DAL763ER
Topic Author
Posts: 470
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:20 pm

Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:58 pm

I was in SFO last week for Apple's World Wide Developer Conference. I flew UA LHR-LAX-SFO, SFO-EWR-LHR.

On the way there, of course it was a pmUA crew. On the way back, both flights were with ex-Continental crew. The difference in service was huge. The United crew were always smiling, checking if people need anything, very kind folks. The ex-Continental ones were very cold, doing the bare minimum and plainly asking "Do you want to eat?", which seems rather cold and their tone was rude.

Is/was there really such a huge difference in UA/CO service even before the merger?
 
rwsea
Posts: 2423
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:23 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:06 pm

Completely subjective, of course, but I always had better experiences with UA before the merger. Was never a CO fan, with bad experiences every time. But, I am sure that there are others with the opposite experience.
 
AWACSooner
Posts: 1791
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:35 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:09 pm

Quoting DAL763ER (Thread starter):
The ex-Continental ones were very cold, doing the bare minimum and plainly asking "Do you want to eat?", which seems rather cold and their tone was rude.

Because they were dragged down to UA's standards after the merger?
 
User avatar
seabosdca
Posts: 4991
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:33 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:14 pm

Before the merger, I always felt that CO crews were more likely to go the extra mile than UA crews. Since the merger, it's the other way around. There seems to be really poor morale on the CO side at this point, while the merger raised sUA's game in some ways.
 
codc10
Posts: 1764
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2000 7:18 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:14 pm

Across the board, I don't think any workgroup is very happy right now. Management is about as cold as ice and Jeff has all the charm and warmth of a used car salesman. Morale is as low as I've ever seen and distrust of management is at an all-time high.

Things are not so good at New UA.
 
LOWS
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:37 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:15 pm

Absolutely subjective.

And this is the 12993939485th time this topic has come up this year...

Do we really need to talk about it again?
 
AADC10
Posts: 1507
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2004 7:40 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:17 pm

Some of it may be the EWR based crew. They may have a New York attitude while the PMUA crew were probably more laid back Californians. Alternatively, some see the New York attitude as a cut to the chase, direct way of dealing with things, while Californians are completely phony. Did you not get something substantive on either flight?
 
thomasphoto60
Posts: 3716
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2000 1:04 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:20 pm

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 6):
Some of it may be the EWR based crew. They may have a New York attitude while the PMUA crew were probably more laid back Californians. Alternatively, some see the New York attitude as a cut to the chase, direct way of dealing with things, while Californians are completely phony. Did you not get something substantive on either flight?

Now had he transited IAH, I wonder what his impressions might have been.
"Show me the Braniffs"
 
AWACSooner
Posts: 1791
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:35 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:22 pm

Quoting thomasphoto60 (Reply 7):
Now had he transited IAH, I wonder what his impressions might have been.

This...
Never have had a problem with any CO/UA crew in IAH...
 
UAL777UK
Posts: 2142
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 1:16 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:27 pm

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 6):

Or of course they might have been a London based crew who I think on any trip make the difference........for the better. Just saying
 
CO777DAL
Posts: 423
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:01 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:37 pm

Quoting rwsea (Reply 1):

Completely subjective, of course, but I always had better experiences with UA before the merger. Was never a CO fan, with bad experiences every time. But, I am sure that there are others with the opposite experience.

Count me in the boat as having the opposite experience. I have notice CO people are not happy campers. What it boils down to is management greatly under estimated how different these two airlines are culture wise. The only thing the CO and UA had in common is that they were both airlines. Even JS himself said they underestimated people ability to accept change. The cultural difference are going to plague UA for a long time to come and there is very little current management will be able to do to fix it. This merger was one of those things that look great on paper, but is a whole different story when actually implemented. UA customers and crew and CO customers and crew seem to be in disagreement about almost everything.

What even more amazing is that it is supposed to be one airline, but sCO is still operating as CO and sUA is slowly making the changes new UA want. CO still changes for liquor in Y on all flights, will not give you free snack boxes in first, still do meal order front to back regardless of status, oh and thank you for flying Continental crew on top of keeping all the other CO procedures too.
Worked Hard. Flew Right. Farewell, Continental. Thanks for the memories.
 
aviasian
Posts: 1244
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2001 8:11 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:54 pm

Before the merger, I have - without exception - experienced excellent service onboard Continental Airlines. They were always cheerful, they served with a spirit that was positively infectious and they were proud of their airline.

On the contrary, it was the United Airlines crew who were cold and mechanical ... one could not even use the word "serve" as that was perhaps considered demeaning ... or at least, that was the impression I got.

If indeed today's situation as shared by the original post is reversed ... I can only put it down to the CO crew becoming disillusioned, disenchanted, disengaged and demoralised. If it is any comfort to the ex-CO crew, I hope they know that their excellence and their amazing service has been recognised and remembered by the passengers - yes, even after the merger.

KC Sim
Singapore
 
roseflyer
Posts: 9606
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2004 9:34 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:55 pm

You likely ended up with crews from three bases, so it is likely more a result of that and inconsistencies overall. It’s hard to lump that as one airline or the other being better or worse for service.

