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Squawks & HeadlinesUnited: Worst. Airline. Ever. Again.

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United: Worst. Airline. Ever. Again.

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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. The airline's fractured employee groups are unhappy, and C-suite executives are bolting. Many of its best and most profitable customers are in open revolt, and average travelers are filling United's Facebook page with tales of woe. (www.portfolio.com) More...

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mduell
Mark Duell 5
Sounds like he's been reading FlyerTalk, same phraseology in a lot of places.
drdisque
Ben Deneweth 4
all this guy does is whine. I've written to him before and he whined in his response. He has some major axe to grind against all airlines he happens to just not like.
jtorto
jtorto 3
I am a Million Miler with United and two other airlines. I moved away from United as they started to pull service out of Seattle. Then when they started the merger with Continental i started to fly Continental. WOW, nice service, was what the old airlines were like. I noticed over the months as United's influence started to creap in, the linens were gone, the 1st class meals got worse, attitude worsened. I think we should just let the European carriers fly within the US, service will improve big time. With United and others, its not about service, its about profits... safety is high, but profits rank higher sometimes.... SAD... i'd pay a little more, if the peanuts and pretzels came back... just say'n
andreadebiase
Interesting thread. I fly often but not much to be upgraded every time so i do get to experience the economy class a lot. Personally, I don't know what to think. I do miss the old times where flying was a pleasure but back then it was also a luxury that many could not afford. Airline business is just like any other business which means profit! One could say: if you don't like it buy your own jet! yeah right....I guess I just have to suck it up. With this said, when I fly to Europe I really enjoy the better service of European carriers.
Frankly i really don't care! as long as they take my a$$ safely from point A to point B they can even go the extra mile and serve nothing or only upon demand. Isles would be empty and no fizzle sound.
jetdrvr1
Fred Moore 2
This reminds me somewhat of the disastrous merger between Pan Am and National. The resentment among cockpit and cabin crews was palpable. This situation is more complex, but also appears to be potentially more disastrous for all concerned.
MACGSO
MACGSO 3
I knew it. United is going down, and they've drug Continental down with them. That sucks.
jhakunti
virgin america by far has the best product for an affordable price. just wait till they have a larger network.
cgrif771
Every time a good airline merges with a lousy airline, the lousy airline seems to win out. Witness America West picks up US Air and down it goes...so with Continental giving up to United. No decent airline is left that goes anywhere...except foreign and Southwest.

