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One Reason Why UAL May Be Bankrupt  
User currently offline0897t5 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 14 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 9013 times:

I'm a UAL Premier Executive member. My previous status is Premier. My card expires today. UAL explained to me that they send their membership cards out using "bulk" mail (which takes EIGHT WEEKS to arrive). Customer service explained: "it's always been done this way", acknowledging it can cause significant inconvenience on Star Alliance Partner Airlines, such as:
1. Inability to access the lounge
2. Inability to check in at Business Check in
3. Difficulty receiving mileage credit when keyed in manually versus by swiping a valid card

It takes EIGHT WEEKS for cards to reach their destination due to United sending them in bulk. Does this not seem penny-wise and pound foolish?

If United treats customers who fly in excess of 50,000 miles per year and who achieve Premier Executive status this way, perhaps they shouldn't be in business. Thoughts?

60 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2701 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 8938 times:

Quoting 0897t5 (reply 0):
If United treats customers who fly in excess of 50,000 miles per year and who achieve Premier Executive status this way, perhaps they shouldn't be in business. Thoughts?


I couldn't agree more, 0897t5! This is anti-client and total mis-management of a service industry provider. I am currently giving QF a bit of a cold shoulder even though I have Platimum status with them, due to their unconscionable devaluation of my existing points. Apparatly, we clients have had it too good for too long and QF have found the need to "simplify" the system for us. That's fine. Try this for a simple message: I'll take my business elsewhere. Whilst I prefer OW to SkyTeam, at least AF still looks after their FF's well (upgrades, earning points, etc). They might be seeing some more of my business, particularly as they the hub airline in Paris.



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineMeteorologist From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 137 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 8926 times:

I just achieved WorldPerks Silver Elite status with Northwest. They got my card to me only 4 days before I was set to become Silver Elite (3/1/05). I also noticed it came bulk mail, however. I would be curious to know how many elite cardholders each airline has and how much they really do save by using bulk mail.

User currently offlineCX750 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 8857 times:

I'm sure you can access the lounge and check-in if they pull up your reservation, which would clearly show Premier Exec..granted 8 weeks is too long. On the other hand, you'll get within 8 weeks, mine came in 9 days.

User currently offline0897t5 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 14 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 8844 times:

What airlines are good about taking on new customers and allowing them to immediately assume the same status they did have on their previous network? I am interested in leaving United frequent flyer for another network. Someone who flies North America and Europe extensively, also with good coverage of Asia.
Many thanks


User currently offline0897t5 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 14 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 8820 times:

it's been 8 weeks so far and no card. Acccesing the lounge on a partner airline in Europe means the partner airline going through a laborious process of phoning United to verify status. With a now expired card United service personnel indicated yes I may have difficulty checking in at the Business Class desk, and will have to hope manual key in of my frequent flyer number will work. If not I'll have to fax in boarding passess and receipts to their Arizona processing center.

None of this would have happened if United had chosen to send Elite members their new cards via a method other than bulk mail.


User currently offlineFriendlySkies From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 4091 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 8812 times:

Good points, but this isn't why UA is bankrupt. UA is bankrupt because they can't make money. As long as fares are low and costs are high, they won't make money. It has nothing to do with you not being able to access a lounge.

User currently offlineDaumueller From Germany, joined Nov 2003, 687 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 8802 times:

Quoting 0897t5 (reply 4):
What airlines are good about taking on new customers and allowing them to immediately assume the same status they did have on their previous network? I am interested in leaving United frequent flyer for another network. Someone who flies North America and Europe extensively, also with good coverage of Asia.
Many thanks


check out the status match master thread on flyertalk.com. there, you'll find a listing of almost all programs and how they'll comp your status.

cheers,

ben


User currently offlineORDflier From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 174 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8769 times:

My address is in Germany and I received my Premier Executive Card via post within a week of my previous expiration.

Maybe your problem lies with the Postal System?



ORDflier
User currently offlineNWAFA From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1893 posts, RR: 16
Reply 9, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8739 times:

Sorry it is taking so long to get your card, which is totally CRAZY, however that is not the reason why UA is in Bankruptcy...they are there because their management didn't/doesn't know how to run a company. They spend money like crazy and make some pretty bad and dumb decisions on the backs of the employees of UA.


THANK YOU FOR FLYING NORTHWEST AIRLINES, WE TRULY APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS!
User currently offline0897t5 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 14 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8712 times:

basic economics would indicate that yes, an airline would lose money if operating costs are higher than profits. One way to lose profits is to lose the highest paying customers. People who achieve Executive Premier Status on United are bringing significant profit into the airline by using United again and again and again. In any business, this is the ideal customer to have. In United's case, the cost of keeping a customer like me is the cost of a first class stamp. United says they use bulk mail for sending cards to their frequent flyers. There is definitely a connection between turning away your highest paying customers and bankruptcy, as the highest paying customers are keeping the airline closer to profitability.