LHR-LAX most likely was a LHR based crew. The international domicile crews typically have relatively high satisfaction numbers whether they be LHR, FRA, NRT etc.

LAX-SFO could be any crew.

The PMCO crews were likely EWR based.

I think it is really hard to judge a US based on a few flights. They have over 10,000 flight attendants and ground staff. US airlines don’t hold standards anywhere near as tight as an airline like Emirates or Singapore do.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
JAAlbert
Posts: 1556
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:43 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:57 pm

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 4):
Things are not so good at New UA.

I am in the midst of a business trip to Massachusetts. I chose to fly UA because I've always had good experience with CO in the past. Competent, business-like and got me where I needed to go. Then I flew last Thursday ....
Transferring in SFO, I, and several other customers, learned (only after boarding the plane) that UA had double booked a number of seats. The plane was packed. The flight attendants were in an uproar - mostly over the ground crew who took a very relaxed view of the situation. It took nearly an hour for someone to decide that those in the aisle just needed to sit where ever we could find a spot - some got booted. Then we waited another eternity because the plane had not been catered. The pilot refused to leave on an estimated 6 hour flight (due to weather issues) without some food and drinks. Our flight arrived into Boston sometime between 1:30 - 2:00 a.m.

To their credit, the flight attendants did everything they could - it was a miserable situation for them as well. I just couldn't understand why the gate agents seemed so distant.

In any event, I decided I will avoid UA until they figure out their reservation system and logistics. I get the sense they are overwhelmed.
 
nws2002
Posts: 720
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:04 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:00 pm

As a sCO employee, I will say that morale among our crews was headed down before the merger with UA. However, the merger and its related problems has made it worse. As a FA we've been given very little direction in how to alter service to be more consistent with a common new UA procedure.
 
IAHFLYR
Posts: 3943
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 12:56 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:30 pm

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 4):
Across the board, I don't think any workgroup is very happy right now. Management is about as cold as ice and Jeff has all the charm and warmth of a used car salesman. Morale is as low as I've ever seen and distrust of management is at an all-time high.



Certainly is like the 80's only this guy has a better suit than the "L" word.

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 6):
Some of it may be the EWR based crew.



A few years back I would agree with you, not so sure that holds true anymore.

Quoting CO777DAL (Reply 10):
CO still changes for liquor in Y on all flights, will not give you free snack boxes in first,



Hell I have gotten snack boxes from both CO, UA crews as well SkyWest in first.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
tharanga
Posts: 426
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:29 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:05 pm

Are sample sizes of two really enough observation to justify starting a discussion topic on here?
 
joeljack
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:38 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:13 pm

Recent experiences...

PMua..LAX-NRT....crew was awesome!!! Best crew I've ever seen on a US airline, hands down. They were fairly young.
PMua...PVG-ORD....crew was awful, rude, did bear minimum, just very cold in general. Everytime I said "Thanks or Thank you", quite loud and very polite and never once did I hear anything back like "you're welcome", and this was 3 different flight attendants. btw, this crew was very old.

I can't judge PMco crews over an ocean, never done that.
 
Rdh3e
Posts: 2825
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:09 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:13 pm

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 4):
Across the board, I don't think any work-group is very happy right now. Management is about as cold as ice and Jeff has all the charm and warmth of a used car salesman. Morale is as low as I've ever seen and distrust of management is at an all-time high.

Things are not so good at New UA.

I don't have the impression that Management is cold as ice at all. Can you give some explanations? There is a lot of rhetoric around this and very little real things to complain about. There seems to be a huge resistance to change in some groups, whereas we in management have no choice but to adapt or move on. And guess what? Once you change, it's really not that bad!

This merger has made all of our lives significantly more complicated, probably by a factor of 3 for me personally. But we persevere!
 
codc10
Posts: 1764
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2000 7:18 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:02 am

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 18):

I don't have the impression that Management is cold as ice at all. Can you give some explanations? There is a lot of rhetoric around this and very little real things to complain about. There seems to be a huge resistance to change in some groups, whereas we in management have no choice but to adapt or move on. And guess what? Once you change, it's really not that bad!

This merger has made all of our lives significantly more complicated, probably by a factor of 3 for me personally. But we persevere!


So I vented a bit with a previous version of this post and didn't really intend to. I can distill my rant into a few points:

- The disconnect between management's message and their actions
- Terrible employee morale
- Restrictions on employees to find common-sense solutions to customer issues (fear of audit)
- An outright lack of communication to customers, especially Premier members (lack of responsiveness)
- The general sense that loyalty no longer matters
- Austerity, leading to a very cheap-feeling product

I have no doubt that the company can overcome these obstacles, but I get the feeling that so many are self-inflicted and the problems only grow deeper as time goes on. I just don't see the airline moving in the right direction yet.

[Edited 2012-06-18 17:18:37]
 
laca773
Posts: 2034
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 7:10 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:34 am

I always felt CO had the upper hand when it came to being a much more customer focused airline in regards to service and always saw ground and flight crews going the extra mile.

