klwright69
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NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:37 am

Nothing here we don't already know really. Hope there isn't a thread on this already. But it's still worth sharing. The article acknowledges the problems of the company.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/29/bu...ntinental.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
 
clrd4t8koff
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:10 pm

So is this just "teething" problems so-to-speak or did Smisek bite off more than he could chew?

*Not wanting to turn this into a Smisek bash, just curious if perhaps he isn't the right fit for this?
 
klwright69
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:30 pm

The article says that improving customer care is the top priority. Let's hope that means something.
 
NWAROOSTER
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:57 pm

Bigger is not always better. It can like holding onto a gorilla by its tail.   
Procrastination Is The Theft Of Time.......
 
VC10er
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:10 pm

They must be trying hard to fix what they know is problem #1, I recently got a GS online survey that took a solid 10 to 15 minutes to complete. It was very geared towards "customer service" and while each page was multiple choice, there was a box to write verbatims in. If you clicked and gave a low score, then it grilled you on that low score in order to get under the cause of the low score. Also a lot of probing about other airlines, both US and international carriers.

In my company, when we do 3rd party online surveys with clients, that data is taken very seriously and addressed. I hope United and Star Alliance really listen.

(not really related but the NYT story about Jennifer Lopez on UA is hysterical- more to do with bad customers vs bad customer service  
The world is missing love, let's use our flights to spread it!
 
saab2000
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:13 pm

It is not possible to serve the customers by alienating your employees.
smrtrthnu
 
eastern023
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:19 pm

Customer care? It took United 7 months to get back back at my wife on an online complaint she made about a flight delay (handled horribly) and regardless of what she got as compensation the point is that it took them 7 months....!!!! Way to go UA...not!!!
AA will Rise Again!
 
Delta777Jet
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:21 pm

Hi folks,

I just flew with the "new" United ,

the routing was FLL - (sCO) UA 737-800 - IAH - (sUA) UA B-757-200 - LAS.

The ex Continental Aircraft looked fresh , with PTV and the Crew Uniform looked professional the crew somewhat tired though, the average Age (Crew) on Board was about 35 years. No Channel 9 but very informative Pilots.

The United Aircraft (sUA) B-757 was about 20 years old, looked tired, old and crampy. The Crew was wearing different uniform and the avarage age on Board was about 60! Channel 9 working, Pilots very informative and friendly.

Did not seems like one airline, more like 2 different to me!
B-717/722/737-200/300/400/500/600/700/800/900/B-747-100/200/400/SP/8i/B-752/3/B-762/3/4/B-772/LR/300ER/B-788/DC-10-10/30/L-1011-1/500/MD-81/82/83/90/A-319/320/321/AB6/312/313/332/333/342/343/346/359/388/TU154/IL-18/ATR-42/72/DH4/DH3/E145/E170/190/CR2/7/9
 
JAAlbert
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:49 pm

[quote=NWAROOSTER,reply=3]Bigger is not always better. It can like holding onto a gorilla by its tail.

Which must mean it's pretty near impossible since gorillas don't have tails!
 
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IrishAyes
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:47 pm

The article blurs some lines by mentioning the Houston situation. The City was angry that the airline moved jobs and the HQ out of Houston, but there was definitely no backlash against WN opening up an FIS facility at HOU. Then, they became angry again when UA announced they were reducing capacity and jobs at IAH and dropping the AKL flight on the 787.

But, then again, maybe the scope of the article wasn't to go into that whole debacle since that is a story in and of itself. However, there was still a key chronology in how that all played out.

Quoting Delta777Jet (Reply 7):
Did not seems like one airline, more like 2 different to me!

Very much so.

Also, so glad that I've discovered this @FakeUnitedJeff and am now following him on Twitter. This is absolutely hysterical!!!!
confidence is silent. insecurities are loud.
 
mcdu
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:01 pm

Quoting Delta777Jet (Reply 7):
The United Aircraft (sUA) B-757 was about 20 years old, looked tired, old and crampy. The Crew was wearing different uniform and the avarage age on Board was about 60! Channel 9 working, Pilots very informative and friendly.

