Oscars Book

Old Apr 10, 2023, 7:46 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: DSM, BKK or anywhere with an airport
Programs: UA 2P, HH Gold
Posts: 1,013
Oscars Book

I was browsing Amazon and Oscar Munoz has apparently written a book on the turnaround of UA, it came as a recommendation to me. “

Turnaround Time: Uniting an Airline and Its Employees in the Friendly Skies

Releases in May - anyone know about this ?
ContinentalFan and EWR764 like this.
n198ua is offline  
Old Apr 10, 2023, 12:10 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Bucks County
Programs: UAL GS & Million Miler; Delta Lifetime Gold; Hilton Diamond; Marriott Platinum; Legion Etrangere
Posts: 1,606
Started out with great promise then health woes and Dao took the wind out of his sails. I do not know whether it was his idea, a headhunter's pitch or the BoD but Kirby is his legacy for better or for worse.
manstein58 is online now  
Old Apr 12, 2023, 2:24 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2022
Programs: United Mileage Plus
Posts: 655
Originally Posted by manstein58
Started out with great promise then health woes and Dao took the wind out of his sails. I do not know whether it was his idea, a headhunter's pitch or the BoD but Kirby is his legacy for better or for worse.

that’s what this blogger says, Oscar foisted Kirby on UA, though Dao could alone have been a big black mark on his UA tenure.

https://viewfromthewing.com/uniteds-...ts-his-legacy/

So Oscars ascension was kind of unexpected because of Smiseks legal problems. Otherwise he wouldn’t have become the top guy since he had no airline industry experience?

or could he have relied on CFO and other operational personnel if he didn’t get sick or the Dao incident didn’t happen?

that is, it’s not inevitable that he had to hire Kirby?
manstein58 likes this.
frappant is offline  
Old May 17, 2023, 8:59 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York, NY
Programs: UA, AA, DL, Hertz, Avis, National, Hyatt, Hilton, SPG, Marriott
Posts: 9,391
I received the book last week after pre-ordering on Amazon and plowed through it in about 2 sittings. A really lightweight, corporate-victory-lap type of read, but entertaining for a fan of United. Plus, some inspiring anecdotes from Oscar's life make it worthwhile, but nothing particularly profound or Earth-shattering.

A few things stood out, though.

1) Oscar came to this country with his grandmother as an undocumented immigrant, and only became a naturalized US Citizen some time after marrying his wife. I did not know this before.
2) Oscar was brought onto the CO Board of Directors by Gordon Bethune in 2004 not long before he left the company, has a great deal of respect for him and considers him a friend. But, he stood in the way of PAR/Altimeter, which wanted to insert Bethune on the BOD during the 2016 proxy fight, and personally appealed to Gordon to withdraw himself from consideration. Oscar knew that Gordon joining the UAL BOD would drive a wedge between CO/UA employee groups, a gap he worked very hard to bridge.
3) Oscar acknowledged that many of the merger problems were related to the inability of CO processes and procedures to scale up to a larger airline like the merged United.
4) He credits much of his success during the 2016 proxy fight to the pilots (Todd Insler) and FA (Sara Nelson) unions coming out in support of him and management. Interestingly, Todd Insler is now generally viewed as persona non grata among the pilots for leading the negotiations toward what was generally seen to be a poor TA last year, and cost him a shot to be the national ALPA president.
5) Oscar talks about connectivity as key to United's growth strategy: linking small markets with larger ones, with premium cabins, over strengthened hubs. While I don't think that strategy has fundamentally changed, and external factors militate against it at the moment, it is nevertheless ironic reading about this in 2023, from a book written during 2022, as United-coded service has or will soon end to about three dozen smaller airports in the US.
6) He does not mention Jeff Smisek or any past management by name, which was a classy move, but it is clear the BOD was looking to move on from him before the PANYNJ controversy, due to underperformance, and the federal investigation simply made it imperative.
7) In his discussion of the Dao incident, he refers to the operating carrier of Flight 3411 as ExpressJet. As we know, it was Republic, but I wonder if XJT is included simply because it is now defunct, and Republic remains a key UAX partner. The wind-down of XJT operations was particularly acrimonious and led to litigation that is only recently resolved.
8) Oscar was planning to bring Kirby on before the PAR/Altimeter proxy fight.
8) Finally... his heart attack came very, very close to killing him. A few fortuitous happenings saved his life: a quick 911 call before he lost consciousness, a nearby ambulance crew with modern ALS equipment and telemetry, access to a top-tier hospital/staff and timely sourcing a good donor heart. His recovery at all, let alone the level of activity to which he has returned post-transplant, is truly nothing short of miraculous.

Last edited by EWR764; May 17, 2023 at 9:04 am
EWR764 is offline  
Old May 17, 2023, 10:07 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: BOS<>NYC<>BKK
Programs: UA 4.3MM LT-GS; AA1MM; Amtrak SE; MAR LT TITAN; PC Plat; HIL DIA; HYA GLOB
Posts: 4,354
Originally Posted by EWR764
8) Finally... his heart attack came very, very close to killing him. A few fortuitous happenings saved his life: a quick 911 call before he lost consciousness, a nearby ambulance crew with modern ALS equipment and telemetry, access to a top-tier hospital/staff and timely sourcing a good donor heart. His recovery at all, let alone the level of activity to which he has returned post-transplant, is truly nothing short of miraculous.
Thanks EWR764 for this summary!

