FlyingBanker
Topic Author
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:36 am

What's Wrong With United?

Fri Dec 05, 2003 7:19 pm

I really do apologize, I am just not sure I see the problem with United...........if there is one. They try to be as on time as possible, they take you where you want to go. I realize they are a BIG airline, but still they are the heart and soul of many a family.........why the hate?
 
DeltaMD11
Posts: 1678
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2002 4:56 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Fri Dec 05, 2003 8:20 pm

Besides the fact that they have alienated some of their best passengers, have some of the highest fares in the industry cumulative, and are severely mismanaged?

I will be fling with United on December 31st of this year SAN-DEN-PHL. My first time flying United in 3 years after a round of horrible travel experiences on family vacations (2 of them). I certainly hope things have improved.
Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
 
BeltwayBandit
Posts: 474
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 4:25 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 12:32 am

Right now, United is a very destructive force in the US airline industry. They are operating in bankruptcy and desperately trying to meet cashflow targets; and to do so they are selling seats at WAY below their costs. This is putting a real strain on the solvent airlines that must compete with them.
 
LastBaron
Posts: 269
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 9:55 am

RE: Snow Storm Delay Questions

Sat Dec 06, 2003 1:34 am

Well put, Beltwaybandit. Am personally flying UAL JFK-FRA-MUC for $214 r/t. Talk about destructive force!

I am only flying them because of the fare. I detest UAL after all bad experiences on their flights no matter where I have flown them in the world. I am also secretly hoping the flight is operated by LH as it is codeshare. In that case at least I know I will have a pleasant flight. UAL is also not only a destructive force, but also foolish. What airline can conscientiously go ahead and launch an "airline within in airline LCC" in the face of its own death, knowing full well that these are usually doomed to failure (case in point - MetroJet) and that they might as well just burn the cash instead... unbelievable arrogance, stupidity and callousness over in their HQ IMO...
 
Leskova
Posts: 5547
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 3:39 pm

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 1:41 am

Personally, I like UA - I've flown them about 20-25 times last year, including transatlantic and between the west coast and Hawaii, and it was a pleasant experience on every flight.

LastBaron, if you want to know who operates your flights, you can - if you want to - just drop me an eMail with the flight numbers, and I'll look it up for you...
Smile - it confuses people!
 
potomac
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2003 5:06 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 1:52 am

i think there's a slight exaggeration here over how many of UAs low-fares-below-costs there really are. while certain fares are on sale, you'll find much more at 'normal' levels. UA is only doing what any other airline does - strategically pick routes where low fares can attract more passengers and bring in additional revenue.

and if low fares are so destructive, should we start bashing WN and other LCCs for making things so tough for the majors in the first place? i don't think so. this is a cutthroat, competitive industry. fares are lowered all the time, and its up to competitors to follow suit. one minute UA is attacked for its high fares and why it doesnt offer fares more appealing to the traveller, then its criticized bcs it offers too many low fares and is damaging the rest of the industry. thats ridiculous.

once again, it seems like we have a thread where pure dislike for UA gets in the way of reasonable arguments. UA is not operating 'in the face of its own death' - they are not yet out of BK, but they are closer to emerging than they are to dying. they see the TED airline-within-airline indea as a way - yet not the only way - to offer product that can appeal to part of the passenger base and hopefully generate further revenue. the comparison to metrojet and other airlines-within-airlines examples of the past is short-sighted. metrojet was a low-fare operation that offered proportionately less service as well. TED, much like Song - which has proven to be successful incidentally - reflects a low cost operation that doesnt NOT offer less service, but rather that which is equal to mainline service: low fares without sacrificing the passenger experience that people enjoy on the mainline. its a matter of looking at why people go to LCCs in the first place as well as why they stay with mainline carriers, and establishing a product that builds on the merits of both.
 
LastBaron
Posts: 269
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 9:55 am

RE: B6 Cuts Margin

Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:13 am

Song is successful, ut the parent posts $160 M loss... hmmm, how successful can it be? And how long can DAL afford to keep losses like that going before it has to do a Ch. 11 number itself? Again, the reason why people dislike UAL is their callous, arrogant management, the poor quality of same, the stupid business decisions and yes, the HUGE number of dumping-priced tickets currently on the market by UAL (ask any travel agent and go visit Orbitz)...

TED is being started as a rival to WN and FL and others, not as some noble experiment as Potomac has implied. Metrojet was set up as a defensive actionin much the same way by USAirways at BWI to fend off WN and it was a well-run airline within an airline, even though USAirways needed to pull the plug after only 18 mos. due to its own mounting losses. The scenario is very similar therefore and not to be dismissed as inappropriate comparison. According to numerous financial and industry sites, UAL is nowhere near emerging from Ch. 11 in the next 12-18 mos., and many question whether they will be able to survive without a merger.
 
UA744Flagship
Posts: 1433
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 1999 1:55 pm

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:21 am

Actually, United's average fare for the 11 months ended in 2003 is above that of its average fare for the 11 months ended in 2002, pre-bankruptcy.

I just crapped all over your theory.
no wire hangers!
 
icarus75
Posts: 751
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2003 2:18 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:24 am

Personally, I really like UA!
Everytime I go to United States, its the company I choose for :
* The choice of destinations from CDG.
* The convinience of the connection.
* And the very good prices when I compare to other airlines (like AF for example).
Just one thing I really dislike with UA : the dramatic change in the breakfast, coach section, eastbound flights : the changes are really for the worse!
Flying is amazing!
 
