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!