It seems with everything being said now, the pre and post-merger management teams didn't consider how merging the two different airlines and the cultures that come with that would connect and function. Sadly, they neglected the most important part, those who are paying their wages, the customer.
They need to hire someone to intervene and bring these groups together so they can communicate and work affectively, responsibly. professionally, and remember whey they are there, the customer~passenger in this case.
 
maxamuus
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:49 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:52 am

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 4):
Across the board, I don't think any workgroup is very happy right now. Management is about as cold as ice and Jeff has all the charm and warmth of a used car salesman. Morale is as low as I've ever seen and distrust of management is at an all-time high.
Quoting CODC10 (Reply 19):
Bottom line, the people of this company and its customers deserve better.

If you don't work for UA, you sure have a lot of insight into the "inner workings" of the company.
 
codc10
Posts: 1764
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2000 7:18 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:00 am

Quoting maxamuus (Reply 21):
If you don't work for UA, you sure have a lot of insight into the "inner workings" of the company.

Well, I can conclusively say that I am not employed by United Airlines, but that's about it.  

[Edited 2012-06-18 18:00:51]
 
User avatar
STT757
Posts: 13222
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2000 1:14 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:30 am

One cannot travel one segment and then have the credibility to condem thousands of people working thousands of daily flights. It's one thing if your a million mile frequent travel on UA and CO, it's another to travel one segment and to feel emboldened to condem a workforce of thousands.
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
kpitrrat
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:07 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:35 am

Quoting LOWS (Reply 5):
Absolutely subjective.

And this is the 12993939485th time this topic has come up this year...

Do we really need to talk about it again?

  

Forgive me but I think the OP is simply trying to   

I see a little lock next to this thread in the near future. That being said... Subjective opinion.
 
aviasian
Posts: 1244
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2001 8:11 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:50 am

Just for the record, my impressions (in Reply 11) were based on more than 30 sectors on each of the two carriers. In all of these CO was without exception the one with the excellent crew members. The difference was even more stark when I was booked to fly CO all the way from Singapore to Quito via Tokyo-Narita and Houston.

The SIN-NRT sector was operated by UA ... and everything from the aircraft cabin and breakfast to service delivery was at best described at pathetic. Everything flipped to the opposite side as soon as I boarded the Continental B772ER at Narita Airport ... from here on, everything from the aircraft cabin to the meals and especially crew service delivery was absolutely superb! Even in transit at Houston, the ground staff members were superb in providing guidance and direction to those in transit. My flight on a CO B737-700 was similarly wonderful ... and for the record, service and equipment on my return to Singapore mirrored this.

KC Sim
 
COflyerBOS
Posts: 133
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:04 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:29 am

In fairness, pmCO was heading the wrong way by the time the merger happened. I blame that mostly on the fact that Smisek was never very popular with the rank and file. Then, when the terms of the "merger" were announced and the headquarters left from Houston to Chicago, things radically turned. The once always chipper Houston-based folks were no longer happy. I've heard firsthand from 4 friends who work for the airline that they all felt like the were sold down the river so that Smisek could make a buck at their expense. 2 quit (they were HQ employees) because they didn't want to move to Chicago. The other 2 are hanging in there but miserable.

The bad news for us consumers? If AA and US merge, we're down to just a big 3 that will essentially be "too big" to fail. I imagine service levels are only going to continue to drop with the lack of competition. I never thought I'd fly WN regularly, but my last 3 domestic trips with them have been much more pleasant than my recent UA flights. I might be moving to HOU after 21 years of brand loyalty to CO.
 
CZ346
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:57 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:53 am

Quoting STT757 (Reply 23):

I know this thread is going to be locked in 15 minutes, but here goes...

Based out of NY, I fly about 200k with pmCO any given year. Like it had already been said previously, the moral has been going down with CO for some time before the merger. Speaking with the cabin crews regularly, anticipation of the merger didn't bring too much hope to everyone. I've flown the EWR-China legs a total of 16 times in the past 6 months. Even though I'm a diehard pmCO fan, theres a huge fluctuation in quality of service.

I do mostly travel in BusinessFirst, but the 2 legs I did in Y have produced radically different results. One flight was beyond amazing. Wonderful crew, wonderful flight. The other was totally opposite. A certain infamus F/A was ripping through passengers, to the point of publicly humiliating them. I was bulkhead and the girl next to me was GS and she was upgraded, and a Chinese woman came and sat next to me. She was nice, spoke good english and I didn't think much of it. The FA came over and very loudly told her she couldn't sit here, that it wasn't her seat. She responded in Chinese (even though she spoke english) and he began to raise his voice saying that he knew she spoke english, that she better move. He went to get a Chinese speaking FA who had her move, and when she got up she mumbled something in English and he responded with "yeah I'm not dumb lady, don't try to trick me again because you know I will not accept it". About 15 minutes later a couple was taking pictures and he ran up to them and started ranting that they couldn't take pictures of the crew, that it was againts FAR's. He actually went through their camera and deleted the pictures of the crew. Part of me loves him for keeping the peace on those long haul China flights, but he really didnt need to embarrass them like that.

My other legs in BF have been a split, either marginal or really really good. There was only 1 BF flight I would have classified the FA as being rude, I asked if he may possibly know of anyone who would have a MacBook charger I could borow for 30 minutes and he lent me his. 20 minutes later he came to my seat and nastly said "you're going to have to hand that back over to me now" and stormed off, making me wrap it up, get up and carry it to him. It was really kind of him to let me borrow it, but being BF he could have asked for it back differently.

