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Jeff comments on loss of "unmanaged" corporate traffic/PRASM at JP Morgan conference.

Jeff comments on loss of "unmanaged" corporate traffic/PRASM at JP Morgan conference.

Old Mar 4, 13, 2:27 pm
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by XLR26 View Post
What’s seems to be missing is the “how” - as in how is UA going to get these corp flyers back? Smisek says the operational performance is better, but so what? UA isn’t outperforming the competition, so it would seem that the HFVs who have left (and don’t have any complaints with their current preferred carrier) would have no reason to look at UA again, especially considering UA is the one that screwed up in the first place.
This is exactly right...

I don't know what I'm missing (I'm in the business of consulting and IT), but from this thread and the 'UA trying to win back customers' thread...they both say the same thing:

We at UA are great. We KNOW that the business flyers are coming back and we know that doing what we do is what people want.

No how, no why, no explanations, and most importantly - no numbers/metrics.

I know this is the mentality of PMCO, but this is just asisine...that is unless for some reason people in high spending companies ARE getting word from UA and benefits, but I haven't heard of any reports.

Am I dense, or is this the perception of what's going on as well?

-jeremy
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Old Mar 4, 13, 2:28 pm
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by iflyuaaa View Post
....we can all kiss a decent frequent flyer program and any value on loyalty goodbye.
Personally, already have sadly.
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Old Mar 4, 13, 2:35 pm
  #18  
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Originally Posted by kmfdm91 View Post
...I know this is the mentality of PMCO, but this is just asisine...that is unless for some reason people in high spending companies ARE getting word from UA and benefits, but I haven't heard of any reports.

Am I dense, or is this the perception of what's going on as well?

-jeremy
This was never the mentality of PMCO - quite the contrary, as a slightly smaller carrier, PMCO went out of its way to deliver best in class products and service that continually beat out Delta, AA and United....at least until Larry K was dismissed by a greedy BoD.

Our current situation is a product of disorganization, lack of planning, no strategy, bad execution coupled with the arrogance that resulted from cramming two totally dissimilar organizations into one gigantic whole that now thinks it rules the airline universe based on size and route coverage alone - hence the 'take it or leave it' attitude many on the TA side of the house felt before it was lathered on customers.
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Old Mar 4, 13, 2:36 pm
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by snic View Post
Because business travelers don't travel as much during the summer.
Airlines increase capacity to deal with the increase in leisure travelers, but my understanding is that business travel remains relatively flat during the year (with increases/decreases based upon the domestic or global economy). Certainly in my industry, there's no fall off due to it being summer.

Are there any stats to back up business travel numbers and fluctuations based upon the time of year?
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Old Mar 4, 13, 2:50 pm
  #20  
 
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With the fleet wide roll out of Wifi (300 planes by Year end) won't that most likly increase ancillary revenues year over year just by having Wifi for purchase available? Or was the year over year implying Same product sales?
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Old Mar 4, 13, 2:50 pm
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Our current situation is a product of disorganization, lack of planning, no strategy, bad execution coupled with the arrogance that resulted from cramming two totally dissimilar organizations into one gigantic whole that now thinks it rules the airline universe based on size and route coverage alone - hence the 'take it or leave it' attitude many on the TA side of the house felt before it was lathered on customers.
+1 Totally agree

On the same hand, he's got great reason to be a little more comfortable today. The stock is at a 52 week high, plus some. That's his primary job. Keeping the shareholders happy. That fact buys him more time, and he knows it.

Lets see how his Exec VP's run the airline here on out. They are the people on the hot seats for company financial performance.
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Old Mar 4, 13, 2:58 pm
  #22  
 
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I personally think SMI/J is out of touch with what makes a great airline. Most kettles don't care much about boarding groups based upon experience. 2 folks besides me in the seating area, we chatted, I asked the why they are flying UA,sure small sample size, and the response was price, no other factor. The could care less. One said with so many elites on each flight, she has no reservations about being late, fees, dependability, if there was,group 1 wouldn't be 50 people. LOL.
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Old Mar 4, 13, 3:04 pm
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
If the latter provides the jump, then I would guess the data supports unbundling the FFP into bits and pieces that can be sold at POS instead of earned over time.
The conclusion I drew from a recent conversation with a member of the executive team is exactly that.
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Old Mar 4, 13, 3:10 pm
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by y2k1jetta View Post
I personally think SMI/J is out of touch with what makes a great airline. Most kettles don't care much about boarding groups based upon experience. 2 folks besides me in the seating area, we chatted, I asked the why they are flying UA,sure small sample size, and the response was price, no other factor. The could care less. One said with so many elites on each flight, she has no reservations about being late, fees, dependability, if there was,group 1 wouldn't be 50 people. LOL.
Honestly I think that is most consumers. They buy based on price, not brand loyalty.

