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UA New Livery Or Improve Service  
User currently offlineLImamura From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 174 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 6000 times:

The thing that bugs me is rather than UA getting a new livery in hopes that people will see UA as an improved or different airline, I think the money should be invested in making UA a better product overall, just not the appearance.
I think the money should be invested in training and re-training of its employees. If UA employee's could somehow pull their service level to where the Asian airlines have set their standards, then UA would have something to talk about. (Of course Asian Airlines are not governed by Unions, so each individual must perform well in order to keep their jobs)
If UA gave service like CX, SQ, NH, JL, MH, KE etc, then UA would not have to worry about getting passengers. They would not have to worry about a fresh start or to wipe out the memories of the current livery hitting the WTC that may still be fresh in peoples minds.
People will fly UA because of the service, not because of the livery.
I mean what is better great service onboard or a good livery on the outside?!

What do you all think??? Would you rather have UA spend money to improve their livery or improve their service???

(sorry if this has already been said or if others have mentioned this on other threads already)

40 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineTommy767 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5949 times:

Why not kill two birds with one stone?

UAL should make a brand spanking new livery, and improve there overall service too.

User currently offlineRiverVisualNYC From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 930 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5927 times:

Right on. The money going to the marketing consultants and web and graphic designers ought to go into training and service. The whole -TED LCC thing is completely ridiculous. But here in America people often buy image, not substance. With respect to airlines, I once heard a senior executive of the late ValuJet (now AirTran), say something to the effect that no one cared how old the planes were or how experienced the employees were as long as the company put out the right image. ValuJet devoted alot of resources to image and marketing while outsourcing most of the staffing function and using 25-30 year old aircraft, and had alot of maintenence issues. In the end they were undone by a horrible accident that was easily avoidable, caused by a maintenence subcontractor if I am not mistaken. People want honest value and an image of competence, not gimmicks, and UA should have learned this from the success of WN and JetBlue

User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12341 posts, RR: 45
Reply 3, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5915 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!


Has said it best. I have read on this board that the moral and attitude of the UA employees has changed for the better once they entered bankruptcy. Once they are out I hope it still stays positive.

You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineAirways6max From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 494 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5867 times:

Improve service! No-one will care about a new livery if they feel like they're flying in a sardine can.

User currently offlineChgoflyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 622 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5797 times:

United will never be able to improve service. The pilots union simply will not allow it to happen. This is a union that downgrades fare paying passengers when their members are dead heading, created the bad feelings toward their company in order to get a new contract, and complains about the meal in the cockpit not being the same as what's being served in business class.
Pilots fly planes.. they are not good business people. Most do not realize that in the transaction one side cashes checks and the other side/passengers write them.
United is going the way of PA and EA is only a matter of time.

Will someone please wake me up in 4 years
User currently offlineRiverVisualNYC From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 930 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 5711 times:

I am a longtime AA frequent flyer and next week I am flying UA for the first time since the '80s, precisely because I want to see what's up with them. I hope Chgo is wrong, and they can pull off a recovery, but as an aside re pilots, alot of these guys worked very hard for many years to get to where they are. Some flew in our military, some were $15,000 a year freight dogs flying shifts and aircraft no one wanted to, some spent $40,000 to go to an academy. The point is, these people are professionals as much as doctors and lawyers and investment bankers are, and they worked hard and made sacrifices to get where they are today. And when you fly in their aircraft, your life is in their hands. It's not the stockbroker in seat 1A that's going to get you safely on the ground in an emergency. So if they want a decent meal on the job, or if they want to be comfortable deadheading to work a flight, there's nothing wrong with that. Why is it OK to spend millions on advertising, marketing and re-branding while it's somehow wrong to take care of your most mission-critical employees? The issue is customer service, and pilots are not frontline in this function. It's the attitude of the check-in and gate staff and cabin crew that give passengers an impression, positive or negative, and the pilots, like those at FedEx or UPS, are responsible for the safe and timely operation of the aircraft.

