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So how does UA win back the flying public? (Beyond the obvious)

So how does UA win back the flying public? (Beyond the obvious)

Old Apr 12, 2017, 6:08 am
  #241  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 163
Originally Posted by ZZYZXROAD
He is of Vietnamese decent, not CN. Vietnamese do not like CN and vice versa, why would this affect CN passengers. There were other Asian passengers and other minorities on the flight, they were not asked to leave.

Because Weibo (Twitter of China) has had over 100 million views of the video. For whatever reason, this is resonating strongly with people in China.
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Old Apr 12, 2017, 6:28 am
  #242  
 
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Originally Posted by eeprofessional

** remember right now UA is fighting for share in the Asian market and can't compete against Asian carriers on cost, on the pax and on their labor, period. Asian carriers are catching up on other factors like timetables, service, and equipment. Don't forgot the likes of Emirates on the worldwide and US flights.
This incident has also been making the rounds on Singaporean media, responses being mostly same. I feel like this is gonna hurt (or kill) UA 1 / 2, given that ULH doesn't have a cheap cost base.
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Old Apr 12, 2017, 7:22 am
  #243  
 
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This type of behavior has been going on for years at UA..... why I left 3 yrs ago after 34 yrs as a top elite. Just another signal of culture dysfunction that NO one has addressed and corrected. If it's not this, there'll be incident after incident like this. Yet like lemmings to the sea, people keep flying UA Other legacy carriers have same type of culture dysfunction, too!!
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Old Apr 12, 2017, 7:23 am
  #244  
 
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I question whether many people will really change how they choose flights due to this. However, I suspect several other things will happen:

1. UA will be more careful about making sure crews are in position with more warning. That should be good.
2. UA may not board flights until they are sure that there will not be any need to deplane any passenger. So there will be additional delays.
3. UA will not IDB passengers to get a crew in place. So from time to time, the downline flight will just be cancelled. More people will be inconvenienced.
4. If someone refuses an order of a FA, it will be much less likely that law enforcement will be called. That person might be more likely a belligerent drunk shouting political statements rather than a 69 year old doctor. The passengers around that person will just have to endure it.
5. Or rather than call law enforcement, the pilot will just cancel the flight and everyone has to get off. Maybe the gate agents will straighten things out and people board again, maybe not. More people may miss connections or not fly that day.

Somehow, I think it is not only UA, but other passengers, that will pay because of this incident.
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Old Apr 12, 2017, 7:46 am
  #245  
 
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UA should simply start behaving in a human way. I thought they were on their way to do this with Munoz, but this is clearly a step back.

Essentially:

1- Always, ALWAYS put the priority on clients first. Yes, even those "low life" scum that sit in Y and still constitutes most of the cabin. Stop taking away one thing after another and come up with ingenious schemes to bilk them of a few dollars for things that should be taken for granted, like the ability to bring a small personal item in cabin and store it in the overhead bin.

2- You overbooked, YOU are responsible for this mess. Pay up. People don't take you up on your offer? Double it. Someone is bound to take it. And offer it in cold, hard cash. Yeah, that may bite at first, but between that and a 4% devaluation of your stock price, guess what the owners prefer?

And if you still can't refrain from throwing out someone from a plane, how about doing it BEFORE boarding? Is this too much to ask?

3- Everyone understands that at 30,000 feet there needs to be a clear line of authority. But for crying out loud, explain to your crew that this doesn't mean it is OK for them to have power trips at clients' expenses. Yes, they are there for our safety, but they are also there to give us a service. Meaning: smile and work with us to make us happier. Cannot be done? Then how are SQ, NH and other premier airlines figuring that one out?

4- Give back in Y. You and airlines like you created a cattle class with inhumane seats and overcramped spaces. You even decided not to serve any meals in the middle of flights of 12 hours. I mean, really, did any of these high-paid executives of yours spent any time to see how this was working in the field? Too difficult for MBA geniuses to see where this is leading?

