Let’s kick-off this this week’s blog with three multiple choice questions. Note: please be sure to use finely sharpened Number 2 pencils when filling in your answers. And do not flip over the blog until you’ve fully answered all three questions. Thank you.
OK, here goes:
1.) What year did United and Continental Airlines merge?
2.) When did United and Continental conclude labor disagreements with their tens of thousands of flight attendants and baggage handlers?
3.) Which airline has consistently finished last, or next to last, in the past four J.D. Powers annual customer satisfaction surveys?
The correct answers are:
Yes, friends, United’s oh-so-friendly skies are anything but.
While the answers to the second and third questions came as no surprise, I was appalled to read that it’s taken four full years for United’s management (United was the winner in the “merger of equals”, an oxymoron if I’ve heard one) to conclude contract talks with two vital components of the customer satisfaction circle: flight attendants and mechanics.
It’s no wonder United’s flight attendants routinely treat passengers the way Donald Trump would deal with illegal immigrants if given the chance to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
And, it’s no wonder the airline’s planes routinely suffered unexpected and unexplained delays and mechanical problems. The fix-it guys didn’t feel like fixing anything.
I recall sitting alongside a deadheading pilot during one of United’s countless, unexpected delays. As the hours slowly ticked by and my blood pressure rose proportionately, the pilot tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey, buddy, if it’s any consolation, I’m an ex-Continental pilot and you should know this sort of crap never happened on our planes.” His comments did little to lighten my mood.
But, last week’s announcement finally explains why United is THE poster child of our country’s overall infrastructure decline. They just don’t care.
Maybe, just maybe, the contract agreements will FINALLY put smiles on the flight attendants’ faces and a can-do attitude on the part of mechanics.