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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 11, 2017, 9:53 am
  #76  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Programs: DL Plat, Bonvoy Titanium
Posts: 218
Originally Posted by Segments
Define a new policy where United does not call law enforcement under the guise of "safety" when in reality they want hired thugs to enforce profitability.

They chose to remove a pax by brute force because they failed to properly manage crew staffing. Ops could have notified GA of inbound crew to stop boarding process alleviating this from becoming an on board situation. Someone could have identified an alternate method to get crew to needed location rather than bumping loaded pax. VDB offer could have gotten creative (offer of a one way rental car plus cash?). Communicate IDB rights.

Instead someone decided it was cheaper to yank this customer rather than cancelling a flight the next day. Okay. But United's failure to plan does not constitute an emergency for anyone else. Make it mutually beneficial. Address the poor trouble shooting skills of the GA and apologize to LEO for asking them to violate pax civil rights in pursuit of corporate profit.

My God, flying United sounds worse than than a state owned airline in a banana republic with a despot dictator in terms of both the initial event and management response.
Very well said.

Unfortunately, United's legal team is likely telling everyone to "protect the brand" and not cede any responsibility for any employees' actions. That is what is most likely behind that inflammatory email to employees last night. This approach may have worked before social media, but it's much harder to tow the line when there is a real-time consumer sentiment gauge on social media - that email only served to pour gasoline on the fire.

I switched most of my flying to DL when I changed jobs several year ago, and haven't flown UA more than a few times a year. Each time I am reminded at how bad their service typically is, especially when there is any type of IROPS. After this incident, I will be another of those $20k year on airfare customers that will avoid them at all costs.
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Old Apr 11, 2017, 9:55 am
  #77  
 
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One helpful thing would be to conduct staffing issues away from the general traveling public. If you have 4 people who 'must fly' then you have 4 people you have to convince to get off using any combination of money, accomodations, better routing etc. instead of getting a stick to compel them.

Someone on the IT backend should generate alternative routings as part of the VDB presentation at OLCI, kiosk, app etc. I'm sure they'd get more people biting at VDB amounts that could even be smaller if people knew what their alternative transportation was. A combination of upgrades (FC, Polaris, etc.) where feasible based on revenue management expectations of ability to fill seats, vouchers and OAL seating presented up front would likely encourage more people to take the bait.
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Old Apr 11, 2017, 10:02 am
  #78  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Programs: LX Senator; AF Platinum and Club 2000; AA Platinum for life (former EXP)
Posts: 497
This incident is emblematic of why UA is a horrible airline

Let me confess bias: I travel a lot. One constant in my choices: I avoid UA at all costs. I can't think of a pleasant interaction with this miserable excuse of an airline. They still have not recovered from the years when they ceded control to the unions and built in the belief that the airline existed for the employees and neither the customers nor the shareholders.

This incident proves that theory again. There were numerous solutions that were available short of dragging this guy off the plane: 1. increase the compensation offers. Plainly there would have been prices above those offered that would have done the trick; 2. Get the crew to who wanted the seats other transport..maybe a connecting flight, maybe on another airline, maybe a charter.

No amount of fancy ads and public puffery will fool the public. We know what these people are made of.
sfoeuroflyer is offline  
Old Apr 11, 2017, 10:03 am
  #79  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Originally Posted by muishkin
People keep saying that United did nothing wrong. Well I think it's rather wrong that their agents had collectively the emotional intelligence of a tree stump.
In general....
If the crew asks a passenger to get off the plane and they refuse then the passenger is breaking the law by not obeying crew instructions
As a current licensed commercial ships captain... If I have a passenger that is refusing instructions... they are off my ship before I depart port... end of discussion (there are some exceptions to this relating to disabilities etc...)

Very surprised this isn't falling onto the cop(s) over UA...
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Old Apr 11, 2017, 10:07 am
  #80  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Originally Posted by kavok
Rosa Parks disobeyed the law too, and refused to give up her seat. She too was removed by police officials.

Can we get Oscar to defend the Montgomery PD, an immoral law, and slam a disobedient Rosa Parks while we are at it?
LOL, it is obvious to me that you do not understand the differences, Mrs. Parks was breaking a long held belief that a certain group of citizens could NOT sit in certain areas of public transport, while UA had a goal for its' employees to achieve and it was NOT based on ethnic grounds.

If you want to play that card, then UA's computer system needs to be singled out for picking ethnic names for IVDB, in which case we need to know the identities of the others who voluntarily deplaned.

Have a safe trip.....
.
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Old Apr 11, 2017, 10:12 am
  #81  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 385
Stupid, Stupid UA

Originally Posted by aoumd
For a while, I've figured that the airlines pretty much ignore passengers screaming on social media "You bumped me and I'm never flying you again!" because, frankly, with everyone who says that about UA, DL and AA on a given day, it's probably all a wash to them.