User currently offlineBistro1200 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 337 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 5668 times:

For an airline going the way of PA and EA, sure is funny how all unions, even the IAM agreed to not only pay cuts but also the outsourcing of a lot of their work. Sure is funny that UA is #2 in on-time performance in 2003, while being #1 in 2002. Seems odd for UA to have fully restored its pre-SARS pacific schedule if they are so close to the end, and getting good loads at that.

UA has to benchmark itself against AA, DL, NW, and CO. Cathay, JAL, and other Asian carriers are not UA's primary competition, US carriers are. Again, it looks to be a sad day for alot of the doom and gloom a.net posters when UA emerges from Ch. 11 with an ATSB loan guarantee in their back pocket. Lower costs, a low-interest loan, and increasing yields... not exactly going the way of EA/PA.

What the industry must confront, however, is the issue of pensions. I hear there is a Senate bill to provide relief from accelerated payments, let's hope that is a start.

Measure to the millimeter, mark with a crayon, cut with an axe.
User currently offlineAndersjt From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 390 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5595 times:

In many threads regarding UA's survival, it is quality of service, and service inconsistencies that have been my sticking point.

UA has always been an innovator among U.S. carriers, especially in service. As they grew to become an international carrier, you could see the additional purser training, language requirements, etc. coming in.

However, it must be incredibly difficult to motivate, and instill a superior customer service attitude when you also have to deliver the message that your pay is going to be cut further, you have to put in more hours, your pension is in jeopardy, and we're cutting back on amenities for passengers. That's a big hurdle to overcome.

Some have noticed an attitude improvement among UA employees. I think much of that can be traced to the seniority of the people who still have jobs. A lot of these employees you may encounter have a lot of years invested with United. We also have to remember that some of the Asian carriers that are mentioned are either state-owned or sponsored. They do not have the same economic hurdles to overcome that U.S. carriers have. With U.S. carriers, the union influences are not always positive either. Finally, in the U.S., airline travel has evolved into more of a commodity, and the customer has come to expect a lot for next to nothing.

I took 3 trips between May and September. For my trip in May, it was 9 first class segments, and for the most part, the service was right on. When talking with the pursers, or other in-flight personnel, these were very senior employees, and while they still had jobs, they found themselves bidding for trips that were less desirable. But being senior, they knew that it was the customer who was important.

The next trip was in July, a short round-trip to Denver and back, both segments first class. With that trip UA got a 50%. The problem I noticed was a lot of people were coming back to flying, but I don't think UA caught up in getting employees back. First class check-in lines were long, and there were other negative things that were very noticeable. Where in-flight crews were based also made a big difference. Sorry to say this, but I have always found LAX based flight attendants to be the worst. I also saw cutbacks in small amenities that I just cannot imagine that they cost that much.

September was the 3rd trip, this was my 9/11 trip through every United hub. It was posted on the "Trip Reports" board, 5 first class segments, and not the best of experiences. Morale problems were very noticeable, and the inconsistency in quality of service problem where in-flight crews (especially pursers) were based. I'm still not sure United will be the choice for my next trip.

Everyone is correct in that it going to take more than changing the exterior look of the planes, and setting a new corporate image. It would be wonderful if UA could also get the new image to its employees, what a fantastic carrier they could be. I don't think a lot of money invested in re-training is the right course. UA already has a lot of different training programs in place. If anything, the effort should be made in getting the right message to the employees of how important the customer is to the airline's survival, and how they interact with them. It is a hard message to deliver to hard-working, not so well paid employees; however, we customers do notice who the dedicated ones are vs. those who are not.

[Edited 2003-11-08 02:02:39]

Oh how I long for the day when the skies were truly Friendly!
User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 27684 posts, RR: 81
Reply 9, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5556 times:


You make some comparatives here, and the only thing that concerns me is this - in another thread (looking for advice) you seemed to suggest that your International First Class experiences were all with UAL.

Yes? No?

