Archive for July, 2011

When I first started my blog, one of the articles I wrote was about United airlines and my disappointing experience with them. Almost two years later I had a chance to fly in another United flight on an international trip. And guess what, United hasn’t changed!

This trip was particularly interesting because I flew with 6 different airlines over a period of 5 weeks – Thai, Malaysian, Quantas, ANZ, Continental and United. And United did everything to be at the bottom of the list. While United charges equivalent prices as their competitors, here is how they serviced their customers:

  • indifferent flight attendants
  • messed up people’s special meals
  • low quality food
  • old aircraft
  • blanket of the size of a towel
  • freezing temperature
  • uncomfortable seats compared to other airlines

Thai probably scored the highest in all categories and Continental was the second best. Surprised that even though Continental and United merged earlier this year, yet there is such a big difference between the two? Well, key reason is that they are still operating as two separate carriers.

Just like thousands of other Continental customers, I am afraid that United will drag them down and Continental will lose their edge in customer service. The issues with United are not new. They started losing in the early 2000s and have never recovered. With the increasing fuel cost and turmoil in the airline industry, United has only focused on one thing – profitability at all cost. They may disagree with this but this is their customer’s view point.

With Jeffery Smisek (from Continental) as the new CEO of the combined company, there were hopes that he would turn around things for United just like he did for Continental. However, it seems like he got lost somewhere in the effort behind the merger and United has become even a bigger sick airline.

Quality comes for a cost. So does customer appreciation. If United continues to ignore both, they will probably see another phase of bankruptcy. And the saga will continue!

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