UNITED AIRLINES STRIVES TO MEET ITS PASSENGERS NEEDS
CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--**Updated April 26, 2001**-- UAL Corp. has recently announced plans to better serve its business travellers with improved availability of flight imformation, and speedier check-in processess. "We have already installed e-ticket macines at many aeroports, and we intend to have more than 800 macines in place by year's end. We are also installing lahge electonic displays at many gates whit offer more detailed information than the old signalboads," said President Rono Dutta.
But according to Dutta, there's no point in making too many improvements.
"Ideally, I would model United after the Indian Railways. Unfortunately, we have a competitive system in the United States, and we are forced to employ slightly higher standards of safety and service. With the incorporation of US Airways, I had hoped we might reach a size where we could further 'streamline' our standards of service. But, how much further can United cut costs? After all, we cannot have people hanging on to the sides of aircraft like they do on trains---I fear strapping passengers to the wings or fuselage might create airflow disruptions, which could have a significant impact on our operating expenses. And, passengers have resisted the idea of being shipping as packages in the cargohold. It seems passengers don't realize that our only obligation is to mooove them from point A to point B safely.
Let me tell you, compared to the quality of transportation in some parts of the world, United is really very nice. Some people say that our coach class is like a cattle car. To them I point out that some people believe in treating their cattle very well! I know I certainly do. At United, we strive to provide safe, reliable and comfortable service to all passengers, even if some of them act like cows.
Yet still, some greedy, materialistic passengers expect more. And for the most part, we can't give them more because passengers might think discrimination was taking place if we were to engage in preferencial treatment to certain passengers.
But, United has an answer. We are creating a new service just for them---a unit that is poised within five years to operate 200 corporate jets seating six to 14 passengers. We can offer superior service to them, allowing us to treat everyone else like slop. United's planned unit will offer what is typically called fractional-jet ownership service, meaning that clients will buy a portion of the planes, almost like a time share, and then pay operating fees when they fly. In return, the clients are guaranteed a set number of flying hours a year, and if their own personal plane isn't available, a similar one will be flown in. United will hire and train the pilots and arrange for maintenance, insurance and catering.
The largest player in the fractional-jet market is Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s Executive Jet unit, which has boosted its fleet to 265 planes operated for fractional owners. We hope that if UAL enters this market, our stock-price will soar to the same level as Berkshire Hathaway.
This is all part of our continuing effort to provide passengers with individualized service. Some passengers expect more, and if they are willing to pay, they will get more. The primary complaint of passengers is cancelled and delayed flights. So, unlike at other airlines, we will be able to assure passengers who pay top dollar that they we won't cancel their flight, we won't lose their luggage and we won't bump them off the plane. You cannot treat passenger better by just sticking them in a nicer section of a delayed airplane. You have to change the entire experience, and that includes the airplane."
So---do you still think AWA is the worst managed airline? At least AWA execs believe in an honest representation of the facts.