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UA Launches Flyer Friendly Customer Service Training Initiative - Dated 1 April 2015

UA Launches Flyer Friendly Customer Service Training Initiative - Dated 1 April 2015

Old Mar 31, 15, 10:00 pm
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UA Launches Flyer Friendly Customer Service Training Initiative - Dated 1 April 2015

CHICAGO, Apr. 1, 2015, /PR Newswire/ -- United Airlines announced today an unprecedented training initiative to become the world's most flyer-friendly airline. All of United's customer-facing staff -- nearly 30,000 employees -- will receive one week of off-site immersion training in customer service over the coming year.

United has been working diligently to improve its operational reliability, its on-board product, and ground services and products, such as the United Club lounges. "In order to ensure that all employees are on board with providing great customer service, we determined a week of customer service immersion training was the right approach," said Janet Roop, Director of Employee Development.

To ensure an effective training methodology, United partnered with Diamond Personnel Resource Kinetics to create an innovative and cost-effective approach to train the nearly 30,000 front-line employees. "The team at DPRK created a unique training plan that, to our knowledge, no other U.S. organization has attempted to undertake," Roop said.

Employees will be flown to DPRK's immersion facility in Pyongyang for their one-week immersion course, which will be conducted by both United and DPRK trainers. Subject matter will include courses in Policy Enforcement, Information Usage and Control, Leadership Respect and Admiration, and Compliance.

"We are very grateful the people of United have decided to train here in Pyongyang," said Woo Lee, North Korea's Minister of Economic Development. "There are many similarities between North Korea's culture and the culture desired by United Airlines management. This is a fantastic match for Jeff Jong Smisek and his team."

Additionally, staff from North Korea's Air Koryo will be on hand to train United staff in improved service standards. "We were surprised to learn that United does not provide food to its passengers," said Min Soo, Vice President of In Flight Service at Air Koryo. "Once they have learned that the regime must provide for its people, I am confident they will correct this policy very quickly."

United's CEO, Jeff Smisek, is committed to improving the customer experience at United. "If I have to give our passengers a cheeseburger to command the kind of respect and admiration that Jeff Jong Un gets, I'll pay for the cheeseburgers out of my bonus if I have to," Smisek said. Currently United is purchasing billboard space to advertise new service to niche destinations such as Chengdu, China and Newcastle, England. "We shouldn't be spending so much on advertising," Smisek added. "My vision is to be admired by the people to the point where they are painting my picture on billboards and other surfaces without United having to pay for it, and customers fly us because they revere me."

Various workgroups have also contributed content and entertainment to the week-long training event. The Houston Brass Grannies, a jazz band made up of Houston-based United flight attendants, wrote a song called, "If You Comp Anything, Chicago's Axe Will Swing," based off a popular Duke Ellington tune, which will be used for flight attendant training. "We wanted to keep the training fun, while also instilling the culture the regime wants us to have," said Betty Jo Cobutton, a 30-year flight attendant with United's Continental subsidiary, who also plays trombone for the band. "Some people think that the United regime wants us to check our rights at the door when we show up for work," Cobutton said. "That can't be further from the truth. I checked my rights at the state line when I moved to Texas some 40 years ago."

Gate and reservations agents will be entertained with a modern spoof on a popular Meghan Trainor hit. Roop said, "The song starts, 'Well you know I'm all about syntax, 'bout syntax, no GUI.' to remind agents about the importance of proper data entry in SHARES, the United command-line passenger service system." This training will be beneficial to United staff who came from either legacy United or Continental. "We have staff from the legacy United who have been struggling with this system for three years now," Roop said. "We also have staff from Continental who have been struggling with the system for three decades," she added. "If one of our plus-sized ground staff dressed as a Meghan Trainor lookalike can't fix this, I don't know what can."

United's labor unions have given the training plan their full support. "We have some members who think it's acceptable to sit on a jumpseat and read People Magazine and then complain about the job later," said Jennifer Werk-Rhuel, Senior Manager at the Association of Flight Attendants, the union that represents United's 15,000 flight attendants. "We hope that our members come out of this training reinvigorated with a different perspective. You can't get People Magazine everywhere, so you should be grateful that you can both read it, and get paid to do so, with a career at United."

United has received expedited approvals for the charter flights to North Korea to facilitate the immersion training. "The DOT approved our application almost immediately," said Rodney Cardiff, Senior Director of Government Affairs. "The DOT was relieved we'd be flying our own staff, since our own employees are less likely to file regulatory complaints than the flying public," he chuckled.

United will fly its staff to Pyongyang in the state-of-the-art Boeing 787. The charter flights will represent the first time Pyongyang Airport (FNJ) has accepted a 787 aircraft. "We are very excited to see the 787 land here in Pyongyang," said J.Y. Park, North Korea's Minister of Aviation. "To date, all aircraft arriving in Pyongyang were made out of metal, so this is the first time we will welcome a plastic airplane in North Korea."

The Boeing 787-800 seats 219 passengers, with 36 in United's award-winning BusinessFirst® cabin, 70 seats in EconomyPlus®, and 113 in Economy. Preference for the BusinessFirst® and EconomyPlus® seating will be given to employees from United's Continental subsidiary. "Jeff likes the Continental folks better, so they get the better seats," Roop said.

If the DPRK training sessions are successful, United will consider sending select customers to Pyongyang for expectation management training in 2016. "We just spent millions of dollars removing first class food from hundreds of flights, while also training our flight attendants how to plate coach meals for first class passengers, while at the same time marketing this as an improvement," United Chief Financial Officer John Rainey said. "Despite our efforts, some customers still aren't happy." United has identified its most over-entitled customers -- customers with Premier or higher status in the Mileage Plus program, who have emailed customer care at least once in the past year -- and is considering making the Pyongyang expectation management training a requirement for over-entitled members to maintain their Premier status in subsequent years.

To celebrate the United training sessions being held in North Korea, murals of United's CEO, Jeff Smisek have been painted around the North Korean capital.

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,055 flights a day to 373 airports across six continents. In 2014, United and United Express operated nearly two million flights carrying 138 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 34 new Boeing aircraft, including the 787-9 and the 737-900ER. United is also welcoming 49 new Embraer E175 aircraft to United Express. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 193 countries via 27 member airlines. More than 84,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook.
The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 31, 15 at 10:11 pm Reason: title edited to note the "date"
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Old Mar 31, 15, 10:02 pm
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Old Mar 31, 15, 10:05 pm
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Old Mar 31, 15, 10:11 pm
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Channa needs a real job- stop writing for Hemispheres.

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Old Mar 31, 15, 10:32 pm
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This is absolute gold-this is what happens when channa channels the UA hatred into sature
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Old Mar 31, 15, 10:47 pm
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Suggested edit:

Additionally, staff from North Korea's Air Koryo will be on hand to train United staff in improved service standards. "We were surprised to learn that United does not provide food or pillows to its passengers," said Min Soo, Vice President of In Flight Service at Air Koryo. "Once they have learned that the regime must provide for its people, I am confident they will correct this policy very quickly."
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Old Mar 31, 15, 10:49 pm
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