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Posts: 2303
Joined: Thu May 20, 1999 6:04 am

What's Wrong With United - Possible Solutions

Wed Nov 17, 2004 10:00 pm

Hi all.

In light of the previous thred regarding the proposed nationwide strike, (which obviously centres on UAL and USAiways), it got me thinking.

Lets start a post about United and try and list all of the problems we can think of, and all of the possible solutions. There are a lot of different experiences here on this board so it should prove valuable. No point is stupid either. Something that may seem irrelevant may just hold the key to a solution to something else.

But first a quick story.

During the early 1980s the aviation industry was in a slump (some things never seem to change do they?) SAS at this stage was just about ready to record its second straight year of losses. Jan Carlzon took over as Chief Operating Officer, and he instigated a new plan. The first thing he halted was across-the-board-cuts. (In other words, all departments must try and save 20% type thinking) He think instigated a stratergy to make SAS known as the best airline in the world for the frequent business traveller.

Every part of SAS was scrutinized to see if it improved services to the frequent business traveller. If a particular project had a "No" answer to this question, it was cut. For example, developing Mediterranean Vacation packages. At the same time, Carlzon persuateded the SAS board to invest $45 million and INCREASE operating expenses $12 million a year into projects designed for the frequent business traveller. This included dropping first class and introducing "euroclass" (md-80s were 5 abreast), introduced lounges for euroclass PAX, gave them better food, etc etc etc. The results were amazing.
Within 3 years SAS increased the number of Full fair paying by 23% at at time the industry was stagnet.
Seems like we can all learn from SAS. They basically focused on the 'Core Competency', and let the likes of Alitalia take the Andersons on Vacation in italy.

So here is what i think, just to get the ball rolling.

I see their domestic product as the problem thats holding them back... they need the domestic arm because this is what generates the frequent flyer members who come and loyally fly when going internationally.

UAL are onto something thing with the "Economy Plus". On shorter flights (say under 3-4 hrs) we could take this cabin, and expand it. Do what they've done with TED, giving the E+ seats a darker colour to recognise them. Then give this section full service. They get better meals, and all the other perks. Put a curtain in to give this section some privacy, and to allow business Pax to get away from "the screaming children, farting old ladies, stray feral animals, etc etc"

We should be able to fit about 160 something into an A320 like this.

Im sure you've all got lots of observations and ideas. Lets here them!
Posts: 2811
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2001 10:58 pm

RE: What's Wrong With United - Possible Solutions

Wed Nov 17, 2004 10:21 pm

Due to new security regulations after 9/11 the US airlines are not to have curtain dividers in the cabin at all.

Sean from MCO and MKE
I Don't know where I am anymore
Posts: 3715
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2001 12:12 pm

RE: What's Wrong With United - Possible Solutions

Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:36 pm

I was going to have a sarcastic post about how it annoys me that everyone seems to think they know how to run an airline better than the people in the hotseats (with MAs) - then i saw Future FO's post - and you know what?

Thats actually a really good idea! Fair play to you mate - good idea.
What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???
Posts: 322
Joined: Fri May 28, 2004 6:11 pm

RE: What's Wrong With United - Possible Solutions

Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:56 pm

I think the best thing United can do is to cut back their domestic service and become an international airline only, and then use Ted for domestic services and as a feeder to the hubs for the international flights. Drastic I know, but they could put a few first class seats in Ted to maintain some business travellers, but the low cost airlines have proved that the short haul product is very different to the long haul product and as far as I can see it, United have two massive strenghts - slots into Heathrow, their pacific routes and other international flights. It's their domestic operations which are dragging them under...

Posts: 523
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2001 12:06 pm

RE: What's Wrong With United - Possible Solutions

Thu Nov 18, 2004 1:56 am

When should this repetitive post be closed? Now or now?

Can you say dead horse?