, but certainly not the traditional 1Ks. Reminds me of the "OMG we're not going to be able to get into the lounge!!!" which was 48. Almost forgot about my personal favorite, the 148 page "Blog speculation on UA/CO new Mileage Plus scheme". Trust me folks, the sky is NOT falling.
Speak for yourself. Actions speak louder than words, and as I outlined a few posts above (plus other actions I'm sure others can add on), UA is taking ALL its elites down a notch, especially it's least favorite ones (1Ks).

We'll trust you as much as we'll trust all the supposed "enhancements" of the oh so robust SHARES.
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Old May 22, 2012, 6:27 am
  #845  
 
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Originally Posted by njcommodore
Priceless. 57 pages of "UA hates 1Ks" when the quote was directed to silvers and maybe even MRs, but certainly not the traditional 1Ks. Reminds me of the "OMG we're not going to be able to get into the lounge!!!" which was 48. Almost forgot about my personal favorite, the 148 page "Blog speculation on UA/CO new Mileage Plus scheme". Trust me folks, the sky is NOT falling.
De Nile aint just a river in Egypt!

As I posted on another thread, Lucy can claim that every time she pulls the ball away from Charlie Brown before he can kick it it's a "glitch", but there comes a time when we all have to stop being Charlie Browns.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

The sky isn't falling. It's just fine over at some other AAirlines. What's falling here is the treatment that 1Ks receive from the airline that promised them upgrades, service and support. And now we know the mindset that caused it...
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Old May 22, 2012, 6:29 am
  #846  
 
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Originally Posted by njcommodore
Priceless. 57 pages of "UA hates 1Ks" when the quote was directed to silvers and maybe even MRs, but certainly not the traditional 1Ks.
If this is true, it sounds like DL in the early 2000s. I flew DL last fall for the first time in ten years and they have done a major about face. Because I'm DL MM, I've kept silver status all these years, and I was treated graciously from start to finish. I had bulkhead seats (my first choice in coach) and on one flight cleared the upgrade into F.

I still had a handful of old drink coupons from those days. After giving the chit a puzzled look for a minute, one FA handed me the drink I had asked for and returned the coupon saying "Welcome back to Delta. Keep this for your next flight."

I'm really amazed at how they seem to have finally returned to a customer oriented approach after the fiasco of the Mullin/Escarra era even for us low-levels. Those two went out of their way to make their disdain for silver elites well known. It took DL a bankruptcy and bringing in their own "Gordon Bethune" for them to turn around. I wonder it will take for UA to make a comeback.

Last edited by sushibear; May 22, 2012 at 6:45 am
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Old May 22, 2012, 6:38 am
  #847  
 
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Originally Posted by sushibear
If this is true, it sounds like DL in the early 2000s. I flew DL last fall for the first time in ten years and they have done a major about face. Because I'm DL MM, I've kept silver status all these years, and I was treated graciously from start to finish. I had bulkhead seats (my first choice in coach) and on one flight cleared the upgrade into F. I'm really amazed at how they seem to have finally returned to a customer oriented approach after the fiasco of the Mullin/Escarra era.
Wow! I remember those days. Vicky Escarra is now with the Feed America and Fight Hunger Charity at the meager salary of 450K/year.
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Old May 22, 2012, 6:54 am
  #848  
 
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Originally Posted by desperationsearch
De Nile aint just a river in Egypt!

As I posted on another thread, Lucy can claim that every time she pulls the ball away from Charlie Brown before he can kick it it's a "glitch", but there comes a time when we all have to stop being Charlie Browns.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

The sky isn't falling. It's just fine over at some other AAirlines. What's falling here is the treatment that 1Ks receive from the airline that promised them upgrades, service and support. And now we know the mindset that caused it...
I'm not in denial, I just personally haven't experienced the issues that others have PERCEIVED and heard about. Many people have made decisions to go to other airlines based on WRONG information posted here that has spun out of control. I've flown 13 segments since 3/3, all but 2 in F (because I took bumps). 2 of 4 SWUS have already cleared for upcoming trips, and the other two look very good at this point. Could things be better WRT 1K voice? Sure. Call times have been under a minute. Anyway, I'm happy with where I am.
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Old May 22, 2012, 7:03 am
  #849  
 
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Rainey: "More members in MP than there are citizens of France" Not a good idea to fortuitously insult that many customers who think the have a "special relationship" with your company.
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Old May 22, 2012, 7:06 am
  #850  
 
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Originally Posted by njcommodore
I'm not in denial, I just personally haven't experienced the issues that others have PERCEIVED and heard about. Many people have made decisions to go to other airlines based on WRONG information posted here that has spun out of control. I've flown 13 segments since 3/3, all but 2 in F (because I took bumps). 2 of 4 SWUS have already cleared for upcoming trips, and the other two look very good at this point. Could things be better WRT 1K voice? Sure. Call times have been under a minute. Anyway, I'm happy with where I am.
I'm sincerely happy for your success.

Look over at teh TOD thread and see the screen-shots. Walk back on one of your always upgraded flights and ask how many 1Ks and GSs are there in coach. Look at how long the agents take to rebook someone. Facts are all around you - not perception.
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Old May 22, 2012, 7:08 am
  #851  
 
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Originally Posted by iquitos
Rainey: "More members in MP than there are citizens of France" Not a good idea to fortuitously insult that many customers who think the have a "special relationship" with your company.
It's a double insult as they are also equating us with France
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Old May 22, 2012, 7:14 am
  #852  
 
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So long UA. RIP
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Old May 22, 2012, 7:24 am
  #853  
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Variable Pricing for a Dynamic Product?? Now I get it!