A quick anecdote about Oscar's heart attack not affecting his memory, and caring for customers: I had a chance meeting with Oscar a few years before I hit 4MM, and mentioned to him at the time I was on that flight-path. He said he'd do everything possible to greet me on one end or the other of my 4MM flight. Years later, on the day of my 4MM flight, he called my mobile phone from Chicago at 4am Central Time as I was waiting in the BOS UC. He said, "I remember promising to greet you today, but as you know I'm on restricted travel due to a "minor" health issue." I don't know if I was more stunned that he called in the first place, or that he remembered his promise!

Last edited by wxguy; May 17, 2023 at 10:13 am
wxguy is online now  
Old May 17, 2023, 10:18 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Programs: UA 1K MM, HHonors Diamond,PC, Marriott Rewards Gold
Posts: 1,101
Originally Posted by wxguy
Thanks EWR764 for this summary!

A quick anecdote about Oscar's heart attack not affecting his memory, and caring for customers: I had a chance meeting with Oscar a few years before I hit 4MM, and mentioned to him at the time I was on that flight-path. He said he'd do everything possible to greet me on one end or the other of my 4MM flight. Years later, on the day of my 4MM flight, he called my mobile phone from Chicago at 4am Central Time as I was waiting in the BOS UC. He said, "I remember promising to greet you today, but as you know I'm on restricted travel due to a "minor" health issue." I don't know if I was more stunned that he called in the first place, or that he remembered his promise!

that in itself is an overwhelming testimony to the greatness of my favorite CEO, Oscar.
hhdl, EWR764 and MatthewLAX like this.
tryathlete is offline  
Old May 17, 2023, 10:33 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Los Angeles / Basel
Programs: UA 1K MM, AA EXP, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 26,881
I've been reading the book too and I love EWR764's summary. If I come across anything else, I'll post it here.
EWR764 likes this.
MatthewLAX is offline  
Old May 17, 2023, 11:26 am
  #8  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Houston
Programs: UA Plat, Marriott Gold
Posts: 12,589
Originally Posted by EWR764
5) Oscar talks about connectivity as key to United's growth strategy: linking small markets with larger ones, with premium cabins, over strengthened hubs. While I don't think that strategy has fundamentally changed, and external factors militate against it at the moment, it is nevertheless ironic reading about this in 2023, from a book written during 2022, as United-coded service has or will soon end to about three dozen smaller airports in the US.
Smaller doesn't mean smallest; the latter are losing service, the former are the opportunity compared to strengthened hubs.

PIT/IND/CMH/RIC/SDF are examples of the former; ERI and SPI are examples of the latter.
mduell is offline  
Old May 17, 2023, 11:52 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York, NY
Programs: UA, AA, DL, Hertz, Avis, National, Hyatt, Hilton, SPG, Marriott
Posts: 9,391
Originally Posted by mduell
Smaller doesn't mean smallest; the latter are losing service, the former are the opportunity compared to strengthened hubs.

PIT/IND/CMH/RIC/SDF are examples of the former; ERI and SPI are examples of the latter.
Your point is well-taken, but that said, it’s funny that Kirby has explicitly cited Erie-to-Paris as illustrative of a small yet high-yield market in which United was losing business to competitors being able to sell a premium product end-to-end against a UA single-cabin RJ. Incidentally, In the book, Oscar uses SPI as his example of a service “only United can provide” when comparing to ULCCs.

Kirby’s comment was pre-COVID, and Oscar’s is an example made by a writer who is no longer affiliated with the company or its current strategy. But I think the current state of the domestic network reflects cuts just a little too deep versus what would be ideal from a connectivity perspective.

Last edited by EWR764; May 17, 2023 at 11:57 am
EWR764 is offline  
Old May 17, 2023, 12:16 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: WAS
Programs: UA Silver, Marriott Gold, IHG Silver, Hilton Silver, Hertz PC, National Exec Elite, Avis PC
Posts: 1,257
Does he cite Gordon's From Worst to First?
Say Vandelay is offline  
Old May 21, 2023, 12:27 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2023
Location: SRQ
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott LT Titanium
Posts: 202
Got the book. So far it’s a great read.
elmira56925 is offline  
Old May 21, 2023, 9:12 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Hilton Contributor BadgeMarriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: TOA
Programs: HH Diamond, Marriott LTPP/Platinum Premier, Hyatt Lame-ist, UA !K
Posts: 20,061
Noted that some excerpts of Oscar's book are in this month's Hemispheres while on a plane.

Here's the page out of the online Hemispheres:

​​​​​​​David
SPN Lifer likes this.
DELee is offline  
Old May 29, 2023, 1:33 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2023
Location: SRQ
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott LT Titanium
Posts: 202
Hate to do what ifs. But it would be interesting to see where UA be today if Oscar’s time at UA would’ve been longer. Kirby and Oscar are polar opposites of each other. I’m not such a big fan of Scott but I am with Oscar.
manstein58 and bluedemon211 like this.
elmira56925 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.