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Man pulled off of overbooked flight UA3411 (ORD-SDF) 9 Apr 2017 {Settlement reached}

Man pulled off of overbooked flight UA3411 (ORD-SDF) 9 Apr 2017 {Settlement reached}

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Old Apr 13, 18, 1:33 pm   -   Wikipost
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Statement from United Airlines Regarding Resolution with Dr. David Dao - released 27 April 2017
CHICAGO, April 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- We are pleased to report that United and Dr. Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard flight 3411. We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the center of everything we do.
DOT findings related to the UA3411 9 April 2017 IDB incident 12 May 2017

What facts do we know?
  • UA3411, operated by Republic Airways, ORD-SDF on Sunday, April 9, 2017. UA3411 was the second to last flight to SDF for United. AA3509 and UA4771 were the two remaining departures for the day. Also, AA and DL had connecting options providing for same-day arrival in SDF.
  • After the flight was fully boarded, United determined four seats were needed to accommodate crew to SDF for a flight on Monday.
  • United solicited volunteers for VDB. (BUT stopped at $800 in UA$s, not cash). Chose not to go to the levels such as 1350 that airlines have been known to go even in case of weather impacted disruption)
  • After receiving no volunteers for $800 vouchers, a passenger volunteered for $1,600 and was "laughed at" and refused, United determined four passengers to be removed from the flight.
  • One passenger refused and Chicago Aviation Security Officers were called to forcibly remove the passenger.
  • The passenger hit the armrest in the aisle and received a concussion, a broken nose, a bloodied lip, and the loss of two teeth.
  • After being removed from the plane, the passenger re-boarded saying "I need to go home" repeatedly, before being removed again.
  • United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said the flight was sold out — but not oversold. Instead, United and regional affiliate Republic Airlines – the unit that operated Flight 3411 – decided they had to remove four passengers from the flight to accommodate crewmembers who were needed in Louisville the next day for a “downline connection.”

United Express Flight 3411 Review and Action Report - released 27 April 2017

Videos

Internal Communication by Oscar Munoz
Oscar Munoz sent an internal communication to UA employees (sources: View From The Wing, Chicago Tribune):
Dear Team,

Like you, I was upset to see and hear about what happened last night aboard United Express Flight 3411 headed from Chicago to Louisville. While the facts and circumstances are still evolving, especially with respect to why this customer defied Chicago Aviation Security Officers the way he did, to give you a clearer picture of what transpired, I've included below a recap from the preliminary reports filed by our employees.

As you will read, this situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help. Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.

I do, however, believe there are lessons we can learn from this experience, and we are taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding this incident. Treating our customers and each other with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are, and we must always remember this no matter how challenging the situation.

Oscar

Summary of Flight 3411
  • On Sunday, April 9, after United Express Flight 3411 was fully boarded, United's gate agents were approached by crewmembers that were told they needed to board the flight.
  • We sought volunteers and then followed our involuntary denial of boarding process (including offering up to $1,000 in compensation) and when we approached one of these passengers to explain apologetically that he was being denied boarding, he raised his voice and refused to comply with crew member instructions.
  • He was approached a few more times after that in order to gain his compliance to come off the aircraft, and each time he refused and became more and more disruptive and belligerent.
  • Our agents were left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight. He repeatedly declined to leave.
  • Chicago Aviation Security Officers were unable to gain his cooperation and physically removed him from the flight as he continued to resist - running back onto the aircraft in defiance of both our crew and security officials.
Email sent to all employees at 2:08PM on Tuesday, April 11.
Dear Team,

The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.

I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.

It’s never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again. This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. We’ll communicate the results of our review by April 30th.

I promise you we will do better.

Sincerely,

Oscar
Statement to customers - 27 April 2017
Each flight you take with us represents an important promise we make to you, our customer. It's not simply that we make sure you reach your destination safely and on time, but also that you will be treated with the highest level of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect.

