When Oscar Munoz took over as United Airlines CEO a few weeks ago, he apologized for the company’s poor customer service reputation since its merger with Continental five years earlier, and he pledged to repair that tattered relationship. And now United has taken a step in that direction with the opening up of a special website designed to foster direct communication between the airline’s management and its customers and employees.
The site is United Airtime (https://unitedairtime.com), and customers and employees can use it to ask a question and/or to submit their own ideas to management as to how to improve the airline. It’s sort of like a modern day suggestion box. Remember those? It also has a section that reports on the things United has been doing to improve the lives of travelers.
The first questions posted included one about whether United might reconsider its plan to move out of New York JFK altogether in favor of its Newark hub. In its answer, management said that even with its Star Alliance partnerships, its JFK operations “weren’t profitable, and there wasn’t a clear path to return to profitability at JFK.” It also noted that the move of its transcon Premium Service flights from JFK to Newark “will provide nearly hourly transcontinental service to both Los Angeles and San Francisco, so customers will have a better selection of flights.”
In its reply to another question about a lengthy wait for baggage delivery, the company said it is “working to develop a customer-facing baggage-tracking application that is scheduled to be finished next year.”
Other questions and answers covered improvements to United’s fleet, to its food and beverage service, and to the relationship between the two workforces from Continental and the original United.
While some of the answers might not be exactly what the questioners were hoping to hear, at least United should get credit for opening up a channel where its customers can vent their frustrations, hear the company’s explanations, and even propose their own ideas for ways to improve things.
What’s the first question or suggestion you’d make to Oscar Munoz? Please leave your comments below.
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