Kirby says UA has to compete on quality

Old Sep 13, 19, 6:43 am
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Kirby says UA has to compete on quality

United Airlines President Scott Kirby told the Morgan Stanley 7th Annual Laguna Conference that “more and more” they have to be “competing on quality instead of just schedule and price.”
https://viewfromthewing.com/2019/09/...ease-stand-up/

Trolling?
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Last edited by wco81; Sep 13, 19 at 11:28 am
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Old Sep 13, 19, 6:55 am
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That's a good one!
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Old Sep 13, 19, 7:22 am
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Gary Leff from View From the Wing gives his analysis here.

Does 'bean counting' really work?

Evidence thus far suggests it doesn't. How is this guy still President of UA?
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Old Sep 13, 19, 7:32 am
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
That's a good one!
For a minute there I thought it was April 1st instead of Friday the 13th.

If the Polaris soft product is any example, Kirby is unaware of what the word ďqualityĒ means.
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Old Sep 13, 19, 7:55 am
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One may have a better chance getting the cows to come home or teaching new tricks to an old dog than getting Kirby to change his way of thinking....
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Old Sep 13, 19, 8:14 am
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Originally Posted by UA_Flyer View Post
One may have a better chance getting the cows to come home or teaching new tricks to an old dog than getting Kirby to change his way of thinking....
I'd argue that the facts actually show he has softened his approach quite a bit from the scorched-earth beancounter reputation he earned at America West/US Airways, especially following the bad PR he earned from the debacle that ensued after the announcement of the 2018 employee bonus plan. Some employees really let him have it at town halls, and I think he took the criticism to heart. I also think the Kirby-Parker combo at HP/US/AA created an echo chamber effect that isn't present at today's United... there is quite a bit of young talent at the Willis Tower today that doesn't have ties to the pre-merger companies that are helping to point the needle toward innovation rather than constantly following others.

Despite premium cabin food service cuts (I hate them too, and routinely complain, especially following Polaris flights), I think there is actually some meat to the "compete on quality" comment. For example, there is evidence that UA is seriously considering a reversal of course on the all-streaming IFE strategy. The way the CPAs are structured for the influx of CRJs into the network clearly indicates that it is a temporary, stop-gap measure, and two years from now, I think it's a very different story. The lounge network is growing, the operation is strong, premium cabins are getting bigger, etc. I just don't have a doom-and-gloom outlook for the company.
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Old Sep 13, 19, 8:37 am
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Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
Despite premium cabin food service cuts (I hate them too, and routinely complain, especially following Polaris flights), I think there is actually some meat to the "compete on quality" comment. For example, there is evidence that UA is seriously considering a reversal of course on the all-streaming IFE strategy. The way the CPAs are structured for the influx of CRJs into the network clearly indicates that it is a temporary, stop-gap measure, and two years from now, I think it's a very different story. The lounge network is growing, the operation is strong, premium cabins are getting bigger, etc. I just don't have a doom-and-gloom outlook for the company.
I donít have a doom and gloom outlook for United, but I donít think Kirby gets it. If he really cared about competing on quality, he could quickly change the Polaris soft product back to what it used to be, or at least pointed in that direction.
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Old Sep 13, 19, 8:39 am
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Old Sep 13, 19, 8:41 am
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
I donít have a doom and gloom outlook for United, but I donít think Kirby gets it. If he really cared about competing on quality, he could quickly change the Polaris soft product back to what it used to be, or at least pointed in that direction.
I agree he technically can change it, but the revamped Polaris service was a pretty significant logistical undertaking that would take a while to reverse. I see some indications that the company is reevaluating its strategy, but it's definitely not something that can be carried out overnight.

There's no doubt UA is getting a lot of negative feedback regarding this service change... though I'm not certain it's leading to broad changes in buying patterns.
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Old Sep 13, 19, 8:47 am
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There is stating that something is a goal, and then there is implementing a change. Two different things. We will see if UA's management is just repeating what they think people want to hear, or will actually change things to try to compete on quality. But perhaps Kirby is realizing that if you want to charge a premium - and keep certain corporate contracts - you need to have a product of a certain quality. On time is important, but once you are as on time as other airlines, the other qualities make a difference to buyers.