Earlier this month, we broke that trust when a passenger was forcibly removed from one of our planes. We can never say we are sorry enough for what occurred, but we also know meaningful actions will speak louder than words.

For the past several weeks, we have been urgently working to answer two questions: How did this happen, and how can we do our best to ensure this never happens again?

It happened because our corporate policies were placed ahead of our shared values. Our procedures got in the way of our employees doing what they know is right.

Fixing that problem starts now with changing how we fly, serve and respect our customers. This is a turning point for all of us here at United – and as CEO, it's my responsibility to make sure that we learn from this experience and redouble our efforts to put our customers at the center of everything we do.

That’s why we announced that we will no longer ask law enforcement to remove customers from a flight and customers will not be required to give up their seat once on board – except in matters of safety or security.

We also know that despite our best efforts, when things don’t go the way they should, we need to be there for you to make things right. There are several new ways we’re going to do just that.

We will increase incentives for voluntary rebooking up to $10,000 and will be eliminating the red tape on permanently lost bags with a new "no-questions-asked" $1,500 reimbursement policy. We will also be rolling out a new app for our employees that will enable them to provide on-the-spot goodwill gestures in the form of miles, travel credit and other amenities when your experience with us misses the mark. You can learn more about these commitments and many other changes at hub.united.com.

While these actions are important, I have found myself reflecting more broadly on the role we play and the responsibilities we have to you and the communities we serve.

I believe we must go further in redefining what United's corporate citizenship looks like in our society. If our chief good as a company is only getting you to and from your destination, that would show a lack of moral imagination on our part. You can and ought to expect more from us, and we intend to live up to those higher expectations in the way we embody social responsibility and civic leadership everywhere we operate. I hope you will see that pledge express itself in our actions going forward, of which these initial, though important, changes are merely a first step.

Our goal should be nothing less than to make you truly proud to say, "I fly United."

Ultimately, the measure of our success is your satisfaction and the past several weeks have moved us to go further than ever before in elevating your experience with us. I know our 87,000 employees have taken this message to heart, and they are as energized as ever to fulfill our promise to serve you better with each flight and earn the trust you’ve given us.

We are working harder than ever for the privilege to serve you and I know we will be stronger, better and the customer-focused airline you expect and deserve.

With Great Gratitude,

Oscar Munoz
CEO
United Airlines
Aftermath
Poll: Your Opinion of United Airlines
Poll link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KP68GYG
Results link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/results...Q6B2B/instant/
Reference Material

UA's Customer Commitment says:
Occasionally we may not be able to provide you with a seat on a specific flight, even if you hold a ticket, have checked in, are present to board on time, and comply with other requirements. This is called an oversale, and occurs when restrictions apply to operating a particular flight safely (such as aircraft weight limits); when we have to substitute a smaller aircraft in place of a larger aircraft that was originally scheduled; or if more customers have checked in and are prepared to board than we have available seats.

If your flight is in an oversale situation, you will not be denied a seat until we first ask for volunteers willing to give up their confirmed seats. If there are not enough volunteers, we will deny boarding to passengers in accordance with our written policy on boarding priority. If you are involuntarily denied boarding and have complied with our check-in and other applicable rules, we will give you a written statement that describes your rights and explains how we determine boarding priority for an oversold flight. You will generally be entitled to compensation and transportation on an alternate flight.

We make complete rules for the payment of compensation, as well as our policy about boarding priorities, available at airports we serve. We will follow these rules to ensure you are treated fairly. Please be aware that you may be denied boarding without compensation if you do not check in on time or do not meet certain other requirements, or if we offer you alternative transportation that is planned to arrive at your destination or first stopover no later than one hour after the planned arrival time of your original flight.
CoC is here: https://www.united.com/web/en-US/con...-carriage.aspx
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Old Apr 18, 17, 9:17 am
  #6166  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
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United Airlines - To blacklist or not to blacklist?

We've all been hearing about the outrage, horror stories, and anger these past few weeks especially after the Dao incident.