5- Decide what you want to be and for whom. There is only so much segmentation you can do in a cabin. You can either be SQ-like or Spirit-like. If you feel the call of Spirit, fine, but then you won't get my business.
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Old Apr 12, 2017, 7:47 am
  #246  
 
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Originally Posted by spin88
Way too late, way, way too late....

But it just shows that all of the 'united did nothing wrong' crew were 110% wrong. The video has been veiwed 200 million times in china. LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN. it has been viewed 200 million times in china. Kiss the Chinese market bye, bye.��

But be strong united, stick to your computer caps on compensation of $800, if that does not work, just call the cops.... afterall you can rely upon the dot bumping rules as a shield.������

Ed Bastain is drinking champaign tonight and thanking united for having such lousy policies and management.
BTW...as a taxpayer, I am slightly irked by the fact that they deploy the resources we pay for so they can pay less for IDB than their competitors. Let that sink in for a minute.
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Old Apr 12, 2017, 7:51 am
  #247  
 
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The video of the pax, and all the others we've seen prior to this one, just sickens me. We are seeing non-violent people being treated worse, physically, than an on board 'terrorist.'

Yes, it is the Captain's ship, and s/he is where the buck stops on board. I would like to think that those who have been involuntarily removed from a flight would have been chosen through an algorithm of criteria such as type of ticket, price paid, elite status, and prospect of making connecting flight, if one. Perhaps there are other criteria I've not mentioned. Of course this should be explained in a bit more detail than 'the computer chose you,' which sounds so vague and untruthful. Generally, I feel comfortable in those situations, trying to fly on airlines where I do have status, knowing I would likely not have to leave the flight. However, I have no status on so many airlines that I've no guarantee, and know I could be the one. I do know, if it comes to this, it is not a choice. Very few people are indispensable in their workplace, as the previous poster has discussed (and others before), but people travel for other reasons. If a person is traveling to see a dying relative, or one in critical condition, then flying becomes a rote process as the pax simply takes steps to get to their suffering family. That is the time the reasons for traveling become serious, and non-negotiable in the mind of the passenger. Money cannot buy that person at that moment, even though that may be the person who was 'chosen' to be removed.

Negotiations require latitude and truly coming up with the BATNA. Money can motivate some, but not others. I have seen pax take the first offer at the gate or on the plane. I have seen others motivated at the second, or third offer. And I have seen the need to 'choose' the pax who is to leave. Profit levels need to be maintained for the health of the company and stockholder expectations, so I can see the reason to keep some level of sensibility on the offers, but the agents do need some latitude and obviously, much more training. Increasingly, I am seeing on social media, FA not using optimal interpersonal tools to sooth a situation, and then resorting to ejecting the pax. Is this the new norm? I hope to see better.

These are not methods sufficient to reassure the traveling public or the financial stakeholders. This has created a crisis of confidence that has resonated around the world, regardless of Dao's original birthplace. I have several sets of friends joining me in the U.S. for the solar eclipse in August. They will be flying some of their legs on United. I am worried that they will cancel their trips or will want to rebook on different airlines. I do use my prior experiences and prior information when booking my own airline travel. Around the world, others will be doing the same with larger consequences to United's bottom line. When a U.S. based airline sullies its reputation so severely, time after time, it simply reinforces what foreigners are seeing on social media and tv day after day, 'foreigners are not welcome,' even if it's not true at the personal level.

Now, to moving on: we have heard several different explanations and apologies from the CEO, seemingly attempting to show his support for employees, scorn for airport police, who were just doing their jobs (perhaps not in the best way they've been trained), and offering assurances that they won't be used to remove pax again.