BlatantEcho
Posts: 1820
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2000 10:11 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:25 am

I dislike United because I'm a capitalist. Companies run so poorly, I don't believe, should be backed up by the government just because they are full of nice little assets.

Let the ship sink, and the market will correct itself. Instead of a ton of planes on the market, and other airlines that DID survive, gaining from that, UA is still flying around, none the worse for wear.

For the families? Aviation is a high risk, high reward industry. I have no remorse for the people who made aviation their career, knowing full well the cyclical nature of it all, yet cry foul when they are out of a job.

Sounds harsh, but I don't mean to offend, I just like to let the market decide.

George
They're not handing trophies out today
 
LastBaron
Posts: 269
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 9:55 am

RE: B6 Cutz Margin

Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:31 am

Actually, United's average fare for the 11 months ended in 2003 is above that of its average fare for the 11 months ended in 2002, pre-bankruptcy.

I just crapped all over your theory.


Maybe. But he who laughs last, laughs best. I'll be laughing when your "flagship" goes belly up and leaves thousands stranded all over the globe. Hope you are not among them ...  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
 
potomac
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2003 5:06 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:31 am

well baron, i guess we'll just agree to disagree. in my travels, i just dont see UA as the perennial stand out for offering the lowest fares. $200 to europe? well, winter isnt the most popular time to go there - i've seen fares at those levels in years past, and on other airlines for that matter.

of course TED is both a response to market needs and to compete with other LCCs. i couldnt find the 'noble experiment' reference in my earlier post, but i agree that you could characterize it as an experiment, just like any other venture in this industry. my point is that UA is not relying on TED to be the one factor that will make and break the airline. if its proves to be successful, that will certainly help UA, along with the under initiatives it is underatking to control costs and increase revenue streams. however, i think the TED venture is insulated enough that if it doesnt pan out, the investment and impacts will not be enough to bring the airline down.

if you want to draw parallels to the fact that TED and metrojet were both defensive actions and airlines-within-airlines, then fine. i'd like to see what airline ventures these days that are not defensive actions to what competitors are doing. but that's where i'd stop. metrojet: low fares, minimal service offering (less than mainline), rapid growth and excessive dependency as a revenue stream for US overall. TED: low fares, comparable service to mainline and that which is intended to distinguish itself from most LCCs, controlled growth, and not the primary product to help stand up united.

you can knock UA management all you want, but i'd like to see the meeting notes where they were planning TED and decided to make it just like metrojet, shuttle by united, and continental lite. its a matter of looking at what has worked and what hasnt among LCCs and airlines-within-airlines, and then looking to also create a product that is distinguishe dfrom what the current LCCs offer. all with a minimal upfront investment.
 
EddieDude
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RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:35 am

An additional problem of UA is that, last month, MX decided to terminate its code share agreements with UA. With this move, UA has become a very insignificant player in the U.S.-Mexico flights market, way behind MX, AM/DL, AA and CO. I think that IAD and, perhaps SFO, are now the only non-stop routes that UA serves from MX), Mexico">MEX without competition.
Next flights: MEX-LAX AM 738, LAX-PVG DL 77L, SHA-PEK CA 789, PEK-PVG CA A332, PVG-ORD MU 77W, ORD-MEX AM 738
 
LastBaron
Posts: 269
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 9:55 am

RE: B6 Cutz Margin

Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:37 am

Well, good luck to TED. If they are offering "mainline service," then it is not an LCC to begin with. The business model for an LCC, just like that for a limited service motel, is limited service. Offering "mainline service," whatever that is supposed to be (sounds like more UAL smoke) means that they are not really going to be an LCC. Just low fares doth not an LCC make...
 
PiedmontGirl
Posts: 1112
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 2:39 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:46 am

BlatantEcho:

I, too, think it's pointless for the taxpayers to keep subsidizing the incompetence of various airline managers.

A lovely novel called Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is not only a wonderful lesson in capitalism, but the author writes a section where the heroine of the book flies an airplane. It's amazing how well that flying passage is written given that Ayn Rand was terrified of flying.
 
Bicoastal
Posts: 2446
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 1999 5:56 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 3:23 am

Nothing, as far as I'm concerned. It's a great airline. Nice, hardworking staff, best frequent flyer program, clean and safe aircraft, excellent route network and alliances, free headphones and Channel 9 (ATC - pilot communications).

You might want to do a search. There have been a couple of recent United lover and hater threads recently. Most have anecdotal experiences but you'll figure out on your own who's credible or not.
Airliners.net has many forums. It has spell check and search functions. Use them before posting!
 
potomac
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2003 5:06 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 3:54 am

low cost carrier USED to mean simply low fares and limited service for the passenger. a quick look at jetblue, song, and others reveals that to no longer be the case. passengers who were once willing to accept minimal service in exchange for low fares now look for something more. the definition of LCC is no longer just defined by southwest because they're not the only one around. in a market with more and more LCCs operating, and where they are now forced to compete with other LCCs in addition to mainline carriers, it is up to the LCCs to look for new ways to distinguish themselves from ALL competitors.

it isnt smart strategy to start an LCC based purely on the on the orginal/Southwest definition of an LCC. TED and Song strike me as attempts to offer service at low fares, with lower operating costs, but with the enhanced service equal to or better with what a passenger would find on southwest, jet blue, american, or any other carrier - LCC or not.

i'm not saying that TED and song are guaranteed to be successful. but i do believe they are smart responses to the market, and are distinct from previous airline-within-airline and LCC entrants.
 
worldtraveler
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 6:18 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 4:30 am

United is similar to all of the legacy airlines in that they are trying to remake themselves to adapt to the new airline world. Aviation has always been a risky business and airlines as a whole have never made money. Unless something changes in the next 100 years, UA may survive but will never thrive. Whether TED is successful is not the right question since all legacy airlines have to take dramatic steps to survive. United will take different strategies to turn itself around from what other legacy carriers take; history argues that United will make some significant strategic missteps but still be somehow able to survive.

