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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, 17, 6:43 am
  #1  
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So how does UA win back the flying public? (Beyond the obvious)

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?
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Old Apr 11, 17, 7:03 am
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Honestly...wait a few weeks.

A Kardashian or two will do something stupid, and 90% of folks will forget about this.

"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.", which would ultimately piss off significantly more people as they are stuck somewhere without a replacement crew.

I might suggest a new Director of Social Media who develops a better "quick response strategy", but anything more drastic than that is an overreaction.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 7:17 am
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Originally Posted by HoustonConsultant View Post
Honestly...wait a few weeks.

A Kardashian or two will do something stupid, and 90% of folks will forget about this.

"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.", which would ultimately piss off significantly more people as they are stuck somewhere without a replacement crew.

I might suggest a new Director of Social Media who develops a better "quick response strategy", but anything more drastic than that is an overreaction.
Totally agree with the need for a better, faster and more accurate social media response to issues, for two big reasons in recent weeks.

And regarding the over bookings vs. crew deadhead issue, key words in my bullet point are "once seated," passengers won't be displaced for a DH crew. If a Pax needs to be bumped to keep a future flight from getting canceled, UA should resolve things at the gate.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 7:53 am
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This is the same as Non-rev issue.

General public doesn't understand, they think a "Random" person was chosen and removed from the plane. Instead of the facts, which are quite different.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:04 am
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Sacking Munoz is a tremendous overreaction, and one that I can't believe is being legitimately peddled around here.

Wait more than 48 hours to pass so we can have a rational discussion about this. FT-ers using this as an excuse to stop flying United.. I mean, give me a break.

This event does nothing to help United's reputation with the consumer at large, but to make any drastic overreactions, all conceived in the first 48 hours, is ill-advised at best.

Let emotions temper.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:04 am
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Social media and possibly the broader PR/media management needs to be overhauled. Although I think UA was mostly in the right for both the leggings drama and the SDF flight, the fact is that these two issues were PR and reputational nightmares for UA at least in part due to the abysmal public response.

Can't happen twice in not even a month.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:11 am
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LH/LX have been contacted. A request has been made today to suspend UA from Star Alliance.

In addition, LX/LH should suspend all code share and interline agreements with UA.

Lufthansa and Swiss do not want to subject their passengers to this kind of behavior.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:14 am
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Sack Oscar??? Well Smisek would love his old gig back.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:15 am
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Originally Posted by Gigantor View Post
LH/LX have been contacted. A request has been made today to suspend UA from Star Alliance.

In addition, LX/LH should suspend all code share and interline agreements with UA.

Lufthansa and Swiss do not want to subject their passengers to this kind of behavior.
Oh boy. I'm actually in Mitte Berlin right now...should I go march down and petition Angela herself?

My god
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:18 am
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Originally Posted by aoumd View Post
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 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?
How about nothing? While I don't doubt there will be people who book away from United initially, the incident will fade and then there will be a WN IT meltdown, a B6 rogue FA that exits a plane via a slide, a DL summer snowstorm in ATL that shuts the airport down for 5 days.

This incident, like leggings-gate before it, has been massively overblown. UA may be in the wrong about several things in relation to how they handled these incidents...but there is one very big underlying facets about these two incidents that continuously get glossed over: people failing to comply with rules

Everyone seems to have their own reason for why the rules don't apply to them. Either they feel they are being discriminated against, have some condition that makes them require special treatment, or feel they are entitled to something; therefore they don't need to follow rules.

-Asked to change clothes because you aren't in compliance with pass rider dress requirements-->must be discrimination, I'm going to wear what I want

-Throwing a fit and going off on an agent because you didn't get an upgrade and a deadheading pilot is sitting in it-->I earned the seat and the airline owes me

-Not having an actual need for an emotional support animal-->it's ridiculous the airline wants to charge me to have my pet travel with me; therefore I will put a vest on the animal

Again the whole situation could have been handled better. And its unfortunate the passenger had to experience 1) being selected for IDB, 2) removed forcibly from the aircraft. Regardless of whether they were wrong to remove the passenger and in the matter in which they did it, he didn't comply with law enforcement. An airplane is not a place these days where you want to hold your ground; you comply with the request and sue/complain/run off to social media after the fact.

But just for every person that claims "he shot me I did nothing", there is always the "you were asked to drop your weapon and didn't comply". I get people feeling that they are being singled out or that its not fair or that even the situation or rule is dumb/stupid/old/etc. But if everyone takes that stance, then it undermines having rules for people to follow; and then chaos ensues.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by tuolumne View Post
Oh boy. I'm actually in Mitte Berlin right now...should I go march down and petition Angela herself?
Nah, just head over to Lutter & Wegner am Gendarmenmarkt for a wienerschnitzel followed by a stop at Fassbender & Rausch for dessert. Much better use of your time!
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:27 am
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Originally Posted by Gigantor View Post
LH/LX have been contacted. A request has been made today to suspend UA from Star Alliance.

In addition, LX/LH should suspend all code share and interline agreements with UA.

Lufthansa and Swiss do not want to subject their passengers to this kind of behavior.
Dramatic much? Did you call to suspend LH from Star when 'allegedly' they were discriminating against travelers to Israel:
http://www.westernfreepress.com/2015...rong-response/

I fail to see how one incident, with a decision by one employee (who probably didn't even work for UA), on one flight (that was operated by Republic), represents the entire workforce/operation/business practices of UA.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:28 am
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given the current lack of competition, I'd say they really don't have much to worry about (sadly).

Put some seats on sale and people addicted to cheap fares will keep flying.

I swore them off years ago and don't intend to ever fly on UA again. But I can afford to pay a little more if I need to in order to avoid them. I'm also fortunate to live in a place that has some choice. Most people aren't that lucky
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:28 am
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Originally Posted by qukslvr619 View Post
How about nothing? While I don't doubt there will be people who book away from United initially, the incident will fade and then there will be a WN IT meltdown, a B6 rogue FA that exits a plane via a slide, a DL summer snowstorm in ATL that shuts the airport down for 5 days.
Exactly. In the airline business there's always the next outrage/meltdown/system failure to distract attention from the last one.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 8:29 am
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Originally Posted by HoustonConsultant View Post
90% of folks will forget about this
This. Give it a few weeks and the story will be yesterday's news and back to regularly scheduled programming.
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