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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)

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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:16 am
  #31  
 
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I've never flown United, and don't plan on flying them, why? I live in Southeast Florida, united is 99.9% of the time the worst choice for where I want to go in both price and comfort. But I would be lying in saying that this did not increase my chances in never picking a UA flight.

That being said, I agree that it will blow over, though not as quick as some people thing. Second, they handled this so horribly. Getting people to bump off a flight is a reverse auction for the airline, start low and go higher, the issue here, UA never went up to where they needed to go. Stop with this United Bucks nonsense and start offering cash. $850.00+ in cash, and others would have gotten off.

How they allowed people to actually board is beyond me. That might be one of the dumbest things I have ever seen in customer service and all involved with the flight need to be re-trained or if that is policy the policy needs to be changed tomorrow.

United should have figured out a better routing for its crew to avoid flying on overbooked sold out flights.

1. I am sure all U.S. Airlines are reviewing their procedures for these things today.
2. Delta is happy to no longer be on the front page.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:17 am
  #32  
 
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The question is not how UA will change? As things stand they won't.

It's about how we as airline customers can ensure that this outrage continues, that it doesn't get swept under the carpet by the next Kardashian story, so that it forces UA to make changes. Passengers need to have solidarity in the face of corporations who, in collusion with regulatory bodies and the police force whom we pay to protect us from businesses like United who want to bulldoze us, steal our money and drag our bodies down the aisle.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:17 am
  #33  
 
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A billion Chinese won't forget about it.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:18 am
  #34  
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Originally Posted by FlyerTom111 View Post
All UA has to do is just make sure their tickets are priced competitively. People will still shop on price and convenience.
Agreed. And the (now) $850m decline in market value of UAL shares probably (roughly) reflects the present value of UA having to offer lower fares for a defined period of time. And maybe a few thousand $ in a settlement. That's how the market works.

Clearly the PR impact of this event is much much larger than any actual liability. (That lies with the police presumably).
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:18 am
  #35  
 
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I say, implosion, relieve United, and their lousy leadership of their misery.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:25 am
  #36  
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Publicly announcing that they have terminated that GA, the Manager, and totally revamping their PR/Social Media team seems like a good start.
Oscar's letter of standing behind their employees probably looked good to them at first, but it was probably the dumbest thing he has done since he became CEO at United.

He needs to come out and specifically apologize. Actually apologize directly to the gentleman.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:30 am
  #37  
 
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First of all, the United brand has been toxic for a long time - way before leggings-gate and this most recent incident. Now it is downright radioactive. I think it's time to re-brand; perhaps consider bringing back Continental. Given all of the ill will against this brand, I think it will be impossible to reverse the damage.

I think that apologizing profusely for the treatment of the ORD passenger and acknowledging the tone deafness of Oscar's initial response is a given. But United also has to own up to being 110% wrong, address/eliminate this practice of overbooking flights and they need to make their amends to this passenger in a very public, transparent way. I also have to add, as a person of color, that United must acknowledge the questionable optics of singling out the Asian man on the flight, knocking him around like garbage and then dragging him down the aisle like a dead animal; as if Asians were subhumans who were not deserving of decent treatment. This would have NEVER EVER EVER EVER happened to a white woman, let alone a white man. The UA employee who "randomly" chose this passenger obviously (or subconsciously) chose a meek little Asian person who they thought would be least likely to protest or cause a stir. And we all know that booting off a black person would have touched off a sh**storm in the media. Anyway, that calculation backfired. Big time! My initial visceral reaction about the role of race in this incident has been largely validated by others posting on social media. This is really, really bad for UA.

Finally, UA, has to learn a thing or two from the airlines with the loyalist adherents. Southwest, for example. Their focus has to be on the customer and not the blind ambition to generate revenue via nickel-and-dime fees and exploiting every opportunity to gouge the customer. They can also lower mileage redemption rates and increase mileage awards (back to where they were a few years ago, for starters). By acknowledging their wrongdoing and demonstrating to the public how it has learned from its grave mistakes and how it intends to develop innovative, customer-centric services for its passengers, they can save themselves. The continued denial of wrongdoing is not a winning strategy.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:30 am
  #38  
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
Agreed. And the (now) $850m decline in market value of UAL shares probably (roughly) reflects the present value of UA having to offer lower fares for a defined period of time. And maybe a few thousand $ in a settlement. That's how the market works.