Don't even get me started on CO vs. UA 1k hotline. I can INSTANTLY tell if they're UA or CO and I'll hang up and call until I get a CO. UA reps have never been ANY help to me, and a bunch of situations when I called back for a CO rep, they helped me in half the time it took the UA rep to repeat "no I cant do that". CO are way more likely to go out of their way to help you and take care of you.... (IMHO)
 
blueflyer
Posts: 3657
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:17 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:57 am

The one international flight I use more than any other was one of the first to switch from pmCO to pmUA crew. It was a massive let-down in terms of both hard and soft products. For reasons that are obvious if you know which flight it is, it's going quite senior at UA and, at the risk of being accused of senioritis, the cabin crew are generally some of the laziest I have encountered in any premium cabin on any carrier bar none.

Beyond that particular subset of individuals, I think I have transited enough through DEN and ORD to conclude that the pmCO crew seem somewhat demoralized while the pmUA crew seem to be very proud of the new UA, sometimes in a rub-it-in-your-face kinda way. Service on pmCO generally isn't as good as it used to be, more impersonal, more by-the-book than ever, and despite their better mood, pmUA isn't that different, although I can't tell whether that is an improvement or not for them.

As far as common service level, I think its implementation is too recent to write more than it isn't there yet.

On the ground, irrespective of whichever side of the family they come from in this so far not-so-auspicious marriage, everyone seems hugely frustrated. I have seen the atmosphere go down drastically in IAH and EWR (yes, EWR can get worse, it has), and colleagues based in DC tell me the similar attitude at IAD is new to them as well.

From the tidbits I hear, I can only imagine it is due to the apparent lack of training that preceded the ground merger, where each employee knows what doesn't work anymore, but may not have had sufficient time and training to learn what processes replace the ones they were used to.

Beyond that, many changes were apparently not communicated well to customers and/or staff and it isn't rare to hear a conversation between an elite and an employee, each with their own understanding of some new rule, each convinced the other would realize their mistake if they'd only listen for a minute. Customer or employee, you can hear only so many times a day you're wrong even though you know you're absolutely right before you decide it isn't worth listening anymore.

This being said, I think the situation would vastly improve if more passengers realized that they may indeed know some rules quite well, and possibly better than some employees, but they know only the rules that pertain to their specific situation and their individual traveling patterns, whereas employees have to learn new rules for all situations and all patterns, so they should be forgiven for not getting it right.

This management-enforced ineptitude irks customers, some of whom take it on ground staff, which ends up being even more frustrated and less likely to behave in the professionals that they are with the next customer...

The ball is in management's camp. I am not predicting the bankruptcy of UA if this or that happens, if the situation doesn't turn around completely in the next 30 days, etc... But unless management finally admits that the current situation needs more than the few tweaks and adjustments they keep talking about, UA will never be the airline they promised it would be.

[Edited 2012-06-18 20:10:29]
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has no clothes.
 
traindoc
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:35 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:30 am

My 2 cents.

Flew UA (ex CO) from EDI-EWR-IAH-SAT today. First off, my wife and I were using system wide upgrades. Our original flight to EWR was way late and asked if we could take the later flight since it had BF available. The UA rep, via phone, said that since Y was full, we could not upgrade to BF, as we had to have a coach seat first. I am a !k and my wife is Platinum, certainly no benefit here. The UA rep had no interest in trying to accommodate us.

But it gets better. On the EWR-IAH leg, we did not show up on the upgrade list. Why? I was told by the same rep that we had not checked in yet. I explained to her that I had boarding passes in hand as I had checked in Sunday PM.

Basically this merger is a disaster for many of us long time CO passengers. There does not seem to be any interest or desire to solve problems and accommodate the passenger. My wife and I have decided to fly WN domestically and the major foreign carriers internationally. We are unwilling to pay good money for bad service!
 
UALWN
Posts: 2176
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:27 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:05 am

I've been a loyal UA customer for 20 years. When CO joined *A, I tried them a few times. I was not overly impressed. Particularly, I missed E+ (and channel 9!). Since the merger I've flown both ex-UA and ex-CO routes. Not impressed with any. I'm not at all happy with the direction the merger is taking. Now, for my TATL trips, I'm trying my best to fly LX or LH, in that order. I'm even considering ditching Mileage Plus for Miles&More... Next, I guess I'll have to change my username here...
AT7/111/146/Avro/CRJ/CR9/EMB/ERJ/E75/F50/100/L15/DC9/D10/M8X/717/727/737/747/757/767/777/787/AB6/310/32X/330/340/380
 
CZ346
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:57 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:45 pm

Quoting traindoc (Reply 29):

I got this crap on one of my leg this year. And I was sick doing a 3 days turn around HKG-EWR-HKG... I remember the days when system-wides didnt even require full fare tickets.... Just call, apply, confirm...
 
