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Sorry, We Think

October 6, 2015

Just give us a few inches of legroom back in coach and we’ll call it even.
That may be the public reaction to United Airlines’ new CEO Oscar Munoz’s hangdog face in ads and video last week on an apology tour for “failing their employees and customers.”
Interestingly, in the video, Munoz asks for your ideas on the action they should take and invites people to go to and leave suggestions. He remarks that they’ve received “thousands” of ideas, yet on the site there are less than 20 comments. How about some transparency?
It appears more like a PR move than a commitment to change. By the way, if you want to skip the slick site and write directly to Munoz, here’s how.
Apparently, in the past five years, no problems were noticed in the executive suites. It was only after the previous CEO got caught up in a New Jersey corruption scandal that these issues came to their attention.
This sort of apology is too silly to even comprehend.
Will an apology get passengers more legroom, or good customer service? Will it stop the unlawful collusion to fix prices and cut services?
Will it keep the airlines from calling a flight cancellation “weather” when the reason is maintenance? Will it stop the airlines from turning a profit on your lost luggage and a crippled mileage program?
No, we didn’t think so.
Does the apology address the outsourcing of 2,000 United jobs at 28 airports, or the contracting out of many flights to express and regional jets? What about the closing of so many mainline stations that you can barely call them an airline anymore?
Does “sorry” mean United will invest in new computer hardware to address system “glitches” that ruined travel for hundreds of thousands of passengers over the summer? Does it mean reliable and functional Wi-Fi onboard? What about inflated fees for ticket changes, and overbooking flights?
Or does “sorry” mean continued focus on stockholder value and inflating profit with junk fees and idiotic layoffs?
We’ve been railing about this for years. America is no longer the leader in the customer flight experience. Instead, we’re the leader in “hocus-pocus” fares, smoke and mirrors fees, and financial shell games.
United pilots aren’t buying it, and they are speaking out, saying that the place to start is by following Delta’s example of profit-sharing.
This has paid off with 100 days of no cancellations of their mainline flights.
At this point, it may be too late to turn the United ship around.
FlyersRights’ audio interviews last week: 
With New Hampshire NPR: 
With Ralph Nader:
Tweet Of The Week!
From the -‘How About More Legroom Department’ – Forbes is touting a great, new “economy aircraft seat” -but with a deceptive photo – of a SPACIOUS upgraded seat! Thanks to Ira Goldman -inventor of the ‘Knee Defender’ for the catch:

Your Letters!

Dear FlyersRights:

     My husband is Executive Platinum and I am Platinum in the “new AAdvantage” system; I assure you that having status counts for virtually NOTHING when there are issues with flights!  Recently a delay due to a mechanical problem forced me to miss my connection; I tried to stand-by for every available subsequent flight to my destination; I have status, a club membership AND had purchased “discounted business” seats but I couldn’t get on any flight in any class!  And, at the end of the day (after over twelve hours in CLT) when it became clear that I was not going to make it to my destination in time for my meeting, I almost couldn’t get home!!!  The flights are so oversold that premium customers can’t even get on a flight despite missing their connection due to the airline’s problems.  BUT, heaven help us if we have a problem.
     Your comments about the travel of our elected officials are very pertinent and I will add a suggestion that I passed on to Mr. Elliott previously–the only way that airline travel will improve is if airline executives (including Mr. Parker!!!) are required to fly in a middle coach seat which is NOT an exit row at least once a month.  My heart goes out to the front line employees who are forced to implement the impossible rules that currently exist but at least they are paid for their suffering while we have to pay for the privilege of it!
Best regards,

Dear FlyersRights:

This was on Facebook posted by Dr. Amy Myers. I thought that Flyer’s Rights would find it interesting to read.
My husband and I just arrived to Nicaragua for a few days of R&R. Our vacation got off to a great start as we got upgraded to first class. ( please note we were upgraded bc my husband used to fly a lot. We did not buy first class tickets)
However our flight went south quickly. It was United Flight 1432. Two flight attendants were so rude.
It was a 3 hour flight and as you know how carry my Kleen Kanteen everywhere. We did not have time to fill up at our layover.
They announced our descent and I hopped up to go to restroom and get a bit more water before landing. I asked the attendant to fill my water bottle She told me there was not enough to fill my water bottle as she held an unopened liter bottle. I looked the unopened bottle and simply said ” aren’t we about to land” She shoved the whole water at me and said “take it”
I went to my seat. A few minutes later the male attendant came up to my seat with attitude and said they were going to “write me up” and I replied politely ” for what? asking for water”. Yes and he said. And all but pulled out his hand to wave it in my face. Telling me there was only a limited amount for the plane . Again I said” I understand and we are about to land”
I am sure had I wanted another Coke or HFCS filled drink I would have been given all I wanted to drink with no issue. But heaven forbid I wanted WATER on a 3 hour flight!!
If water is limited on your flights, United, then ditch the cokes and make more room for water.
Joanne L
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