Clearly the PR impact of this event is much much larger than any actual liability. (That lies with the police presumably).

I don't think there will be any real long-term fallout here.

Certainly the notion that Oscar should resign is ridiculous.

There's no doubt the situation wasn't handled properly. Under $misek, United got excessively stingy when it came to VDB comp, and IDB's rose. Everyone has their price, if they offered $2k, I'm sure they could have gotten volunteers. And sometimes it takes some creativity (E.g. fly to Indianapolis, which is pretty close).

Since this was apparently an afternoon flight, there's certainly the opportunity to figure out reasonable options.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:33 am
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by qukslvr619 View Post
You are hearing me say "don't resist" and "do what your told." I'm not saying that it means that I agree with what I'm being told; but I do know that failure to comply will also lead to worse consequences. If everyone is going to interpret whether rules apply differently to them, then why even have law enforcement? And no one is suggesting to walk off from your kid...but what kind of example would I be setting for my kid if I basically am saying "I don't care that someone is telling me I was selected for IDB and am being asked to leave a plane; stand your ground, grip onto the seat and resist!" This isn't Rosa Parks refusing to give up a seat, setting an example, and standing ground for unjust racial segregation.

And I fail to see how "he is a doctor" somehow changes the situation. Because the next person they pick could be military; or they pick someone else and they need to be home to care for a sick family member. Everyone has a reason as to why they need to be on that plane....not sure why one person is more special than the other.
I'm hearing you say that de-escalating and thinking harder when there's a difficult customer are -not- nearly as appropriate as brute (in this case brutal) force. I'll just disagree with you. Every job I've ever had I've either worked directly with or very close to customers / clients. I've seen major dollars walk away because emotions and "being right" became more important than solving the problem effectively and efficiently.

And yes EVERYONE has a story a reason to get back home. But aside from that - what about the other passengers who were delayed another two hours because of how UA handled things? Another 5-10 minutes to cool off and take another approach would have gotten the flight going. Say the flight don't leave until a passenger gets off. Bump the comp to $1000 and give a $100 meal voucher and first class seat the next morning. Or give 50k miles. Be just a little creative. Someone would take it. The fact that UA chose a action that delayed the flight even more smacks of UA incompetence to me. Someone can choose to be the bigger person.

FWIW - I stopped flying United almost 20 years ago*. And I'm a Chicagoan. Plenty of bad experiences for me even back then that I didn't have with AA or Delta. The last straw was my wife's regular business trips to Des Moines. With all the BS and delays she decided it was just easier to drive there. She knew she wouldn't be late for meetings anymore! And this was in the late 90's before everything changed.

* but after almost 20 years away from my hometown airline I did fly United a couple of times last year. Once to NY because the fare was only $53 and so much cheaper than any other carrier. But on the way back (with my kid) I took Jet Blue. We had a problem with Jet Blue and they were amazing. And in the fall I flew United to Orlando for business, I didn't have much choice there because the arrival and departure times didn't give me much choice. But in both cases if another airline was even close with price / times I would have not flown United.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:36 am
  #40  
 
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Originally Posted by LANDJ999 View Post
A billion Chinese won't forget about it.
Until they find that the cheapest fare to their destination is with United.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:36 am
  #41  
 
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Originally Posted by entropy View Post
I don't think there will be any real long-term fallout here.
I disagree. What Oscar wrote in that email is unacceptable. As a 1K I am taking my business away and I am sure there are a lot of people like that.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:37 am
  #42  
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Originally Posted by sanfran8080 View Post
Sack Oscar???
No. No United CEO since the '80s has been able to tame United employees. Oscar's only the latest.

This story has gone supersonic because it crystallizes the whole United meta-narrative, e.g. it's a brutal, indifferent, slipshod airline that plays chess against its customers, takes them for granted, and reneges on commitments. Here's the whole UA reputation summed up in a couple of cell phone videos. Naturally it resonates, and there's not much Oscar or anyone else can do about it.