Ironic that you felt it was cramped. S-UA is the reason Econ + is being installed in the S-CO fleet. Different uniforms are because we have not been issued new uniforms. Latest for the pilots is that we will receive our new combined airline uniforms in the fall of 2013. A full year and a half after being fitted!

As to the age of the crew you are seeing the difference in what has taken place at the two carriers. S-UA hasn't hired in many years due to the continuous reduction in size of the airline since 2001. S-CO on the other hand has been adding employees. Currently the pilots are about to commence voting on a combined contract. Those that vote NO will assure the continuous shrinking of S-UA at the benefit to the S-CO side of the house. S-UA will be parking many of their older 757's. the replacement is supposed to be 737-900's on the S-UA side. However, it makes no sense to create a separate program on the S-UA side when S-CO has a program and a payrate. When the TPA agreement expires with ALPA in March there will be zero protections for block hours on the s-UA portion.

If you like S-CO you potentially will get a lot more of it shortly. The S-CO pilots are trying to torpedo the potential contract because they stand to benefit the most with a continued decimation of the S-UA group. It is a shame that two ALPA groups have cratered the potential benefits of this merger.
 
strfyr51
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:22 pm

Quoting clrd4t8koff (Reply 1):

A much as I hate to admit it, the former CAL management decided to keep their system and scrap the United system which Many of us feel was a mistake. Their system is built on servers while ours was built on mainframes that are pretty much bulletproof. A new computer center is being built in Elk Grove at the former WHQ but it's not built YET and until it is?? Stuff Happens, We're still operating as 2 separate airlines at present and when THAT will change? I have NO Idea.
I wish I COULD say it's somebody's Fault but it's Not.. it is what it is for the moment.
Jeff Smisek can be held accountable for one thing and one thing ONLY, all the open Contracts Still to settle and the Diddling while Rome is burning he's done with the pilot's contract, because THAT contract is holding up EVERY BODY ELSE'S contract and the CONTRACTS are holding up the unification of the workforce !!
 
strfyr51
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:37 pm

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 9):

Is Houston STILLL crying about that?? they need to get a GRIP. with 77 Wacker Drive closing and moving to the Willis tower?? They're going to be unhappy a DAMN LONG time at LEAST until 2028 if not FOREVER
 
Mir
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:35 pm

The most telling line from the article:

“You know, the cultural change takes time,” Mr. Smisek said. “And people resist change. People are sort of set in their ways.”

He added the airline was now intent on providing better operational performance and consistently good customer service. “And there are people who don’t like that,” he said. “I understand that. What I want is those people to either change or leave.”


He just doesn't get it. You can't blame your cultural problems on employees not wanting to do a better job. It's the CEO's job to change the culture. And if there are actually a significant number of people who don't want to provide better performance or customer service (which I doubt), then why is he waiting for them to change or leave when it's within his power to get rid of them?

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
Rdh3e
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:15 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
It's the CEO's job to change the culture.

The CEO can present a framework for a culture. He cannot force John Doe at EWR to be nicer to his ramp supervisor.

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
when it's within his power to get rid of them?

Firing people in unions takes a very long time, not to mention it is detrimental to negotiations. He has gotten rid of people at WHQ that didn't get with the program, and that is going to continue.
 
Alias1024
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:50 pm

Quoting saab2000 (Reply 5):
It is not possible to serve the customers by alienating your employees.

This just about says it all. I often feel that management at UA is an impediment rather than an enabler to the rank and file employees providing good customer service.
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
 
RyanairGuru
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:56 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
He just doesn't get it. You can't blame your cultural problems on employees not wanting to do a better job.

While SHARES seems to have settled down now, back in March it appeared that some on the sUA side didn't commit to learning how to use it. When it all got too difficult they did nothing and blamed management.

Sure, management really should have provided better SHARES training, but there were some who were so anti it that they deliberately didn't learn how to use it.