If "yes", then I urge you to try another carrier next time - not because they will necessarily be better, but as a basis for comparison.

But, I promise you, once you've tried Singapore First Class, for example, it's a tough habit to break.

If "no", then I'm just talking through my hat and you should ignore me.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineAndersjt From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 390 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5511 times:


Didn't mean to rattle on about my recent experiences. I've done those to death.

No, I have not had a reason to try Singapore, and I hear it is fantastic. Does UA need to be at that level? I don't know. They probably should strive for it to successfully compete with Singapore.

What UA needs to work on is high-quality, by U.S. standards, across 100% of the system. Read into mine, and a lot of other threads and posts, and there is a pattern of inconsistency of service. Good for one flight, lousy the next. Instead of a 50% grade, why not work for 90%.

Oh how I long for the day when the skies were truly Friendly!
User currently offlineLImamura From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 174 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 5454 times:

Andersjt - You have made many valid points but why should UA strive for 90% and not 100% or even 110%??
Also, I agree with you that UA needs to work on high quality of service throughout its system, but again why should UA put out high quality based on US standards. The reason everyone always raves about the Asian carriers are because Asian carriers try to be the best out of all airlines not just carriers in one specific region. If UA gave superior service like Asian Airlines does then I would imagine most people would fly UA exclusively, like you for example: you will be sure that for your next trip it will be on UA, instead of being unsure like you are now.

Don't you think that in order to get the right message across to the employees of how important the customer is and so forth, that will be done through training. I mean if you just send out a letter or bulletin to employee's most people either will not read it or not take it seriously.

Bottom line..UA should not sell themselves short of what they can accomplish if they wanted too. Trying to be the best is key not just being average.

User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 27684 posts, RR: 81
Reply 12, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 5398 times:


I don't mind you "rattling on" about your flying experiences at all. You should hear me rattle on about mine.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

But I think the simple answer is "yes" - UAL does need to be at that level if only to compete.

SQ (and others) have flat beds. So to compete, UAL has to have flat beds. But you can bet your last dollar that UAL (or AMR) would not have introduced flatbeds if the others didn't have them.

You once said, in another thread, that your boss likes the goodies and doesn't mind paying for them. But how would your boss feel if he pays for the goodies but doesn't get them?

It has to do with perceptions and expectations. If my ticket cost big bucks I expect big bucks service. If my ticket was reasonably priced, then I expect reasonable service.

People tell me the old days are gone, and no one will pay for premium service anymore. But how do we know, since you can't get true premium service (domestically) even if you pay for it?

So I, like so many others, don't even try. I go to the LCC's knowing I'll get to where I want to go for a reasonable price in reasonable comfort.

If I thought that I could get "value for money" out of the majors, I (or my employers) would pay for it.

But I've been too disappointed too often to believe that any more. And Ted/Starfish doesn't help that perception in my mind.

Put it this way: Tiffanys are still selling a whole lot of diamonds, even though you can get good diamonds, much cheaper, a few blocks down the street. If Tiffanys goes down market, why would their clientele go to them anymore?



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineAIR757200 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1579 posts, RR: 7
Reply 13, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 5367 times:

Memo: To: CEO, UAL.

Please change your livery- we think you need a new one.

From: Airliners.net members (some)

*There are more important things UAL has to work on than the color of their aircraft.

User currently offlineStevenUhl777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5257 times:

As usual, Mariner and Andersjt make excellent points, and I agree with both. As I have said many times before, it is the morale of the employees that will ultimately determine the fate of any given airline...and I'm not just talking about UA here, though it certainly applies. As with other airlines, there's a lot of bitterness at UA, in all employee groups. Some employees more than others, and I believe that's a big reason why ff's like Andersjt notices the inconsistent service quality with UA. Each of the airlines that have or are experiencing difficulty face this same issue, and the extent to which they try to solve them and the success rate will determine their fate. Either back to the top or go the way of Ch. 7.