I doubt I will ever fly again and oput myself through the TSA and then the overpriced cattlecar.
Lon33
Lon Sobel 2
I too have flown my last flight with United. The reason: I am a student pilot. United’s in-cabin Channel 9 is set up to carry cockpit-ATC communications, and as a student pilot, I enjoy listening to those communications, enormously. On my last United flight, on April 13, 2012, Channel 9 carried only music. I asked a cabin attendant why, and the attendant told me that the Captain had ordered that ATC communications not be carried on Channel 9 for that flight. I asked the cabin attendant to please tell the Captain that there was a student pilot on board (me), that I switched my business from another airline to United solely in order to be able to listen to ATC communications on Channel 9, and that I would very much appreciate it if the Captain would allow the cabin crew to put ATC communications on Channel 9. A while later, the cabin attendant came to my seat, told me that she (the attendant) had given the Captain my request, but the Captain had refused. The Captain who cost United my business: Captain Vicki Kelley. United’s slogan is “Your priorities will always be ours.” Captain Kelley’s priorities were not mine — even though my request would have cost her nothing at all and would not have required even a moment of her attention.
rick737
richard weiss 4
If the captain is worried about making a mistake and having passengers know about it, perhaps the captain should look for a different profession. With the automation onboard aircraft today, it takes a lot of work to miss a crossing restriction.
10106874
10106874 3
Not in the AIrbus!
jkarides96
I travel with crew on United and I know many FA's and pilots very well that work with United. 90% of the time it is their personal preference to leave channel 9 off. After September 11th there have been many pilots who do not want passengers to know what they are doing. I have gone up in the flight deck before flights and asked the Captain directly after talking with him for about 5 minutes..he did turn it on for me. If that doesn't work, the switch is at the bottom of the FO's side of the OH panel on a 777 and at the bottom of the throttle quadrant on a 747, switch it on when they aren't looking! ;)
ATCguy1
ATCguy1 1
drdisque
Ben Deneweth 0
IMHO that's a pretty silly reason to completely stop flying a certain airline.
skyrat550
russ harris 0
I kind of understand the PIC reluctance to have the ATC channel on. I was on a SFO-DEN
UAL 757 flight, listening to the COM with ATC. They blew two crossing restrictions on
the profile descent to DEN as well as multiple problems with a very low altimeter setting. In today's world, a little paranoia is probably a healthy thing--before the
flight crew has to file an ASRS report from some passenger yacking at them while leaving
the aircraft.
Lon33
Lon Sobel 3
You offer an interesting reason for not letting passengers listen to ATC. Indeed, your reason may well be why the Captain refused my request to carry ATC on Channel 9. Consider, though, the implications of your explanation: the Captain anticipated that she would miss a restriction, or would make some other mistake that controllers would call to her attention; and she didn't want passengers to know that she had made a mistake. But why would she anticipate such a thing? Because she regularly makes mistakes? If that's the case, it's another reason I don't want to fly with United again.
Lon33
Lon Sobel 3
I acknowledge that "silly reason" is a fair reaction to my decision. But consider this: The routes that I fly most often are between Los Angeles and Boston or New York city. Today, commercial air travel between big cities is a commodity. The planes are the same (at least in the passenger cabin). The airports are the same. The TSA checks are the same. The time enroute is the same. The schedules are similar. And though there may be a slight difference in airfare, the difference is small and unpredictable. As a result, the choice of which airline to fly will always be based on some slight reason. Mine was that LA to the east coast is 5 hours, and the time went faster when I could listen to air traffic controllers. If United no longer guarantees me that I'll be able to do that, I have no reason at all to prefer United over other airlines that go to my destination. Hence, I no longer prefer United.
FedExCargoPilot
I recommend Alaska or Virgin America
jetdrvr1
Fred Moore 0
Assuming you possess a student certificate, it is highly likely that much of the ATC comms would be indecipherable to you. My suggestion is to buy a scanner and listen in at your local airport. You'll probably learn more.
Lon33
Lon Sobel 3
Fred, I can't imagine what would make you think I (or any student pilot) wouldn't be able to understand ATC communications. I train out of a Class D airport that lies beneath the shelf of a Class C airport and is adjacent to a Class B airport. I communicate with controllers all the time, including Approach/Departure controllers and Center controllers. I understand everything they say. Your suggestion to buy a scanner and listen to local airports is a good one, though, especially for student pilots who haven't done so yet. That's exactly what I did when I began taking flying lessons, and it was quite helpful. I also listen to liveatc.com, and that's something I'd recommend to student pilots too.
FedExCargoPilot
that's nonsense, what is so difficult about understanding about giving the A/C to a different center or climb or descent or traffic at your 12?! Airlines have it better than student pilots flying in a busy traffic pattern. If pilots have something to hide, do away with channel 9 completely, or those pilots who turn it off for no reason will be suspicious.
pistol27
Peter Harman 0
fo sho. i just grad from ATC AT-CTI school and we learned how student pilots can be extremely dangerous, especially in the pattern. haha. but i would love to have that option of listening to ATC on my flights, i would of been pissed off too.
minnerd
Dale Minner 1
For a number of years I flew from the mid west to Seattle on either NW or UAL about once every other month. I gave up flying UAL due to Denver's strange and changing weather, hassles by TSA and the extra fees for luggage and what ever they think of next. Perhaps they will start charging a dollar to go to the toilet or perhaps five to get out of it? Now that NW is Delta I don't know what to expect and I am reluctant to try. In the past two years I have ceased trips to see family in the NW by air, and instead have made round trips by car in order to avoid the airlines and the TSA. I would love to go by train but not on the Amtrak that departs at random times. takes two train changes and 2 1/2 days each way to make the trip.
vkgarry
Garry Parker 1
Tilton was trying to sell, merge or dismantle UAL from the day he set foot in Chicago. Smisek is adept at managing FROM the bottom line instead of TO the bottom line. Put them together and this is what you get. I would encourage employees of both legacy airlines to not point the finger at each other. You're all victims of two greedy people. If the shareholders are interested in maximum return on investement, they should get rid of Smisek. Short term profits are exactly that. If you want long term profits, find someone who can treat employees and customers with respect. Golden parachutes only seem to guarantee failure. Those with them have no investment in the company's success. They get paid no matter what. I'm sure there are managers at other airlines that could turn this around. Go find them.

And, really, making this topic about the avilability of Channel 9? I enjoy it, too. But there are bigger things to consider.
ltcjra
ltcjra 1
If all airlines companies would remember they just need to get pax from point A to point B in a safe, efficient manner, I think business would improve all-around. De-regulation has failed the flying public.
preacher1
preacher1 0
De-regulation is mostly revenue centered and that worked on truck and rail, but with the Airlines, with revenue taking top billing, the pax is just along for whatever type ride you get out of the deal. Customer service has taken a big back seat to $. Problem with that is that unless pax are happy and spend $, there won't be none.
drdisque
Ben Deneweth 5
Customers have proven for the past 25 years that they're not willing to pay for the luxuries of the regulation days. They want a low price and a good schedule. They don't want Lobster Thermidor and en-route stops in Wichita, Omaha, Salina, and Garden City on their flight from Chicago to Denver. That's what you got with regulation. Anyone who calls for the end of deregulation doesn't understand how much regulation sucked.
rick737
richard weiss 3
I've found that airlines are transportation, not a form of entertainment. The price airline tickets prior to 1978 would look like todays prices, but we've had inflation that has caused the dollar to devaluate by two thirds. Only the wealthy and privileged could afford those days. To say the undustry has failed the public is short sighted.

tyketto
And yet the only reason I would still want to fly with them would be Ch. 9. Granted WiFi+LiveATC.net comes in a close second, you still miss out on a lot en route or or if there isn't a feed at where you are leaving or arriving. Ch. 9 fills that at least in the aircraft.
jwllane
Jerry Lane 0
Legacy carriers? There are none.
dmurphyairman
Dan Murphy 0
United Airlines SUCKS! I ought to know. They screwed me out of my Pension after I gave them 20 years of Spotless commitment and service. I burned my Captains Uniforms and never mention my employment career with these Bastards.
meyert
Thomas Meyer 0
This is what happens with de-regulation and bullshit union crap!
heliclean
spirit airlines cancelled flights, no pilots, check for yourself, People dont feel safe is the talk in the gate.
TWA55
I thought GM was in the car business...don't expect any tax payer bailouts, too big to fail?
66lima
Richard Dugger -3
It seems that United has become something halfway between Southwest (without the humorous FAs) and Spirit Airlines