Currently, the ridiculously slow conversion to Polaris seats and creation of Polaris lounges is finally hitting the point that you can sometimes be in one or the other. But the promised on-board experience in F&B and service has not only not been delivered, but things are worse than they were before the Polaris campaign was rolled out. The F&B does not need to be AF Premier quality to satisfy most of us - a Do&Co catering level and BA-level wines would be just fine.

On IFE, I am of two minds. Frankly, I would be happy with using my own devices if the system worked consistently on all of them.
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Old Sep 13, 19, 8:54 am
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Originally Posted by Artpen100 View Post
...the ridiculously slow conversion to Polaris seats....
Agree with most points except the quoted part above: it's a massive undertaking to retrofit all planes, and I reckon they're doing a decently fast job with it.
Of course, this is coming from someone who prefers the old pmCO 77Y to its retrofitted Polaris version (mainly due to 3-3-3 vs. 3-4-3, the large toilet, and seat 8E).
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Old Sep 13, 19, 9:04 am
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The evidence is that United is making more money that it has ever made, with higher margins than it has ever yielded. That's why he's keeping his job. That's the job he was hired to perform, and United's doing better than it ever has. What criteria would you have if you hired a person to make money for you?

Originally Posted by NYC2SGN View Post
Gary Leff from View From the Wing gives his analysis here.

Does 'bean counting' really work?

Evidence thus far suggests it doesn't. How is this guy still President of UA?
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Old Sep 13, 19, 9:15 am
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There are ways that UA does compete on quality. For example, direct flights to SIN and HKG do seem to try harder than on other UA routes, due to the type of airlines they are competing with, among other reasons.
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Old Sep 13, 19, 9:30 am
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For a few years spent almost 8% of my life on a UA airplane, mostly in economy but sometimes got lucky I think 6 times out of 100 segments, LOL. During this time also flew a few segments on CA, HN, MU, BR, AC, DL, AS, WN, and AA.

Guess who came in at the bottom ALL the big three US and UA at the bottom of that heap. For average experience on simple things like service with a smile, acknowledgment or appreciation for my business, courtesy, treating me like a paying customer that they owed their jobs and income. Yeah I met a few exceptional UA FA and pilots, but as an average as I watched them go about their jobs it was sad. Little of that they need to improve the service experience takes any $. Hard product takes time and money, but Kirby can buy the fanciest plane, upgrade the seats, blah blah blah, but when you get serviced by the FA/GA don't matter too much as you sit there for 10-14 hours or walk into the lounge, Culture is sometimes the hardest but costs little to nothing.

It is culture and it comes from not lip service but walking the talk and doing the things that matter and rewarding the employees that do, setting a bar and holding yourself and the emloyees to that, make the proud for that bar.

Let's see the action Kirby! I still fly a few segments

Last edited by chipmaster; Sep 13, 19 at 9:35 am
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Old Sep 13, 19, 9:33 am
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
I don’t have a doom and gloom outlook for United, but I don’t think Kirby gets it. If he really cared about competing on quality, he could quickly change the Polaris soft product back to what it used to be, or at least pointed in that direction.
This, but with tweeks. The wine flights were stupid and pretty much unmanagable. The stupid champagne on a stick thing always stank of some great idea by a 20 something intern. I always thought the linens looked cheap, what was wrong with the better quality white.

But,

the current dog dish bowls need to go - now.
Restore the FA that was cut.
Can we have a wine list of things that are actually boarded, please. At the moment, most FAs don't even bother to bring the bottles out from the galley, they just pour whatever they have open and don't even tell you what it is.
I'm sick of soggy nuts.

I may be reaching here, but an actual stemmed wine glass wold be nice.
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