User currently offlinePDXFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8695 times:

Sending the cards bulk saves money, so it would be the opposite of why they are bankrupt.

However, on Delta at least, you never really need your card, as your status, crown room membership, etc... prints right on your ticket and is part of your reservation. I have found that they update almost immediately as well. Perhaps UA works the same way?


User currently offline0897t5 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 14 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8675 times:

thanks for the flyertalk link Ben. I'll take a look. Postal issues could be a factor - but shouldn't be. I've enquired three times in the past 8 weeks about the card. If one of my clients who spent thousands a year on me asked me for a small credit card sized plastic card, I'd get it to him or her quickly.

User currently offline0897t5 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 14 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8640 times:

using bulk mail contributes to bankruptcy. If they save £1 by using bulk versus first class mail, and in the process lose a frequent flyer who spends £10,000 per year, then if they repeat that mistake with others (and UAL no doubt does), then the mathematics can hypotehtically look like this:

400 UAL frequent flyers (spending on avg £10,000 per annum) leave UAL frequent flyer program due to card not arriving after 8 weeks:

UAL saves £400 on postage

UAL loses £4,000,000 in revenue as a result of choosing to "save" the postage


User currently offlineCatatonic From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 1155 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8596 times:

Quit whining on here and write them a letter of complaint!


Equally Cursed and Blessed.
User currently offlineMidnightMike From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2892 posts, RR: 14
Reply 15, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8591 times:

NWAFA

Problems with United started when United had an employee buyout program, United has not been the same ever since.



NO URLS in signature
User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13255 posts, RR: 62
Reply 16, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8565 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

One way to lose profits is to lose the highest paying customers.

You're assuming that frequent fliers are the highest paying customers - which isn't always the case.

In fact, many times it costs more for an airline to service a frequent flier, because they expect:

  • first class upgrades

  • separate, dedicated check-in positions

  • separate, dedicated reservations staff

  • special frequent flier cards


  • And other sorts of constant coddling that ultimately costs the airline a great deal of money. Now sure, when it's someone who buys expensive fares that's wonderful, and even deserved - but when you have someone racking up elite status based on numerous $198.00 transcon loss-leader fares, that person becomes a high cost, low yield customer - arguably the airline's WORST customer.



    "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
    User currently offline0897t5 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 14 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 17, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8553 times:

    Catatonic: I was simply positing a tangible reason why a legacy carrier cannot seem to get itself together - and that this micro-act is partly responsible for the macro problem. It's a good example of why UAL is in difficulty. I have called them repeatedly, for your information.

    User currently offlineBRAVO7E7 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1840 posts, RR: 18
    Reply 18, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8534 times:

    You are wrong here. You CAN use a Red Carpet Club with just your boarding pass if you are flying with United. You are correct though that you may not use a *A lounge. You can also check in at the UA business class counter. I have done it many times.


    "To find fault is easy: To do better may be difficult." -Plutarch
    User currently offline*HighFlyah* From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 184 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 19, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8500 times:

    I think FriendlySkies answered the question of why UA is bankrupt...

    But concerning customer service, it is annoying that UA sends their welcome kits via bulk mail. But last I heard, there are about 60k - 75k Premier Executives...and well over 100k-120k Premiers. Cost savings is a precious thing to them right now, and this is a relatively good way to do so since, like others have noted, your status shows up in any records you book using your MP number. (Yes, it can be a challenge to get lounge access in foreign territory.)

    Furthermore, while status shows how much you fly -- it is not an indicator of how much revenue you generate for the airline. As a 1K, I can honestly say while I'm not the worst, I'm definitely not UA's greatest revenue-generating asset even though I sit on their planes for more than 100k miles each year. My personal travel is always a coach ticket, and for biz travel I try to be as conservative as possible for my clients--although some of them are more generous than others.

    UA would much rather have the once-a-year flyer who drops $5k for a biz ticket ORD-LHR than to cart a Premier Executive around for 50k miles on deeply-discounted tickets, probably upgraded into premium cabins, that don't even total $5k.

    And I don't think UA has the capability to differentiate between its profitable and unprofitable elite passengers so as to send your welcome kit via first class or bulk.


    User currently offlineJacobin777 From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 14968 posts, RR: 60
    Reply 20, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8481 times:

    When I got to Gold on AA,they sent me my card right away, and it was shown on the AA website within 3-4 days of me achieving it......also, its always printed on my boarding card/slip and reservations...I think AA has been the best for me so far.


    "Up the Irons!"
    User currently offlineCedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 7934 posts, RR: 54
    Reply 21, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8467 times:

    Quoting FriendlySkies (reply 6):
    Good points, but this isn't why UA is bankrupt. UA is bankrupt because they can't make money. It has nothing to do with you not being able to access a lounge.


