For relaxing times, make it

United Airlines continues its efforts to convince passengers and employees alike that the new United is different than the past five years have produced. New CEO Oscar Muñoz is the face behind a new microsite which the company has launched aimed to quell the uprising and restore confidence from all parties. And, well, it makes me think a bit of Bill Murray.

The main page of the site includes a message from Muñoz via video, including the very challenging phrase, “let’s be honest.”

From there Muñoz solicits feedback and suggestions, noting that he has fielded thousands of inquiries so far and that he, “wants to hear your ideas and your toughest questions.” He continues, saying that “I’ll answer them right here.” And that’s great, except for when the answers start to roll in.

Read more: A Letter to Employees from United’s CEO


There are five questions currently posted and “answered” on the site right now. The content of the questions is not particularly surprising, speaking to challenges of the merger integration and the operations; service at JFK is addressed, too. They are all reasonable questions/concerns and it would be great to hear Mr. Muñoz’s answers to them. Four of the five answers are phrased as “we” statements, suggesting that Muñoz is involved in the reply. The fifth, however, speaking to the legacy United/Continental divide, carries a different tone.

Q:Five years after the merger, there are still some tensions and cultural differences between United and Continental employees. What are you going to do to address the different cultures that have been merged to make sure all employees feel welcomed and improve employee morale?

A:United’s new CEO, Oscar Munoz, has made it a priority to meet personally with employees at all levels across the company to address their concerns, especially this one. To underscore how important he feels this issue is, he recently wrote in a letter to all United employees,…

This is very much a third party answer. Even if we accept that this sort of public facing site is likely to be written by corporate communications rather than the CEO it is presumed that the answers will at least appear to be those of the CEO. After all, he promises that he will answer the inquiries. Not a third party writing an oblique reply on his behalf. And especially not a third party writing on his behalf on the exceptionally challenging and sensitive subject of employee integration.

Read More: Smisek forced out from United under cloudy skies

Ultimately it seems that perhaps something was lost in translation. Bill Murray style.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

One Comment

  1. A bit off topic, but this new microsite has it’s own terms and conditions, which are similar to those at but not identical. Quoting the text is a violation, of course, but one condition this site has that doesn’t: even linking to the website is a violation!

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