Regional carriers should reflect their parent
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
6 April 2010
Another day in Paradise – The airline carriers
These days, the main airline carriers have no problem disappointing their customers. I recently booked my airline tickets for a recent trip abroad with United because they basically own me with their frequent flyer program. To reach the airport hub in Washington D.C., I flew United Express, which are operated by smaller airlines for United.
By that time, United had already done enough to disappoint me. The seats in business class were worn-out models. One seat, on a flight from Paris to D.C., no less, would not recline. The footrest didn’t extend.
For example, though my wife and I were in business class, our seats were anything but comfortable. The jets we flew on both coming and going were still the old worn models.
When we spoke to the flight attendant about the problems, we were advised that it would be written up. Funny. The flight attendant never came back with the necessary form. I guess that was supposed to be our responsibility.
The headset also had a continual base vibrato bursting through, with a screen size that rivals that of the iPhone, which I was expected to use for movie viewing.
United keeps promising to update its jets and I live in hope. Just more unfulfilled promises with an airline who apparently cares so little about their brand that, lets face it, translates to lack of care for its customers.
I could go on about my displeasure with United, but I’ll have to say I am even more disgusted with the carrier that flew the United Express flight. It was operated by Trans State Airlines and, in my history of flying, I will have to say this flight was right up there with the worst of them.
First, as we boarded the plane there were a number of travelers who got bumped because – surprise! – the airline once again oversold the flight. These poor souls were bumped because they purchased the best price on their tickets. I guess one needs to worry about how low you went in buying your tickets like some sort of game.
We boarded the plane, surprisingly on time. Of course when you are dealing with airlines, this means squat. The plane was a small regional plane with a single seat on one side and two seats on the other. We sat on the plane for more than 35 minutes as the flight attendant tried to ascertain whether the couple sitting in the row behind us had purchased a seat for their traveling 4-year-old.
They were a foreign language-speaking couple that tried their best to explain that they had purchased a ticket for the daughter and showed paperwork to that effect.
The flight attendant seemed to accept their explanation and so we assumed we would be taking off shortly.
Nope, the attendant came back again asking the same questions, and two other people from Untied came on board and also asked this couple about their tickets. The couple always answered the same.
After the final United representative spoke with them, their explanation was accepted and we were off. Still, this couple was being harassed and the rest of the passengers were forced to sit onboard as prisoners on a very hot plane.
United has enough problems with their brand without being associated with such an unprofessional regional carrier. If United is going to continue to subcontract with smaller airlines, they sure as hell should be more careful of whom they choose to associate with.
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