At this point its pretty certain that Dao will sue for millions and most likely UA will come to some sort of settlement as to avoid having to go to court. However, I've always wondered what does the airline do after these kinds of affairs with those who choose (and win) large sum lawsuits?

Do airlines pay out and then forget the entire affair vis a vis the specific passenger? Or do they pay them out and then blacklist them from their reservation systems?

In other words, assuming Dao wins a 3-5 million dollar settlement with United. Does United hand him over the money and allow Dao to fly with them again as though nothing has happened or do they pull the trigger and say thanks, but no thanks? What about other passengers who sue, but don't win anything or go to the media to tell their story resulting in the loss of business?
Manospeed is offline  
Old Apr 18, 17, 9:25 am
  #6167  
 
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Originally Posted by cubs105 View Post
I'm hearing backlash from people because the email only went out to 1ks apparently and us less lowly fliers are getting ignored. Oscar should have sent this out to everyone as this is an apology. To me it's a slap in the face
I feel it is a big mistake, but then I think most people (other than readers of this thread) know that UA appologized to GSs, and not anyone else.

Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
There seem to be plenty of GS/1Ks who believe all other customers are insignificant. United apparently shares their view.

But as I have said many times on FT, you cannot fly UA to profit on 3 to 4 percent of the customer base and say the hell with the rest of you.
Kirby just said that 50% of revenue comes from "premium customers, those who fly you often" His formulation was very different than I have heard before from United.

Last edited by l'etoile; May 4, 17 at 11:22 pm Reason: Removed quote of deleted post
spin88 is offline  
Old Apr 18, 17, 9:51 am
  #6168  
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
Kirby just said that 50% of revenue comes from "premium customers, those who fly you often".
As UAL's Q1 profit margin was 1.14% (see: https://ycharts.com/companies/UAL/profit_margin), it's clearly unwise to fawn over the sources of 50% of revenue, and give the other 50% the back of the corporate hand.
BearX220 is offline  
Old Apr 18, 17, 9:58 am
  #6169  
 
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Originally Posted by sw3 View Post
Sure, but if there comes to be a law prohibiting deplaning passengers after boarding, if the airline follows the law, in this case they would be barred from even considering asking for volunteers so there would be no VDBs, much less IDBs. They would be legally compelled to go on with the departure, that's the point of the example complementing the original post. Same thing would happen if airlines voluntarily get to put this in the COC overriding other clauses that let them take passengers out, they would be breaching the COC if they did anything about this situation.

Some people are saying that, once boarded, passengers should be totally immune from deboarding either voluntary or involuntary for any reason whatsoever that is not related to safety or security. But it should make no sense to put a blanket and absolute ban on DBs just because passengers are boarded or because whatever. A multitude of unforeseen situations can happen and airlines should be able to decide if a situation merits doing VDBs or IDBs at any point, as long as there are clear guidelines that exemplify the kinds of situations and cause-effect relationships that merit so. Perhaps VDBs after boarding, or before boarding but with seats already assigned, and IDBs not due to overbooking, could be documented to the FAA (protecting passengers' privacy especially in medical situations) and such statistics published.
Nobody ever said that, ever, in the whole history of civilization, from the time of Tiglath-Pilesar I until you raised the issue in order to respond to an argument nobody is making.

The only time I think IDB should EVER be considered, would be if a pool player needed to be re-accommodated to make space for a billiard player or a band member.

Why sure I'm a billiard player,
Certainly mighty proud I say
I'm always mighty proud to say it.
I consider that the hours I spend
With a cue in my hand are golden.
Help you cultivate horse sense
And a cool head and a keen eye.
Did you ever take and try to give
An iron-clad leave to yourself
From a three-reail billiard shot?
But just as I say,
It takes judgment, brains, and maturity to score
In any balkline game,
I say that any boob kin take
And shove a ball in a pocket.
And they call that sloth.
The first big step on the road
To the depths of degradation
I say, first, medicinal wine from a teaspoon,
Then beer from a bottle.
An' the next thing ya know,
Your son is playin' for money
In a pinch-back suit!

