United has its groove back

Old Aug 7, 18, 1:53 pm
  #76  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: HSV
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I don't know that I can complain about some of my flight delays/interruptions because they were either weather related or medical emergencies. During each of these events, UA did a good job to get me rerouted. The new 777 10 across seat is awful. I avoid it like the plague. Luckily I am 8 for 8 on my GPUs this year and should requal for 1K before my next Intl flight. I have not done the math but I am pretty confident that revenue based earning for award miles is about even for me.
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Old Aug 7, 18, 2:32 pm
  #77  
 
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Originally Posted by COSPILOT View Post
Removing competition by allowing the big 6 to become the BIG 3 is a huge part of the problem. Now travelers are much more limited in options. My cost out of DEN has skyrocketed, service is reduced, rarely a meal, and when there is, its minimal compared to pre merger. More people were upgraded in the past compared to now, where it's easy to pay to upgrade. I would argue good old fashioned upgrades are down and that majority sitting up front have paid for it either at purchase, or prior to boarding. The removal of seeing the upgrade list prior to people checking in isn't a glitch, it's by design IMO. Next will be complete removal of expert mode... I'm guilty of paying the upcharge a number of times this year, which makes me a paid first class flyer, not an upgrade passenger. So we went from lower airfare, much better service, a much higher degree of options to get from A to B domestically, to fewer options, lowered service, and higher airfare.

International is a different story, I think things have moved in a positive direction. Polaris lounges are very nice, and despite the complaints, the current seats in Business, beit new Polaris or the rest of the fleet isn't bad compared to Barca lounge seats. That said, one trip a year International for me isn't my priority, its the other 138 flights I will have completed domestically this year, and in that regard things stink, in both coach and first.
pmUA came pretty close to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and managed the longest time (3 years) in Chapter 11. I would prefer to fly on an airline that is making a profit and not giving it all back to shareholders. This thread is probably 3 years too early, and I have a hard time believing 10-across in the 777 family is a good idea, but as a longtime flyer UA is IMHO making slow but steady progress to a more reliable operation. For example, I would bet the number of Delayed/Canceled International Flights thread is much shorter in 2018 YTD than it was in 2015, 2016 and 2017, as a percentage of flights flown.
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Old Aug 7, 18, 3:03 pm
  #78  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
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I also agree with the OP, all of my 2018 UA flights have been within 15 minutes of being on time (32 segments so far) and some very positive experiences

Yeah the food on CRJ or EMB's is not the hottest, but the lounge food in the UC has drastically improved (no more cheese / cracker meals haha)

Thanks UA
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Old Aug 7, 18, 3:41 pm
  #79  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Originally Posted by ermintrude View Post
The decision not to add 100 seaters is UA's own. The contract you reference is essentially Delta's. They added the 100 seaters (717s and soon to be C-Series), and they got additional 76 seaters to their fleet as a result. United could do this too, but IMO they're putting profits over customers first.
+1. While I understand that UA's network is different than DL's (MSP/DTW/ATL all have lots of midsize cities they connect too, which UA has fewer major midsize connection points), Delta was willing to pay its own pilots to fly the 717/220-100, and in paying more for that, get a vastly superior customer experience. Delta has made quit clear that their NPS scores on these planes is much better, and that they drive high margin business to Delta. That is certainly my buying decision. Sometimes to make more money long term, you need to spend more money short term...

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Oh, for heaven's sake.

The problem with D0 isn't for originating passengers; only the biggest DYKWIA expects the plane to wait for them when they show up late at the airport.

It's a problem for connecting passengers, like the person earlier in this thread who had to overnight at DEN because they didn't hold the last flight of the day.

I refuse to have this debate again, but I firmly believe that A0 (or, if you insist, A14) is more important to nearly every passenger than D0.
+1. Few things TO flyers, particularly high value business travelers with options, than having the airline delay their incoming flight, but not hold the outbound flight for a few minutes, particularly on the last flight of the day. In the long term, UA will lose passengers who misconnect a few times on UA and find that UA has sent out that plane at D0, only to have it arrive at its destination 15-30 minutes early and wait for a gate....