On to the passenger service issue. What I haven't read here yet is that passengers from different parts of the world define "customer service" differently, and have differing standards for what "excellent service" means to them, and what an airline would have to do to meet that definition. Imagine being a flight attendant and having to cater to these different levels of expectation in just a matter of a few hours!
- I think most would agree that Asian flyers have the highest expectations, hence Singapore being at the top of the heap.
- Europe....British Airways seems to be another favorite and at one point referred to themselves as "the world's favourite airline"! Lufthansa and SAS are well respected, and KLM in that mix as well.
- North America, I would argue, finishes towards the bottom, and it becomes even more complex...there's folks who don't bat an eyelash when booking first class on UA, AA, NW, etc. Another group just wants to get from point A to point B and doesn't care if it's on a network carrier or LCC. The last group won't spend a penny more than they absolutely have to.
- Are any Latin American airlines known worldwide for "excellent service"? LanChile comes up a lot here, but they seem to be the exception out of the rest.
- As far as Australia goes, perhaps similar to both the US and Europe. Qantas is good and bad, but does it consistently rank high with the likes of Singapore, et. al.?

So, having said all that, I think I've accentuated the challenge that all airlines face: to what standard/level of service do we provide, based on the amount being paid for the ticket and what our individual customers expect? Clearly, there's a bare minimum that HAS to be met, but then from there, it gets complicated.

Go back to 1994...UA was on the brink of Ch. 11 then, following the first Iraq war, and the industry was in turmoil. After employee ownership, then-CEO Stephen Wolf correctly decided it was time for a new external corporate identity, which came about in the current livery. Given UA's expansion internationally, he wanted the livery to be"world class", and ended up being similar to what BA had. It was met with mixed reviews, and to this day either you love it or hate it.

Now to 2003...history has literally repeated itself, and with the exception of dealing with the aftermath of a catastrophic terrorist attack, we're in a similar situation as in 1991/1992, right down to the last name of the President. Since last Dec., UA has restructured its internal appearance by taking the necessary steps to become operationally profitable and restructure internally, evaluating what hasn't worked, what needed to be fixed, and where they want to go. With a few more hurdles to clear, the next stage is about to begin, and once it's over, it will be time to remerge. United once again needs a new livery...to move beyond the employee ownership era, the horror of their plane in current livery slicing into the south tower, and lastly, it's associated with the Ch. 11 perid.

United has been recognized as a respected carrier across the Pacific and Atlantic...I dont know where they rank now, but one thing is for sure: they're not the "best" right now in terms of ranking, but they have the ability to improve in areas where they have known weaknesses. And it all begins with raising morale of its employees...it's their consistent effort (everyone, not just the senior employees) have to be on board. Management must acknowledge this, and their success in doing so will depend if United restores its former glory or experiences more turbulence in the years ahead.

I believe in United, and wish them the best. As long as they are flying, I'll fly them. I hope the day never comes that I see them completely fail and have to settle for an alternate.

User currently offlineMidway2airtran From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 864 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 5181 times:

Whatever it takes to change, UAL has a long, long way to go. I think a new Livery might be good thing to inspire change within the company. If not the passengers, it would remind employees that change is on the way. Similar to what Gordon Bethune did when he came to CO.

"Life is short, but your delay in ATL is not."
User currently offlineStevenUhl777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5141 times:

Midway2airtran: What exactly constitutes a "long, long way to go?" Are you talking about actual number of months left? Or are you talking about specific issues? Or...exactly what do you mean? For those who don't know, what were some of the specific things Bethune did?

Next time, if you're going to open with a statement like that, at least provide some more details so other readers can reply to you with intelligent answers, whether they agree with you or not.

User currently offlineUAL777CONTRAIL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5092 times:

Why on god green earth do you still fly UAL?
ALL YOU DO IS BITCH!!! You always remind EVERYONE that ALL your segments are first class!!! We know that is all you fly, go fly someone else if you don't like our service, put this horse to sleep?