-Nathan
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Old Mar 4, 13, 3:13 pm
  #25  
 
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Originally Posted by richk_30 View Post
I know I'm taking one single snippet from the conversation, but I just don't understand this one. Why would he expect either to fall off during the summer?
I believe, because he was referring to YoY growth vs an absolute RASM number. Summer vs summer, given poor performance the previous few months negatively impacted revenue compared to the same seasonal period a year earlier before we were poisoned with Shares and CO theory of not having spare aircraft.
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Old Mar 4, 13, 3:17 pm
  #26  
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Originally Posted by mitchmu View Post
The conclusion I drew from a recent conversation with a member of the executive team is exactly that.
Which basically tells the loyal customer, your loyalty means nothing - if you want benefits, buy them at time of sale or check-in.

Isn't Delta taking a similar approach by connecting fares and MQM and FFP accounts to "customize" the entire FFP experience for the customer based on their revenue input? I'm no fan of what I've read about the Delta approach, but at least Delta is not going to the Kettles and selling bits and pieces of Diamond Medallion benefits for a few bucks here and there.

If this is really UA's future approach - why even maintain the Elite tiers of the program? Just sell packaged bundles or a la carte selections of benefits for domestic and international itineraries that cover everything from baggage allowances, IFE, onboard meals, lounge access, upgrades, etc. Everyone is a nobody until they take a $300 ticket and make it $400 with package A, or $600 with an upgrade to F that includes package A and a bigger seat. Fly 10k miles a year or 300K miles, it doesn't matter - it's all about revenue per ticket, not per year.

I wonder if your future meeting with the other executive will yield confirmation of this or something different.
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Old Mar 4, 13, 3:21 pm
  #27  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Which basically tells the loyal customer, your loyalty means nothing - if you want benefits, buy them at time of sale or check-in.

Isn't Delta taking a similar approach by connecting fares and MQM and FFP accounts to "customize" the entire FFP experience for the customer based on their revenue input? I'm no fan of what I've read about the Delta approach, but at least Delta is not going to the Kettles and selling bits and pieces of Diamond Medallion benefits for a few bucks here and there.
Yes, that is exactly what they are telling the loyal customer. We've talked about the "transactional mentality" here on FT for along time now. I believe this is how they really are thinking.

I think Delta's approach is smart. Tie benefits to some measure of spend/yield. I've got no problem with that. Encourages the right kind of loyalty.
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Old Mar 4, 13, 3:22 pm
  #28  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
This was never the mentality of PMCO - quite the contrary, as a slightly smaller carrier, PMCO went out of its way to deliver best in class products and service that continually beat out Delta, AA and United....at least until Larry K was dismissed by a greedy BoD.

Our current situation is a product of disorganization, lack of planning, no strategy, bad execution coupled with the arrogance that resulted from cramming two totally dissimilar organizations into one gigantic whole that now thinks it rules the airline universe based on size and route coverage alone - hence the 'take it or leave it' attitude many on the TA side of the house felt before it was lathered on customers.
Sorry, I should have mentioned part of this...but it's all good to hear.

I never flew PMCO before the merger was announced. That said, I do remember people having relatively good things to say about the airline and of course the mention of free meals in coach on long flights, just as other airlines started charging for everything...

However, as you mention - it seems like things changed and the only thing I know about PMCO was after the merger was announced and Jeffy Jeff was in charge. I still recall reading threads about things going wrong on trips, people writing in and getting a shrug of the shoulders - exactly my experiences.

And, yes I agree with your analysis about what's going on with the current airline, but as I stated initially...what exactly is UA trying to do to win back both managed and unmanaged customers?

-jeremy
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Old Mar 4, 13, 3:29 pm
  #29  
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Originally Posted by UA-NYC View Post
I bet "managed" is basically anyone they have corporate discounted pricing with.

Unsurprising that those of us who are "unmanaged" bailed somewhat/mostly much more quickly given our flexibility
I took the same thing you did, I think "unmanaged" must be UA speak for HVFers who are not on corporate accounts.