    I think it has everything to do with our friend not being able to access the lounge. If they treat their best customers like crap, those customers will fly with a better airline and UA will be stuck with the occasional low-yield flyer who doesn't take to the skies enough to have any loyalty to any airline. If they can't mail out a replacement FF card in under eight weeks, why not just close the doors and call it a day now?



    fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
    User currently offlineN867BX From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 339 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 22, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8447 times:

    Quoting EA CO AS (reply 16):
    when you have someone racking up elite status based on numerous $198.00 transcon loss-leader fares, that person becomes a high cost, low yield customer - arguably the airline's WORST customer.


    Perhaps airlines should base their FF programs on $$ spent and not miles.
    Just a thought, but what do I know about running an airline into the ground..um I mean running an airline.


    User currently offline0897t5 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 14 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 23, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 8420 times:

    this conversation has been very illuminating. I believe Travelocity here in the UK allows passengers to purchase access to the lounge on a per trip basis. I had previously been purchasing both US and European domestic air travel via the UA website. Perhaps the best approach is to purchase the cheapest ticket and purchase access to a lounge. Travelocity also ought to offer access to buisness check-in. I've often gone far out of my way to remain with Star Alliance carriers thinking they'd appreciate loyalty.

    User currently offlineUA777222 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3348 posts, RR: 12
    Reply 24, posted (9 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 8355 times:

    Ahhhhhh the month of Feb. when all status is no longer.... I havn't flown much this year and like yourself am losing my status. I was Premier Executive for Feb 03'- Feb 04'. Just at the end of Feb I called customer service and asked what status I would be and was told that I was only Premier. Took no longer than 7-10 business days for me to get my card. Now I'm back to the usual blue card which I expect to get any day.

    My girlfriend is taking a trip with us this summer and b/c she is a new flyer with United and b/c her trip would entail a lot of miles she too was signed up for the FF program. From the day she paid for her ticket to the day she got her card had to be no less than 3 weeks.

    Just use your old card. I have done it before and all they do is pick up your number. I understand that you have to jump to the front of the line and stand infront of the counter under some cheap red rug and a fake flower but chill. They will treat you the same and regardless of your status United has always, in my opinion/experiences, treated all of its customers be it someone flying in the back of the bus on coupons or the "Premier Executive" fellow sitting in the studio apartment seats up front with the same respect and attitude they would expect from someone else. So before you launch an attack on United b/c YOU didn't get a simple peace of plastic that means nothing really, check the facts and calm down. If you are so outraged by the fact that they will not bow the second you enter the airport then leave, probably saved a few people from having you jump down their neck.

    I am personally laughing my ass off at your immature attitude towards a respectable airline. Like others have said, if you have such an issue with it then move on or write a letter.

    In United's case, the cost of keeping a customer like me is the cost of a first class stamp.

    I don't think they'll have an issue filling the seat and as we all know you are soooo important but I don't think your leaving the airline will really send **shocks** throughout the airline. But I agree, if someone isn't happy the whole system needs to change.

    One of the reasons you might have an issue with checking in would be your attitude towards the airline. Go the counter, and in a calm collected voice explain your situation. If you truly are your status I highly doubt it'll be hard for the airline to pull up your records. I flew SFO-NRT-HKG-NRT-SFO and before I got home I had miles awarded to my account so I would say your records are up to date. In terms of the lounge....... Again, go up explain your situation and enter. I think, though your card says your are invalid, you still will get it. I'm no wiz but I think the only difference between a Blue normal mileage card and a gold Premier Executive is the color and print on the front of it. I think all it does it pull up your record and tells the computer the status of the card holder so if your account is active then it should be no problem.

    I'm not meaning to be an ass or come down hard but you shouldn't expect and airline to meet your EVERY need despite the fact you spend sooo much money with them. And no, the card issue is not the cause for their bankrupt status. Maybe they've been bankrupt so long b/c their "Afloat Status" card is in the bulk mail....

