FlyHossD
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Posts: 1947
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Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Wed May 02, 2012 7:14 pm

Click on Smisek's photo to get the story. It echos what has been said on this site previously:

http://www.portfolio.com/
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
Rdh3e
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Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Wed May 02, 2012 7:26 pm

"Two years to the day after it announced its merger with Continental Airlines, United is lagging its competitors among the legacy carriers by most any financial measure or service metric."

"and United under Tilton had floundered even after emerging from the longest, costliest bankruptcy in aviation history."


Read more: http://www.portfolio.com/business-tr...-employee-complaints#ixzz1tk41L7ZE

This guy has clearly no idea what he's talking about.

[Edited 2012-05-02 12:27:30]
 
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chepos
Posts: 6950
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Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Wed May 02, 2012 7:54 pm

While all mergers have ups and downs considering who the author of the airticle is I would not pay too much attention to it.
Mr. Brancatell loves to bitch and moan about basically every airline in the US.

Regards,

Chepos
Fly the Flag!!!!
 
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usdcaguy
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Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Wed May 02, 2012 8:47 pm

When reading about the new UA, I can't help but wonder if the oft-lauded "culture of Continental" died in the move up to Chicago. I think there is something psychological to a physical environment in that it can signal a culture and a way of doing things, and the offices on Smith Street were likely no exception. If you add new people to the mix, make things look radically different and inject the vibe of a new city into a company, it is very difficult to feel the same way you may have felt before, even if you're still working with many of the same people. At this point, it is clear that the new UA is not going to be able to ride on the coattails of CO; they will need to invent a new company of their own and take pride in the work they perform. It is not enough to have the strongest network in the country; at the end of the day, you have to prove you're a good airline, and although I'm sure Smisek knows this, accomplishing this with the combined workforce is like starting from scratch.
 
FlyHossD
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Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Wed May 02, 2012 9:48 pm

Quoting rdh3e (Reply 1):
This guy has clearly no idea what he's talking about.

Assuming you're "in the know," what did he get wrong? Honestly, I'd like to know. Thanks.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
MSPNWA
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Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Wed May 02, 2012 10:00 pm

Same old drivel. One disappointing quarter, one with legitimate, temporary reasons for it, and out comes the doomsday crowd. The "reasons" for the losses posted in this article are the same things that have happened at DL during the margin process. Varied onboard product? Check (way more varied I might add). Devaluing of the frequent flier program and upset elites? Check. Operational issues? Check. And although it was a difficult time for the industry when DL was merging, they didn't do very well financially until it was complete.
 
nws2002
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Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Wed May 02, 2012 10:18 pm

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 3):
When reading about the new UA, I can't help but wonder if the oft-lauded "culture of Continental" died in the move up to Chicago.

It died when Smisek took over. As an employee, all we have seen since Kellner stepped down is cuts and the dismantling of Continental's culture.
 
chris7217
Posts: 137
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Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 9:50 am

Quoting flyhossd (Reply 4):


Yes, I'd like to know, too, please!
 
tsnamm
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Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 12:51 pm

[quote=nws2002,reply=6]It died when Smisek took over. As an employee, all we have seen since Kellner stepped down is cuts and the dismantling of Continental's culture.[/quote

Bingo...spot on...everyone seems to think Jeff is just like Gordon....CO had been deviating from the original plan ever since Gordon left, and it was only accelerated when Jeff took over. Although in Jeff's defense we don't have much of a track record to go by as he announced the merger with UA less than 6 months into his tenure...but that seems to have been the marching orders from the board.
 
tommy767
Posts: 4658
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Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 1:14 pm

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 3):
It is not enough to have the strongest network in the country; at the end of the day, you have to prove you're a good airline, and although I'm sure Smisek knows this, accomplishing this with the combined workforce is like starting from scratch.

I think the article brought up a lot of good points but I don't agree with how he says that CO was the best airline in the country and UA was the worst before the merger. He apparently didn't do good enough research to realize that UA was outperforming CO before the merger.