What I found most interesting is that on the 4Q call in Jan, UA said their plan to get folks back is to have the sales force go tell accounts about the improved OT performance and the network. Obviously, this strategy in essence gives up on "unmanaged" HVFers who are not reached by the corporate account sales staff.

Originally Posted by wpr8e View Post
They seemed to have turned the corner on operations. They're working on the labor agreements, consistent standards, etc. They're moving in the right direction.

The next stage is going to be very interesting. In particular how AA/US impacts the revenue model, how the US management changes AA, and how the bankruptcy changes their cost base.

I'm one of the 'unmanaged' business travelers who has complete control over my own travel, and who achieved GS for the last few years. I've been happier given their consistent schedule and improving on time performance. While I agree the onboard experience leaves much to be desired, that will work itself out, but it also doesn't bother me that much. All airlines service standards are pretty much the same IMH.
Also as an "unmanaged GS" I guess I see it differently (or have different expectations), I see UA being oh so very proud of hitting 80% OT (i.e. w/i 14 min of schedule), which just happens to be lower than DL, AS, US, and WN's OT percentage. Its "next to last" and barely beat out AA. Yes, better, but Like I am not happy with the low level of on-board service, I'm not happy with next to last OT performance either. Not sure how "next to last" is an effective way of winning folks back.

FYI, at the same conference, Parker told everyone that the AA/US merger would yield benefits, not by cutting costs, but by increasing revenues. It is about the clearest sign I have heard that they don't intend to cut back on service/elite levels.

Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
I believe the airline's focus is going to be purely operational - reliability (my flight was on time and my baggage arrived too) and service delivery (the staff aren't treating me like crap anymore). I am not getting the warm fuzzies that UA leadership is able to draw a straight line between HVF (including corporate customers) and the loyalty program and its benefits.

Yes we all want a reliable airline, and yes, we would prefer staff don't dump their crap on us, but if all we wanted was a reliable airline with happy staff, we'd all be flying Southwest.
Yes, the only difference is that SW does not serve the major city to major city routes direct like UA (or DL or AA) do... I agree, for a fare premium, they have to offer something more than simply network and reliability, or there are other options (DL, US/AA). Jeff does not seem to recognize this.

Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
It will depend on where the PRASM improvements come from - HVF and loyalty customers or Kettles who needlessly dump money into ancillary revenue they have no business spending - $9 on this, $8 on that, $99 on the other.

If the latter provides the jump, then I would guess the data supports unbundling the FFP into bits and pieces that can be sold at POS instead of earned over time.
I think that most/all "ancillary" revenue (which includes bag fees) is not counted in PRASM. Jeff promised a 9% y/y increase, but wireless sales could account for this level of increase, and ancillary fees are only a small part of the revenue profile (e.g. in 4Q, Passenger revenue was $7,533M, "other, ex-cargo" was $926M). No amount of extra fees will make up for bad passenger revenue.

Originally Posted by richk_30 View Post
Airlines increase capacity to deal with the increase in leisure travelers, but my understanding is that business travel remains relatively flat during the year (with increases/decreases based upon the domestic or global economy). Certainly in my industry, there's no fall off due to it being summer.

Are there any stats to back up business travel numbers and fluctuations based upon the time of year?
Actually, business travel tends to be the most consistent. Notably, at the same conference, DL's CEO said that DL's "corporate sales" were up 8% y/y.

Originally Posted by PHLstudent View Post
With the fleet wide roll out of Wifi (300 planes by Year end) won't that most likly increase ancillary revenues year over year just by having Wifi for purchase available? Or was the year over year implying Same product sales?
Its total, I expect wifi is a big part of the projected increase in "other" revenue.

Originally Posted by ibuyyoufly View Post

On the same hand, he's got great reason to be a little more comfortable today. The stock is at a 52 week high, plus some. That's his primary job. Keeping the shareholders happy. That fact buys him more time, and he knows it.

Lets see how his Exec VP's run the airline here on out. They are the people on the hot seats for company financial performance.
Stock is not up compared to DL, its only up as the sector is up on falling oil prices. The market will judge Jeff on how the stock performances compared to DL, SW (and US/AA once that stock is combined). But clearly it gives Jeff some breathing room.
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Old Mar 4, 13, 3:45 pm
  #30  
 
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Originally Posted by AZjohns View Post
Personally, already have sadly.
That's probably true. But I've also noticed this year that even though I am a Gold now vs Silver the last few years... my upgrade waiting list status is getting worse and worse. Seems to point to more elites?
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