This forum has many,many different cultures and different job groups representing different airlines here, US carriers aren't ASIAN carriers for more reasons than 1, we have many many more fights than our neighbors across the pond. Do you think Singapore would have this heaven like service if they operated 2200 flights a day? HELL No, 3500 flights a day? Please, dream on. Just like when someone tries to argue the fact EL AL has the safest airline to date? Try operating 2200 flights a day EL AL, see how much time you can spend taxiing widebodies to the gate and runway.

All you socialites and season fliers beware of US carriers, not only do they offer excellent service but they offer safe travel from point A to B and if travel calls for C then I would be willing to bet you'll be ok on that one as well.

You get tired of wankers complaining about the busyest airline section of the world!!! No country in this world have more flights airborne a day like we have here in the states, if you don't like the service then do what anderjst does and only fly FIRST, if not be glad you even have the change to step foot on a plane!!!! nuff said


User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 27684 posts, RR: 81
Reply 18, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5048 times:


I'm glad you recognize what Stephen Wolf did - very few people do. Whatever his faulkts, he had a vision.

It wasn't just the outside of the planes, it was what happened inside, too. He tried to create a would class airline that could stand against the best. And, for a while anyway, he succeeded. Remember Connoisseur Class? It was good, damn good.

So what happened, and how does UAL get that back?

What happened, I think, is that old bugaboo (or sacred cow) - market share. Let's remove it from the US and look across the pond, at what was "the world's favorite airline", if only in their own mind.

British Airways has lost a lot of market share - to Virgin Atlantic Upper Class at the high end, and to the UK LCC's at the low end.

It's an odd one, because Virgin shouldn't by most US standards succeed. They only have their long haul routes, they have no regional network feeding into those routes. They are, by US standards, illogical and vulnerable.

So how do they survive? By making people want to fly them. Not for their network, but because they are good.

How does BA counteract this? By doing it better. So they introduce the flat beds in Business Class, and make a huge to-do about it. Rightly. I dont know if they're going to regain market share because of it, but I doubt they'll lose much more.

But I think BA's decision about the lost low end is even more sensible. How do they fight the LCC's? They don't.

After a few false starts (their own LCC) they have decided to cede a certain portion of the market (mostly leisure) to Ryanair and Easyjet. They are concentrating on their core business - the business traveller, the person who needs to fly to Paris proper (say) than some small airport halfway to the Normandy coast.

In other words, they are reinventing themselves by capitalizing on their strengths and cutting off their weaknesses. They're more concerned with profit margins than market share.

This is almost exactly the opposite of what is happening here, where to deliberately give up market share is seen as a sign of failure or weakness.

Whereas in the case of British Airways it may very well be their salvation.

So - does every US airline have to fly to every US city?

If UAL misses out on 5 pax from Podunk, Idaho, is that really the end of the world, if they have persuaded 1000 pax from Beverly Hills that they, UAL, are the best in the world?

It comes back to the vision thing. I think CEO Tilton has done a remarkable job at UAL, if only be negotiating a very difficult bankruptcy. How many people insisted that UAL wouldn't last this long? However, in one sense, that part of the job is easy. Cut costs and cut more costs until you get it right.

But what he has not done - or what he has not communciated to me, Joe Blow - is what sort of airline he wants UAL to be once they are out of bk.

And that's the part that's going to matter.



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineBN747 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 5641 posts, RR: 50
Reply 19, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5016 times:

Why on god green earth do you still fly UAL?
ALL YOU DO IS BITCH!!! You always remind EVERYONE that ALL your segments are first class!!!"

You have a lot of whinny threads."

It is hard to read your whole thread, you slam everyone and make no sense most of the time, you didn't get a lot of hugs growing up did you?"

All the above are from UAL 777 Contrail


Does living in/near the Vatican give you this sanctimonious 'I'm above it all' mindset? Who have I slammed? Look above at yourself...just one thing, PLEASE tell me you are coming to the Airliners 2004 show in Los Angeles, I'll be easy to find..I'd like to meet you. And hear more of your psycho analysis of me. In the interim, I look forward to more of your assesments of the contributions of others here.