The biggest point he drove home (and got right) is how Smisek is the new face of United. And therefore, when a customer wants to blame United for a crappy experience -- who are they going to think of first? It's Jeffy.

The way things are going right now you kind of have to wonder whether Jeff's tenure at United will hold up. If a bad loss occurs in Q2 and Q3, I think it's definitely possible that he could be replaced.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
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yellowtail
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Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 1:46 pm

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 3):
When reading about the new UA, I can't help but wonder if the oft-lauded "culture of Continental" died in the move up to Chicago. I think there is something psychological to a physical environment in that it can signal a culture and a way of doing things, and the offices on Smith Street were likely no exception. If you add new people to the mix, make things look radically different and inject the vibe of a new city into a company, it is very difficult to feel the same way you may have felt before, even if you're still working with many of the same people. At this point, it is clear that the new UA is not going to be able to ride on the coattails of CO; they will need to invent a new company of their own and take pride in the work they perform. It is not enough to have the strongest network in the country; at the end of the day, you have to prove you're a good airline, and although I'm sure Smisek knows this, accomplishing this with the combined workforce is like starting from scratch.

Having been to both offices I can tell you that the Smith street "feel" was much more relaxed and confident than ORD. And it is no secret that a majority of the Smith St. HQ folks were not happy about the move to Chicago. I know quite a few that took early retirement of went to work somewhere else.

I know some may not believe it but I know of at least 4 or 5 of the HQ employees that used to love being based in houston because it was so easy and quick to get to CUN, CZM etc for the weekend. There were a number that enjoyed PTY>. Lot longer, harder to do so from ORD. Sometimes it is the little things that make employees happy.
When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No-one has ever collided with the sky.
 
Rdh3e
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Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 2:06 pm

Quoting flyhossd (Reply 4):
Assuming you're "in the know," what did he get wrong? Honestly, I'd like to know. Thanks.
Quoting chris7217 (Reply 7):
Yes, I'd like to know, too, please!

I'm not sure how this is going to show up in a post but, yeah, UA is not top dog, but not on the bottom of EVERY metric as this guy suggested. And most of the metrics are quite clustered as well.

The columns of this table go:
Completion %, Cancel %, D:00, A:00, A:14
AA 4 1 3 4 4
DL 1 4 2 1 1
UA 2 3 4 3 3
US 3 2 1 2 2
*Rank in 2011 Full Year DOT Stats, UA= UA&CO

When I have a chance I'll pull the financial metrics as well, which will show that with the exception of 1Q12 UA is doing just fine.

He also failed to mention that UA was significantly more profitable than CO before the merger, so his definition of "floundering" is pretty sad. Call me a fanboy, but I think this is going to work out for the better for *Almost* everybody.

Quoting yellowtail (Reply 10):
Having been to both offices I can tell you that the Smith street "feel" was much more relaxed and confident than ORD. And it is no secret that a majority of the Smith St. HQ folks were not happy about the move to Chicago. I know quite a few that took early retirement of went to work somewhere else.

Well the headquarters are not at ORD, so comparing ORD to HQS/J isn't really fair. I've seen nothing but positive things from my CO coworkers here. Yes there are many who had roots in Houston who would've like to stay (and many who did find other employment) but most have found Chicago to be a very nice place to live.

Quoting yellowtail (Reply 10):
I know some may not believe it but I know of at least 4 or 5 of the HQ employees that used to love being based in houston because it was so easy and quick to get to CUN, CZM etc

I discuss this all the time with the folks from down south. The folks who are still down there have it awesome! Easy pass travel to a ton of awesome spots. Folks will just have to get used to doing other cool spots, domestically places like BNA, PWM, better access to the west coast, internationally you get BRU, AND OLD: Munich - Riem (MUC / EDDM) (closed), Germany">MUC, and a couple others that they didn't have before. Plus it's a MUCH shorter connect to EWR for east coast flights, so from ORD you can actually make a lot of the later EU departures AND work a full day downtown.