Sunday's incident on the ORD-SDF flight was different. Yes the entire world is rightfully outraged after what they saw on videos. But I'm seeing lots of "I'll never fly UA again" from FTers who have been around for hundreds of posts (many of whom have status). I'm also seeing here and elsewhere reports of HVFs instructing travel agents to "book away" from UA in large numbers.

So, for the sake of this thread, let's assume that this is the start of a large and disproportionate shift of the angry flying public away from UA. If you're UA, what do you do to win fliers back?

I think the following are "obvious," responding to the recent mess:

1) Oscar needs to release a public statement publicly acknowledging the tone-deaf nature of both his initial response and the end result of everyone's actions in Chicago on Sunday.

2) The board may need to look at forcing some changes within UA, some have suggested sacking Oscar.

3) UA implements and/or changes overbooking and crew deadheading policies to indicate that pax on UA or UX flights never are displaced once seated for a crew issue.

4) UA needs to reach out to the pax and make right with him (and the others on that flight). This may end up being forced upon them in civil courts, but UA may want to get proactive here.

Beyond "the obvious" (and assuming "the obvious" actually happens), what do you think UA needs to do to get the rest of the flying public, HVF and occasional/price-sensitive fliers alike, back on board?

I think nothing short of a world-class doubling down on customer service, spending money on things AA and DL won't, will move the bookings needle back. But what specific customer-friendly steps does that entail, to not just fix the overbooking/deadhead policies to prevent Sunday's fiasco from repeating, but to win back the flying public?

Thoughts?
CNN has just announced that because of the actions of the stupid United ground staff in ORD yesterday, United has lost one (1) BILLION of its market capitalization.

Time to re-think this PR disaster and tell the CEO to stop doubling down by saying, "we followed procedure."

The YouTube video has been seen by over 17 million viewers.

no more United for moi.
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Old Apr 11, 2017, 10:13 am
  #82  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Posts: 244
Originally Posted by croints
If it affects 5% of Chinese passengers to select another airline, it is substantial. Can you imagine being Chinese and when asked by your family which airlines they are traveling on and replying with, 'Oh, the one that beats Chinese passengers occasionally'
You forgot to include '... who are not compliant with de-planing requests'.

Happy Travels...
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Old Apr 11, 2017, 10:19 am
  #83  
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Originally Posted by FlyingWithers
no more United for moi.
How much United to you have before Sunday night?
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Old Apr 11, 2017, 10:19 am
  #84  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 148
Originally Posted by tuolumne
Sacking Munoz is a tremendous overreaction, and one that I can't believe is being legitimately peddled around here.

Let emotions temper.
I completely disagree. I think he clearly demonstrated arrogance, entitlement, but most importantly a lack of understanding of HIS CUSTOMERS.

He obviously does not think that UAL is to blame at all. He privately defended every action taken by UAL saying it was "Company policy"

obviously his policies suck. He has no clue whatsoever about the stresses normal people have when flying main cabin.

so if he is that clueless as to his needs of his customers, he should probably resign, or at the very least be reeducated. and prevented from issuing insulting public or private statements.

If the airline need seats, they should have offered 1k, 2k 3k or more to whoever needed them. Customer service is about making everyone win.

UAL knew they only had to offer $800 (4x cheapest fare)
UAL's policy is clearly offer legal minimum or call police.

CEO called the poor man belligerent and raising his voice. who can blame him??? when you force the poor man back against a wall. in a terrible system where he has ZERO recourse!

THE CEO thinks its OK to treat people like that. THEY OVER SELL SEATS, then when it backfires, or something goes awry like yesterday, they can just kick off the lowest on the totem pole? THIS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL, and if the company had any sort of compassion or understanding of what it is like to fly, this would NOT be the company policy.

they should keep offering more money until someone takes the offer even if it is 5 or 10K and DOT needs to change legal minimum compensation immediately.

I have no problem with airlines overselling seats BTW its a business and they should be allowed to do it, but if things go wrong, it is ABSOLUTELY wrong to reserve the right to kick people off. airlines should pony up to find a compromise with their customers.
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Old Apr 11, 2017, 10:29 am
  #85  
 
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What should UA do? Nothing except re-evaluate oversale procedures. You can't reason with unreasonable. Nothing UA will do will be enough to pacify those who don't have a clue about how an airline works and make decisions based on irrational, incomplete, hypocritical emotional feelings. For those that say they're going to fly another airline because of this, they're complete hypocrites. There's no reason behind it since they're running to airlines that just as, or more, easily could have had this happen! You can't reason with unreasonable.

Originally Posted by Explorer789
There's a reason why smaller airlines like AS and SW are successful. Their corporate culture promotes good service, as opposed to penny pinching and heavy handed approaches to dealing with minor situations.
WN has a much higher IDB rate than UA. All things equal, there's a much higher chance of this happening on WN than UA. WN is my favorite domestic carrier, but this episode is not a reason to praise them.

