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Great 'Day w/ UA management' article series

Great 'Day w/ UA management' article series

Old Dec 20, 13, 10:19 am
  #1  
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Great 'Day w/ UA management' article series

http://crankyflier.com/2013/12/16/a-...g-change-fees/

Saw on my Twitter feed. 4 parts to it. Good reading, surprised it hasn't popped up here. Maybe it has and I missed but search wasn't fruitful.

Lots of meat in there for all sides.
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Old Dec 20, 13, 10:28 am
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I've been keeping up with it, as cranky is in my blog feed list. Good and candid series.
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Old Dec 20, 13, 11:30 am
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I was hoping I'd see some mention of that series here. I got the sense from it that Brett might have been told a few things in confidence--the tone was more optimistic than the quotes alone would suggest, and his earlier trip reports cite some of the same issues that get batted around here.

The section about "Brand Standards" in part 4 struck me as offering some reason for optimism, in a "good that they're trying to define what makes a UA flight a UA flight, but why wasn't this done by now?" sense:

Assess where we are today This is completely done for the onboard experience and is almost done for the ground experience.
Define what the standards should be This is almost entirely done.
Express the standards in hundreds of product specs This is about half done.
Put an operational timeline to achieve full compliance This will vary. Some things can be done very quickly while others may take years.
That kind of process has to lead to some recognition that, for instance, IFE, Channel 9 and F service are wildly inconsistent across the fleet. Right? Hello?
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Old Dec 20, 13, 12:15 pm
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a bit deferent to them...

really love how UA abuses CLE.. claiming its marginal, yet it has the highest O/D % in the system and highest RASM...

there's no push back on any of their statements which... are bull.
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Old Dec 20, 13, 12:31 pm
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Yeah, the substance was disappointingly light compared many of Brett's previous industry profiles. But kudos to him for insisting that his A320 flight be in E- instead of F so that he could honestly assess the slimline seats. ^
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Old Dec 20, 13, 12:56 pm
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Originally Posted by GoAmtrak View Post
Yeah, the substance was disappointingly light compared many of Brett's previous industry profiles. But kudos to him for insisting that his A320 flight be in E- instead of F so that he could honestly assess the slimline seats. ^
That was my take as well. I had hoped he'd ask more direct questions - instead, it borders on a puff piece.
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Old Dec 20, 13, 1:27 pm
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Thanks for posting. Interesting read. At least he did ask about CLE but the answer was a bit cryptic. What if UA pushed for more connections through CLE? Could that help the profit part? It is an amazingly well run airport with little delays, even when the sky is falling in ORD/IAD/EWR.
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Old Dec 20, 13, 2:02 pm
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great read but really dissapointed in the lack of mentioning anything of substance such as the current customer experience and the whole mileage fiasco
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Old Dec 20, 13, 2:02 pm
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I was disappointed with the report from the meeting with Tom O'Toole in Part 4. Nothing of substance there.
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Old Dec 20, 13, 2:04 pm
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 7_0_4 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/537.51.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/7.0 Mobile/11B554a Safari/9537.53)

Yeah, minimal substance imho. Disappointing
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Old Dec 20, 13, 2:09 pm
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Originally Posted by entropy View Post
a bit deferent to them...

really love how UA abuses CLE.. claiming its marginal, yet it has the highest O/D % in the system and highest RASM...

there's no push back on any of their statements which... are bull.
This is only part of the story. I assure you, if CLE was a cash cow and everything was rosey, they would milk it for all it's worth. The costs of having it may outweigh the small amount of very profitable routes
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Old Dec 20, 13, 2:17 pm
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Part 2

IFE strategy

Inconsistent is more like it. I think the streaming strategy will backfire. The content on the 777s is reportedly not great and Pay-Per-Use of Wifi is a mixed bag (I personally go out of my way to avoid anything but 757 and the widebodies at this point on transcons because I'm not ending up on a dark plane for 6 hours.)

I wholeheartedly believe that when a passenger gets onto an airplane, they have come to expect some sort of provided IFE -- even if it means a CRT in the isle. From a functionality perspective, people are not going to want to plop down a laptop or a device, shell out for wifi, and then get content that is unreliable or unsatisfying. Not to mention larger families, with all the other crap they on their traytable, there just simply isn't enough room for a device.


The answer that Mark gave you is a risky business decision, "expect some form of IFE." Awareness is key and this is a straight up lazy approach. Whatever happened to the CO strategy of consistentcy? If anything this is the complete opposite. A 739 may or may not have DTV. An A320 may or may not have working wifi. An 319 may or may not have wifi and overhead entertainment. You're 777 to hawaii may or may not have CRTs but if they don't expect streaming entertainment with broken powerports. Jeez, get it together. People hate this kind of crap.

If UA was really "investing" in the customer you'd see them add AVOD to the A320s. It's the least they can do for failing on those flimsy seats.
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Old Dec 20, 13, 2:22 pm
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Not a single hard hitting question in the piece. I offer a big 'why bother' to CF
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Old Dec 20, 13, 2:29 pm
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Originally Posted by wildbill412007 View Post
Not a single hard hitting question in the piece. I offer a big 'why bother' to CF
The sales guy in part 4 strikes me as well...a sales guy. Seems to be the king of smoke and mirrors at UA (oftentimes to be good in sales, you have to be a good liar.) BS they haven't lost NYC contracts to DL. I don't believe that for a second.
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Old Dec 20, 13, 2:38 pm
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Originally Posted by REPUBLIC757 View Post
IFE strategy

The answer that Mark gave you is a risky business decision, "expect some form of IFE." Awareness is key and this is a straight up lazy approach. Whatever happened to the CO strategy of consistentcy? If anything this is the complete opposite. A 739 may or may not have DTV. An A320 may or may not have working wifi. An 319 may or may not have wifi and overhead entertainment. You're 777 to hawaii may or may not have CRTs but if they don't expect streaming entertainment with broken powerports. Jeez, get it together. People hate this kind of crap.
This is a tough one. I, along with most get frustrated with the inconsistency, but we are not long into a merger proper. There are roughly 700 aircraft, and each of types started the merger with a different onboard product. It takes time to:

1. Decide what works best
2. Decide what the evolution of the products are and what will be wanted by the time you get it certified and installed. What is good for today, may be much different than what is needed a year from now
3. Decide what's needed / wanted
4. Certify and install

The UA planes domestic aircraft had almost nothing on them at all. Just overhead screens on almost everything except for PS (despite this, many on here seem to proclaim that UA was industry leading until the merger). The Continental planes domestically have Direct TV on the majority of the 737 series, and overheads on the 757 series. Internationally, every Continental plane had seat back tv, where as the UA aircraft didn't except for a few types.

It's quite possible that in a year or two, EVERYONE will have portable devices that can receive streaming, and with the ability to have live tv etc, streaming may seem like a great option then.

My guess is that 2 years from now, there will be a lot more consistency in the product. Unless you are getting 700 planes delivered at once, you are never going to have consistency across the fleet.
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