Those are the sort of people he is referring to.
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
strfyr51
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:15 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):

WHERE do you and others get a CULTURE from?? There is NO SUCH THING!! If your people are treated and PAID well then you can ask for MORE from them.. If you're NOT willing to do that?? Then you GET what you GET!! People got the idea that we at UNitede needed a culture fix, that is a bunch of Bunk!! We were undermanned and went toward tech to solve our problems No we Don't Kiss anybody's butts .. You're not Paying to get your butt kised you're paying to get where you're going SAFELY and that's ALL you should care about! And with the load factors we're flying?? Evidently nobody cares either!!
 
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cosyr
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:23 pm

Quoting clrd4t8koff (Reply 1):
*Not wanting to turn this into a Smisek bash, just curious if perhaps he isn't the right fit for this?

I don't want to bash Smisek either, he has his strengths, but there are different types of CEO's with different strengths. There are those great at Turn Arounds (Bethune), those great at cost cutting (Crandall), those best for steady the course (Kellner), and I think Smisek was what the Board wanted at the time to get a merger done and see it through. I don't think he's done yet, but after the labor contracts have been merged, it might be a better time for a Kellner type.

For an example of what I mean, Glenn Tilton was a Bankruptcy CEO who stuck around after the bankruptcy was done, and United was worse for it. Carlos Ghosn turned around Nissan, but now that it is a fresh booming company, time for a different type of leadership.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:23 pm

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 12):
Is Houston STILLL crying about that??

They can't be--IAH/HOU has gotten more OA capacity than UA has dropped. Europe capacity is up 10% because OA is up 20% and UA is down 10%. The capacity is following the money and jobs, and those are in Texas.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
Flighty
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:48 pm

Quoting cosyr (Reply 18):
I don't want to bash Smisek either, he has his strengths, but there are different types of CEO's with different strengths. There are those great at Turn Arounds (Bethune), those great at cost cutting (Crandall), those best for steady the course (Kellner), and I think Smisek was what the Board wanted at the time to get a merger done and see it through. I don't think he's done yet, but after the labor contracts have been merged, it might be a better time for a Kellner type.

IMO UA needs a Crandall type, then a Bethune type. Crandall for the no nonsense chainsaw mentality, then Bethune to spread excellence.
 
eastern747
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:00 am

I'm really getting sick and tired of a bred of a.netter bashing older crew members. When they entered the airline business they were developing a career. A CAREER. I,m starting work at 20-21 and plan to retire with that company. Lawyers, doctors. police fireman etc looked to a career. We wanted this as how we wanted to make our living. People today jump from job to job like frogs. No loyality, and a no care attitude. These people have worked all their lives to do good things and service. Let's not forget that the folks sitting in airline seats are alot different and don't appreciate that. BTW I was not a F/A.
 
clrd4t8koff
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:22 am

Quoting EASTERN747 (Reply 21):
I'm really getting sick and tired of a bred of a.netter bashing older crew members.

As someone who spends a good amount of time on this site, I can honestly tell you that you're a little off base with this comment. Most on here don't bash older crew members because of their age, it's because of their surly and poor attitudes. I fail to see what the rest of your comment in regards to job loyalty has anything to do with your comment? So because a flight attendant is older and has shown the airline loyalty, we should respect their grumpy demeanor and overall lack of interest in their job?   
 
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par13del
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:56 am

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 11):
all the open Contracts Still to settle and the Diddling while Rome is burning he's done with the pilot's contract, because THAT contract is holding up EVERY BODY ELSE'S contract and the CONTRACTS are holding up the unification of the workforce !!

Why, are they expecting to get the same percentages and perks?
The pilots have the power which they usually wield only for themselves, until all their demands are settled they will not sign a contract, as mentioned in the article, US pilots still have no contract 7 years after their merger. Not saying it will take as long, but how long will the other unions whose jobs do not involve piloting an a/c intend to wait before pushing their demands for their members and their working conditions?
 
eastern747
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:18 am

.Older F/as and newer ones are taught to dress well, proper makeup and pressed uniforms and a sense of pride. They are generally meet with passengers in tank tops, cut offs and flip flops. They are most likely hooked up to ear phones and ignor f/a,s , It's called respect. WN F/A's are down to earth and go with the flow, and it works. Senior F/A's were doing their job long before you were born. Get off their case
 
b52murph
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:57 am

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 11):
A much as I hate to admit it, the former CAL management decided to keep their system and scrap the United system which Many of us feel was a mistake. Their system is built on servers while ours was built on mainframes that are pretty much bulletproof. A new computer center is being built in Elk Grove at the former WHQ but it's not built YET and until it is?? Stuff Happens, We're still operating as 2 separate airlines at present and when THAT will change? I have NO Idea.