Its an awful metric to be focused on.

Originally Posted by itsMoe View Post
On the minus side:
  • What's with the lack of proper meals on sub-4 hour flights in domestic F?
  • Only major US airline to forge ahead with 10-abreast seating on the 777. Seriously
  • ....
  • No more showers in United clubs.
  • The stupid auto-splitting of PNRs during OLCI, and the inability to piece them back together
I highlight that none of these are issues on DL, and while AA has gone 10x on the 777, unlike UA they paired it with PE, so one can actually escape the horrible seats. On the UA 77HD and the 77W you are stuck in the torture seat unless you pay to upgrade or fly J.
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Old Aug 7, 18, 4:59 pm
  #80  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
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I’ve been doing this for a long time, starting many years prior to FF programs and with more than 4M butt in seat miles with literally dozens of airlines. I’ve seen the ups and downs of UA’s service, operations, and attitude towards customers. I choose to fly UA even living next to an AA hub. Ok it has been rough at times but so has service and experience with US, and NW (gone), AA, Delta.
I’ve only kept track of status for the last 6 - 8 years and in doing so have found that I am flying UA @95%, *A @5%, and 1 or 2 flights a year on others. Have I been screwed by UA, Oh yeah but they have managed to compensate me well enough that I’m still here.
I’m not a gastrosnob and if I want 1st I’ll buy 1st. I don’t think the inflight meals are that bad and my cpu rate is really good.
My overall experience recently has improved and I believe that things will continue to improve so I’ll be staying around. To see where thing go.
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Old Aug 7, 18, 6:45 pm
  #81  
 
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2steps back; one forward

So noticeable to me the difference in attitude between United Flight Attendants and those that fly ANA, South African Air and Lufthansa in F and economy. United peeps in general are more about getting tasks done/finished rather than focusing on improving customer experience. When i fly the aforementioned *A carriers, I marvel at the improvement in service and customer connection (especially ANA and SAA).

Operationally, departures of late have been on time. However, just this past week I flew from SAN to PHL via IAD. In IAD I had a 3 hr layover starting at 5:30 am, so I used the United Lounge in D terminal (mediocre at best). Left the lounge for my flight's announced boarding time only to learn 20 minutes before scheduled takeoff that the flight would be delayed 45 minutes to an hour due to late arriving flight crew. Same crew had arrived quite late the night before due to delays. Regs require a certain number of hours before crew can fly again. Knowing this, why didn't United announce the delay well in advance? I could have remained in the quieter lounge rather than a noisy terminal. Poor ops coordination seems to be a United trait that just won't go away.
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Old Aug 7, 18, 8:11 pm
  #82  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Originally Posted by 2stepbay View Post
So noticeable to me the difference in attitude between United Flight Attendants and those that fly ANA, South African Air and Lufthansa in F and economy. United peeps in general are more about getting tasks done/finished rather than focusing on improving customer experience. When i fly the aforementioned *A carriers, I marvel at the improvement in service and customer connection (especially ANA and SAA).

Operationally, departures of late have been on time. However, just this past week I flew from SAN to PHL via IAD. In IAD I had a 3 hr layover starting at 5:30 am, so I used the United Lounge in D terminal (mediocre at best). Left the lounge for my flight's announced boarding time only to learn 20 minutes before scheduled takeoff that the flight would be delayed 45 minutes to an hour due to late arriving flight crew. Same crew had arrived quite late the night before due to delays. Regs require a certain number of hours before crew can fly again. Knowing this, why didn't United announce the delay well in advance? I could have remained in the quieter lounge rather than a noisy terminal. Poor ops coordination seems to be a United trait that just won't go away.
I appreciate that you live in SA, and you have more experience than I, but I have found SAA service to be extremely sterile. Job done, listen to your questions, bring what you ask for, but not remotely to the level of an ANA or a SQ. I guess what do you know, maybe fast efficient service is what I aim for. All of my SAA stuff has been international (MRU, AUH, LHR), so maybe it is different domestic.