Not to mention better access to asia with direct flights to HKG, PVG, PEK which really helps for vacations  

Either way, I would've been happy in Houston or Chicago, but I'm just saying it's not as bad here in CHI as many people make it seem.

[Edited 2012-05-03 07:07:19]
 
Rdh3e
Posts: 3552
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:09 pm

Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 2:16 pm

Here are a couple financial metrics:


Operating Margin Net Margin Market Cap
AA -4.89% -8.25% 0.2B
DL 5.43% 2.43% 9.3B
UA 4.91% 2.26% 7.3B
US 3.26% 0.54% 1.7B

Margins are 2011FY, Market cap is as of 10et today.

Safely in the middle on all accounts.

In the interest of being fair to the author I will concede on this point though:

"United Airlines had the highest rate of consumer complaints in 2011, beating out all other airlines with 2.21 complaints per 100,000 passengers. As a result, United received the worst AQR score out of the 11 national carriers ranked. "

http://travel.usnews.com/features/Americas_Meanest_Airlines_2012/

[Edited 2012-05-03 07:21:23]

[Edited 2012-05-03 07:21:44]
 
joeljack
Posts: 622
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Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 2:26 pm

I have two personal Grumbles that are going to make me leave if things don't change.

1) Upgrade space being sold for rock bottom prices to non UA elites ($99) IAH-LAX is an example I know for sure. I know those say that it's added revenue for UA but I paid $550 for my ticket to be loyal to UA on a plane that was only half full. I expect at least a chance to upgrade. There was zero chance of upgrade because first was 100% full 2 weeks out on an early Saturday am flight. (The prior 2 years, I was 19/19 on Saturday upgrades) I could have bought a ticket on WN for $240. Myself and many many other elites are willing to pay a premium for that chance of an upgrade but with this policy, they will loose their fare premium that UA can get over other airlines. I know I'm not the only one that feels the same was because I've talked to MANY other UA elites that feel exactly the same way. I will personally give UA til the end of the year to correct this practice. If not, I will be status matching to DL and flying WN more often.

2) Charging more for a one-way than a roundtrip. On PMUA, you could always just add up the cost of two one-way tickets and get a roundtrip. This was very handy as 90% of my travel is purchase on one-way tickets. Now I can't do this because the new UA is charging crazy prices for one-ways. This just added complexity and makes booking tickets a huge pain and wastes tons of my time, both in booking and traveling. The reason why people chose UA because it was simple and knew what to expect, now the new UA has made things so complicated with their pricing you can't even begin to figure it out. Different prices for one night stay, vs 2 night stay vs 3 night stay vs Saturday night stay etc. PMUA did none of this!!! UA is making themselves VERY unappealing to business travelers.

Why would I be loyal to UA if A, I have no chance of upgrade, B, the pricing premium is huge and royally confusing over other airlines? (I've been a Premier Exec or 1K on UA for over 10 years now).

Note the comments in the portfolio.com article and how a couple of PMUA Global Service members said they are in the process of status matching to AA. I used to try and convince people otherwise, all my points are now invalid. I guess loyal UA fliers are going to have to speak with their wallets to get UA management to listen! Myself included. I really wish it hadn't come to this because there was always a special place in my heart for UA, ever since my first flight at 4 years old!
 
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kgaiflyer
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Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 3:26 pm

Quoting joeljack (Reply 13):
Upgrade space being sold for rock bottom prices to non UA elites ($99) IAH-LAX is an example I know for sure

$99? That's ridiculous. The last upgrade that I bought was on a SFO-IAD flight at $229 plus airfare. And btw, I'm a 1-K .

Btw, I've actually had guys pull me by the arm on the jetbridge and ask me "How did you get into group one ????"