Sums it up really well here. As a 1K, I recently got a survey after a phone call regarding customer service on the phone, which...on the 1K dedicated phone line was very good. I imagine, though, they probably don't send many surveys to non-status MileagePlus members...or even Premier Silver members.

The "Continental system" issue makes me want to scream with regard to upgrades. For work requirements, I've made multiple trips US-->Asia and back (10+ round trips) in the last 10 months (150K+ premier miles since April). All but one of those has been booked in a full Y booking code...meaning even as a Gold, Platinum, and certainly as a 1K, I should be at or near the top of the list for the upgrade to clear at the gate if it doesn't clear 24 or more hours before. However...EVERY TIME...the system dumps my upgrade request at the 24 hour mark, and they have to re-add me to the list (if they can figure out how to do it) at the airport. First time, they didn't know how to re-add me...I lost the miles (got them back eventually) and wasn't allowed to fill an empty seat in BusinessFirst. Good way to lose the top customers....

Enough already...
 
FI642
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:29 am

Quoting saab2000 (Reply 5):

It is not possible to serve the customers by alienating your employees.

This is key to any airlines success. Happy Employees lead to Happy Customers.
737MAX, Cool Planes for the Worlds Coolest Airline.
 
strfyr51
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:35 am

Quoting par13del (Reply 23):

I don't know HOW it works at other airlines but when all the contracts became due the Pilots contract gets settled first then all the other contracts. Before bankruptcy there was a 2 yr offset in contracts between the different union groups, But all the post bankruptcy contracts came due in 2010 and the unions are on interim contracts. with final unified contracts still to be negotiated with the exception of the PAFCA Dispatchers who's contract is being done at a snails pace until the ALPA contract and seniority integration is completed.
 
liftsifter
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:39 am

At my hotel, whenever I greet a guest and check them in, we ask how their trip in was. Whenever there is a complaint it's about United, losing a bag or missing a connection. Also, all of our discounted stays through Airport Accommodations are almost always only coming from United. Something tells me these aren't teething problems.
A300 A310 A319 A320 A321 A332 A333 A342 A343 A346 A380 B736 B737 B738 B744 B763 B77L B77E B77W B788 E190
 
Mir
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:54 am

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 17):

FYI, my post was actually defending the employees and implying that the problems that United faces are ones of poor executive leadership (i.e. failing to establish the proper culture - and yes there is a culture, every big organization has one and airlines are no exception, just look at Delta or JetBlue or Southwest and you'll see it right away).

But after reading your reply, maybe Smisek was actually onto something.  

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
chopchop767
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:12 am

Quoting b52murph (Reply 25):
The "Continental system" issue makes me want to scream with regard to upgrades. For work requirements, I've made multiple trips US-->Asia and back (10+ round trips) in the last 10 months (150K+ premier miles since April). All but one of those has been booked in a full Y booking code...meaning even as a Gold, Platinum, and certainly as a 1K, I should be at or near the top of the list for the upgrade to clear at the gate if it doesn't clear 24 or more hours before. However...EVERY TIME...the system dumps my upgrade request at the 24 hour mark, and they have to re-add me to the list (if they can figure out how to do it) at the airport.

I knew I wasn't the only one! This exact same occurence has happened on multiple occassions with me on European sectors also booked in full Y, albeit as a Star Gold. Moreover, I'm not certain if the Shares system is the route of the problem, but I've also attempted to claim miles on multiple Start Alliance flights because my Mileage Plus number wouldn't read correctly. One of the polite girls at LH told me that she actually had to enter it as a CO number for the system to read it. Then for upgrades, the website only works for LH flights, in my experience, and when you call the Star Alliance upgrade desk, they advise you that they're using the same page! In sum, since the merger, Mileage Plus has been a disaster.

