Oh United, why have your forsaken me?
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
16 October 2014
Airlines: Hard to buy into a brand that abandons you
This is by no means the first or the last time I have written about airlines. It’s just that they seem to be so bad at the most simple promise. Like appreciating our business.
I fly all the time because our client base is all over the globe. There might have been a time when this was something you bragged about. But certainly not any longer.
I remember when I thought traveling for business was a romantic idea. However, I assure you that my travel looks as much like Sean Connery’s 007 travel as I look like a debonair spy. Air travel today is as luxurious and glamorous as a city bus ride, but with much longer waits at the bus terminal.
Despite my complaints, I have a lot of miles under my belt and, as a result, United awarded me Global Services status the last few years. This is its highest level of recognition. According to United, this is only awarded to its most valuable customers. Global Services cannot be earned. It is awarded.
So what has happened to my trusted United Airlines? Well, the roof has collapsed on it. When US Airways left the Star Alliance (the frequent flyer program that includes United, Lufthansa, etc.), I lost most of the connecting flights out of my local North Carolina airport. In the past, I could book a flight on US Airways and United would credit me for flying on a Star Alliance partner.
So, when US Airways joined American Airlines a few months back, I lost a great deal of access. What would you do if you were United? Maybe add some flights to and from Greensboro to make up for that loss? Hardly.
United has three main hubs in the East: Newark, Washington Dulles and Chicago (even if it is technically a mid-western airport). I fly to Europe regularly and my closest United hub is Washington Dulles. I did not enjoy the long layover in DC for my flights to Europe, but I lived with it and appreciated the direct connecting flights with almost every destination in the world from Dulles.
Domestic flights were my only problem with US Air’s departure. I say “were” because suddenly international connections are a problem too. United has decided that I no longer need an early morning arrival in DC and has eliminated all but the late afternoon flights to Dulles. This means I can’t make ANY international connecting flights our of that hub.
I feel abandoned by United. I am going to have to find another airline to abuse me. Here is one Global Services flyer that United has pushed to the curb. I never really thought it appreciated my business. I knew “sit back, relax and enjoy your flights” was just meaningless jargon. Now I know United sneered at me when it said, “We know you have lots of choices and we appreciate your business.”
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