Does that make sense...or is further clarification needed?


"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
User currently offlineBigphilnyc From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 4077 posts, RR: 51
Reply 20, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4996 times:

My God. Thread after thread, some of you just dont get it. Smae people who just believe waht they want and dont pay attention to other posts as they jsut like to listen to themselves talk.

If United get a new livery and decides to only paint their planes when the aircraft has D-checks (when they would re-paint their planes anyway), if their scheme is cheaper than their current one, which shouldn't be so difficult, then they will be SAVING money, not spending more.

Then maybe that money would go to improved service or wherever.


Understand that.

Phil Derner Jr.
User currently offlineStevenUhl777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 4947 times:


Great post...and background on BA, since I knew very little about them overall. My reply would be that the domestic aviation market in the UK and US are near polar opposites, just due to mere size of the two countries.

* The UK sees a lot of in-transit customers coming in from one country on their way to another country. To offer support to your statement on BA not needing to worry about regaining market share from the LCC's, take me for example: if I want to fly from SEA to say, CPT, the most efficient way for me is to fly nonstop to LHR on BA, not even pass through UK customs, and then continue south on BA to Cape Town. BA makes money on a non-citizen, twice! The same idea holds true for SAS in Copenhagen and LH in Frankfurt. With small countries, there isn't really a feeder network at all, but they can capitalize on the in-transit customers instead.

* The US is a different story. While each airline has their "hub" in a selected city, in order to make it even MORE successful and profitable, or these days to minimize their loss, they have to resort to getting additional people from smaller cities to feed into it on their airline. Using myself as an example again, if I wanted to fly to SYD from SEA, I could fly SWA to an LA/SF area airport to save money, then get to LAX/SFO for the UA nonstop to SYD. While United makes money for the SYD flight, they still lose because they lost potential revenue as I didn't fly UA from SEA to begin with. If everyone flew only LCC's domestically, but then transferred to a network carrier for a longer flight, the network carriers would be in even worse shape, because that's a huge revenue chunk they're not getting, but could. Hence, the repeated attempts by various carriers to emulate their success and regain market share. UA seems to have learned a little from the first experiment, in that they're aren't taking on SWA directly this time around. Still, the LCC's are a success because they started out that way, not a bastardization of a larger, higher cost structure.

Re: Stephen Wolf...at the extreme risk of becoming flame bait, one of two of the greatest CEO's in United's recent history, the other being Glenn Tilton. Dick Ferris and Eddie Carlson were miserable failures...they only wanted to build a hotel/travel empire, totally departing from the core business model. Remember Allegis? What a joke that was. Wolf knew/knows the industry inside and out, and should be considered along the same lines as Bob Crandall (who I believed he worked for while at AA) and not Lorenzo, like others want to compare him to. Wolf saw exactly what he had in United in 1987, especially since the Pacific routes from PA came over a year earlier, and quickly sought to get an alliance with BA, but that broke down because the IAM refused to join in with the management and pilots and BA. Imagine if that had actually gone through! Connoisseur class, while still with UA to this day, isn't what it was, and I think it was one of Wolf's brainchilds as part of his efforts to upgrade UA's international image. He is the reason United is as big as they are today, and UA probably wouldn't not have got the LHR slots had he not been there when they came available when PA failed. Anyway...Wolf had to make some tough decisions towards the end of his tenure, and was at one point had contracts drawn up to farm out maint. and other services in 1994 to save money and prevent Ch. 11 back then. He may even have thought of selling off assets, which would have been a mistake. The employees bought the company instead through pay cuts and formation of Shuttle to preserve their jobs, out of necessity, and that hurried approach hurt them in the long run. A great idea at the starting gate, and I still think that was the best idea rather than breaking up the company back then. Turns out that buyout, while successful in the early years, delayed the inevitable, and now we're in an exact repeat of 1994. I think United's recovery in the 2-3 years will mirror the first successful years of the ESOP. The restructuring that took place under Ch. 11 will determine how much further beyond 2-3 years the recovery will last for. I just hope UA won't be in the same situation they were in last year 7-10 years down the road.