And as for re-accommodating the pool player to make space for a band member, ask yourself, how can any pool table ever hope to compete with a gold trombone?!?!
Carl Johnson is online now  
Old Apr 18, 17, 10:15 am
  #6170  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Nawthun Virginia
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Posts: 135
Originally Posted by IncyWincy View Post
You mean sell-back.
It is whether the passengers are willing here to sell as UA is certainly willing to buy. The Q is whether anyone will sell, willingly.
Everyone will willingly sell back their seat at some price. The challenge here was to find the four (out of 70) that were willing to sell it back most cheaply. For the right price, I'll take a day of leave if necessary, if I'm not specifically obligated the next day.
Rdenney is offline  
Old Apr 18, 17, 10:18 am
  #6171  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Originally Posted by HMO View Post
Could you then please elucidate us about it?
It's in the Wiki at the head of this thread, but neither VDB nor IDB were offered at the boarding area:

Dr has BP scanned by GA and is accepted for boarding, along with the rest of pax.

Dr & other pax make their way from the gate to aircraft and is welcomed aboard by FA at door 1L.

Dr and other pax get seated.

Four dead-heading crew turn up after all pax have boarded.

While pax are boarded, incentives are offered up to $800 (United says $1000) but it's not enough to persuade four pax to deplane.

One pax offers to deplane for $1600 and is laughed at by GA.

GA gets computer to pick pax to deplane to make way for crew.

Three pax accept their fate and deplane under protest.

Dr refuses to deplane.

GA sends in "security" to remove him.

After some firm (but not profane or inflammatory) discussion, security tell him he'll be going to jail if he does not voluntarily deplane.

Dr tells security they'll have to drag him out and send him to jail rather than him go of his own accord.

Security pull him out of seat, Dr screams and resists for a few seconds.

Dr sustains two broken teeth, broken nose and concussion apparently after his head hits a seat arm during the extraction.

Security drag the apparently unconscious body down the aisle.

Dr somehow manages to get back on, seemingly in a dazed state, with bloodied face.
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Old Apr 18, 17, 10:21 am
  #6172  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Posts: 6,261
Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
As UAL's Q1 profit margin was 1.14% (see: https://ycharts.com/companies/UAL/profit_margin), it's clearly unwise to fawn over the sources of 50% of revenue, and give the other 50% the back of the corporate hand.
It is never good to give any customer "the back of the hand" as the last weeks s. storm has showed.

But what Kirby said on the 1Q call was a little different. He said that United has a group of passengers who on average pay more to fly United, and then tend to be those who are frequent travelers. United has lost many of these frequent travelers, including at hubs (he used EWR as an example) to AA/DL and that is why United's margin has suffered.
spin88 is offline  
Old Apr 18, 17, 10:34 am
  #6173  
 
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by denuaflier View Post
I just replied to him. See below...
Dear Mr. Munoz,

Your email is a day late and dollar short in my opinion. United has a culture of disrespecting their customers that I have witnessed over the past 23 years. As a 1K MM, this was the last straw for me seeing someone treated like this.

I have decided to use up my United mileage balance and only use United when you are the lowest priced carrier. Loyalty is a two way street and United has not shown your side of it for a long time.

I do think this is a difficult culture to fix and it may be best to liquidate this airline but if you can turn this ship around, you will have my respect. I should point out however that your initial response came across as cowardly to most frequent flyers and you should have shown courage rather than defending your employees and going after the poor doctor.

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Old Apr 18, 17, 10:37 am
  #6174  
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Posts: 12,086
Originally Posted by Manospeed View Post
We've all been hearing about the outrage, horror stories, and anger these past few weeks especially after the Dao incident.

At this point its pretty certain that Dao will sue for millions and most likely UA will come to some sort of settlement as to avoid having to go to court. However, I've always wondered what does the airline do after these kinds of affairs with those who choose (and win) large sum lawsuits?