An action plan goes beyond, 'shouldn't apologize, show support for employees', TO 'apologize, police won't remove pax anymore.' The flight is a whole experience, from booking to getting the luggage. Each and every person working for United needs to accept responsibility for all of those parts working safely in unison FOR the PASSENGER. Develop an awareness of who pays their paycheck. Employees certainly have difficulties of their own, such as sick family members to care for, dissatisfaction with pay or working conditions, relationship problems, etc. Those are not what the passenger buys when s/he buys a ticket. The passenger buys transportation with the hope for the best possible experience. Most of the time it's seen as a transaction no more, no less.

Can we see increased training? Global discussions of the improved plan? Continued focus on airline security, but not based on personal biases?

With United's recurring history of failing to recapture past glory and respect, I don't know if we can expect a recovery without another rebranding; such sorry thing for a person with my pro-business mindset to have to admit.
________
And BTW, thank you for surprising me with my 'FT member bio' this month, which I'd submitted as part of the Bucket List blog. It won't go to my head; I will still always want to know about you as FT members.
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Old Apr 12, 2017, 7:57 am
  #248  
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Originally Posted by AggieTexan
I'm not a frequent flyer -- I'm a leisure traveler who didn't really follow the details/politics of the merger. All I can speak to is my experience as a consumer. The important point is not who caused it, but that it's gotten to this low point and needs to change.
Many would disagree with you there. United was a much better airline before Continental ruined it. In the old days, United would even win awards for its highly creative "It's time to fly" campaigns whilst maintaining a pretty decent onboard product, a fantastic frequent flyer program, and their crews took great pride in delivering high levels of customer service. Alas, how I miss the pre-merger LHR-based United crews--they were truly A+.
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Old Apr 12, 2017, 9:23 am
  #249  
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Just watched Oscar's GMA interview. As someone who has prepared and questioned hundreds of witnesses under oath, it was obvious he was very carefully prepped and scripted. And he totally dodged many of the key questions, including why he blamed the victim in his first internal communication. Did not leave me especially confident that we will see meaningful change in how UA operates, but only time will tell.
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Old Apr 12, 2017, 9:37 am
  #250  
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Originally Posted by gbs1112
Overbooking is an 'accepted' airline practice but after Chicago maybe it need looking at. The airlines say they are taking into account estimated no-shows and may occasionally get it wrong. But if a ticket is paid for on a non-refundable basis it is no problem for the airline if that passenger does not show up, the airline has its money. The contract should go both ways and that seat should be guaranteed for passengers who do show up.

Who are these no-shows who will cause a loss of revenue for the airline? Are there any, or many?

Asking for volunteers to give up their guaranteed seat is acceptable and the offer might be attractive but if there are no volunteers those with a ticket for that flight board and are welcome.
Overbooking gets discussed regularly on FT, but it's for the airlines to deal with people like me - if I'm flying to support technical work rather than a conference or a meeting, I rarely fly both legs as booked, even when the booking is done less than a week out. I get things like "Test X is on schedule, plan to be at OtherSite on wednesday of next week." so I book for wednesday, coming back Saturday. Then I check my email on sunday and there's a message: "Things are running ahead of schedule, they need you there tomorrow", so I change flights and the airline is left with an empty seat. It happens in the other direction, too-- plan to come back saturday, but things are behind schedule so we start late and I have to rebook. Given that it's short turnarounds anyway, I often am rebooking after I've already checked in. I'm hardly unique in this, and it lets airlines charge less for seats because they know they'll fill them all, despite people switching. If you look at the IDB stats, they're very good at predicting. And it goes both ways- on personal travel I'm often happy to take a bump in exchange for a few hours delay, and if I'm visiting family would even take 24 hours and spend more time with them.

