September 2, 2008
UAL Management’s Flip-Flop on Meal Policy Demonstrates Inadequate Leadership
Chicago, Ill., September 2, 2008--Today’s announcement by United Airlines (Nasdaq: UAUA) that it is reversing plans to charge passengers on overseas flights for meals is further proof that the airline’s CEO and his executives are out of touch with the needs of its passengers.
“(United CEO) Glenn Tilton once again demonstrates an alarming disconnect with the life’s blood of our airline,” said Captain Steve Wallach, chairman of the United Chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association. “Mr. Tilton and his executives floated this ill-advised scheme to try to raise revenue while making service worse for our passengers. And our passengers have made their objections clear.
“Our passengers deserve better than to be treated as guinea pigs by an executive who obviously lacks direction and vision. It’s time Mr. Tilton and his minions stop abusing the goodwill of United’s passengers and instead take fundamental steps to improve service, rationalize flight schedules and eliminate excessive perks and bonuses for executives.”
On August 20, the Company announced it was discontinuing complimentary meal service in coach on many flights to and from Europe as a way, they claimed, of offsetting rising fuel costs. In a press release that same day, United’s pilots said the real reason for the meal charges was to enable the airline to further reduce flight attendant staffing, which would make onboard service noticeably worse. By any measure, the pilots believe, the proposed changes would have been a disastrous business strategy that would only drive away customers and encourage them to choose other airlines. Today’s reversal by the company clearly demonstrates that the pilots have a better feel for the pulse of their customers’ needs than their non-airline CEO.
“The evidence continues to mount that United Airlines remains a misguided ship under Mr. Tilton’s direction,” said Captain Wallach.
The United pilots have set up a petition on their website, www.GlennTilton.com, for United passengers to demand the removal of these and other charges, and to restore the service passengers once expected from United Airlines.