That said, I still fly UA and avoid CO. They really still are two separate airlines.
this year: nap, lgw, fra, dub, fco, add, jib, muc, iad, sea, dca, bos, cdg, ist, bah, prg, ord, hsv, cmn
 
bjorn14
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:36 pm

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 9):
The City was angry that the airline moved jobs and the HQ out of Houston, but there was definitely no backlash against WN opening up an FIS facility at HOU

I think Houston was just looking out for its own. No longer having a 'hometown' airline they need to do what they need to do.
"I want to know the voice of God the rest is just details" --A. Einstein
 
eaglepower83
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:37 pm

Quoting clrd4t8koff (Reply 22):
I'm really getting sick and tired of a bred of a.netter bashing older crew members. When they entered the airline business they were developing a career. A CAREER. I,m starting work at 20-21 and plan to retire with that company. Lawyers, doctors. police fireman etc looked to a career. We wanted this as how we wanted to make our living. People today jump from job to job like frogs. No loyality, and a no care attitude. These people have worked all their lives to do good things and service. Let's not forget that the folks sitting in airline seats are alot different and don't appreciate that. BTW I was not a F/A.

As part of the Millenials generation, I can tell you there's no real company loyalty bred in us.
Why should there be?
We've seen our parents laid off countless times in spite of their dedication.
Those of us Millenials who've been in the workforce now for 10 years have seen our co-workers laid off, in spite of their loyalty.
Why should we be loyal when we don't see loyalty in return?
When I was in Engineering school, we were "braced" for not staying at any job for longer than 5 years because that's the average time companys today like to rotate their staff.
In Grad school, many "industry" students had career stories that matched that. They weren't at any job for longer than 7 years because they were always getting laid off.
The longest career man in my classes was a former Northwest Airlines pilot, who was with NW for almost 20yrs.
We looked at him like a museum piece, because we knew we'd be more than lucky to ever stay at a company for longer than 10yrs.

So those of you on this board who deem yourselves "job creators." Think about that.
You sit in your offices wondering why these young punks don't show you any loyalty?
Maybe it's time to stop rotating the staff so often......
 
Mir
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:29 pm

Quoting EaglePower83 (Reply 32):
So those of you on this board who deem yourselves "job creators." Think about that.
You sit in your offices wondering why these young punks don't show you any loyalty?
Maybe it's time to stop rotating the staff so often......

While everything you've said is true, you could also look at it from the employer's end: now that the mindset you've described is pretty much ingrained in the younger members of the workforce, why should they show any loyalty to the employees when the employees aren't going to show loyalty to them, and might not even expect any loyalty whatsoever?

So it's kind of a chicken/egg situation. Neither side wants to take steps to change the mentality until the other does.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
Flighty
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:45 pm

Quoting EASTERN747 (Reply 21):
People today jump from job to job like frogs. No loyality, and a no care attitude

It doesn't sound like you have any regard for the people you're denigrating. Not a way to win friends.

Quoting EaglePower83 (Reply 32):
We looked at him like a museum piece, because we knew we'd be more than lucky to ever stay at a company for longer than 10yrs.

If somebody is expecting to just do the same job forever -- sorry -- that person won't even stay relevant in their field unless they keep advancing, keep moving. The young generation knows this. They never plan to settle down -- at this moment in time, settling makes you vulnerable. Unless it's called retirement. I much prefer the new way.

But it does reach absurd levels -- usually a new hire is not valuable for 6 months to 1 year. If they move faster than every 2 years, that's a problem.
 
eaglepower83
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:45 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 33):
So it's kind of a chicken/egg situation. Neither side wants to take steps to change the mentality until the other does.

Agreed :/
 
tommy767
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:55 pm

Quoting Delta777Jet (Reply 7):
The ex Continental Aircraft looked fresh , with PTV and the Crew Uniform looked professional the crew somewhat tired though, the average Age (Crew) on Board was about 35 years. No Channel 9 but very informative Pilots.