FlyingFan18
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:32 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:32 pm

Quoting COflyerBOS (Reply 26):

I can't believe the USA would actually allow three big airlines to rule the market. It is almost like a monopoly and prices will be higher along with fewer and fewer amenities. Anyway on the topic of CO and UA I can't really comment because I haven't flown either airline but a merger has to be hard and maybe after things are "complete" the new UA will be better than ever.
- FlyingFan18
 
tommy767
Posts: 4658
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 12:18 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:38 pm

It's nice to have a good balance of replies here intead of the usual round of CO cheerleaders who think that Kellner, TATL 757, 739, and DTV are the greatest things since sliced bread and that UA is still in bankruptcy.

I've flown UA on 4-5 different segments over the last two months since integration. All from mixed to very good.

EWR-MIA: PMUA 757. Bad weather which likely made the crew pissed off (ORD based) and didn't go out of their way for anybody. We had a delayed flight but they were straight up ignorant. My two friends were on the flight and when one of them asked for a coffee and a water the flight attendant said "YOU ARE ONLY SUPPOSED TO GET ONE!" When they got to row 37 (saving grace, had a whole row to myself) I asked if they had any food and the same f/a said "NO! Just snackboxes!" And I said, "well, snackboxes are food." He said, "You want it or not?" I took it with a bottle of wine. Otherwise, I liked the PMUA 757, just had the sorely crew.

MIA-EWR: PMCO 739, Crew was MUCH better on this leg. Smiling, friendly, saying please and thank you. On the other hand I didn't like the 739 product at all.

EWR-LAX: PMUA 757. Last row on this 757 going to a job interview. Crew was ORD based and were very friendly. I made a joke about the freshbrew coffee (actually pretty good) to the F/a and she said "No Starbucks anymore, but I never liked it anyway." I was going to a job interview and the crew even took my suit jacket and gave me a full bottle of water upon leaving. Great flight overall.

LAX-ORD: PMUA 757. Typical relaxed atmosphere (LAX based crew) uneventful but certainly a good thing considering everything you hear about stuff going wrong.

ORD-EWR: Republic 170. Very good crew, very comfortable flight.

Overall I can't complain. I guess I lucked out but maybe it's because I was in Y and wasn't expecting much.

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 6):

Or Maybe IAH, CLE?

Quoting CO777DAL (Reply 10):
Count me in the boat as having the opposite experience. I have notice CO people are not happy campers. What it boils down to is management greatly under estimated how different these two airlines are culture wise.

Which is odd because the PMCO culture is supposedly being injected into the airline at large. What does PMCO have to be pissed about? Losing the name?

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 12):
The PMCO crews were likely EWR based.

Again, it varies but the rotten apples were IIRC at both IAH and EWR. I hear CLE was always the best. Actually when I was at EWR 2 weeks ago the G/A's and ticketing agents were surprisingly friendly and helpful. I was shocked.

Quoting JAAlbert (Reply 13):
Transferring in SFO, I, and several other customers, learned (only after boarding the plane) that UA had double booked a number of seats. The plane was packed. The flight attendants were in an uproar - mostly over the ground crew who took a very relaxed view of the situation. It took nearly an hour for someone to decide that those in the aisle just needed to sit where ever we could find a spot - some got booted. Then we waited another eternity because the plane had not been catered. The pilot refused to leave on an estimated 6 hour flight (due to weather issues) without some food and drinks. Our flight arrived into Boston sometime between 1:30 - 2:00 a.m.

Was this PMCO or PMUA?

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 19):
So I vented a bit with a previous version of this post and didn't really intend to. I can distill my rant into a few points:

I think SHARES was the biggest blunder. High ranking elites not getting their promised upgrades and instead offering buy ups at kiosks. Wasn't this a CO thing?

Quoting CZ346 (Reply 27):

Don't even get me started on CO vs. UA 1k hotline. I can INSTANTLY tell if they're UA or CO and I'll hang up and call until I get a CO.

The opposite for me. I actually had the same CO agent TWICE and each time he was so incompentant that I never recieved confirmation e-mails. I had to call back 3 times to get them.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 28):
Beyond that, many changes were apparently not communicated well to customers and/or staff and it isn't rare to hear a conversation between an elite and an employee,

This is true, ditto for their social media and marketing programs which as just short of terrifying.

Quoting traindoc (Reply 29):
Basically this merger is a disaster for many of us long time CO passengers. There does not seem to be any interest or desire to solve problems and accommodate the passenger.

But a lot of PMCO blood is running the show at UA. I think they are more to blame, no?
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
eaglepower83
Posts: 357
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:54 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:43 pm

I'll offer up one more data-point.

BDL -ORD - LAX
PMUA crews. Pretty normal service; friendly, efficient. Traffic at BDL is low so the Shares BS doesn't show so obvious. Connection in Chicago was a madhouse. But agent spirits were still high.
I asked the man boarding us "how's the computer change going?"
He gives me this huge smile and says "Badly. Enjoy your flight."

LAX - EWR - BDL
PMCO crews. LAX was somewhat uneventful mostly because the CO agents know their Shares.
On the plane to EWR, the staff were pretty chilly, smiles were hard to find.
When the food cart came around, a FA looked at me stone-faced and ask "you want anything?"
The most life she showed was in explaining how the cheeseburgers were "pretty good."
So I had one. Got my food and drink, smiled and said thank you.
No reaction, she just wheeled to the next row.
I guess everyone has their bad days, but the atmosphere on the CO plane to EWR was noticeably chilly.
The Q400 to BDL was pretty friendly with chatty pilots.
Friendly but very abrasive gate agents at EWR............which I understand is more NJ culture than CO.
 
