United’s Munoz: frequent fliers impressed with UA service

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United’s Munoz: frequent fliers impressed with UA service

Unread post by bimjim » Wed Jun 07, 2017

http://atwonline.com/airlines/united-s- ... ne-service

United’s Munoz says frequent fliers are impressed with airline service
Karen Walker
Jun 6, 2017

The CEO of United Airlines, which attracted a barrage of public criticism over its bumped passenger incident, said this week that those who fly regularly are impressed with airline service.

Speaking June 5 at the IATA AGM in Cancun, Oscar Munoz said frequent fliers want airlines to get them to their destinations safely and on time, and they understand that this is hard to achieve. “Frequent fliers are impressed,” he said.

But he admitted that long-standing airline policies and procedures, developed to ensure safety, can stand in the way of good customer service.

“On things like safety, there is not a lot of leeway. We have carried that same mantra into our customer service areas and become too rigid. We have to become more flexible,” Munoz said.

United has made major policy and process changes since the April incident when a passenger was injured when he was forcibly removed by law enforcement officers from a United Express aircraft to make room for airline crew. The incident, captured on passenger cameras, prompted a social media storm and US congressional hearings. Munoz himself was sharply criticized for his initial statement and an email he sent to United employees, which implied the injured passenger was partly to blame, as well as for not issuing a full apology until 48 hours after the incident.

Speaking as a panelist during the AGM, Munoz said that when he first learned of the incident, which was on a Sunday night, his initial reaction was to apologize. He implied that he probably listened to too many people before issuing his first statement. He also disagreed with other panelists that when a major incident happens, a company has a very short window of time to issue its first response.

“I think you have more time than you think,” he said. “If you know the facts, then you need to respond, but if you don’t then you need to take your time. I think that if I had waited my initial response would have been different.”

Munoz added that he would “go to my grave defending my employees.”

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