Have a look at USAToday on the the front of the Business section for Fri 12/5 and you will see an article about the Saturn division of General Motors. Saturn was created as a brand within a brand to do business very differently from what was seen in the rest of GM - very much in the same way Delta and United are approaching Song and Ted (sounds like a cute couple, heh?). Saturn is not doing well because it did not take advantage of GM's tremendous resources available during the 90's when GM itself made a rather remarkable recovery from the brink of disaster. Saturn is losing alot of its original distinctives in an attempt to turn it around; Saturn should have been a laboratory for positively influencing the other GM brands for the better. Song and Ted will only be successful if they are part of the process Delta and United use to turn the larger airline around.

$200 fares were offered by every transatlantic airline so United isn't doing anything other carriers haven't done. UA may be taking a higher percentage of cheap fares than other airlines because UA lost alot of premium traffic as they approached and went into bankruptcy. Flagship, most US airlines had better average fares this year than last although UA's increase was bigger given that they had a bigger falloff last year since their bankruptcy was brewing for several months and they lost alot of paying customers, particularly on the high end.

There are several key factors that will determine whether UAL gets out of bankruptcy and survives:
1. Operational profitability - which UA has largely achieved because of huge labor cost cuts rather than improved revenue performance.
2. Pension funding - UA is the very difficult position of having to address is pension underfunding in order to get out of bankruptcy even though US defined pension plans are underfunded and don't have to be fully funded for years.
3. Major strategic changes - IAD/ACA, Mexicana, Varig are all issues UA has to deal with; no other airline has as many major strategic changes happening to them.
4. Time. Other US airlines are turning themselves around. UAL most resolve issues 2 and 3 above or creditors will realize they have no reason to continue to pour money into UAL. UAL's DIP financing must be repaid beginning in about 4 months; some hard questions will be asked about whether it is worth continuing down the path of keeping UAL operating. While no single US airline will acquire United, it is entirely possible that a number of UAL's competitors will be in a position to begin bidding on UA's assets in the next couple months. The creditors are as willing to consider bids for UA's assets from competitors as they are to take further risks and prop UAL up.

Blatant is right. The free enterprise system will pick and choose the winners in the airline industry. Uncle Sam and the American people have propped UA and the rest of the airline industry up for the last several years; it is not up to every US airline to stand on their own two feet and make it based on their own merits.
 
BeltwayBandit
Posts: 474
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 4:25 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 4:31 am

LCC is a meaningless distinction that will go away before long. Does anyone choose to be a high cost carrier? Of course not. All carriers are as low cost as they can be. Unfortunately, as an airline ages, its cost structure inevitably rises. Seniority is a b!tch for the bottom line.

JetBlue is offering as nice a travel experience as anyone, so their is not distinction in the level of service.

Air travel has become very generic, and price is the primary distinction. Consumers are the big winners.
 
potomac
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RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 4:39 am

i'm with you on that, bandit, an LCC is only an LCC if there are "HCCs" to compete against. the distinction will continue to get watered down. with that, however, when low fares drops as the distiguising factor, that's where the other differentiators will come to the forefront. jet blue took the traditional LCC model and added some unprecedented services features to separate itself from the norm. that seems to be the pattern now, where while low fares and a simplified cost structure is the constant, new entrants look to provide service and benefits slightly better than the previous guy. the more and more this happens, the less the original LCC model will prevail.
 
cvervais
Posts: 551
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RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 4:41 am

What's wrong with United?

It is a company that provides a service in a market economy to many people. Some people like it, some people don't.

I happen to be one of the people that like it. I can only speak for myself and each time I've flown with them it has been a pleasant expirence regradless of what class I was flying in and what m FF status is/was.

The few times where there's been a problem it was due to circumstances beyond their control such as weather cancellations and for me personally the problem I had was with the other pax and not the United employees.

It amazes me how many people don't read the contract of carrage and base all their assumptions on what they hear from others or the media as to the airlines responsibility.

I wish them all the success in the world. I am at times disapointed in their management but does that mean i should peanalize all the employees doing the right thing by not flying with them because of their management?

No, trust me if United folds the big losers are going to be the employees and not the management.
 
UAORD
Posts: 84
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RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 5:00 am

I think United has one of the best fleets in the country and utilize their aircraft options with distance and comfort in mind, unlike some airlines that count on MD-80 and DC9's as their workhorses etc and use the 757 on the transcontinental routes.

Their on-time performance is ranked #1. Will be interesting to see what the winter season does to their performance with hubs in Chicago, Denver, and Dulles.