The part of the airline business (particularly UA) that hasn't caught up is how much they need to pay for VDB. Back when load factors were lower, it was easy to take a bump and get a new flight or couple of flights to get in a few hours later. A few hours is within the window you expect for weather and MX delays, so it doesn't bother people much, especially if they get a voucher that will cover their next trip. Now, with every plane leaving the gate with zero empty seats, the delay can easily be 24 hours or more, even if there are scheduled flights sooner. But the compensation hasn't increased to account for that. So it was just a matter of time before something like this happened, because the airlines are valuing the VDB the same without regard for the value of the passengers' time. If the IDB multiplier and cap went up, airlines would adjust their VDB payments accordingly. It sounds like Delta already has already decided it's worth the goodwill to pay more than the minimum legal requirement, but they probably still have people who remember the 1999 winter disaster that NWA created in DTW. That resulted in new regulation. This incident is likely to result in new regs as well.
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Old Apr 12, 2017, 9:50 am
  #251  
 
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Originally Posted by fly747first
Many would disagree with you there. United was a much better airline before Continental ruined it. In the old days, United would even win awards for its highly creative "It's time to fly" campaigns whilst maintaining a pretty decent onboard product, a fantastic frequent flyer program, and their crews took great pride in delivering high levels of customer service. Alas, how I miss the pre-merger LHR-based United crews--they were truly A+.
Not to pile on to of many UA vs Continental threads but I agree with the above. The whole time they were trying to see if they could do a merger nobody stopped to think if they should. I would estimate about 95% of the customers and staff did not want this to happen. It was the wrong company to do the merger with. They would have been better off with an AA/UA type merger over anything else.

There is a reason why they still don't have any unified workforce and why their customer base has so many complaints.

It all leads to this happening over and over again. If I seem to recall didn't this happen last year or two years ago with a flight from China and a passenger was dragged off the plane.

They need to seriously clean thier house internally on both sides and get back to being a top tier airline.
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Old Apr 12, 2017, 9:53 am
  #252  
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Everyone in this situation was in the wrong.

United should not have bumped like that, after boarding.
The police should not have used such excessive force
The guy shouldn't have refused to leave. He actually didn't have a legal right to do so.


At least Pepsi feels the heat is off them.
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Old Apr 12, 2017, 10:16 am
  #253  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
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Originally Posted by Jagboi
Pardon my ignorance, but why is the value of the voucher considered discounted?

Is it something like Air Canada's discount codes that only apply to the base fare, not taxes, fees and carrier surcharge? (which can be the vast majority of the total. I recall seeing Canada-LHR breakdown where it was a $99 fare and $1000 carrier surcharge)
My understanding of how vouchers work are as follows:

You may use ONE voucher only on ONE ticket for ONE person. If you don't use a voucher for the entire amount (e.g., use a 800 dollar voucher for a 400 dollar ticket) you lose the remaining value. Vouchers must be used within a one year period. You may not combine vouchers on tickets either.

Others are free to correct me if I'm incorrect.
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Old Apr 12, 2017, 10:18 am
  #254  
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Originally Posted by TominLazybrook
My understanding of how vouchers work are as follows:

You may use ONE voucher only on ONE ticket for ONE person. If you don't use a voucher for the entire amount (e.g., use a 800 dollar voucher for a 400 dollar ticket) you lose the remaining value. Vouchers must be used within a one year period. You may not combine vouchers on tickets either.

Others are free to correct me if I'm incorrect.
You are incorrect.
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Old Apr 12, 2017, 10:19 am
  #255  
 
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This incident speaks volumes about UA

Today's Wall Street Journal got it right: UA is a horrible airline and deserves a boycott.

For years UA has been obsessed with itself and its employees at the expense of its customers. This all grows out of the silly decision to grant the unions majority control of the airline so they could loot it. That culture continues. Customers are a hindrance at UA.

Example repeated in one form or another every day: a captain refusing to take off on a 1 hour flight because they had not loaded crew meals. They offered a guarantee the meals would be waiting at the destination. Nope: a 2 hour delay imposed on a full aircraft waiting for the captain's dinner. That's UA in a nutshell. Self absorbed.

Frankly, I don't know how they can ever change those attitudes. For sure their are worse airlines in the world...Ethiopia, North Korea, Iran...but among its first world peers UA is at the bottom of the heap. Little Teddy Bears change nothing.
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