Do airlines pay out and then forget the entire affair vis a vis the specific passenger? Or do they pay them out and then blacklist them from their reservation systems?

In other words, assuming Dao wins a 3-5 million dollar settlement with United. Does United hand him over the money and allow Dao to fly with them again as though nothing has happened or do they pull the trigger and say thanks, but no thanks? What about other passengers who sue, but don't win anything or go to the media to tell their story resulting in the loss of business?
This will almost always depend on the individual case. As you state, it's likely this will be settled in this crew-members-resulting-in-oversale UX situation. If, in this case, the plaintiff and UA wish to bargain based on the customer's hopeful return to UA/UX as an airline choice -- whether or not the parties bargain for such benefits as future free travel, elite status, redeemable MileagePlus miles, etc -- then the customer will have full, maybe even preferred, access to UA booking channels.

If, on the other hand, an airline determined that there was fraud, dishonesty, or oppression in the customer's past dealings with the carrier, that could have a different outcome. (See, e.g., Northwest Airlines v. Ginsberg (2014) 134 S.Ct., 1422 [cancellation of member's Platinum elite FF status].)
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Old Apr 18, 17, 10:44 am
  #6175  
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Originally Posted by Ocn Vw 1K View Post
This will almost always depend on the individual case. As you state, it's likely this will be settled in this crew-members-resulting-in-oversale UX situation. If, in this case, the plaintiff and UA wish to bargain based on the customer's hopeful return to UA/UX as an airline choice -- whether or not the parties bargain for such benefits as future free travel, elite status, redeemable MileagePlus miles, etc -- then the customer will have full, maybe even preferred, access to UA booking channels.

If, on the other hand, an airline determined that there was fraud, dishonesty, or oppression in the customer's past dealings with the carrier, that could have a different outcome. (See, e.g., Northwest Airlines v. Ginsberg (2014) 134 S.Ct., 1422 [cancellation of member's Platinum elite FF status].)
I suspect future UA flying will be a pretty low priority topic in the lawsuit. I'm guessing he is as likely to be flying on NetJets in the future rather than UA.

Last edited by GadgetFreak; Apr 18, 17 at 10:57 am
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Old Apr 18, 17, 11:10 am
  #6176  
 
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
Hi, spin88, long time no talk.

It is true that Smisek-era policies made things worse. But it is also true that anger and confrontation have been hallmarks of United employee culture for decades. United's front-liners:

  • Hated Dick Ferris (1979-87), mocked and undermined his Allegis deal, forced its collapse and his resignation.
  • Hated Stephen Wolf (1987-94) and forced his resignation as a condition of ratifying the ESOP.
  • Hated Gerry Greenwald (1994-99) although he brought financial stability and profit. Forced him out too.
  • Hated Dick Goodwin (1999-01), inflicted the Summer from Hell on customers to damage their own enterprise and humiliate him, and forced his resignation too after he told them the truth, post-9/11 -- that the company was at risk of perishing.
  • Hated Glenn Tilton (2002-11) while he protected the employees by abusing the bankruptcy laws, slaved to make UA look good for acquisition (they wore "Glenn Must Go" bracelets), and rejoiced when Continental management rode in to dislodge him.
  • Turned on Jeff Smisek (2011-15) fast, and hated him too. (In fairness a lot us of shared this view.) Incredibly they now often claim United's "downfall" started with Smisek.
  • Have not exactly blossomed into happy friendly pixies under Munoz.

Now, hate one or two CEOs: fine, par for the course. Eagerly sabotage literally every management throughout the entire 40-year deregulation era: bizarre, and in my view unfixable by any CEO, not Munoz nor anyone who follows him.

This entrenched, bitter, adversarial mindset drives the company's service zeitgeist - pure and simple. It is why the Dao video resonates worldwide. You look at it and say: yup, that illustrates how United feels to customers. I can identify.