 
FlyingBanker
Topic Author
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:36 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 5:17 am

I should have been more specific on this topic I guess. I personally like United a lot and have a lot of great flights with them, I was just going through some of the posts and there seems to be a "bad taste" in everyone's mouth. It's all relative I guess, with a company that large you are bound to have good and bad experiences. I just wonder what could have gone THAT wrong.
 
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Aaron747
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RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 5:17 am

I love United's fleet and people as well and wish them nothing but the best. That said, their management is nothing I'm a fan of and improvement would be welcomed.
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
 
potomac
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2003 5:06 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 5:28 am

on this forum, UA seems to be the prevailing airline that people dont like, for whatever reason. whether they had a bad experience, dont like the management, or just support a competitor. i'd never admit that there isnt room for improvement, but i think a lot of the things UA is doing are positive and moving them in the right direction, and there is potential for them to turn out ok.

what's unfortunate is that the passion for hating UA and wishing their demise runs so strong that some people let their facts slip and post arguments based more on emotion that reality. if things do not go well for UA, it may cause these folks to let out a collective "yay" or "i told you so." yet the problem is that it would't be bad fjust or UA employees, but would have adverse effects on all of the flying public and the airline industry as a whole.
 
BeltwayBandit
Posts: 474
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 4:25 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 6:13 am

Funny how people here speak on different tracks. I'm into airlines as an industry, and the quality of service, to me, is just one element in "judging" an airline. Frankly, for getting from point A to point B, I don't think there is enough difference between airlines to support a preference.

Isn't there an air travel web site where people can talk about how much they like flying one airline versus another? Or is there a site where people like me can go and discuss the airline business?
 
UALPHLCS
Posts: 3233
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2001 5:50 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:05 pm

Nothing is wrong with United that isn't wrong with any other large corporation.

You will see all kinds of criticism of United and airlines in general in this forum. Most of it is the exact same thing as the Times Square prophets yelling at whoever will listen. 99 percent of whats in here is rumor, inuendo and junk.

I can't tell you why people are partisan about airlines. Why are people partisan about auto makers. My father wouldn't buy a GM if the salesmen had a gun to his head. This despite the fact that he thinks the new Cadillacs look great. Its the same thing with airlines. One little thing wrong one an airline you already don't care for gets blown out of proportion. Same thing on an airline you like gets brushed aside as inconsequencial. (remind you of politics?)

Take for example BlatantEcho. He's a capitalist. IS he really. Does he understand that in reality that word means he owns the means of production. No. He beliveves that "capitalist" means that he aheres to an ideology. Not realizing that capitalism is an economic system rather than an ideology.

Now that we see that Blatantecho doesn't understand simple distinctions like economic systems vs ideologies, we can really see why he can see the distiction between governmetn relief for a vital industry during a time of extreme emergency, and government subsidies.

The government has NOT paid united anything it didn't give to other carriers. There are no payments to run unprofitable routes, (sudsidies) there has been no "bailout" where the government pays all debts and the comapny starts with a clean slate.

The US government compensated UA and all other US carriers for the time that it shut down the airspace of the US. It offered loan guarentees to airlines for the remainder. Was any taxpayer money spent in those loan guarentees? No. Loan gaurentees are ONLY a cosign on a commercial loan. Mr. Blatantecho have Mom and Dad co-signed any loans for you? Maybe for college? a car? a credit card? If yes, you have to give them back. You're a capitalist. If you can't make it tough. Can't get credit with out a co-sign? Pay the higher interest for the loan with out a co-signer.

I find it odd that those most vehemently agaist UA say that the weak should just fold. They souldn't fight? They souldn't make the attempt to improve? Are the fixes that you invision going to right the world overnight?

What's wrong with United? Nothing that a bunch of naive strryeyed romantics couldn't solve if only we'd let them. But we are just a bunch of mean, ignorant, asses, who couldn't manage our way out of a paper bag.

What you have in this forum, dear flyingbanker are a bunch of Monday morning quaterbacks, who rage that they haven't been given the chance to manage thier own airline, because they do so well in Airline5. And a load of partisan travellers who if UA picked them up in a limo had them wisked to the airport in a special "No traffic" lane, speed though checkin as they walked past security and boarded the plane in thier own compartment with a pesonal F/A to wipe thier chin when they hit turbulence, all for $50 round trip, would complain that rhey hit turbulence and that thier shoe got scuffed on the seat. Meanwhile UA shouldn't be haveing all this becasue it runs thier costs to 10cents per mile.

To end my rant, despite the naysayers UA has survived. Ua continues to cutcosts streamline operations and provide stellar service. All airline lift the population of a large city over the course of a day. Do you think that anyone ould possibly please everyone in a city?

This forum is fun becasue it is very much like Times Square. Just be cautious that you don't start to belive the prophet in the middle of the street.
A little less Hooah, and a little more Dooah.
 
mog
Posts: 358
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RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:16 pm

I think that grey coloured planes remind me of old style gunboat diplomacy. That's not a good thing in this day and age. Maybe somebody should tell UA that they need to start adding a splash of colour, gently, slowly, but the steps need to be taken. I mean, hey, how many of you are reading this on a B&W monitor?

Here in Delhi, where the sky is always grey day or night, when UA was working two RTW flights a day, the UA area at the airport was full of grey trucks, buses, auxiliary vehicles, food trays, step-ladders, cargo pallets, unfiroms, the works.

