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UA in no rush to respond to DL's improved Y intl service

UA in no rush to respond to DL's improved Y intl service

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Old Jul 8, 19, 9:44 pm
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UA in no rush to respond to DL's improved Y intl service

https://www.bizjournals.com/chicago/...hoo&yptr=yahoo

I like UA’s response (paraphrasing) “We’re always looking to enhance customer experience, but we’re not actually doing anything”.

If more people in the back of the bus opt for Delta, UA’s margins are going to disappear.

I already know what Kirby thought when Delta announced this - “What a bunch of freakin’ idiots - trying to entice customers with a better in-flight experience. What in heck are they thinking????”
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Old Jul 8, 19, 9:49 pm
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
I already know what Kirby thought when Delta announced this - “What a bunch of freakin’ idiots - trying to entice customers with a better in-flight experience. What in heck are they thinking????”
Maybe they’re waiting to see if this actually moves the needle for passengers before responding.

I’d be shocked if it did. Customers aren’t going to pay more in order to get food that’s going to turn out to be just as bad as all other airline food.
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Old Jul 8, 19, 9:57 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post

Maybe they’re waiting to see if this actually moves the needle for passengers before responding.

I’d be shocked if it did. Customers aren’t going to pay more in order to get food that’s going to turn out to be just as bad as all other airline food.
The free “food” in E+ on my ps flight a couple of weeks ago was dang near inedible. Yet people scarfed it down. That being said, don’t know if people would pay more for the pleasure.

I guess what we are saying is DL’s revenue premium isn’t because of the soft product. I’m not totally convinced, but anecdotally that seems right. However, the halo effect doesn’t hurt.
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Old Jul 8, 19, 10:06 pm
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Originally Posted by anc-ord772 View Post
I guess what we are saying is DL’s revenue premium isn’t because of the soft product. I’m not totally convinced, but anecdotally that seems right. However, the halo effect doesn’t hurt.
I suspect a good deal of DL’s revenue premium comes from strategically failing to put a hub in Chicago.

While some posters are likely to chime in with the better experience that DL offers them, in general, people either book for price or convenience. A small number book for aircraft type / cabin availability; another small number (myself included) book for legroom. Food might be a tiebreaker for some, especially on FlyerTalk, but honestly — how much extra would you pay for a really good in-flight meal? I can get better food on the ground at my origin, connection, or destination, with a greater deal of choice, for a lot less than any revenue premium DL thinks they can charge.
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Old Jul 8, 19, 10:12 pm
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Maybe UA is remembering the disasterous AA more room throughout coach initiative that was quickly undone when customers failed to pay more for a couple extra inches of legroom.
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Old Jul 8, 19, 10:16 pm
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Part of DLs strategy is measuring NPS (Net Promoter Score). A majority of passengers sit in the back. If those passengers have a good/not bad experience they will likely book with the airline again in coach or even buy up to extra leg room economy or that once in a lifetime premium cabin trip.

For example, AA generally has good premium cabin seats on international routes. However, people fly them in coach and get stuck with the "Oasis" interior and assume the whole airline is garbage.

We'll see if this DL gamble pays off. I can see this potentially driving more CC signups too.
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Old Jul 8, 19, 10:24 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post

While some posters are likely to chime in with the better experience that DL offers them, in general, people either book for price or convenience. A small number book for aircraft type / cabin availability; another small number (myself included) book for legroom. Food might be a tiebreaker for some, especially on FlyerTalk, but honestly — how much extra would you pay for a really good in-flight meal? I can get better food on the ground at my origin, connection, or destination, with a greater deal of choice, for a lot less than any revenue premium DL thinks they can charge.
I hear you, but I suspect it’s a bit more intersectional than just price or convenience. The conventional wisdom that price beats all doesn’t always play out IRL. An airline that is a horrible experience but dirt cheap will not always rule the day.
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Old Jul 8, 19, 10:28 pm
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Like many FTers who once enjoyed the game, and allowed loyalty to play a major role in airline choice, I no longer care so much. That having been said, all other things being equal (or close to it), I do choose DL for my Y transpacs whenever the alternatives are AA and UA. The food isn't really a factor (at least consciously), the seats don't seem to be much different, and SkyMiles is still worst in class. But, for some reason, I usually arrive in better spirits.
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Old Jul 8, 19, 10:58 pm
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DL's initiative isn't just about improved meals, it's about treating each passenger like a valued customer through specific on-board service protocols. I don't think UA is structurally capable of matching that . . . they cannot, for example, get their GAs to implement the published boarding order consistently, nor get their FAs to handle premium cabin meal priority properly. Stop treating Y pax like cattle? Good luck with that!