The United Aircraft (sUA) B-757 was about 20 years old, looked tired, old and crampy. The Crew was wearing different uniform and the avarage age on Board was about 60! Channel 9 working, Pilots very informative and friendly.

Did not seems like one airline, more like 2 different to me!

That is all subjective. I had an interview with UA in Houston and there was a girl who flew in from PHX. I asked her how the was the flight and she told me she flew on this old piece of crap plane with directv on it (I'm guessing a 73G or 738). So it really all depends on who you are. I prefer the UA 757s as they are more comfortable and apparently the interiors are being refreshed.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
ScottB
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:13 pm

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 17):
People got the idea that we at UNitede needed a culture fix, that is a bunch of Bunk!! We were undermanned and went toward tech to solve our problems No we Don't Kiss anybody's butts .. You're not Paying to get your butt kised you're paying to get where you're going SAFELY and that's ALL you should care about! And with the load factors we're flying?? Evidently nobody cares either!!

That attitude might be OK if you were a monopoly like the phone company used to be, but you have competitors. And those competitors foster a corporate culture where customer service is valued along with safety. If you're competing with another global carrier like Delta with an equally enviable safety record, customers will choose Delta if their customer service is better. Even more importantly, the high-revenue frequent flyers in competitive markets will leave, making the company less able to pay good wages to its employees.

There's an enormous difference between "Paying to get your butt kised [sic]" and expecting a smile versus a scowl. And given the price of first class travel, those customers are absolutely paying to get their butts kissed!

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 14):
The CEO can present a framework for a culture. He cannot force John Doe at EWR to be nicer to his ramp supervisor.

But if there are many John Does at EWR/IAH/ORD/SFO/DEN then there's an indication that something's wrong with the corporate culture. New Jersey isn't exactly known for great customer service, and yet Gordon Bethune managed to turn an airline that was dead-last in customer service into one of the better U.S. carriers, and that's even with a hub at EWR.
 
tommy767
Posts: 4658
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 12:18 pm

RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:22 pm

Quoting ScottB (Reply 37):
New Jersey isn't exactly known for great customer service, and yet Gordon Bethune managed to turn an airline that was dead-last in customer service into one of the better U.S. carriers, and that's even with a hub at EWR.

EWR gate agents in my experience this year have been really good. I think it's the below the line staff that sets people off.

But that quote that Smisek said, "Embrace the corporate culture or get out" is total arrogance. Not that I didn't see it coming but I still have yet to see some good rhetoric from Continental not shoved down employees throats. I still have yet to see what was so great about their corporate culture compared to pre merger United.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
RyanairGuru
Posts: 6554
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:59 am

RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:25 pm

Quoting tommy767 (Reply 38):
I still have yet to see what was so great about their corporate culture compared to pre merger United.

Not that.

Please understand that Jeff Smisek and Continental Airlines are NOT synonymous.
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
MaverickM11
Posts: 15259
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2000 1:59 pm

RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:48 pm

Quoting Flighty (Reply 34):
If somebody is expecting to just do the same job forever -- sorry -- that person won't even stay relevant in their field unless they keep advancing, keep moving.

   That same person probably put all their retirement in Enron 
Quoting EASTERN747 (Reply 21):
When they entered the airline business they were developing a career. A CAREER.

The problem is that the job was really never meant to be a career, which causes all sorts of problems, particularly since the crewmember skill set has a fraction of the value outside of the airlines if, as often is the case, airlines go under, through major layoffs, and/or through bankruptcy.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
Tdan
Posts: 495
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:36 pm

RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:06 pm

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 39):
Quoting tommy767 (Reply 38):
I still have yet to see what was so great about their corporate culture compared to pre merger United.

Not that.

Please understand that Jeff Smisek and Continental Airlines are NOT synonymous.

The corporate culture that Gordon nurtured and became synonymous with Continental has not been around since he left. With Larry, it was similar, but somewhat of a slow degradation of the 'Working Together" attitude and front line empowerment. When Jeff became the CEO, that slow degradation fell off a cliff into the current, merged incarnation.