Now that UA has left, but there are a large number of USAF (US Armed Forces) aircraft quietly parked at a variety of locations, the symbolism is kind of . . . creepy.

Who needs this stuff, you travel for work, you also travel to feel happy, educate yourself, and you also need some colour in your lives. That's it. Simple.
 
StevenUhl777
Posts: 3281
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2001 11:02 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:51 pm

UALPHLCS and Potomac: thanks for those posts...nice to see that there is some voice of reason on this forum. Potomac: welcome to my respected user list!  Big thumbs up

A couple of points made by WorldTraveler that I disagree with:

- Pensions: virtually all "major" airlines have this issue: US, AA, DL, UA, and perhaps NW is in that situation, thought not as bad off. It is not isolated to UA. In a recent earnings call, CFO Jake Brace vehemently denied that UA was going to turn over its pension obligations to the PGBC. He also clarified many ill-conceived perceptions about the pension issue. Unless I'm proven wrong in the coming months, I'll take the word of United's CFO over anyone else.

- Crummy management: Always a problem at UA in the past, and probably won't go away anytime soon. It's important to note that there has been significant turnover in the management ranks in Elk Grove over the past year, many at the higher levels. Speaking of which, couldn't one also claim that other airlines suffer from crummy management?

- Other US airlines are turning around? Do you mean US Airways? How about Delta? AA? These airlines just mentioned are a step or two ahead of UA, but not by much...US has BIG problems right now, DL doesn't seem to be the symbol of financial stability that everyone seems to think they are, and AA isn't exactly raking in money, either. Someone made an analogy a while ago, I think it was CO's Bethune now that I think about it, was that all "major" airlines are drowning, some are just closer to the surface than others.

I could go on and on, but I've already spent a lot of time in the past in other threads doing just that.

I hope UA rebounds and thrives. But coming from a UA family, I'm heavily biased. I'm actually more of a UA supporter than my Dad who just retired from there, believe it or not. UA has made a lot of enemies in the past, and alientated a lot of passengers, some who will probably not come back ever, regardless of what the fare is. It will be very interesting to see what the state of the airline industry is on this date next year.

And the winner for best actress is....REESE WITHERSPOON for 'Walk the Line'!!!!!!!!
 
BlatantEcho
Posts: 1820
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RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:57 pm

"Does he understand that in reality that word means he owns the means of production."

If you mean "he" as a collective, then you are completely wrong.

If you mean "he" as privately or corporately owned mean of production, then yes, you have defined one half of the English definition of "capitalism"

You get into semantics, fine, but discounting what everyone says at the end of a post doesn't make you smarter than Joe A.net.

United Airlines is not vital to this country, nor are the airlines that would have crumbled after 9/11 without government backing. Now you can go and define "vital" go ahead.

Capitalism is the ideology that in America, transcends an economic system. It ties in with the values we have in democracy, our system of government. Individualism, personal rights, things like that.

What does that mean to you? Maybe you're not American, but if you were, you don't have to open YOUR wallet because your neighbor can't run a business. His failure, MAY be your gain. But if everyone rushes to his aid, just because he is a moron, and he has a pretty house they don't want to see foreclosed on then, how have you gained from even entering the market place?

If your competition can't fail, then you are in a REGULATED INDUSTRY. Regulated industries, CAN be a part of a capitalistic economy, but airlines, of which United is one, IS NOT.

United folding up would have benefited everyone in the market. But they did not fail. The weak link was not broken and replaced with a stronger one. The worst company was not divided, it was propped up, and the worst company goes one.

That is NOT capitalism, no matter what your internet dictionary tells you.

George

They're not handing trophies out today
 
User avatar
flybynight
Posts: 1153
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2003 1:58 pm

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 3:00 pm

I'm a long time UA flier, and I hope to be for many years, but I am curious what UA's average employee cost (salary + benefits ) and how many employees/ airplane. These are recent factors used to judge cost efficiency at airlines.

Heia Norge!
 
trayfam
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2003 3:22 pm

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 3:26 pm

There are a lot of good people working to make United better. Not withstanding, there have been, and still are some in management positions that aren't helping things. But this is changing too. I have had the priveledge of working for/with many of the former, as well as some of the latter, and have seen a lot of behind-the-scenes progress. United will emerge from bankruptcy, and Ted will be a part of it, but it is going to require a fundamental reorganization of all of it's parts, as well as that of its executives.

The transformation is underway. The least you can do is give them a chance to prove you wrong, and then if they do, the most you can do is buy a ticket and see for yourself.
 
uadc8contrail
Posts: 1636
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:23 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sat Dec 06, 2003 3:34 pm

blatantecho,
who u gonna bitch about when ual goes chapter 7???????the wall street guys that propped up jblu till the other day and jblu finally had a correction in the price????or grinstein for keeping that miserably underpreforming song(which lead to DLs 160 mln loss last qtr)u bitch about ual getting loan gaurantees... but what did G.W. do last week?????guaranteed isreal 2.6 bln in loan guarantees for next yr.....now who is G.W. lookin out for???deff not U.S. bizzz......
bus driver.......move that bus:)
 
worldtraveler
Posts: 3417
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 6:18 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sun Dec 07, 2003 2:16 am

StevenUhl,
let's not be so biased we can't think straight. All of us on this board have biases.