Rdh3e
Posts: 2825
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:09 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:48 pm

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 19):
- The disconnect between management's message and their actions
- Terrible employee morale
- Restrictions on employees to find common-sense solutions to customer issues (fear of audit)
- An outright lack of communication to customers, especially Premier members (lack of responsiveness)
- The general sense that loyalty no longer matters
- Austerity, leading to a very cheap-feeling product

I'll give you my personal view of all these things:

-Morale at Headquarters is fine, and there is a lot of posturing elsewhere because people are "upset" but they can never say what they are upset about.
-I'm not really sure what kind of solutions you're talking about when you're also talking about being audited. Perhaps bag fee waivers and things like that?
-There is a lot of communication going on to customers, it's just not the right communications. Also there are many customers reporting a general lack of will to help customers even when the capability exists and the help is within policy. Just look at the other comments in this thread.
-No idea what you're talking about with the loyalty one, as we were talking about INTERNAL issues, not customer issues. Employees are still fiercely loyal, even when they are upset.
-You've got no idea what you're talking about on austerity. The company is spending more money on pretty much every aspect of the airline than we at s-UA would ever have dreamed about. As a matter of fact, some of the things we are doing would probably have gotten you canned just for suggesting them back at PMUA.
 
CZ346
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:57 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:50 pm

Quoting tommy767 (Reply 33):

Again, I'm a CO cheerleader, but even UA was better pre-merger. I flew on them a number of times and was happy with them. I know both sides are really unhappy, and I know both sides have their own individual complaints. I think (for me) a lot of it is "what you can and can't do". I knew CO's policies, service, and culture, and its different, but CO isn't alone in the boat. sUA is having the same trouble. Again, its just a drastic underanticipation of the difference in company culture and the two trying to merge together and everyone being pissed off about it. They just need to work on integration...

I'm not unhappy with the UA side, I'm not unhappy with the CO side, I'm unhappy with the attempt at integration. At the end of the day, everones just tryin to get food on the table..
 
panamair
Posts: 3765
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2001 2:24 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:22 pm

Quoting AADC10 (Reply 6):
Some of it may be the EWR based crew. They may have a New York attitude while the PMUA crew were probably more laid back Californians.

There is always the misconception that NYC crews (at all airlines) have a "NY" attitude because they are from the area...at most if not all airlines with bases in NYC, the majority of crews based out of NYC are commuters and not New Yorkers. NYC is often one of the most junior bases at airlines due to the high cost of living, etc., so most FAs based there actually live somewhere else....

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 35):
-No idea what you're talking about with the loyalty one, as we were talking about INTERNAL issues, not customer issues. Employees are still fiercely loyal, even when they are upset.

Think he was referring to frequent flyer loyalty - some Elites (whether "over-entitled" or not is another discussion) have been pretty vocal about their dislike of recent Mileage Plus changes recently.
 
User avatar
seabosdca
Posts: 4991
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:33 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:27 pm

Quoting panamair (Reply 37):
There is always the misconception that NYC crews (at all airlines) have a "NY" attitude because they are from the area...at most if not all airlines with bases in NYC, the majority of crews based out of NYC are commuters and not New Yorkers.

Nevertheless in my travels it's absolutely true. The ground crews all live there. Enough of the flight crews also live there to give the NY travel experience a different flavor. Personally, I like it. I like a straight answer and have no need for fake obsequiousness or cheerfulness. But it can go too far, as the US ground staff in PHL amply demonstrates.

[Edited 2012-06-19 07:29:02]
 
Rdh3e
Posts: 2825
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:09 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:36 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 38):
Nevertheless in my travels it's absolutely true. The ground crews all live there. Enough of the flight crews also live there to give the NY travel experience a different flavor. Personally, I like it. I like a straight answer and have no need for fake obsequiousness or cheerfulness. But it can go too far, as the US ground staff in PHL amply demonstrates.

I was sitting at my gate from LGA this weekend and heard the gate agent say to the other after taking a call from the lobby: "B!%$h please, we don't need three more people, they can wait an hour."
 
rscaife1682
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:15 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:42 pm

Quoting traindoc (Reply 29):
Flew UA (ex CO) from EDI-EWR-IAH-SAT today. First off, my wife and I were using system wide upgrades. Our original flight to EWR was way late and asked if we could take the later flight since it had BF available. The UA rep, via phone, said that since Y was full, we could not upgrade to BF, as we had to have a coach seat first. I am a !k and my wife is Platinum, certainly no benefit here. The UA rep had no interest in trying to accommodate us.

But it gets better. On the EWR-IAH leg, we did not show up on the upgrade list. Why? I was told by the same rep that we had not checked in yet. I explained to her that I had boarding passes in hand as I had checked in Sunday PM.

Basically this merger is a disaster for many of us long time CO passengers. There does not seem to be any interest or desire to solve problems and accommodate the passenger. My wife and I have decided to fly WN domestically and the major foreign carriers internationally. We are unwilling to pay good money for bad service!