I'm concluding that all GS elites (1) are stressed-out or (2) resent *any* non GS flyer getting an upgrade -- to which I say "tough toenails."
 
joeljack
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Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:38 pm

RE: Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 4:08 pm

Quoting kgaiflyer (Reply 14):
$99? That's ridiculous. The last upgrade that I bought was on a SFO-IAD flight at $229 plus airfare. And btw, I'm a 1-K .

Btw, I've actually had guys pull me by the arm on the jetbridge and ask me "How did you get into group one ????"

I'm concluding that all GS elites (1) are stressed-out or (2) resent *any* non GS flyer getting an upgrade -- to which I say "tough toenails."

Yes, my offer as a 'gold' this year on this sat am IAH-LAX flight was $199. My friend booked a bit later than me and got a $99 dollar offer as a general member.
 
BC77008
Posts: 455
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RE: Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 4:18 pm

Quoting rdh3e (Reply 11):

Well the headquarters are not at ORD, so comparing ORD to HQS/J isn't really fair. I've seen nothing but positive things from my CO coworkers here. Yes there are many who had roots in Houston who would've like to stay (and many who did find other employment) but most have found Chicago to be a very nice place to live.

I just moved to Chicago from Houston because my partner worked at CO headquarters and we were transferred up here. I agree somewhat with your assessment that we have found Chicago to be a very nice place to live. We really didn't want to move, but did any way because it made the most sense financially. I am reserving my judgement on how nice Chicago is to live until, oh, say about December or January. With that said, loving the low humidity and the lack of mosquitoes and flying cock roaches!
MY favorite airline and hub is bigger and/or better than YOUR favorite airline and hub!
 
strfyr51
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RE: Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 4:55 pm

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 3):

What Culture?? We don't and haven't worked with any body from CO unless it's their arogant management. The guys I've met from Houston all seem to be cool. but even THEY know what the deal is "for now". The pendulum is way over in the CO area but sooner or Later it will swing BACK and we'll do it the way it should be done in taking BEST practicies from BOTH sides of the company to make this place run like a swiss watch!! So far with what I've seen from Jeff and his lieutenants??
I'm NOT impressed ONE BITthat they know ANYTHING!! ALL I see is a bunch of MEMO's ..
They're too SCARED to even come and have a cup of that ROTTEN cofffee they have the temerity to serve our passengers and let us ask a couple of questions about their SUPPOSED SUPERIOR Policies!!
All that CULTURE stuff might fly down in Texas but Guess WHAT?!? We AREN'T IN TEXAS anymore are we TOTO??
Might be time for Jeff to stop the" Song and Dance" and let's run some Airline. Becaue Even in Bankruptcy ! We out performed CO on a DAILY Basis!
 
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chepos
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RE: Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 5:08 pm

Who understands humnas, about 2 years ago the merger btw UAL and CO was announced. I remmber reading so many post not only here but elsewere from UA people overjoyed over this merger carrying on about how good CO was and how they were going to take UA to the next level. Now I read comments like the one above, come on. First Tilton was the the debil, now it's Sisek.

Regards,

Chepos
Fly the Flag!!!!
 
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drerx7
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RE: Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 5:22 pm

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 17):
Becaue Even in Bankruptcy ! We out performed CO on a DAILY Basis!

LOL, what Chicago sewer water have you been drinking?
Seriously, had CO and UA not merged I believe that CO on its own would have dropped off the 'good customer service' radar on its own. Smisek was the deathblow. The airline began its change a tenure after Gordon left.
HOUSTON, TEXAS
 
BlueDanube
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 5:12 pm

RE: Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 5:22 pm

Quoting BC77008 (Reply 16):
I just moved to Chicago from Houston because my partner worked at CO headquarters and we were transferred up here. I agree somewhat with your assessment that we have found Chicago to be a very nice place to live. We really didn't want to move, but did any way because it made the most sense financially. I am reserving my judgement on how nice Chicago is to live until, oh, say about December or January. With that said, loving the low humidity and the lack of mosquitoes and flying cock roaches!