Alaska's rate is equal to UA's. Again, not a reason to praise AS.

Last edited by minnyfly; Apr 11, 2017 at 10:37 am
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Old Apr 11, 2017, 10:31 am
  #86  
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Originally Posted by FlyingWithers
CNN has just announced that because of the actions of the stupid United ground staff in ORD yesterday, United has lost one (1) BILLION of its market capitalization.
Yeah stock down substantially despite a relative strong operational report yesterday. Meanwhile AAL is up and DAL is basically flat (on a worse report).

UA corporate needs to say something today to make up for Oscar's awful statement and e-mail yesterday. Many people are not going to feel good about booking or flying UA unless they do some serious backtracking/apologizing, and fast. This feels different from any of the various prior uproars (see: leggings). I'm just really troubled that the airline apparently doesn't see anything at all wrong with what happened to that man.
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Old Apr 11, 2017, 10:31 am
  #87  
 
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My suggestion

UA has lost between $0.5 and 1.0 billion in market value today (depending upon when you look at the tape). So, it makes $2k, or $5k, $10k, or.... in denied boarding compensation look pretty benign. They could have bought the guy his own Gulfstream for this price.

Where to go from here?

1. The usual PR stuff (full page ads recommitted to customer satisfaction, etc);
2. Some sort of promo to prove #1 . Meals? Free bag? etc.
3. Mileage bonus: Double miles for, say, next 90 days.

#3 will get back 1k fliers in a heartbeat - we're all suckers for status.

The worst part of this is that it occurred on their affiliate. This cross-branding model is both a management and passenger nightmare and needs to be jettisoned. United livery should mean something.

Personally, I'm looking for coupon upgrade space to HKG over the next few months ..- thank you to everyone who boycotts that route.
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Old Apr 11, 2017, 10:34 am
  #88  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 182
Originally Posted by Lurker1999
One helpful thing would be to conduct staffing issues away from the general traveling public. If you have 4 people who 'must fly' then you have 4 people you have to convince to get off using any combination of money, accomodations, better routing etc. instead of getting a stick to compel them.

Someone on the IT backend should generate alternative routings as part of the VDB presentation at OLCI, kiosk, app etc. I'm sure they'd get more people biting at VDB amounts that could even be smaller if people knew what their alternative transportation was. A combination of upgrades (FC, Polaris, etc.) where feasible based on revenue management expectations of ability to fill seats, vouchers and OAL seating presented up front would likely encourage more people to take the bait.
This, for me, is the most sensible of all the suggestions and discussion here. Whatever the airline, I wouldn't expect a GA -- possibly a contract worker rather than a direct employee -- to be able to make a very rational tradeoff of corporate interests, weighing up IDB compensation levels against the costs of (say) alternative UA flight staff routings, cancelling/delaying the next day's flight ex SDF, or damage to corporate image. The GA is already busy with juggling the details of boarding a planeload of passengers (including the usual shares of DYKWIAs, gate lice, and other species of antisocial behaviors).

But with current technology, those types of operational tactics should be resolvable in real time at the corporate level, given an investment in the appropriate IT. The range of alternative options may be on the order of 10 to 20 say, but all should be analyzable using existing databases without much (if any) additional staff input. One-size-fits-all rules constraining IDB compensation maxima (which someone here attributed to Smisek, although I don't know whether that's correct) obviously contributed to the problem here, but far more "analytically intelligent" handling tools would have been able to solve this problem much more easily, I suspect.
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Old Apr 11, 2017, 10:37 am
  #89  
 
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Because I am IAH-based and will hit my million miles later this year, I'm semi-locked in to UA. But I believe sacking Munoz is absolutely appropriate. This incident is just the straw that broke the camel's back. UA customer service has deteriorated over the last few years with degradation of all aspects of the experience. From check-in to the United Club to in-flight to baggage handling, there are a huge number of small annoyances that United has introduced. Fixing these would cost very little money, if they cared to do it.

United made a mistake hiring a former freight rail executive as CEO. Munoz sees an airline as a means to transport cargo from point A to point B. His response to this incident does not suggest he is ever going to see the cargo as human passengers. The airline will continue shooting itself in the foot until it changes its customer service culture, and that has to start from the top.
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Old Apr 11, 2017, 10:38 am
  #90  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
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... one last rant...

Isn't it peculiar that this video of one awful incident lights up the internet, yet nobody seems to pay attention to the Wells Fargo scandal that screwed thousands of customers???

Millions of phony accounts? Credit ratings destroyed? Boring stuff - who cares?

PAX dragged off an aircraft? OMG, wrath of god stuff...millions of social media posts (including FT).

What is it about air travel that just makes everyone go completely insane?
misdirected baggage is offline  

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