I am GS on united and have been for 3 years. Since the merger I have noticed issues like the one above on a daily basis. I have joined the mass exodus of Elites and migrated to Delta. So far no major complaints; better cabins, more inflight internet availability, free direct tv channels on certain flights, more AVOD systems on dometics flights, better presented flight crews and over all the long haul product is way ahead of UA. I will certain miss the PS JFK-LAX flight with UA.
 
codc10
Posts: 1764
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2000 7:18 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:43 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 35):

-I'm not really sure what kind of solutions you're talking about when you're also talking about being audited. Perhaps bag fee waivers and things like that?

Fee waivers, comping BOB items onboard (especially for FC customers), proactive re-accommodation outside established guidelines (where it makes sense), etc. The general feeling I get from flying is that employees are hesitant to follow common sense when it conflicts with policy for fear of termination. In the customer-facing positions, there is simply not a perception that management will agree with employees' judgment.

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 35):

-There is a lot of communication going on to customers, it's just not the right communications. Also there are many customers reporting a general lack of will to help customers even when the capability exists and the help is within policy. Just look at the other comments in this thread.

If a 3-6 month lag in email responses (if you get one at all), a completely ineffective social media presence or a customer service department that is deliberately difficult to reach (try calling them... can you find a phone number customers have access to?) qualifies as a lot of communication, then I suppose I have missed the boat. The fact that employee morale is so low or that the system is so difficult to use that they are unwilling to help is a MAJOR problem. I wouldn't point to that as any sort of valid, reasonable explanation for anything. That's a serious red flag.

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 35):

-No idea what you're talking about with the loyalty one, as we were talking about INTERNAL issues, not customer issues. Employees are still fiercely loyal, even when they are upset.

Well, we've already conflated some customer issues with internal issues here, so I think they are fair game. Employees may be loyal, but their choices are limited. At UA, pilots and flight attendants have not been hired for years, and the industry is contracting. Furthermore, loyalty to the company and loyalty to leadership are two completely different things.

In terms of passenger loyalty, very few frequent flyers are happy. This is evidenced by the overwhelmingly negative sentiment some of the internet message boards. If you don't trust those opinions, then go to Sales and ask them how pleased longtime customers are with new United. Things are not quite so rosy.

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 35):

-You've got no idea what you're talking about on austerity. The company is spending more money on pretty much every aspect of the airline than we at s-UA would ever have dreamed about. As a matter of fact, some of the things we are doing would probably have gotten you canned just for suggesting them back at PMUA.

There is no doubt the company is spending more on certain aspects of the operation, and rightfully so. Capex is as high as it has been in years and I am not complaining about that... it's a good thing for everyone. However, from the customer's perspective, there is a lot about the product that just looks and feels cheap.

- New FC meal service guidelines are a cut. Smaller portions, more restrictive meal windows, poor quality, shoddy presentation and terribly unhealthy meal options, not to mention a near across-the-board cutback from the previous CO service
- No FC pillows (AA, DL, US all have)
- Snack box service in F on long RJ flights where other competitors have full meal service
- Have you looked at the blankets lately? They are reminiscent of hospital gauze. Why even bother?
- Cheap, poor variety of snacks in the United Clubs. Inadequate selection compared to Delta or Alaska.
- Where is the integration of inflight products? New uniforms?

My belief is that the company feels it can make incremental cuts to the inflight/customer facing product without customers noticing. After a while, it is painfully evident. Ultimately, these are not products people want to spend money on.
 
N505fx
Posts: 272
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2008 3:02 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:44 pm

"Don't even get me started on CO vs. UA 1k hotline. I can INSTANTLY tell if they're UA or CO and I'll hang up and call until I get a CO. UA reps have never been ANY help to me, and a bunch of situations when I called back for a CO rep, they helped me in half the time it took the UA rep to repeat "no I cant do that". CO are way more likely to go out of their way to help you and take care of you.... (IMHO)"

I have had just the opposite, where the CO desk has done everything to just get me off the phone as quickly as possible - so I have called back until I get the Chicago call center. Just last week it was 5 calls to CO, on the 6th got United and FINALLY got my issue resolved.

[Edited 2012-06-19 07:48:17]
 
derwentwater747
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:00 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:50 pm

As a 1K mileage run whore, I can say, from my own experience, CAL crews are far better. I try to pick my metal and hubs ie 737's and IAH, EWR over the 320's and ORD. I find the UA crews generally stink and are unremarkable. Not all of course, but the general experience.
 
tockeyhockey
Posts: 880
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:57 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:51 pm

just my two cents, but i always found UA crew to be extremely helpful and a bit less jaded. CO always seemed cold and "new york" to me.
 
bmacleod
Posts: 2537
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2001 3:10 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:54 pm

Many airline mergers seem to end up making one party or group unhappy. Not sure about ex NW staff coping with new DL but I heard it was much smoother.

I heard this from a few friends back in early 2000's after the AC CP merger. Before merger CP crew were much nicer than AC crew but this seemed to change after merger.

Hopefully CO staff will adjust and become friendler. But this is just wishful thinking...   

