United’s Quest to Be Less Awful

A bungled merger. A corruption scandal. Three CEOs in a year. But hey, at least the snacks are free again.

Quite the interesting read from Drake Bennett at Bloomberg Businessweek. The piece of course begins with all the failures and disappointments since the merger, but ends on an upbeat note – United’s recent best on-time arrival metric since the merger, far fewer cancelations and lost bags in 3Q and 4Q15, and a plan to update the boarding process.

The article is a multi-page in-depth look at what’s gone wrong and how United hopes to get its act together in 2016. The opening is below, but be sure to check out the entire read.

Early last summer, a team at United Airlines set out to discover what bothered its passengers most. The airline collects 8,000 customer surveys a day, and there was a lot to choose from: Was it extra fees for luggage? The lack of legroom? The sour, thin coffee? Was it being forced to spend 20 hours in a frigid military barracks in Newfoundland (as passengers on a United flight to London did last June)? How about the carrier’s tendency to lose the one bag you really need? (On June 17, 2014, Rory McIlroy tweeted: “Hey @united landed in Dublin yesterday morning from Newark and still no golf clubs… Sort of need them this week.”) Could it be the problems with the reservation system that caused widespread delays in 2012, and again in 2014, or the computer glitch on July 8, 2015, that led the airline to suspend all its flights, all over the world, for two hours? In October, United failed to provide a wheelchair to a passenger with cerebral palsy; he had to crawl off the plane.

Check out the full article here.

United Mess

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