The fiction that this airline was Candyland before Smisek and a smoldering hellscape afterwards is just that: fiction.

To your point above about restrictive post-2011 policies:

Everyone, even Munoz, blames restrictive policies and procedures for the Dao outcome. But a lot of us believe United's service problems stem from untouchable employees free to ignore policies and procedures, or make up their own -- from FAs inflight who discard service elements or invent fake "FAA rules," to gate agents who close the doors early to frustrate late-running connecting pax. They too often freelance their own brutal problem-solving methods -- which alienate thousands.

That's where the stress of flying United comes from: a number of these people do whatever they want, and you as the passenger have no comeback, recourse, or standing.

You're at the mercy of an indifferent, sometimes vindictive, employee base -- workers that have seen CEOs come, seen them go, hated all of them, will probably hate the next one, might hate you too, and will certainly evade or outlast whatever weak-kneed "reforms" emerge from Willis Tower.
This is very depressing to read. If it's true about the entrenched employees in control why would anyone want to lead the company. And how can it ever Change?

Ugh!
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Old Apr 18, 17, 11:16 am
  #6177  
 
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Originally Posted by Carl Johnson View Post
Nobody ever said that, ever, in the whole history of civilization, from the time of Tiglath-Pilesar I until you raised the issue in order to respond to an argument nobody is making.

The only time I think IDB should EVER be considered, would be if a pool player needed to be re-accommodated to make space for a billiard player or a band member.

Why sure I'm a billiard player,
Certainly mighty proud I say
I'm always mighty proud to say it.
I consider that the hours I spend
With a cue in my hand are golden.
Help you cultivate horse sense
And a cool head and a keen eye.
Did you ever take and try to give
An iron-clad leave to yourself
From a three-reail billiard shot?
But just as I say,
It takes judgment, brains, and maturity to score
In any balkline game,
I say that any boob kin take
And shove a ball in a pocket.
And they call that sloth.
The first big step on the road
To the depths of degradation
I say, first, medicinal wine from a teaspoon,
Then beer from a bottle.
An' the next thing ya know,
Your son is playin' for money
In a pinch-back suit!

And as for re-accommodating the pool player to make space for a band member, ask yourself, how can any pool table ever hope to compete with a gold trombone?!?!
But he doesn't know the territory!
Fredd is offline  
Old Apr 18, 17, 11:31 am
  #6178  
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Posts: 10,582
Originally Posted by Bear4Asian View Post
This is very depressing to read. If it's true about the entrenched employees in control why would anyone want to lead the company. And how can it ever Change?

Ugh!
Looking at the timespan it is quite obvious that the older entrenched employees are passing on their toxicity to the younger generations of employees which keeps perpetuating a toxic culture. Or maybe the board just doesn't know how to hire a CEO that is actually customer centric, which pisses off the employees or an employee centric CEO which can piss off customers or a CEO that is shareholder centric which can piss off both employees and customers. Seems it is a no win situation. And if the shareholders are happy then the board did what they are supposed to do, make shareholders happy so why would they change the CEO unless a public event occurs which forces their hand. Smizek and the Port Authority flight is a prime example. I have a feeling the board was being tolerant of Oscar because of the backlash of Smizek. And I wouldn't be surprised if Oscars days are numbered in the boards eyes and they will once again hire a CEO that is more shareholder centric.

But until they get rid of the toxic culture that has perpetuated for decades between employees and management and customers I see nothing changing. Alaska has been a breath of fresh air since I switched in October after 20 years with UA and many of them as a 1K. Took one trip on UA because UA was way cheaper than everyone else SFO-IAH-SFO recently so I was forced to purchase it by corporate TA and it was bad. Delays of 2.5 hours one way and luggage didn't make it the other way.