[Edited 2012-06-19 07:59:44]
"What good are wings without the courage to fly?" - Atticus
 
hmelawyer
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 6:11 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:09 pm

I have been a long time pmCO supporter and was platinum elite for a number of years. While historically the CO crews were always pleasant, ready to go the extra mile, and helpful the switchover from Kellner to Smisek seemed to be the event that started to cause a change. The merger came shortly after so I think to many the merger is blamed and there may be plenty of interplay there (problems are rarely the result of one factor), but I believe the real culprit is the management change. Smisek is fundamentally different and the relationship between his management team and labor is markedly different than it was under prior leadership.

As to pmUA: It has been hit or miss for me. Early in the merger I did have a couple of flights where I felt that the pmUA crew/gate agents gave me a lower level of service as a Continental Platinum then they gave equivalent UA Elites. Some were almost direct in their disdain for the merger and anything Continental. However, I have seen a lessening of that dynamic (at least with regard to treatment of customers).

At this point I don't believe that crews are any better or worse based on which airline they came from. The hostile feelings between management and labor will sink the standard of service for all crews. It was the one thing that Bethune and Kellner always preached.
 
Rdh3e
Posts: 2825
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:09 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:20 pm

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 41):
qualifies as a lot of communication, then I suppose I have missed the boat.

I get at least 10-12 emails a week from UA because of Mileage Plus, MP Shopping, MP Dining etc etc.. That IS communication, just not the kind that is helpful for someone who is flying and having real issues. That is what I'm referring to, it's just not what customers really need to be getting.

But yes, I agree with you, there are tons of service shortcomings when it comes to the "cheapness" of the product.
 
tommy767
Posts: 4658
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 12:18 pm

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:33 pm

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 41):
At UA, pilots and flight attendants have not been hired for years, and the industry is contracting. Furthermore, loyalty to the company and loyalty to leadership are two completely different things.

Both UA and CO hired F/A's back in 2006-2007.

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 41):
If a 3-6 month lag in email responses (if you get one at all), a completely ineffective social media presence or a customer service department that is deliberately difficult to reach (try calling them... can you find a phone number customers have access to?) qualifies as a lot of communication, then I suppose I have missed the boat. The fact that employee morale is so low or that the system is so difficult to use that they are unwilling to help is a MAJOR problem. I wouldn't point to that as any sort of valid, reasonable explanation for anything. That's a serious red flag.

I've heard stories where if a 1K had an issue pre-merger they would call the desk and get a reply in 1-2 business days. Since the merger and the migration to SHARES it now takes about a month and compensation is minimal.

There's also the famous CO SHARES flaw with IRROPS. If your plane gets cancelled you generally get screwed since it's almost impossible for a GA to rebook someone via SHARES in a timely manner (or they aren't compentant enough to do so.) Way too many stories about people at say EWR complaining to a GA, "oh my flight to OKC is cancelled, can you put me through ORD or DEN." GA will generally say, "No we can't do that." When UA still had Fastair they could rebook someone in 2 seconds. Bar none, incorporating SHARES was the worst decision of the merger thus far. The more you learn, the more you hate.

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 41):
Fee waivers, comping BOB items onboard (especially for FC customers), proactive re-accommodation outside established guidelines (where it makes sense), etc.

Which, IIRC is comp if you are plat or exec. plat sitting in coach on AA.

Quoting CODC10 (Reply 41):
- New FC meal service guidelines are a cut. Smaller portions, more restrictive meal windows, poor quality, shoddy presentation and terribly unhealthy meal options, not to mention a near across-the-board cutback from the previous CO service
- No FC pillows (AA, DL, US all have)
- Snack box service in F on long RJ flights where other competitors have full meal service
- Have you looked at the blankets lately? They are reminiscent of hospital gauze. Why even bother?
- Cheap, poor variety of snacks in the United Clubs. Inadequate selection compared to Delta or Alaska.
- Where is the integration of inflight products? New uniforms?

You hit the nail on the head. This is everything of what's wrong with this merger. As said months ago, it's taking the worst parts of each airline and setting the standard for the new UA.

Quoting Hmelawyer (Reply 46):
Smisek is fundamentally different and the relationship between his management team and labor is markedly different than it was under prior leadership.

Smisek won't last long at this rate. He is a huge joke at the new UA.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
codc10
Posts: 1764
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2000 7:18 am

RE: Huge Difference Between CO And UA Service, Why?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:35 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 47):

I get at least 10-12 emails a week from UA because of Mileage Plus, MP Shopping, MP Dining etc etc.. That IS communication, just not the kind that is helpful for someone who is flying and having real issues. That is what I'm referring to, it's just not what customers really need to be getting.

But yes, I agree with you, there are tons of service shortcomings when it comes to the "cheapness" of the product.

Got it.

I'm a loyal UA flyer and have many close friends in the company on both sides of the house. I just call it like I see it, and I see a major lack of leadership, starting at the top. I am beginning to think Jeff either doesn't care to get the job done or isn't capable. The current perception of him by the rank-and-file could not be worse.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], bennett123, BNEFlyer, Bongodog1964, crazyplane1234, CRJ900, David L, dc10bhx, dibble777, dk44, ei146, FAST Enterprise [Crawler], Google [Bot], HiJazzey, Iksu, infinit, RalXWB, sassiciai, seat38a, steex, trijetsonly, wezgulf3, zkanz and 289 guests