UAL Corp. has rarely been cited as one of the best-run companies in the industry, let alone the larger business world. I would certainly like to think that UAL will hire management that can address the core issues. UAL has had some major accomplishments as well. Continental is an example of a airline that has got it right and has one of the brighter futures among the network/legacy/major carriers. United could well be in a similar position in a couple years but it could also just as easily fade into history just as Pan Am, Eastern, and other great carriers have. The margin for error in this business is razor thin.

All major airlines have pension issues but UAL's presence in bankruptcy means that they have to deal with their liabilities now; where other companies get the opportunity to slowly pay down their debts, UAL has to deal with all of their liabilities, including their underfunded pension plans, in order to get out of bankruptcy. DL, AA, NW, and CO will make contributions to their pension plans in the $200-500M figure each over the next few years; UAL's contributions will have to be in the neighborhood of $1B/yr for the next five years. CO and NW are meeting some of their pension contributions through directly or indirectly contributing ownership in their regional carriers. UAL has no such option.

While few on this board have tried to guess what UAL will do to solve their pension underfunding issue and get out of bankruptcy, I will venture a guess (and that is all it is) that United will terminate its pension plans one at a time if that is what is necessary to get out of bankruptcy since each of the four plans are about equally underfunded. UA will start with the employee groups who are least able to disrupt the ongoing operation of the airline (probably flight attendants, customer contact, and management. That isn't an assessment of who is more valuable only that history shows that pilots and mechanics usually get what they want because they can and do shut the airline down while other groups can create huge disruptions but can be replaced over time). Face it: American businesses place their own well-being ahead of any commitment to employees in contrast to the approach taken in other parts of the world; if UAL has to terminate the pension plans in order to survive, they will.

No major airline has turned the corner yet and I have never said that. United has achieved operational profitability but operating in bankruptcy does not represent what operating in the real world will be like. AA has probably made the greatest turnaround so far; CO and NW both jump to/from profitability meaning their existence is no longer threatened. Only AA and DL still have signficant financial reserves based on their ownership of their regional carriers (which they are certain to sell off when the market is good to stabilize their balance sheets). All of the airlines in the US have rec'd some form of gov't aid over the past few years and it is what our government was willing to do. Airlines will now have to survive and will live or die based on their ability to run a good business; no one will directly live or die because of the terrorists of 9/11. Blatant, although no single airline is vital to the US, the industry as a whole is; it is for this very reason that the gov't propped up the whole industry so that the free market could sort it out now and the gov't wouldn't be forced to pick winners and losers.

I am not anti-United. However, the aviation industry is extraordinarily cut throat and will only get moreso in the next year with several new carriers. Big names have fallen in this industry and there will be more failures - the question is just who and when. We are finally reaching the shakeout of this industry which was started by deregulation 25 years ago. It really does come down to survival of the fittest. Like or not, United and USAirways are financially the most troubled carriers in this industry. There are alot of people who want to see this industry stabilize and are not interested in seeing any particular carrier fail but know that the health of the whole industry is probably dependent on the failure of one or more carriers - very much like Survivor.

UALPHLCS is right that this forum is fun because we each bring our perspective and knowledge and try to convince others that our point is right. Ultimately, history will be the only vindication or judgment for any of our points.



[Edited 2003-12-06 18:32:11]

[Edited 2003-12-06 18:36:40]
 
airways6max
Posts: 474
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 6:22 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sun Dec 07, 2003 6:31 am

Because their service sucks, their flights are usually late, their cabins are like sardine cans, their staff is surly and rude. They are nowhere near as good with service as JetBlue or Southwest.
 
kaitakfan
Posts: 1482
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 1999 1:04 pm

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sun Dec 07, 2003 7:36 am

Airways6max... that post just shows how well educated and traveled you are on United.

"Because their service sucks"...

Really? sounds like just about every single US airlines service! Get used to it!

"Their flights are usually late"

Ok, I guess cold hard facts on their # 1 on time performance is useless.

"their cabins are like sardine cans"

Yeah the 747-400 and 737 cabins are pretty tight in economy... but that tends to be industry standard. Have you flown in their Business or First class cabins on the 747,777,767? I guess not!

"Their staff is surly and rude"

Yeah thats right make such a hasty generalization about a companies staff! Odds are you have come in contact with 10 to 15% of United's full staff. And I guess that 10% dictates how the rest of the thousands and thousands of employees at UA act! Comments like that really make your post more worthy of reading.

"They are nowhere near as good with service as JetBlue or Southwest".

I bet! I also bet if Southwest had such a world wide network like UA, as well as overall company size, their serice would be alittle lower then a few others! But since you will never see Jetblue or Southwest with a 747-400 in Sydney or Hong Kong, I wouldnt really compare the airlines.
 
MD11LuxuryLinr
Posts: 1311
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 8:34 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sun Dec 07, 2003 8:01 am

I cant understand it. In the dozens of times I've flown on United I've never had any bad experiences. Maybe less than a handful of flights were a few minutes late, but sh*t happens, especially when you fly in and out of PHL. Granted I usually fly in business or first, but I pay the price for not wanting to sit in economy. The crew were always polite and very courteous.. I'll always fly on United before I fly any other.

 Big thumbs up
Caution wake turbulence, you are following a heavy jet.
 