And I also do believe that a portion of DL's revenue premium comes from providing a better product. While many people buy just on price or convenience, others weigh quality quite heavily. The lodging market provides a very clear example of that . . . why else do consumers pay 10x per night to stay at the MO vs. the Marriott Courtyard?
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Old Jul 8, 19, 11:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
DL's initiative isn't just about improved meals, it's about treating each passenger like a valued customer through specific on-board service protocols. I don't think UA is structurally capable of matching that . . . they cannot, for example, get their GAs to implement the published boarding order consistently, nor get their FAs to handle premium cabin meal priority properly. Stop treating Y pax like cattle? Good luck with that!

And I also do believe that a portion of DL's revenue premium comes from providing a better product. While many people buy just on price or convenience, others weigh quality quite heavily. The lodging market provides a very clear example of that . . . why else do consumers pay 10x per night to stay at the MO vs. the Marriott Courtyard?
This. And when I read garbage responses like “We remain committed to enhancing the customer experience for all our passengers” - when there hasn't been anything close to a real customer enhancement on UA since the now degraded Polaris roll out - it makes me shake my head in disbelief that someone would actually allow themselves to be quoted to that effect.
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Old Jul 8, 19, 11:26 pm
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I’m always thoroughly impressed by some utter BS metric like NPS

which sounds just about right for an airline that Kirby has publicly described as lowest margin in NYC among the Big 3, and the one that tells their New York investment bankers to connect at Seoul Incheon if they want to head to Tokyo, Shanghai, or Hong Kong.
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jul 9, 19 at 12:18 am Reason: Discuss the issues; not the posters
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Old Jul 8, 19, 11:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
DL's initiative isn't just about improved meals, it's about treating each passenger like a valued customer through specific on-board service protocols. I don't think UA is structurally capable of matching that . . . they cannot, for example, get their GAs to implement the published boarding order consistently, nor get their FAs to handle premium cabin meal priority properly. Stop treating Y pax like cattle? Good luck with that!

And I also do believe that a portion of DL's revenue premium comes from providing a better product. While many people buy just on price or convenience, others weigh quality quite heavily. The lodging market provides a very clear example of that . . . why else do consumers pay 10x per night to stay at the MO vs. the Marriott Courtyard?
I don't think that argument perfectly applies to airlines. Y on DL and Y on UA is comparing Marriott Courtyard and Hampton Inn. Not a huge difference unless you're a loyalist. JW Marriott v Marriott Courtyard is more applicable to J v Y on either airline. Each have their pros and cons but not too many will pay a large premium for a hotel in the same class.
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Old Jul 8, 19, 11:34 pm
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Originally Posted by VWang1111 View Post
I don't think that argument perfectly applies to airlines. Y on DL and Y on UA is comparing Marriott Courtyard and Hampton Inn. Not a huge difference unless you're a loyalist.
Ten years ago, I would have agreed with you. Today, the average Hampton Inn is tired and offers a breakfast that hasn't changed in years. Whereas I used to always go HI, these days when I have a choice, I go with Marriott Courtyard.
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Old Jul 9, 19, 12:03 am
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Originally Posted by williambruno1975 View Post
I’m always thoroughly impressed by some utter BS metric like NPS
I think the point is less about NPS, but absolutely is about the fact that the “verbal brand” - the stories your customers share with each other about your brand - matters so much more in 2019 than a decade ago.

Pre-digital media it used to be that a company could broadcast out the narrative they wanted, via the channels they chose, and the customer would have limited methods to share and build on others experiences - something reserved for celebrities and the likes of Michelin.

DL have done a better job overall in this, and were an early adopter. That said, UA knows the importance of this — or at least learned the hard way. The investments in social media team, proactive recovery, and storytellers speak volumes here. Bottom line, you just can’t treat non-elite customers as stowage any more without consequences and verbal brand damage.
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jul 9, 19 at 12:19 am Reason: Quote updated to reflect Moderator edit
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Old Jul 9, 19, 12:08 am
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Originally Posted by VWang1111 View Post
...Each have their pros and cons but not too many will pay a large premium for a hotel in the same class.
Who says DL is going to charge a premium for the same cabin as UA?

If the promise of a better experience draws customers away from UA and/or AA, I’d say DL is the smart one. I look at UA’s response and think, “UA doesn’t give a ...”.

DL - “We’re improving by now giving out bellinis and food choices in coach”
UA - “We’re improving because we haven’t had anyone assaulted recently”
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