As a result, I'd argue the current UA corporate culture IS synonymous with Jeff as that was the way CO was heading pre-merger.
We will ride this thunderbird, silver shadows on the earth, a thousand leagues away our land of birth... -Captain Bruce
 
slider
Posts: 6806
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:10 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 13):
He just doesn't get it. You can't blame your cultural problems on employees not wanting to do a better job. It's the CEO's job to change the culture. And if there are actually a significant number of people who don't want to provide better performance or customer service (which I doubt), then why is he waiting for them to change or leave when it's within his power to get rid of them?
Quoting tommy767 (Reply 38):
But that quote that Smisek said, "Embrace the corporate culture or get out" is total arrogance.

On the topic of culture, there are several things that need to be repeated here on this board.

First, so much of culture is that of PLACE. Not only did the Bethune/Brenneman turnaround help start the CO Working Together culture, but with HQ being in Houston, Texas, there is a sense of attitude that follows. Conversely, with the new UA being based on Chicago, much of the corporate culture follows that place. It just is. And there is and will be continuing lingering bitterness about it because it was the wrong decision, motivated only by politics, unfortunately.

As for "embracing" the culture, this is a fallacy too since, in Jeff's own words that have been repeated infinitely, this was a "merger of equals". What a crock. There are far too many sub UA folks in leadership positions who don't get the culture and undermine it actively. Some by design, others by ignorance, but few are carrying the torch because they still haven't reallybeen shown what it all means. Lip service a lot of times.

Smisek doesn't see what's going on in a lot of areas, so his rosy view of the culture is off base IMO.
 
TakeOff
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 7:24 am

RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:15 pm

All I'll say is: I MISS CONTINENTAL.

TakeOff
 
charlienorth
Posts: 1053
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RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:04 pm

SOOO..what I'm gathering here is they should have kissed Houston"s butt and all would have been good?

Quoting slider (Reply 42):
There are far too many sub UA folks in leadership positions who don't get the culture and undermine it actively.

What culture should they embrace? The CO side isn't real impressive. I see too many contintogasms, the culture the 2 class config but nothing I've seen is anymore impressive than sub_UA..as far as the CEO goes I see criticism without merit, "culture" needs to come from others not just one man.
Work hard fly right..don't understand it
 
RyanairGuru
Posts: 6554
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:59 am

RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:19 pm

Quoting Tdan (Reply 41):
The corporate culture that Gordon nurtured and became synonymous with Continental has not been around since he left. With Larry, it was similar, but somewhat of a slow degradation of the 'Working Together" attitude and front line empowerment. When Jeff became the CEO, that slow degradation fell off a cliff into the current, merged incarnation

Absolutely. I do feel that Kellner did his best and actually managed to hold up the Gordon coalition pretty well, although it is fair to say that by the end of his tenure the airline was no longer at its peak. Then Jeff came along...

Quoting Tdan (Reply 41):
I'd argue the current UA corporate culture IS synonymous with Jeff as that was the way CO was heading pre-merger

Oh I agree. I think it is possibly fair to say that the fabled Continental culture was certainly dying, if not dead, pre-merger.

The distinction I was trying to make is that Jeff = NewUnited, but not Gordon's Continental which is what people refer to when they talk about the Continental culture.

Quoting charlienorth (Reply 44):
The CO side isn't real impressive. I see too many contintogasms, the culture the 2 class config but nothing I've seen is anymore impressive than sub_UA

If you are only looking at it post-merger then you are probably right, unfortunately.

Quoting TakeOff (Reply 43):
I MISS CONTINENTAL



  

Don't get me wrong, I still think the merger was the best outcome for the long term viability of both companies, and I am genuinely excited to see what the future has in store a couple of years down the track once we are at a stage that DL is at today. It is, however, sad that Continental (or at least what was left of it post-Gordon) has had its reputation trashed and dragged through the dirt by the United customers and staff.