Considering most of my inbound to SA is the LH FRA-JNB flight, I find that to be equally sterile. Just to make it an all around bummer, I'm not thrilled with EK flights to DXB either. Those 777 business class seats are pretty sad, and I'm not totally sold on service either. The other way I get around the neighborhood is the EK 380 DXB->MRU, and that bar in the back of the upper deck is pretty cool.

Forgot to make this UA relevant. I feel like UA FA are still struggling to make this a positive experience. At least TPAC or TATL this year in biz, I almost feel like a bother than someone who deserves to be helped by the FA team. As with all anecdotes, exceptions exist. For the first time I can recall, I had the same person on the out and the inbound going SFO to SYD over a week. Usually my duration is longer, so I think they rotate out and I don't see people twice. That connection with that person really made my flight and service so much better.

Last edited by katan; Aug 7, 18 at 8:16 pm Reason: UA Relevance
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Old Aug 11, 18, 9:33 am
  #83  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Continuing my theme of "United definitely DOES NOT have its groove back"...

I had the opportunity to have three more days of (not so good) travel this week.

Monday LGA-IAH 330pm: our gate assigned as C11. New United app gives us all a pop up that the flight was moved to C7. However, C7 is trying to board a very late LGA-ORD flight that is about to have crew time out issues. That plane finally pushes at 3pm and our IAH plane, which was sitting on the tarmac waiting for C7 to open, finally pulls up and unloads the passengers. My LGA-IAH flight finally boards at 330pm, our departure time. Meanwhile, C11 was empty the entire time. No idea why they left C11 empty and delayed the flight to IAH when they could have gotten it out on time if they used an empty gate. (PS - the change to C7 was done well after the ORD flight was already at the gate and delayed due to ATC). Maybe LGA staffing issues that day.

Wednesday IAH-DEN 235pm: the inbound plane switched three times on the flight from the day before. Ultimately we are assigned an inbound from DEN which is arriving 2 hours late. IAH-DEN leaves 40 minutes late and arrives over an hour late due to weather en-route that we had to fly around. Luckily my connection was originally 3 hours so I had plenty of time to make my connection but a lot of people missed theirs. I don't blame UA at all for the weather, but definitely for constantly switching the inbound which caused the original delay in the first place.

Friday SJC-DEN-LGA 810am (through flight): plane arrives the night before. Boarding time comes and goes. Captain comes out and tells us one of the three hydraulic systems is broken and since SJC is a non-hub they have to wait for a contract mechanic to come in and fix it. I immediately got on the phone with the 1K line and had the easiest ever rebooking on OAL I've ever had over the phone. Ticket moved to DL, I flew via SLC and made it to NY 2.5 hours after my originally scheduled time on UA. I did wind up in JFK vs LGA but that's neither here nor there.

So, 100% success rate of something going wrong on every single itinerary again this week. I wonder what next week holds.

-RM
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Old Aug 11, 18, 9:48 am
  #84  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
Continuing my theme of "United definitely DOES NOT have its groove back"...

I had the opportunity to have three more days of (not so good) travel this week.

Monday LGA-IAH 330pm: our gate assigned as C11. New United app gives us all a pop up that the flight was moved to C7. However, C7 is trying to board a very late LGA-ORD flight that is about to have crew time out issues. That plane finally pushes at 3pm and our IAH plane, which was sitting on the tarmac waiting for C7 to open, finally pulls up and unloads the passengers. My LGA-IAH flight finally boards at 330pm, our departure time. Meanwhile, C11 was empty the entire time. No idea why they left C11 empty and delayed the flight to IAH when they could have gotten it out on time if they used an empty gate. (PS - the change to C7 was done well after the ORD flight was already at the gate and delayed due to ATC). Maybe LGA staffing issues that day.