Agree wholeheartedly! While my wife and I miss Houston, we're enjoying Chicago much more than we thought we would. Part of that includes reducing my commute from an hour in freeway traffic to a nice 25 minute walk through downtown Chicago. The weather is also a big plus (mild winter has really helped). I've enjoyed playing with my children outside after work without sweating profusely this spring. Overall, the move has been better than expected.

Quoting tsnamm (Reply 8):
Bingo...spot on...everyone seems to think Jeff is just like Gordon....CO had been deviating from the original plan ever since Gordon left, and it was only accelerated when Jeff took over. Although in Jeff's defense we don't have much of a track record to go by as he announced the merger with UA less than 6 months into his tenure...but that seems to have been the marching orders from the board.

  

Rightly or wrongly, Jeff doesn't have the same credibility with the PMCO workforce that Gordon and Larry had. With Gordon and Larry, you always felt that somehow, someway, you were being looked after rather well. With Jeff, more than one person has come up to me and said "he's like a snake oil salesman and I don't trust him". Sadly, those people, who otherwise would have been interested in Chicago, are no longer with the company.
 
Rdh3e
Posts: 3552
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:09 pm

RE: Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 5:49 pm

Quoting BC77008 (Reply 16):
I am reserving my judgement on how nice Chicago is to live until, oh, say about December or January.

This winter was very mild, the one before, not so much. The best advice I can give is that ANY weather is pleasant as long as you're properly dressed  .

Quoting BlueDanube (Reply 20):
we're enjoying Chicago much more than we thought we would.

And TripAdvisor just named Chicago the #11 tourism destination in the world! List only went to 25 with LAX (21), SFO (5) and NYC (2) also making it up there! Here's to having hubs in sexy places   

http://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Destinations-cTop-g1

[Edited 2012-05-03 10:52:17]
 
tommy767
Posts: 4658
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 12:18 pm

RE: Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 6:17 pm

Quoting rdh3e (Reply 21):
with LAX (21), SFO (5) and NYC (2) also making it up there! Here's to having hubs in sexy places

LAX, ORD, and SFO for sure are great, NYC is a dump. Moving back here from LAX was one of the worst decisions I've ever made in my life. The people here are materialistic villains for the most part. NYC is not sexy in any way. People are just made to think that way because they are all from the Tri State Area with nothing else to look forward to
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
Josh32121
Posts: 279
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:02 am

RE: Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 7:03 pm

Quoting yellowtail (Reply 10):
I know some may not believe it but I know of at least 4 or 5 of the HQ employees that used to love being based in houston because it was so easy and quick to get to CUN, CZM etc for the weekend. There were a number that enjoyed PTY>. Lot longer, harder to do so from ORD. Sometimes it is the little things that make employees happy.

You've got to be kidding me. I believe that a few people may have preferred Houston for that reason, but I find it extremely difficult to believe that corporate office folks with significant others and kids were more concerned with the ease of non-revving to Mexico than they were about cost of living, climate, school systems, and uprooting social networks established in Houston as a result of relocating.
 
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lightsaber
Moderator
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RE: Portfolio.com: UA "Worst. Airline. Ever. Again."

Thu May 03, 2012 8:01 pm

Quoting rdh3e (Reply 21):
And TripAdvisor just named Chicago the #11 tourism destination in the world! List only went to 25 with LAX (21), SFO (5) and NYC (2) also making it up there! Here's to having hubs in sexy places

Other than I would rank Rome lower on the list, I find it is a representative list (at least of the cities I have explored). I believe London should be #1. (Fun city.)

Quoting tommy767 (Reply 22):
NYC is a dump

I'm sorry to see that. I rather enjoyed my time in NYC. Now, I never lived there, but rather stayed with friends and family there back when I worked for Pratt in CT, sometime for a 9 day 'side trip.' It is materialistic, but I find no more than LA. The problem is finding like minded people in a money pressure environment. Maybe its because several college buddies and family live in the city (or nearby) that I found it so enjoyable.

Lightsaber
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