Originally Posted by Michael D
The lightbulb just finally went on for me after reading that post.

- If I pay +$20 for an aisle seat, but IRROPS causes an equipment change and I end up the in the last middle seat on the next flight, (a) do I get the $20 back, (b) how do I know what that new seat was worth ... was it more or less than what I paid?

- What about when I can catch an earlier flight when my connection lands earlier ...are the seats going to be dynamically priced ... will the earlier flight aisle cost more or less that the window I have reserved?

- What about same day changes... I get that there are waived change fees but do I have to buy-up the seat differential?

- What about corporate volume discounts - do they apply to seat "upgrades"?

- What happens when you have a few dozen folks with "premium" priced aisle seats and a cancellation and those folks get spread out into middle seats across several planes ... do they get any kind of compensation? How much time and $ is spent "fixing" that in SHARES??

- How do you sell code-share seats when one airline (LH or US for example) can't differentiate seat costs like UA does ... what happens to those folks on an IRROPS. I've purchased choice seats on US and had an equipment change and the refunds are MANUAL. Big PITA for me and the airline, and I'm sure not worth the $20 it cost to get a seat 8 rows closer to the front.

Layer these kinds of situations on top of the circa 1978 GUI of the current SHARES implementation ... holy mother of g-d have mercy, I would love to hear from our gate agent friends on this forum about what that will look like.

Customers (consumers & business) all around the world are demanding - and getting - products that REDUCE COMPLEXITY. From banks and credit cards (see Barclaycard Ring, Citi Simplicity - they even named it so!) to cable companies and cell phones (bundled pricing) to retailers (Target, Petco moving to simple % off rewards vs. tracking purchases and issuing varying levels of coupons). The auto companies were among the first to dip their toes into the simplicity waters (Saturn ... while gone now, their business practices of reducing haggling, more transparent experience in the showroom have been broadly adopted).

People want to know clearly what they are getting and for what amount. They don't want to have to spend time doing primary research to understand the value proposition being offered. This kind of variable pricing model flies in the face (oops, sorry for the pun) of the trend demanding more simplicity. It also completely breaks the frequent flyer program value prop (as we're seeing now).

I'm gobsmacked at the disconnect... but now I think I understand what the goal - the end game - always was. The desired state they are gaming for is not something they can achieve (imho) ...

- with this size of an airline
- with this large of a legacy base of customers with widely different expectations of the product
- with this large of a route network in this many different geographies
- with this wide a variety of equipment (in varying states of decay)
- with this many employees represented by multiple groups
- with this many external variables (weather, other airlines, partners, compeitive pricing, fuel prices)

Maybe it would work for WN or F9 in a more point to point world ... but not in a large international multi-hub, multi-carrier alliance-driven airline. US tried selling soda, it exploded in their faces ... and remember their "cockroach" problem? I still have my lapel pin.

I am now pretty sure that thump we heard a while back was a big fat goose getting sucked up into the engine.

Last edited by MoJ0; May 22, 2012 at 7:26 am Reason: punctuation
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Old May 22, 2012, 7:33 am
  #854  
 
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Originally Posted by MJ-bos
The lightbulb just finally went on for me after reading that post.

- If I pay +$20 for an aisle seat, but IRROPS causes an equipment change and I end up the in the last middle seat on the next flight, (a) do I get the $20 back, (b) how do I know what that new seat was worth ... was it more or less than what I paid?

-
I am now pretty sure that thump we heard a while back was a big fat goose getting sucked up into the engine.
Add to your excellent analysis the fact that once you get past the check-in / reverse cash machine, the gate agents usually fill the plane anyway. So a standby passenger will take an unsold premium seart next to someone who paid for it, angering the purchaser because he or she was riped off.

Continental is trying to monetize free stuff upon check-in. Upgrades they promised for free, reserved seats they promised for free, charges for bags that if brought to the plane and don't fit as carry-ons are checked for free, who knows what next. If you use one of the airport kiosk check-ins it may offer to sell you premium air for your flight....
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Old May 22, 2012, 7:39 am
  #855  
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One more thought: there have been a number of posts about UA's ability, or lack thereof, in IT. Clearly, there have been a ton of unforced errrors since March 3rd and I don't pretend to be an expert on Shares. But don't think for a minute that UA isn't great at data mining. They know a ton about every single person who enters a frequent flyer number, which is why the entitlement remark is so meaningful. They have the data......they just don't know how you will behave without the perks.

Many years ago I had the opportunity to tour the ops center in Houston with Gordon and Larry. At that time, they knew the profitability of every single flight CO was flying, in real time, which allowed them the ability to prioritize IRROPs, scheduling, etc. With the passage of time, I am certain UA knows every UA/CO fare you have purchased since 1980: where you like to go, with whom, with what credit card, your bag counts, how many times you call reservations (and how long), your use of the Club, etc. My point is that individualized offers (which may be inversely related to loyalty) are the wave of the future, as much as we may hate them. I just hope that excludes upgrades and actual airfares. Asking UA not to use the treasure trove of info to get each person to spend more is useless. Harrahs, Google, FB and others won't stop. Letter writing, 1K voice and other communications is near useless. Only your feet may get results, although I bet you will be tempted back with special individualized bonus offers.
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