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Wow, after reading many of the posts... (UA pilot post)

Wow, after reading many of the posts... (UA pilot post)

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Old Apr 17, 17, 5:45 pm
  #1  
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Wow, after reading many of the posts... (UA pilot post)

Certainly everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity on any airlines flight, and I do appreciate the money passengers spend, however, after reading many of the posts on a number of the forums here, it makes me happy I'm locked behind a reinforced door, flying the plane, and not having to deal with many of the folks who post here.

I'm sorry gang, but I originally joined FlyerTalk, as I wanted to learn more about the perception the flying public had about airlines and flying in general. I figured along the way, I could pick up some information that would help me do a better job as a recently promoted captain. But wow, so many of you come across like spoiled brats. Yes, airlines make mistakes, and yes, policy and customer service can always use improvement, but wow, the amount of anger from some of you, over often trivial things is very sad...

And to those who refer to the traveling public who don't fly often as kettles, come on, if you were so damn important, you would be flying private aviation, not pontificating over how important you are because you fly more often than someone else, and complaining you didn't get a PDB on a flight.

I appreciate those who fly frequently, and who help pay the bills at my airline, and always try to assist any way I can in providing good service, but many of you, especially some of our most frequent travelers need to grow up, and get over yourselves. Oh, and try and be respectful to each other too, most of the threads on this forum are ripe with name calling and hostility.

It's just a damn airplane ride, sit down, make the most of it, be thankful you got to your destination, go home and live your life....
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Old Apr 17, 17, 5:57 pm
  #2  
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Stick around, we're all not that bad. These incidents that also span the news tend to get many opinions and anecdotes - and don't offer much more than what anyone on yahoo opines.

In fact, I was trying to ignore any posts about 3411 or Costa Rica - to no avail.

We'll move on from this, as will the rest of the country.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 5:59 pm
  #3  
 
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Originally Posted by aacharya View Post
Stick around, we're all not that bad. These incidents that also span the news tend to get many opinions and anecdotes - and don't offer much more than what anyone on yahoo opines.
+1

Most FTers are very helpful and are just sharing their experiences in the increasingly more complex world of air travel. I know I've learned a lot here.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 6:01 pm
  #4  
 
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UA needs to evolve from operational excellence to customer satisfaction excellence as DL has already realized. While UA safety record is impressive, not much else can be said to be excellent, pseudo monopolistic advantage will prevail only until there's sufficient marketplace disruption creating a new paradigm in the market. You should interpret the posts as profound dissatisfaction with UA but no realistic alternative AT THIS MOMENT. That will likely change.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 6:03 pm
  #5  
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I would argue, safety is the most critical thing, and the most important thing to be excellent at.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 6:05 pm
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by 757FO View Post
Certainly everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity on any airlines flight, and I do appreciate the money passengers spend, however, after reading many of the posts on a number of the forums here, it makes me happy I'm locked behind a reinforced door, flying the plane, and not having to deal with many of the folks who post here.
Oh yeah. You should definitely be happy that you don't have to buy revenue tickets. That is a whole different world.

I hang out with a colleague who only flies UA as a nonrev (family member of flight crew) and his perspective on the aviation world is pretty much the polar opposite of mine (as a paying passenger who is not affiliated with the company). He has quite a different view from me of upgrades (means fewer premium cabin seats for passengers) and loads (I love high loads because they increase the odds of a VDB, which I am nearly always flexible enough to do; he hates high loads because he's stuck out of the country) and flight prices (he cares about the imputed value, I care about the actual cost), and so on. We have fun.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 6:08 pm
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Originally Posted by 757FO View Post
It's just a damn airplane ride, sit down, make the most of it, be thankful you got to your destination, go home and live your life....
Air travel is a commodity, a very expensive commodity. When choosing which airline to fly, the way customers are treated makes a big difference. While the things we complain about may seem trivial to you, to those of us shelling out $4,000-$8,000 a week to the airline, we will choose to spend those funds with the airline that treats us best. What you interpret as people being spoiled brats may be the case sometimes, but in general... it is people blowing off steam, frustrated with an industry that has spent the last 20 years in a race to the bottom. It is no surprise that more and more of us are jumping ship to the ME3.

