United has its groove back

Old Aug 5, 18, 8:17 am
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United has its groove back

Over the past several months, Iíve noticed United is getting its groove back. The operation is running smooth, planes are pushing back on time. Padding the schedules has been reduced. Connectivity at the hubs has increased. Even the companies financials are showing improvement (though as a customer I care less about that, but worth noting).

Itís amazing to see how going back to the basics of running a great operation spills into other facets of the company.

Is anyone else seeing an improvement and, for as much as we give the airline a hard time, anything commendable youíve seen that youíd like to share?
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Old Aug 5, 18, 8:21 am
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Operationally, things are better, but the padding of scheduled times is as prevalent as ever (if not worse in some cases). And letís not start on the embarrassing offerings that are offered up as meals for non-TCON flights in domestic F. The reemergence of CR2s throughout the network is ridiculous. With this airline, it always seems to be progress made on some fronts and setbacks on others.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 8:28 am
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I have had the exact opposite experience. I am flying 2-4 days a week at the moment and 99% of the trips are delayed, cancelled or misconnected. Case in point yesterday. PDX-DEN delayed 40 minutes due to late inbound crew. That made my connection 8 minutes. Land in DEN at the time my plane to NY is departing. They didn't hold it for me even though I'm a 1K in first class on the last flight of the day. The most the plane would have had to wait was 10 minutes. So I misconnected and was forced to overnight in DEN. Sure, that's just one example. But every single flight I'm on is delayed (usually late inbound).

To me this has been the Summer of Hell that they were advertising a few years back.

-RM
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Old Aug 5, 18, 8:30 am
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Operationally, they do seem to be doing better. The Polaris lounges are nice. However, unlike my experience on Delta, delays seem to really pile up whenever there is a late inbound aircraft. There is almost never a swap at any time throughout the day. Does anyone else notice this? Delta seems to swap way more than UA does.

On everything else, from aircraft to onboard soft product, to put it bluntly, United sucks. The 1K experience is terrible. Also, Whenever there is an improvement made in one area, such as the meals awhile back, and the Polaris product, it's clawed back almost instantaneously. As well as improvements in one area always means cutbacks in another. Upgrades are non-existent.

Take a look at Polaris in particular. I actually miss the old BusinessFirst meals. Polaris has the same food choices now for months and months on end. Regular looking salads (remember the big salad bowls with the croutons and real dressing as opposed to oil and vinegar?) are a thing of the past. Salad bowls are so tiny they might as well not even be there now. Delta's domestic wines are better than UA international. It's terrible. That's why I've switched most of my flying to Delta.
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Last edited by demkr; Aug 5, 18 at 8:36 am
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Old Aug 5, 18, 8:31 am
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Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
Itís amazing to see how going back to the basics of running a great operation spills into other facets of the company.
The on board food is terrible. I don't know how you square that with "running a great operation."
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Old Aug 5, 18, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
Over the past several months, I’ve noticed United is getting its groove back. The operation is running smooth, planes are pushing back on time. Padding the schedules has been reduced. Connectivity at the hubs has increased. Even the companies financials are showing improvement (though as a customer I care less about that, but worth noting).

It’s amazing to see how going back to the basics of running a great operation spills into other facets of the company.

Is anyone else seeing an improvement and, for as much as we give the airline a hard time, anything commendable you’ve seen that you’d like to share?
I think you shocked the system with your title.

UA is in its best shape, from a customer perspective, in more than 20 years.

I will say that I mainly fly Int'l, versus domestic. So could be a "Tale of 2 Airlines". I rarely eat food on domestic flights unless it is between the coasts. Operationally I've been fine, although the last week or so in EWR weather has been stormy and the pattern slows downs down departures.

It seems like AA is currently bringing up the rear of the US3.



Adam

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 5, 18 at 12:12 pm Reason: discuss the issue;not the poster(s)
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Old Aug 5, 18, 9:16 am
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Originally Posted by adambrau View Post
UA is in its best shape, from a customer perspective, in more than 20 years.
Maybe, if you come from the pmUA side of the house. For me, Iím still trying to claw my way back to my CO life.

If we unwound the merger, right here, right now, the only upside for me was adding E+ to the CO fleet. Otherwise, we could split it back apart, put it back the way things were and Iíd be happier in every other single metric.

So, itís hard for me to say best in 20 years. Since the merger, maybe. But still down from my CO customer
experience, even at its lowest point post-Lorenzo.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 9:23 am
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The onboard experience is getting worse with 10 across seats in E and E+ being introduced TATL The boarding experience is miserable. The power trips of FA/GA is boring now. The idiotic amounts of oversized carry-on being let through is a joke. Excepting Polaris lounges they are an absolute joke domestically. Perhaps there are better connections but I have had more delays/cancellations/EU261/vouchers in the last 2 years than I had in the previous 15. YMMV.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 9:42 am
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Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
Padding the schedules has been reduced.
due to D0 - not consumer friendly...

Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
Even the companies financials are showing improvement .
Any fool could make UA profitable with the economy in high gear.

Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
Itís amazing to see how going back to the basics of running a great operation spills into other facets of the company.
Nice line for job interview at UA
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Old Aug 5, 18, 10:07 am
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Originally Posted by dmurphynj View Post


Maybe, if you come from the pmUA side of the house. For me, Iím still trying to claw my way back to my CO life.

If we unwound the merger, right here, right now, the only upside for me was adding E+ to the CO fleet. Otherwise, we could split it back apart, put it back the way things were and Iíd be happier in every other single metric.

So, itís hard for me to say best in 20 years. Since the merger, maybe. But still down from my CO customer
experience, even at its lowest point post-Lorenzo.
Yeah I do come from the pmUA side of things - started flying UA in 1991 when I moved to Hong Kong for work. And I'm sure the first 8-10 years of my flying UA was a better operation than CO. Now that I live in NYC, the merger was gold for me, sorry you feel you have lost out.

Apart from DL, which major int'l carrier is not going to 3-4-3 on the 777's? I know it was the next posters point but I suspect CO, if it had not merged with UA, would be doing the same?
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Old Aug 5, 18, 10:07 am
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Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
Over the past several months, Iíve noticed United is getting its groove back. The operation is running smooth, planes are pushing back on time. Padding the schedules has been reduced. Connectivity at the hubs has increased. Even the companies financials are showing improvement (though as a customer I care less about that, but worth noting).

Itís amazing to see how going back to the basics of running a great operation spills into other facets of the company.

Is anyone else seeing an improvement and, for as much as we give the airline a hard time, anything commendable youíve seen that youíd like to share?
OP, I have nothing to complain about with my UA experiences over the last 3 years. It has served me well in my travel needs and the benefits I have received for my loyalty are not insignificant. However my travel is mainly domestic so many of the posters who knock the international travel experience on here may be correct, I wouldn't know.

As a recent frequent flyer, my frame of reference does not go back to the pre-merger and "glory" days that many on here pine for. I think that helps me, as I can't compare what I am currently getting in benefits to those who compare airline travel today to that of 20-30 years ago. Additionally, my travel experience is augmented from what I have learned on this FT. I maximize my benefits & my CPU percentage is "enhanced" by the tricks I have learned here.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 10:14 am
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Originally Posted by adambrau View Post
Yeah I do come from the pmUA side of things - started flying UA in 1991 when I moved to Hong Kong for work. And I'm sure the first 8-10 years of my flying UA was a better operation than CO. Now that I live in NYC, the merger was gold for me, sorry you feel you have lost out.

Apart from DL, which major int'l carrier is not going to 3-4-3 on the 777's? I know it was the next posters point but I suspect CO, if it had not merged with UA, would be doing the same?
Guilty as charged m'lud! Yes, they all are, and I reserve the same vitriol for them too. Just because everyone is doing it, it doesn't make it either right, sensible, or adding up to an overall positive customer experience for me and certainly does not make me think that United has its groove back. Had they bucked this trend I would have given them credit. They haven't, so I shan't say anything positive about them nor any other airline that does this.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 10:16 am
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This isnít meant to be PMUA PMCO conversation. Both carriers brought good things to the table. Letís move beyond that.

And to the poster above, ďermintrudeĒ, operational efficiency is everything. D0 isnít customer unfriendly. Quite the opposite. Pushing the plane back on time is something United can control. It ultimately reduces buffer time and makes the assets and Unitedís money (planes) work harder. Thatís good for us over the long term.

Thereís a trickle down effect from operational efficiency that is to the betterment of the customer and the employees. Operations matter most, everything else is gravy. And thereís more gravy when the operation runs good.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 10:24 am
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Originally Posted by Silver Fox View Post
Guilty as charged m'lud! Yes, they all are, and I reserve the same vitriol for them too. Just because everyone is doing it, it doesn't make it either right, sensible, or adding up to an overall positive customer experience for me and certainly does not make me think that United has its groove back. Had they bucked this trend I would have given them credit. They haven't, so I shan't say anything positive about them nor any other airline that does this.
I don't disagree with you mate! I haven't had the misfortune to travel on a 10-abreast 777 but it sounds pretty awful.

IMHO I think the aviation industry has declined because most passengers, looking to fly, purchase the least expensive ticket, and airlines have been in a race to the bottom to deliver that. Traveling only in Polaris or semi-Polaris class, things are going the other way. I don't think it's right, but it's clearly obvious.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 10:36 am
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Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
And to the poster above, ďermintrudeĒ, operational efficiency is everything. D0 isnít customer unfriendly. Quite the opposite. Pushing the plane back on time is something United can control. It ultimately reduces buffer time and makes the assets and Unitedís money (planes) work harder. Thatís good for us over the long term.
Maybe kettles donít notice, but there have been many times this year where UA races to push back from the gate Ďon timeí...and then the plane just sits there after theyíve shut the door. Itís annoying in the same way when you are flying circles above the airport waiting to land due to weather or ATC, and there is no announcement about it - I notice right away, while kettles start getting ticked off once they realize it feels like the plane has been making a constant right turn for 30 minutes. Iíd rather that UA was more transparent about these kinds of things than they ever are.
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