Wednesday IAH-DEN 235pm: the inbound plane switched three times on the flight from the day before. Ultimately we are assigned an inbound from DEN which is arriving 2 hours late. IAH-DEN leaves 40 minutes late and arrives over an hour late due to weather en-route that we had to fly around. Luckily my connection was originally 3 hours so I had plenty of time to make my connection but a lot of people missed theirs. I don't blame UA at all for the weather, but definitely for constantly switching the inbound which caused the original delay in the first place.

Friday SJC-DEN-LGA 810am (through flight): plane arrives the night before. Boarding time comes and goes. Captain comes out and tells us one of the three hydraulic systems is broken and since SJC is a non-hub they have to wait for a contract mechanic to come in and fix it. I immediately got on the phone with the 1K line and had the easiest ever rebooking on OAL I've ever had over the phone. Ticket moved to DL, I flew via SLC and made it to NY 2.5 hours after my originally scheduled time on UA. I did wind up in JFK vs LGA but that's neither here nor there.

So, 100% success rate of something going wrong on every single itinerary again this week. I wonder what next week holds.

-RM
The mechanical notwithstanding (and, frankly, I'd consider that service recovery a success, no issues pushing ticket to DL, etc.), the last two weeks have been the most unstable weather of the whole summer, and some of the worst IRROPS since winter. Afternoon flights in the summer are always the most likely to be disrupted.

I think this illustrates why providing customers more information can be a bad thing, too. As passengers, we have no idea why inbound equipment assignments change over the course of the day; we only know that they do, so the lack of information as to the 'why' makes it seem haphazard and leaves us assuming that 'UA doesn't have its act together" with respect to its resource allocation.

With that said, I am all for the transparency; it's just better for planning purposes.
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Old Aug 11, 18, 10:31 am
  #85  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Thanksgiving, Christmas, and summer have the peek travel demand each year. Airlines expand their schedules during those times in order to meet the demand but that means they have less flex in the system. Crews are scheduled closer to flight time and duty limits. Aircraft are scheduled for shorter turns and less down time between flights. More red-eye and late-bank flying is scheduled. Fewer open seats are available for re-routing displaced passengers. Airports are more crowded. There is less excess in the system to absorb disruptions. This is the same at all airlines and is why you see the increase in aircraft swaps. The airlines are constantly reshuffling their available resources to cover for whatever disruptions occur.
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Old Aug 11, 18, 12:32 pm
  #86  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
The mechanical notwithstanding (and, frankly, I'd consider that service recovery a success, no issues pushing ticket to DL, etc.), the last two weeks have been the most unstable weather of the whole summer, and some of the worst IRROPS since winter. Afternoon flights in the summer are always the most likely to be disrupted.

I think this illustrates why providing customers more information can be a bad thing, too. As passengers, we have no idea why inbound equipment assignments change over the course of the day; we only know that they do, so the lack of information as to the 'why' makes it seem haphazard and leaves us assuming that 'UA doesn't have its act together" with respect to its resource allocation.

With that said, I am all for the transparency; it's just better for planning purposes.
I agree about the transparency. I'm all for it. Even if I wasn't able to tell that the IAH-DEN flight had swapped inbound equipment three times, we were still delayed 40 minutes by late inbound. The extra 20 in the air for weather broke a few more connections but had we left on-time we would have arrived on-time as the flight is padded enough to cover the en-route weather. But at the end of the day all of my issues were the doing of UA ops and not weather.

Agree about the move to DL. The agent initially balked at rebooking me but when I reminded him I was in paid first (SJC-SLC only had first available) and that a mechanical issues qualifies for OAL rebooking he quickly did it and said, "Thanks for being a 1K. Sorry about your issues this morning." Sometimes I wish we could get direct phone numbers for the good agents who don't need a supervisor to get something done. When I was in this situation two months ago out of MEM (mechanical delay - on a paid first ticket), the agent refused to move me to DL in first; she would only book economy. And she wouldn't even do that without calling a supervisor.

-RM
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