    Thanks again,

    Matt



    "It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark."
    25 Jetblue : In my experience, some "elite" members really let it get to their head. They think we should give them the world becuase of status. After they walk aw
    26 Mozart : Jetblue, I fully agree with you that there is no excuse whatsoever for rudeness, status or not. But: as long as airlines give mileage for cheap ticket
    27 0897t5 : Matt: The problems with check in revolves around the following: I fly Star Alliance in Europe. UAL status does not come up when you check in with Luft
    28 UnitedStarGold : There are many more Premier Execs and Premiers than that. The exact numbers are obviously confidential, but I would multiply your figures by at least
    29 Klkla : The previous years card are good until the end of February. I received my 1K card for this year weeks ago so there was no lapse.
    30 Post contains images Jetblue : Mozart- You have a good point. Thank you for making that clear. While it's enjoyable to treat the customer well and go above and beyond their expectat
    31 Tango-Bravo : Depends. With as stupid as legacy airline pricing and FF programs have become, a 50K miles/year traveler is not necessarily a valuable customer; in f
    32 Goneflying : Got my premier executive package today......United obviously spot on with the timing !!
    33 Catatonic : I am with you on this, but believe me you will get further writing to them than complaining on here as i have found when I complained about being sha
    34 0897t5 : I think the airlines should do what's most cost effective, while maintaining impeccable safety and labour relations. If a frequent flyer programme isn
    35 Zrs70 : I've been elite on UA for years. I don't think I've EVER had to show my card to receive miles, use the right in counter, etc. The only inconvenience i
    36 UA777222 : They do. You can pay for the Red Carpet Club at I think 500 a year... not too sure but there is a limit as to how much you can use it based on how muc
    37 September11 : word definition of bankrupt: 1. a person who has done any of the acts that by law entitle his creditors to have his estate administered for their bene
    38 Aa757first : Five Premier Executive members fly 60 times a year (minimum level). Each ticket costs $212. 5 x 212 x 60 = $63,600.00 $63,600.00 can: Pay roughly 1.5
    39 Lijnden : The production of these cards should not take longer than 3 weeks, the most common way to produce the basic card is by offset-printing. After that, th
    40 *HighFlyah* : You might be mistaken (or I'm just confused): To attain Premier Executive status, one must fly 50,000 miles -OR- 60 segments. Not both. (Although bot
    41 Aa757first : True. I just happened to select the sixty segment rule to ease computing. Even so, even $2,400 is a hell of a lot more than Joe Somebody spends a year
    42 EA CO AS : Five Premier Executive members fly 60 times a year (minimum level). Each ticket costs $212. 5 x 212 x 60 = $63,600.00 Personally, I'd rather see UA se
    43 Tango-Bravo : Which is why Southwest is not bankrupt and, in fact has a market capitalization which probably still exceeds that of the combined market cap of the U
    44 0897t5 : TB: do you think the future of airlines will be a tiered system? Hypotehetically, with smaller planes flying all business class routes vs larger airbu
    45 BRAVO7E7 : 1. Please help me understand this. I am a 1K, and have never had any of these problems. Firstly, as I stated above, whn flying UA your ticket is gold
    46 LHRCS : This is a little off topic I know but!.. Now I get the train to work everyday, two there and two back, average 80 journeys every month. Plus maybe an
    47 0897t5 : Bravo, I'm referring here to domestic European travel on Star Alliance airlines. Without the UAL gold card itself, all the above are problems. As of t
    48 Carpethead : Usually, I am a Premier Executive Member yearly, but this year was got to be a 1K. I received my card weeks ago as well. UA sure doesn't make much mon
    49 0897t5 : Bravo, I forgot to mention the frequent flyer card swiping. UAL uses fantastic credit card style frequent flyer cards. All Star Alliance partners I ha
    50 LH431 : Very Interesting thread! But I have one stupid question. What means "Bulk Mail" exactly? I looked up the dictionary but I didn't found anything. It mu
    51 0897t5 : I believe the US postal service has a number of mail classifications. 1st, 2nd, 3rd and bulk are the main I suspect. Bulk is a cut-rate postage for ma
    52 Tango-Bravo : This is what UA seems to be evolving toward by replacing mainline domestic services with RJs and TED on an increasing scale. Whether it is a viable p
    53 ORD2PHL : My 2005 card came yesterday (granted I was already a Premier Exec), but much to my suprise it had someone elses name and MP# on the card! ORD2PHL
    54 AeroWesty : "Bulk Mail" is just a way for a business to send the same item to a number of people for very low rates, known in postal lingo as Presort Standard. S
    55 Post contains images Mymiles2go : There are many inaccuracies in what is said here - such as requiring a card to get FF miles on any Star Carrier or needing a card to get access to Sta
    56 SFOFF : I don't really understand you problem of not having your MP number and status on your boarding pass. All the Star Alliance and Code share boarding pas
    57 SU : 0897t5 Don't make such a big deal out of not getting your cards. Most of the airlines that I know of do use nowadays bulk mail. I myself am LH Senator
    58 Baw716 : To all who are whining about not getting their cards: You clearly don't know the system. Therefore, you clearly fly just barely enough to make your st
    59 Panamandy : hi mates, just signed in, and this is my first reply in this forum, but to this topic, i would like to share my memories with united as well. last yea
    60 Eric75011 : I prefer UA MILEAGE PLUS, the reason: PARIS- HONOLULU = 50.000 miles free ticket with UA PARIS - HONOLULU = 60.000 miles free ticket with AF it s a sh
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