DLKAPA
Posts: 7962
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2003 10:37 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sun Dec 07, 2003 8:06 am

I could flamebait by saying one word and one word alone: Frontier. I'm not gonna do that, just gonna say that TED flies the same routes as F9, same service, costs more.

Think about it

DLKAPA
And all at once the crowd begins to sing: Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same
 
Paddy
Posts: 351
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:03 pm

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sun Dec 07, 2003 10:00 am

I have to agree with Potomac on this issue. TED is a necessary response to what is going on in the market right now. I'm not sure if the timing is the best, since they are in chapter 11, but I don't think anyone can rule on that decisively. I personally think that TED is not only a good move, but it is a necessary one. The future of airlines is somewhere between LCC's and "mainline" carriers. JetBlue has realized this, as has DL with their Song service. If UA doesn't adapt to a popular new product being offered now, it will be playing catch up later, which isn't the best formula for success in the aviation industry. I think we can agree that quality low-cost air travel is not a trend. People aren't going to go back to something of lesser value even if the economy improves drastically. Whether or not UAL pulls off the whole TED thing is anyone's guess(I'm a bit skeptical myself) but I think it is a move they have to make regardless.
 
InnocuousFox
Posts: 2556
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2003 1:30 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sun Dec 07, 2003 10:48 am

Maybe less than a handful of flights were a few minutes late,

That's easy enough to do when you pad the heck out of your schedules. Notice all the times that they show up 5, 10, 15 minutes early? No one notices when you keep adding a few minutes onto the scheduled times... but they sure do notice when you are late. Now they brag about being the #1 on-time airline. Hmpf.
Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
 
UnitedFirst
Posts: 451
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2001 12:16 pm

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sun Dec 07, 2003 11:57 am

3. Major strategic changes - IAD/ACA, Mexicana, Varig are all issues UA has to deal with; no other airline has as many major strategic changes happening to them.

What's going on with Varig, other than the TAM merger?

-Derek
 
UALPHLCS
Posts: 3233
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2001 5:50 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sun Dec 07, 2003 2:06 pm

Blatant echo you just don't get it. Capitalism IS NOT an ideology. To be very technical one can be a capitalist, owning a small buisness and therefore the means of production, and ideologically be a communist. The two are not mutually exclusive.

As for the specifics of your argument, I think CO should close up shop tomorrow, along with HP. These two airlines have been bankrupt before. Thier contimued presence has been a drag on the airline industry since the early 90s. IF CO and HP would just close up and pay UA, AA, NW, and DL the money they have made unfairly from thier contimued existance then the whole industry would be better off. These airlines couldn't make it after the Gulf War boom, now after sheltering themselves they are at unfair advantage to the other airlines who were strong and made money in the 90s.

Can everyone see how ridiculous and partisan saying UA should just fold because they were weak in the early part of the year is. How silly, and naive can you be? Just folding would help the industry? UA and its employees don't give a crap about whats good for the industry. We care about whats good for our customers, and that is in turn good for US. Blatant echo capitalism requires you to use every means at your disposal to make money. To make money UA has to get bak on track take care of its customers and its employees. Not worry about what's good for the "industry."

Gen. George Patton said "You don't win wars by dying for your country. You win wars by making the other bastard die for his." The same is true in buisness. UA fought off a cancerted effort by DL, AA, NW and CO to drive US and UA out of buisness in the early part of this year. UA survived, first AA now DL are struggling becasue they burned alot of their cash reserves keeping the fares artifically low in an effort to kill US and UA. Tough. The marlet TRIED to kill UA but we wouldn't let it. No one came rushing to UA or US aid. On the contrary only commercial banks are involved. Banks who looked at the numbers and believe that thier money will be paid back with a tidy PROFIT. As for the ATSB loans which I think you're refering too, UA hasn't gotten dime one from the ATSB. If the ATSB approved the gaurentees they still will not get a single dime from John Q Taxpayer. Because the money will come from COMMERCIAL BANKS, the government is only going to pay if UA defaults. Which as UA gets stronger and stronger grows increasingly less likely.

Blatantecho I have one more little capitalist phrase to teach you. "Spend as much of someone elses money to grow your buisness as you can." Borroeing against a loan gaurenteed by the US government is not only smart its good buisness.

As for UA's service and ontime, look at the numbers they don't lie. UA is the most improved airline. Basically a worst to first senario. I stand by my previous post that the only people who don't like UA's service are those who wouldn't like it is they got it for $50, and they got thier own private BBJ. People are too partizan about thier favorites to give you an honest answer.

For those of you who belive UA is "padding" thier schedule two quick points.

In an artivle in ATWonline just a few days ago UA was credited as the first airline to use a new software package that has dramatically inproved ontime. And that a similar package if going to be used for reservations and rebooking in addition to baggage. UA has found ways to improve.

Additionally what does it matter how UA gets ontime, so long as they are legitimately ontime. Be it padding the schedule giving extra time, or software that stremlines the process, the customers benefit, and that's all that matters. WN' airplanes do not have ACARS, one of the few airlines who do not use it. This means unlike all other major carriers, who's ontime performance is judged by brake release automaticaly, WN's captains call it like they see it. 1 min. late releasing brakes on an ACARS plane is 30 sec late. On a WN plane its ONTIME. Is that legitimate?

A little less Hooah, and a little more Dooah.
 