Glenn Tilton, while still very new, is one of the greatest CEOs of UAL, simply because he has far exceeded most everyone's expecations...that of an oil exec. with Chapter 11 management experience, coming in to an embattled company well on the fast track to Ch. 11. I'm amazed at what he and his team have accomplished, as are the outside analysts and DIP lenders. A year ago, I really feared for the future of UA. It was a 50/50, if not greater, chance of Ch. 7. Now, I'm very optimistic for them, and Ch 7. is only mentioned by the less educated folks on this forum. Still a long way to go, but...anyone less than Tilton in this situation (like Jack Creighton or Jim Goodwin) would have been disastrous and United wouldn't be here today.

Anyway...this has been fun...thanks for the info. on BA. Sure is great to have an intelligent conversation on this website, for once!

User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 27684 posts, RR: 81
Reply 22, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 4819 times:


Wolf: In some ways, I could claim that Wolf was a better "airline" CEO than Crandall - at least initially.

Crandall created a lean, mean money making machine - a remarkable achievement - but he is the man who took Class out of First.

Wolf, on the other hand, wanted a great airline, and came some way to achieving it. Finally, I think that one of two things happened:

Wolf lacked "follow through". Either that, or he failed to communicate his vision to the people who were carrying it out, or he failed to put the right people in place to carry it out.

Or, which is more likely, he got bored with all the day to day infighting. It isn't uncommon. People who have a vision sometimes throw up their hands when others either can't see the vision or try to change it.

Whatever actually happened, Wolf laid down the basis of greatness, and, yes, that does apply to the livery, too.

Yes, that livery has been controversial - but not nearly as controversial as BA's world tails.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

People are suggesting it be changed in part because of the image of the planes flying into the WTC.

Well, I'm a resident, not yet a citizen, and from where I stand that image is absolutely nothing of which to be ashamed, or to try and hide or change. It is an image that I think should be worn with honor. The most enduring image out of WW2 (for those of us old enough to remember) is of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, standing proud amidst the flames and destruction of the Blitz.

To change the UAL livery just because of the WTC is to give one round to the terrorists.

I think, fwiw, that Americans are more likely to repsond postively to a company that is proud of being American - with all that that implies.

Tilton: I agree that he has done a remarkable job (I think that was my point), but I think it's a bit early to accord him greatness. Yes, steering a massive company through bk is an achievement, but finally it is simply accounting and bloody mindedness. Greatness requires some vision.

BA and the UK: Yes, the market is different. But it isn't all that different. I notice you don't address the issue of Virgin's lack of feed, but hey, I get your general point.

The thing is, no one can say what would happen here if an airline willingly ceded market share - because no airline has ever done it.

To me, it smacks of "mine's bigger than yours." Well - who cares?

For the greatest part of it's life, PanAm had very little domestic feed. You can argue (and I would agree) that this was part of it's eventual problem. But it wasn't the whole problem.

PanAm tried desperately to increase it's domestic size/feed, through the acquisition of National, and it didn't help much.

The problem was simpler. PanAm had been run by one of the greatest visionaries of civil aviation. It had an international route structure (and international agreements) that was the envy of many, many airlines. Only three or four of the internationals, at most, had a better route structure.

Post-Trippe, the airline was taken over by bean counters who tried to make it all things to all people. By doing so, they killed the thing that made PanAm great.

I guess the better comparison is not BA, but Air France. AF has a very large but finally quite limited "base" market. That is, for the most part AF is the "home" airline of those who speak French - a declining number.

AF has not tried to change this. They haven't thrown out their "French" image, they have embraced it - they have, in effect, deliberately limited their own home market. They have accepted that market share is not necessarily the key to profitability.

They have also, and this is the important part, remained profitable throughout these dreadful times.