The Jennifer Aniston commercial is funny because it encapsulates travel on US carriers perfectly:

Last edited by LordHamster; Apr 17, 17 at 6:14 pm
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Old Apr 17, 17, 6:20 pm
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Originally Posted by 757FO View Post
I would argue, safety is the most critical thing, and the most important thing to be excellent at.
BTW. Please don't try to establish a false dichotomy between safety and quality customer service. It isn't an either/or proposition.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 6:20 pm
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Originally Posted by 757FO View Post

And to those who refer to the traveling public who don't fly often as kettles, come on, if you were so damn important, you would be flying private aviation, not pontificating over how important you are because you fly more often than someone else, and complaining you didn't get a PDB on a flight.
While some people do use the term kettle with disdain or implied negative connotation (from the whole Ma and Pa Kettle), it's really taken on its own meaning of 'inexperienced traveler' (as linked in the official glossary). If you replace kettle with 'inexperienced traveler' in your mind next time you see it, you'll see it's not usually used maliciously.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 6:23 pm
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by 757FO View Post
I would argue, safety is the most critical thing, and the most important thing to be excellent at.
Absolutely, but from the passenger's perspective, when we have several carriers with equally outstanding safety records to go with similar networks, schedules and frequent flyer programs, customer service makes a difference.

There's no reason a safety culture can't coexist happily with a customer service-oriented culture.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 6:25 pm
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by 757FO View Post
Certainly everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity on any airlines flight, and I do appreciate the money passengers spend, however, after reading many of the posts on a number of the forums here, it makes me happy I'm locked behind a reinforced door, flying the plane, and not having to deal with many of the folks who post here.
LOL. You bring a nice perspective and a fair one. We probably deserve your gentle criticism. But to turn the tables (gently), anyone who says 'they are happy they do not have to deal with customers' while working in a service industry is probably in the wrong industry. Just sayin...

But in all sincerity, please do stay around here. Having the pilot perspective is very important to us and we respect it.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 6:28 pm
  #12  
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So there are several things the captain can do which significantly improve the passenger experience.

The first is to communicate, frequently, candidly, and sympathetically, about delays. It's really frustrating to be kept in the dark, particularly when the status of the departure affects the likelihood of making an onward connection, or making an important appointment at the destination.

Another is to turn off the seatbelt sign as soon as it's safe. Sometimes it's left on for five hours of absolutely smooth flying. That's a really uncomfortable place to be as a passenger, particularly if you didn't have time to hit the restroom before take-off.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 6:28 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by LordHamster View Post
Air travel is a commodity, a very expensive commodity. When choosing which airline to fly, the way customers are treated makes a big difference. While the things we complain about may seem trivial to you, to those of us shelling out $4,000-$8,000 a week to the airline, we will choose to spend those funds with the airline that treats us best. What you interpret as people being spoiled brats may be the case sometimes, but in general... it is people blowing off steam, frustrated with an industry that has spent the last 20 years in a race to the bottom. It is no surprise that more and more of us are jumping ship to the ME3.

The Jennifer Aniston commercial is funny because it encapsulates travel on US carriers perfectly: Emirates Airlines featuring Jennifer Aniston.....! - YouTube
Hmmm... Is it your money, or that of your employer?
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Old Apr 17, 17, 6:29 pm
  #14  
 
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over the past week, there has been a massive influx of people from outside of the 'core' of the FT UA forum. generally, i think the forum on a day-to-day place is fairly civilized and has a lot of productive, professional discussion (i.e., spin88's economic analyses).

anyone visiting the forum in the past few days is certainly not getting an accurate sample of how this place normally functions. i've purposely avoided the discussion in UA3411 related threads (there are way too many of them, btw) because of how heated some people get, and how deeply invested they become in proving their opinion. it's not worth my time.

i'm not sure if you've lurked for longer than your join date, but if that's the case, i'd urge you to stick around. as aacharya said, we're not that bad! a few of your colleagues are active posters, and threads like the "ask a pilot" thread are full of great discussion that goes both ways. many of us participate in events like SFO family day, and there are neat programs like FFG (frequent flyer giving) that team up with UA to give to charity. to many here, UA employees are extended family.

and if it helps, the 757/767 is probably the most preferred fleet on UA FT! especially when channel 9 is turned on.
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Old Apr 17, 17, 6:30 pm
  #15  
 
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@757FO, if you just joined in March, then you've unfortunately been exposed to an unusual amount of ridicule and complaints, especially this last week with the Dao incident, its aftermath, and all the other incidents showing up in the media with UA in response. Tack on the leggings incident last month. This past week especially, it seems many have even joined FT just to post about this incident. See the moderators note to new posters in the forum on the Dao incident as evidence of this.

I think if you let things cool off a bit, you'll find that most regulars here on FT are really great people who simply enjoy air travel and sharing our knowledge and experiences. As you are a pilot, there is also a great q and a forum with UA pilots here which is always really civil and a great place to interact with the flying public and answer questions, which I'd encourage you to check out.
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