Originally Posted by ssk1127 View Post
UA fans will scoff, but the only way to "fix" this for UA is to visibly fire everyone in the chain of command from the gate agent to the CEO who created this debacle. It's a cultural problem at the company.
Easier said than done. If UA had the power to fire every rude, mocking, aggressive, flippant, disrespectful front-line employee, it would (A) create a lot of job vacancies and (B) much improve the UA customer experience. But union protections mean those employees are pretty much impervious. Oscar doesn't ratify or condone assaulting paying customers, but he can't stop it (or the many more common, less publicized abuses of passengers) because UA front-liners have such vast discretion.

The power to force change rests with the customer base. UA will never "volunteer" to be better because change is painful. But if the top 500 corporate accounts pulled the plug, or Chinese-originating traffic dried up, etc. the pain of lost revenue would loom larger than the pain of firing UA's inside saboteurs and changing the culture.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:41 am
  #43  
 
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First of all, the United brand has been toxic for a long time - way before leggings-gate and this most recent incident. Now it is downright radioactive. I think it's time to re-brand; perhaps consider bringing back Continental. Given all of the ill will against this brand, I think it will be impossible to reverse the damage.

I think that apologizing profusely for the treatment of the ORD passenger and acknowledging the tone deafness of Oscar's initial response is a given. But United also has to own up to being 110% wrong, address/eliminate this practice of overbooking flights and they need to make their amends to this passenger in a very public, transparent way. I also have to add, as a person of color, that United must acknowledge the questionable optics of singling out the Asian man on the flight, knocking him around like garbage and then dragging him down the aisle like a dead animal; as if Asians were subhumans who were not deserving of decent treatment. This would have NEVER EVER EVER EVER happened to a white woman, let alone a white man. The UA employee who "randomly" chose this passenger obviously (or subconsciously) chose a meek little Asian person who they thought would be least likely to protest or cause a stir. And we all know that booting off a black person would have touched off a sh**storm in the media. Anyway, that calculation backfired. Big time! My initial visceral reaction about the role of race in this incident has been largely validated by others posting on social media. This is really, really bad for UA.

Finally, UA, has to learn a thing or two from the airlines with the loyalist adherents. Southwest, for example. Their focus has to be on the customer and not the blind ambition to generate revenue via nickel-and-dime fees and exploiting every opportunity to gouge the customer. They can also lower mileage redemption rates and increase mileage awards (back to where they were a few years ago, for starters). By acknowledging their wrongdoing and demonstrating to the public how it has learned from its grave mistakes and how it intends to develop innovative, customer-centric services for its passengers, they can save themselves. The continued denial of wrongdoing is not a winning strategy.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:41 am
  #44  
 
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Originally Posted by hejiranyc View Post
First of all, the United brand has been toxic for a long time - way before leggings-gate and this most recent incident. Now it is downright radioactive. I think it's time to re-brand; perhaps consider bringing back Continental. Given all of the ill will against this brand, I think it will be impossible to reverse the damage.
.....
Finally, UA, has to learn a thing or two from the airlines with the loyalist adherents. Southwest, for example. Their focus has to be on the customer and not the blind ambition to generate revenue via nickel-and-dime fees and exploiting every opportunity to gouge the customer. They can also lower mileage redemption rates and increase mileage awards (back to where they were a few years ago, for starters). By acknowledging their wrongdoing and demonstrating to the public how it has learned from its grave mistakes and how it intends to develop innovative, customer-centric services for its passengers, they can save themselves. The continued denial of wrongdoing is not a winning strategy.
This . Flying Southwest has been great. Even when I've had problems they've been really good about listening and trying to help me out, and others have said the same over the years.

I woman I work with once took a job at United (office work - not flight related) and worked there only a week and asked for her job back. My old neighbor was a flight attendant for United. All those years ago when I told we weren't gonna fly United anymore she paused and said "neither would I if I didn't work for them." I'm done venting now...
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:43 am
  #45  
 
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People will stop discussing this incident to the extent it is being discussed now quite quickly BUT for those booking flights, it is going to take a long long time. Over the next few years at least , when people are booking flights, just seeing the word United Airlines will bring back the memory of this incident and many many people will choose to book with another airline.
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