Apply that rule to UAL and you get something interesting. Not an attempt to be all things to all people - which is what every US major is doing. Instead, a determination to be so good that people will choose to fly UAL - even if it involves some inconvenience.

Finally, I guess it's the difference between the Crandall approach and the Wolf attitude.



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineIcarus75 From France, joined Oct 2003, 838 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 4805 times:

Improve the service and the breakfast in coach section in flights between US and Europe!!! How is it possible to serve such a bad meal to people?
I also experienced a flight between LAS and ORD, departing from LAS around 0600am. What did we get during dervice : coffee and.....salted peanuts!!!!
I understand that the company is in bad shape but it is not, in my opinion, an excuse!!
Again : UA should keep is livery and improve the service!!!!

Flying is amazing!
User currently offlineLhr001 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (12 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 4765 times:

In reviewing the previous posts in regards to UAL changing its livery and its service, no one has yet stated the attitude of Flight Attendants. It is sad to say, but some of the Flight Attendants get the feel comfortable feeling after a few years and hide behind the unions. In turn they feel that they do not have to offer the best of service, or customer assistance.

In recent years, I have witnessed not only United Airlines.. But American, Delta, Southwest, and British Airways Flight Attendants standing idly by as senior citizens required assistance with locating their seat, storing cabin baggage, or even the ever constant ignoring of a Flight Attendant Call Button. It is true United Airlines is not to solely blame for this.

However, if the new United Airlines wishes to make an even better impact on the flying public. The attention must be centered on the in-flight experience! What mistakes were made on the ground, can be turned around in the air!


25 Post contains images StevenUhl777 : Mariner and LHR001: Both of you make excellent points!
26 UAL777CONTRAIL : BN747, You are a very defensive poster, I guess being a TV consultant makes you an authority on aviation. why in the world would I waste time coming t
27 LImamura : A few of you in this thread seems to think that United's biggest difficulty in striving and achieving for better service throughout UA would be the Un
28 Ord : "Go back to 1994...UA was on the brink of Ch. 11 then, following the first Iraq war, and the industry was in turmoil. After employee ownership, then-C
29 UAL777CONTRAIL : Llmamura, Very well said, I do however have to disagree with you. I am a union hater, I am in a union that is crap, I have seen this crappy union prot
30 Post contains images StevenUhl777 : ord: Thank you...my mistake. I knew it was towards the end of Wolf's tenure, and I had 1994 in my mind. But Jan. 1993 sounds about right to me, the mo
31 Jaysit : Improve their service. I flew United on a three-class 777 to San Francisco recently in Business Class and I couldnt believe how pathetic it was. The s
32 BN747 : UAL777 Contrail wrote: why in the world would I waste time coming to the airliners 2004 convention? If I am not from Los Angeles then I don't think y
33 UAL777CONTRAIL : bn747, You really need to pay attention, I said 52 777's and 777man said 56, you need to pay attention. and no offense but I don't waste my time atten
34 BN747 : UAL 777 Contrail wrote: bn747, You really need to pay attention, I said 52 777's and 777man said 56, you need to pay attention. SESGDL's post: Posted
35 UAL777 : wow.....this is fun to watch. Anyway, the only thing i wanted to respond to was Mariner in that UA DOES have flat beds in first class. I know because
36 Killerbabe : UA Should improve their services. IT Has a great livery, but I find its service terrible.
37 UAL777CONTRAIL : BN747, My reply that I "dissed the messenger" was in the AA:WHY NO ASIA thread, it is reply 84. what was the thread you made ignorant claims that AA w
38 Klwright69 : Midway2airtran, You spoke about a livery change sprucing up UA's image. You compared it to what Bethune did at Continental. Not totally true. Bethune
39 BN747 : UAL 777 Contrail wrote what was the thread you made ignorant claims that AA would be killing everyone else if Crandall would have gotten the 747's and
40 Aviatortj : I'm not reading all these long posts, so I apologize if this has been said... The cost of repainting the planes is a set cost. When they go in to get
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