United Airlines' rough merger puts passengers on a bumpy ride. Gregory Karp, Los Angeles Times.
The trip was a microcosm of what United passengers say and what the industry statistics suggest: Flights on United Airlines nowadays can go relatively smoothly, but if there's a problem, things can go very wrong in a hurry.Agreed, if things go smoothly, United flights are still (by and large) OK. But if something, almost anything really, goes kablooey well....
Fortunately, except for one quick hop to Santa Barbara to top off my yearly mileage, I'm out of the flying game until the end of the Summer. Hopefully this gives United a chance to conduct some of that training and get things back together.
Someone also needs to give Smisek a reality check and explain to him what customer service is, and isn't. In his first introduction to the in-flight safety videos post merger he spoke a lot about "changes we think you're going to like." So far, those changes have been mostly duds. I've heard the new first class meal service is an improvement over what they used to serve, but I've yet to see that materialize on any flights where I've been upgraded. Admittedly however, due to UA's new convoluted upgrade charts and my now pathetic Silver Premier status (will be Gold in 2013 which should provide some improvement) I've yet to see.
What I have seen is an overall devaluation of the brand, coupled with an overall de-emphasis on service at my home airport. (which I wrote about here and Stephen Seagraves wrote about -more intelligently and probably more accurately- here) In addition to the quote above, I agree with this blurb from Seagraves:
I am willing to give United a little leeway but they are trying my patience and I’m sure other Houstonians feel the same way.If you have any kind of status with United, you understand why that leeway is being given. Every rope has its breaking point however, and I just can't help but wonder how many former Continental loyalist ropes are about to reach it?