InnocuousFox
Posts: 2556
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2003 1:30 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Sun Dec 07, 2003 11:51 pm

Hmpf. I'm not partisan. Far from it. It sounds like YOU might be a bit gung ho, however. *shrug*

Anyway, the only problem that I have with United has nothing to do with their service. It's the same problem I have with a lot of other airlines - the fact that they allowed themselves to be held hostage by labor and it has been the death of them. United is an even worse example because they were allegedly "employee owned." You would think that the employee owners would have a little more care about the long-term health of their company rather than continually whining about their wages and what-not. Now their precious little company is in bankruptcy and surely it must be someone else's fault.

As long as they keep the ATC on the headsets, though, I will fly them.
Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
 
ual777contrail
Posts: 2914
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2002 11:33 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Mon Dec 08, 2003 1:33 am

In the last three weeks I have flown from DEN-SNA-DEN and returning yesterday from a DEN-ORD-GSO-IAD-DEN trip, we were late 22 minutes. The is between 8 flights? WOW That was nice, and the bulk was on a GSO-IAD ACA flight,soon not even a part of UAL. I flew a couple 757's, one 777, one 747 and one 737, and the ACA plane was 15 minutes late, so in all UAL was late 7 minutes on 7 flights in 3 weeks, not bad. The service was awesome but I work for the carrier, and when they find this out they are either nicer to you or they wont serve you like a revenue passenger, it was the first, great service.




UAL 777 CONTRAIL
 
BlatantEcho
Posts: 1820
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2000 10:11 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Mon Dec 08, 2003 1:45 am

"The marlet [sic] TRIED to kill UA but we wouldn't let it."

#1, you're very biased.

#2, if the market tried to kill a company, in whatever grandiose language that may be, that means that certain capitalistic lassie-faire forces were not operating, because the company used forces beyond the market to survive. I don't like that.

#3, You say CO & HP should close up shop, but not United. Look whose making money and who isn't. I argue United should close up shop and pay all the other airlines for dragging the whole industry through the mud, at least financial analysis would back up my assertion.

Summary: You're very partisan, so I take what you say with a grain of salt. I like your style of never give up, but it doesn't change that a crappy company (business wise, I'm not attacking employees) was bailed out by government. Yes most of them were, and I like that even less, but UA was the closest to death. Capitalism (never said it was an ideology, but it CAN be) would have them die, we all move on, and everyone gets stronger.

Some lessons were learned, but the weakest link in the food chain still survives. That's not good for business.

George
They're not handing trophies out today
 
InnocuousFox
Posts: 2556
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2003 1:30 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Mon Dec 08, 2003 1:50 am

What he said...

 Smokin cool

Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
 
Greg
Posts: 5539
Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 1:11 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Mon Dec 08, 2003 2:15 am

What's wrong with them?
Not sure....flew them internationally twice last month.
Same great service in biz class.
Same great attitude with employees.
 
DeltaMD11
Posts: 1678
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2002 4:56 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Mon Dec 08, 2003 7:19 am

UALPHLCS,
I generally tend to agree with a lot of the stuff you say here on the forums, but this is by FAR the stupidest thing that you have ever contrived:

"As for the specifics of your argument, I think CO should close up shop tomorrow, along with HP. These two airlines have been bankrupt before. Thier contimued presence has been a drag on the airline industry since the early 90s. IF CO and HP would just close up and pay UA, AA, NW, and DL the money they have made unfairly from thier contimued existance then the whole industry would be better off. These airlines couldn't make it after the Gulf War boom, now after sheltering themselves they are at unfair advantage to the other airlines who were strong and made money in the 90s."

CO and HP are industry leaders. Through the leadership of Doug Parker and Gordon Bethune, these airlines have created a new face for themselves when both were literally kissing the lips of death just a few years ago. Asking for Federal assistance is not sheltering oneself. If you want to say that, then you should also shun Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. That provides more "shelter" than federal assistance in actuality. America West is a key airline in the United States. It is the only airline to be started after deregulation that has come to fruition as a major airline. Ed Beauvias almost killed HP, but she has come up back through the ranks again.

Also on the subject of "sheltering" look back through the years and see how many times United has been given a little help from our friends in D.C. I can assure you that they have seen plenty of it.
Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
 
chuj
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2000 12:01 pm

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Mon Dec 08, 2003 8:55 am

DeltaMD11 and BlatantEcho,

Don't you see the point UALPHLCS is trying to make? He DOES NOT really think that CO and HP should close shop. He says this rhetorically to prove a point. If CO and HP were at the brink once upon a time and came back to be as successful as they are now, why shouldn't UA be given the same benefit of the doubt that these 2 airlines were once given? That is his point!

He said SARCASTICALLY that CO and HP should pay the other majors for the revenue the other carriers lost while CO and HP were "allowed" to survive...this is analogous to the critics who now say that UA should just fold to help out the airline industry and all the other carriers because there is "overcapacity".

In short, UALPHLCS makes a good point. It seems disingenuous that UAL critics to think it's outrageous that he should "criticize" (note the quotes) CO and HP and contend that those 2 airlines should have folded, when these same critics think that UA should kick the bucket now. Seems like the UAL critics are contradicting themself.
 
DeltaMD11
Posts: 1678
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2002 4:56 am

RE: What's Wrong With United?

Mon Dec 08, 2003 9:39 am

Sorry, didn't catch the sarcasm. Probably can attribute that to the fact that I haven't slept since Friday due to this sinus infection.
Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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