So, if nothing else, the Dao incident, with all the other ones in the press piled on in the last week may spell the end of the Munoz era. But who UA get? Will they be better? Will they be worse? History does not bode well and I fear the toxicity will continue. And as long as their prices are competitive the price conscience flyers will continue to fly UA.
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Old Apr 18, 17, 11:41 am
  #6179  
 
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
United had a toxic culture between management and labor, but I could say the same thing about AA, NW, and Delta as well. Going back, CO/Eastern were similar. I can count on one hand the CEOs that were actually liked by airline employees. I fly Delta a lot, and their employees did not love Anderson, although the smarter of them admitted he did a good job. The "hatred" of Tilton was mostly by pilots for his failure to order new aircraft. They correctly saw him managing for merger, not for growth that would give them opportunity.
There's a continuum of strife.

UA/AA/Eastern were the big domestic networks.

Eastern went completely belly up on the back of labor.

AA and UA - I think Crandall at least had a 12 year run of respect, much more than any UA peer. Yes there were strikes, and his successors faltered, but not nearly as vindictive labor response as what UA saw at times.

AA is dealing with its own culture problems, Parker himself is lamenting that.

DL picked up a pretty tempestuous NW, but fortunately DL was the larger carrier, and really stood out as the only that managed to keep FA's nonunion. There was a culture advantage there, and they were just large enough to impose the healthier DL culture on NW.
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Old Apr 18, 17, 12:04 pm
  #6180  
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
Hi, spin88, long time no talk.

It is true that Smisek-era policies made things worse. But it is also true that anger and confrontation have been hallmarks of United employee culture for decades. United's front-liners:
  • Hated Dick Ferris (1979-87), mocked and undermined his Allegis deal, forced its collapse and his resignation.
  • Hated Stephen Wolf (1987-94) and forced his resignation as a condition of ratifying the ESOP.
  • Hated Gerry Greenwald (1994-99) although he brought financial stability and profit. Forced him out too.
  • Hated Dick Goodwin (1999-01), inflicted the Summer from Hell on customers to damage their own enterprise and humiliate him, and forced his resignation too after he told them the truth, post-9/11 -- that the company was at risk of perishing.
  • Hated Glenn Tilton (2002-11) while he protected the employees by abusing the bankruptcy laws, slaved to make UA look good for acquisition (they wore "Glenn Must Go" bracelets), and rejoiced when Continental management rode in to dislodge him.
  • Turned on Jeff Smisek (2011-15) fast, and hated him too. (In fairness a lot us of shared this view.) Incredibly they now often claim United's "downfall" started with Smisek.
  • Have not exactly blossomed into happy friendly pixies under Munoz.

Now, hate one or two CEOs: fine, par for the course. Eagerly sabotage literally every management throughout the entire 40-year deregulation era: bizarre, and in my view unfixable by any CEO, not Munoz nor anyone who follows him.

This entrenched, bitter, adversarial mindset drives the company's service zeitgeist - pure and simple. It is why the Dao video resonates worldwide. You look at it and say: yup, that illustrates how United feels to customers. I can identify.

The fiction that this airline was Candyland before Smisek and a smoldering hellscape afterwards is just that: fiction.

To your point above about restrictive post-2011 policies:

Everyone, even Munoz, blames restrictive policies and procedures for the Dao outcome. But a lot of us believe United's service problems stem from untouchable employees free to ignore policies and procedures, or make up their own -- from FAs inflight who discard service elements or invent fake "FAA rules," to gate agents who close the doors early to frustrate late-running connecting pax. They too often freelance their own brutal problem-solving methods -- which alienate thousands.

That's where the stress of flying United comes from: a number of these people do whatever they want, and you as the passenger have no comeback, recourse, or standing.

You're at the mercy of an indifferent, sometimes vindictive, employee base -- workers that have seen CEOs come, seen them go, hated all of them, will probably hate the next one, might hate you too, and will certainly evade or outlast whatever weak-kneed "reforms" emerge from Willis Tower.
There is one, and only one group of people that can bring change to United, or any other airline for that matter. Yet they keep buying their tickets and accepting this level of service.

So it must not be all that bad for the majority.
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