New York Times: “United Airlines Customer Dissatisfaction Festers, 5 Years After Merger”

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It is now a week from the ouster of the Mr. Smisek as the CEO of United Airlines and New York Times run a story yesterday about the dissatisfaction of the fliers towards the airline.

NYT United Airlines Customer Dissatisfaction Festers, 5 Years After Merger

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone flying the airline or following the industry that the merger done in 2010 was an utter disaster and still not yet completed (Continental and United planes and crews still operate separately of each other and cannot mix).

You can access the New York Times piece here of which below is an excerpt:

Instead, the five-year-old marriage has turned into an exercise in frustration for United fliers, with frequent delays, canceled flights and lost bags. Like many fans of the former Continental, Paul Wigdor, a managing partner at Ascendant Advisors, an investment advisory firm based in Houston, still bemoans the loss of the airline.

Among his complaints: poor service, choppy Wi-Fi and — after United cut back on perks and upgrades — little appreciation of frequent fliers, like himself, who log tens of thousands of miles a year.

In large part, the merger is still a work in progress. Labor relations are sour, customer satisfaction is low and the basic measurements of the airline’s operational performance are dismal compared with its main rivals.

The nostalgia for Continental’s glory days can obscure the flaws that airline had as well. Its network was small, its product offering not as sophisticated as that of other airlines (for instance, it had no premium economy option), and its food onboard included a reheated turkey hot dog served in a plastic box, according to Mr. Harteveldt.

Conclusion

If you have to arrive to your destination anywhere near on-time for meetings etc, you cannot take United. Period.

The merger truly has been the worst of both airlines. The Continental’s hostility and attitude towards the frequent fliers combined with United’s labor relations.

In the previous time, I could count United to make it right and to do whatever required to get me to my final destination after disruptions including moving to American Airlines and Delta flights.

My first interaction with Continental and their inflexibility was when they were having weather meltdown in Newark and I was ticketed to fly from West Palm Beach to Portland.

Instead of moving me to other airline, I was just told that they could rebook me three or four days later on their own services. Luckily, I had had the ticket issued on United ticket stock that promptly moved me to unaffected American Airlines flights and problem solved.

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