18 Responses

  1. John Dekker
    John Dekker at |

    GREAT… Cause it BLOWS!!!!

  2. Charles Kennedy
    Charles Kennedy at |

    look at all those tiny 10-abreast seats; won’t fly it long haul, or a 9-abreast 787, ridiculous

  3. Chris Sloan
    Chris Sloan at |

    Marni Wagner-Nassau

  4. Seth Kaplan
    Seth Kaplan at |

    Nice job, Seth. This is classic Kirby: not afraid to try something, and not afraid to roll it back the minute he realizes he pushed too far (rather than sticking with it just because it was his idea).

    1. Seth Miller
      Seth Miller at |

      That sort of decision whiplash has to make being a middle manager under him challenging. Full-throated support one week and a wholesale change the next isn’t easy to manage for most folks. And airlines (and their employees) are not especially known for shifting gears quickly.

    2. Seth Kaplan
      Seth Kaplan at |

      Absolutely. That is the flip side. Just generally, I like when someone doesn’t defend a position they have taken just because it was their position. There have just been so many initiatives over the years where it was so clear early on how the movie was going to end, but the people whose idea it was kept trying to convince everyone (including themselves) – and that is equally frustrating for the middle managers who know the truth. One example among many: all the “LCCs”-within-an-airline in North America, which all failed (MetroJet/Delta Express/Shuttle by United/Song/Ted/Tango). It was equally demoralizing for the middle managers, who knew the numbers, to listen to executives talk for years about how those units were “exceeding expectations” (always code for: doing horribly) until five minutes before they were shuttered. So although neither extreme is optimal, I’d rather err on the side of management that cuts their losses.

    3. Steven Sullivan
      Steven Sullivan at |

      You forgot the best named LCC within an airline, and one of the first – Continental Lite.

      Was it an airline? Or a fad diet in a grocery store magazine? ?

    4. Seth Kaplan
      Seth Kaplan at |

      An unforgivable oversight on my part! GSO was challenging ATL for global hub dominance. I guess part of me still doesn’t believe that thing was real.

  5. Gary Cohen
    Gary Cohen at |

    The goal as expressed by Scott Kirby is to make an extra $1B in revenue. I guess they discovered that trying to extract an extra $15 on $1000 coach tickets wasn’t working….

  6. DTO
    DTO at |

    If “It gives customers choice.”, then why does other airlines behaving differently placing United at a “disadvantage”?

  7. David Feldman
    David Feldman at |

    It’s an interesting about face, correct IMO, but as Seth notes, notable for the admission of error.

    Interesting to see whether the entire $1b estimate of incremental revenue was in fact based on practically every fare being “bought up” as opposed to only 70% of discount Y.

  8. DaveS
    DaveS at |

    When he projects $1 billion in revenue from people buying into the fare increase to avoid this horrible product he should also consider lost revenue from people choosing not to buy at all, such as Seth’s WN example in the post. I do have choices, Mr. Kirby – WN, AS, DL and AA for four.

  9. Kristen Oldenburger
    Kristen Oldenburger at |

    Maybe it was also causing airport issues? A friend just flew BE and they couldn’t checkin online. It was required that they go to the airport checkin desk to prove that they didn’t have more than the allowed size for a carry on bag.

    1. Seth Miller
      Seth Miller at |

      I don’t think the operational side was the problem. I think that customers were booking away from UA in competitive markets where OALs were offering non-BE fares at similar prices.

    2. Igor Matlin
      Igor Matlin at |

      ^^^ That. I’m definitely guilty.

    3. Steven Knapp
      Steven Knapp at |

      Also heard a good argument where it was hurting corporate sales where travel policies did not allow purchase of fares over “basic”. So business travelers were taking alternative carriers just for the perks of standard fares.

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