Why am I not surprised?

As loyal Repman readers are well aware, the two bete noirs of my professional life are “traveling” on New Jersey Transit and United Airlines, respectively.

Not too long ago, NJT was named the nation’s worst commuter mass transit system. In my mind, the recognition was well-deserved and long overdue.

Now, Jenna Seter, a content marketing and business analyst with Clutch, has published a survey of 1,000 consumers that showed 53 percent will NOT purchase tickets from United Airlines. Seter linked the airline’s abysmal ratings to the highly publicized “mugging” of a passenger who refused to surrender his seat to a deadheading United pilot.

While I don’t disagree, I think the most recent fiasco is just the latest in a long line of miscues mixed in with system-wide incompetence and the negative attitudes of so many United gate agents and flight attendants with whom I’ve parried about excessive delays and/or a complete lack of communications as to why a flight had been delayed or, worse, canceled.

United’s problems began when they merged with Continental and proudly announced, “It’s not who’s merging that counts. It’s what’s about to emerge.” Had they only added the words “complete chaos”, the airline would at least have been authentic in its brand promise.

And, that’s what leads me to my central point. United may be at the bottom of every list when it comes to service  and quality, but they top my list of disingenuous corporations that guarantee one experience in their marketing (i.e. “Fly the friendly skies”) but provide the polar opposite in the real world.

The first step to overcoming alcoholism is to admit one is an alcoholic. I’d like to suggest United stop it’s “feel good” marketing and admit that theirs is a badly broken system.

Americans are quick to forgive a major transgression if the transgressor admits fault and vows to make things right. Seter’s research is yet another confirmation that America’s not buying what United’s selling. And we won’t until they yank down their phony brand promises, own their dysfunctional ways and promise to make things right.

One thought on “Why am I not surprised?

  1. Two years ago I used up the last of my United miles. I’d hoped never to fly them until they functioned like a proper airline.

    Having since flown JetBlue, Southwest, Delta, American, Virgin and next week Air Berlin, I’m convinced that United’s only customer service goal is to be better than Spirit Airlines.

    Unfortunately I had to buy 4 R.T. tickets to San Diego at Thanksgiving and United is the cheapest by far. Can’t you tell how much I’m looking forward to the outrages they’re likely to commit?