I understand that they are unhappy with how the merger has progressed, both sides are, but in this case I think we should blame the player and not the team.
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
MaverickM11
Posts: 15259
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2000 1:59 pm

RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:27 pm

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 45):
I think it is possibly fair to say that the fabled Continental culture was certainly dying, if not dead, pre-merger.

Probably, but on the UA side you had a company that was run by finance, shrinking for a decade, in bankruptcy for half of that, had one mission and one mission only--to sell or merge asap, and didn't spend money on anything whether it was the product, or people, or fleet, but maybe multiple HQs in the Chicago area. Nothing ever surpassed the financial metric du jour, so nothing was ever done, until the very end when they realized no one wanted to buy UA and they had to start running it as an airline--it became a pretty caustic environment from top to bottom.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
Rdh3e
Posts: 2768
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:09 pm

RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:07 pm

Quoting slider (Reply 42):
with the new UA being based on Chicago, much of the corporate culture follows that place.

Ever heard of midwest hospitality? People in Chicago are very nice. If everyone treated each other the way people do in the Loop we'd have world peace by now.

http://www.specialtyansweringservice...1/08/top-10-most-polite-us-cities/

Quoting slider (Reply 42):
There are far too many sub UA folks in leadership positions who don't get the culture and undermine it actively.

Huh? Do you work at HDQ or WHQ?
 
denoldman
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:35 pm

RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:10 pm

As a former 30 year employee of UA and a current employee of a major express carrier I simple had to join in this discussion. In my experience as managment and front line employee I must state that: Culture does not start with the CEO. It starts with the front line manager. Respect for what the employee accomplishes on a regular basis is the first step in creating a positive culture.
All work groups have their whiners and complainers, however it has been my experience that no matter how angry or mis-treated an employee feels they ALL attempt to do a professional job, no one gets up at "0 dark thirty" to come into a job and fail, it not human nature to do this ! They are not give the tools, respect, resources or training to successfully accomplish their duties and this creates a disconnect in their experience. This dis-connect causes a accute desire to fight back and they really can't attack the real cause, so unfortunitly this colors the face to face contact with the customers. Sad but true!
Finally, as to the points on wanting a career, UA had Ramp service agents that became industry experts in particular aspects of their jobs. Baggage handeling, scanner tecnology, de-icing, operational computer programming and fueling. I inagine that other departments also had driven employees that took on more than required. However the upper management types at HQ discounted these experts and many of these jobs were eliminated for "cost" reasons. These jobs are now "outsourced" to the lowest bidder. What do you expect the responce from the affected employee groups is. They are no longer respected for their job skills and this knowledge is discounted by the powers that be causing anger and resenment.     
 
T5towbar
Posts: 429
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:06 am

RE: NY Times: UA Merger Still Rough

Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:29 pm

As a result, I'd argue the current UA corporate culture IS synonymous with Jeff as that was the way CO was heading pre-merger.

Very true...........on all accounts. Jeff may not be the right person for this merger. Larry knew when to get out when the writing was on the wall for this merger.

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 45):
Quoting Tdan (Reply 41):
The corporate culture that Gordon nurtured and became synonymous with Continental has not been around since he left. With Larry, it was similar, but somewhat of a slow degradation of the 'Working Together" attitude and front line empowerment. When Jeff became the CEO, that slow degradation fell off a cliff into the current, merged incarnation

Absolutely. I do feel that Kellner did his best and actually managed to hold up the Gordon coalition pretty well, although it is fair to say that by the end of his tenure the airline was no longer at its peak. Then Jeff came along...

It held up till Gordon left. Larry had to do some of the dirty work by cutting. (2004-2005 and 2008) A lot was lost, but I guess in that timeframe, everybody else in the industry was going into or already into bankruptcy. Larry knew what had be be done to keep things afloat, and the culture that Gordon nurtured took a hit. Problem was once Larry left (he didn't want the merger) who was going to oversee this combo? Could someone better on the UA side of the house do a better job? This is a big undertaking and what may worked successfully for sCO (which was smaller) work for a combined entity which would be larger and complex than anything out there at the present time.
A comment from an Ex CON: Work Hard.....Fly Standby!

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