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Posts Tagged ‘United Airlines’

United Airlines Issues Response Addressed to ‘Mr. Human’

united bankruptEver since 2002, when United Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection, the company has been struggling to turn a profit and a few heads. Although the former has been difficult to do, the latter was achieved in resounding fashion just this week.

The beleaguered airline took must have included customer service in its cost-cutting measures because it seems United went the route of some terribly lazy PR agencies and “hired” robots to do the work.

How do we know? There’s no attention to detail. There’s no respect paid to needs. And, there’s no person addressed on the subject line.

Poor practices all around.

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More Airline #PRFail: Man Wakes Up in Locked United Airplane


Admit it. You all thought it. Okay, back to your regularly scheduled program…

Just when the airlines thought things were back on track, this happens from Houston’s Bush International Airport. Meet Tom Wagner, some dude from Louisiana who was going back to Cali. Tom caught a layover in Houston (as most commuters do) and grabbed some ZZZZZZs in seat 26A.

And that’s where the tomfoolery began, according to this report from KTRK-TV (ABC) in HoustonRead more

10 Brands That Do Customer Service Right on Twitter

Here’s an interesting fact: 30% of top brands now have “dedicated customer service Twitter handles”. This makes perfect sense, right? Customers value great service above all else, they love the instant gratification of social media and they really, really hate waiting for reps to pick up the phone. Also: by establishing separate Twitter handles for customer service, brands can “divert negative attention and activity” away from the primary feed.

So what goes into running a great customer service operation in the twittersphere? In order to find out, we poked around and found ten examples of brands that are doing it right, starting with some of the biggest.

1. Nike Support: This one is pretty much the gold standard. A quick glance at the account with all replies shows you how quickly and how often the feed’s managers respond to individual customers.

2. Xbox Support: Xbox boldly claims to hold the Guinness World Record for “most responsive Twitter feed”–and based on the number of replies their team posts every minute, we can see why they make that claim.

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United Airlines Is Human After All: Crew Helps Man See Dying Mom

United AirlinesWhenever we write about public relations and airlines, it’s typically a frustrating analysis exploring how passengers are being nickel-and-dimed to death by dubious fees and practices while the companies themselves only earn 21 cents per passenger and struggle to stay in business.

Airlines and their customers have a tense and often combative relationship, making the airline industry a fertile category for PR experts—sort of like how geologists go to volcanoes to study the components of earth!

That said, it’s nice to encounter a story that involves the public and the airlines getting along. Kerry Drake needed to catch a connecting United Airlines flight in order to make it home in time to say a final goodbye to his beloved mother, whose death was imminent. His first flight was delayed, making it seemingly impossible for the San Francisco resident to arrive in Lubbock, Texas, in time to say a proper farewell. However, while desperately running to his connecting flight in Houston, he heard a United Airline gate agent announce, “Mr. Drake we’ve been expecting you.”

They waited for him. The plane. The captain. The crew. The passengers. The airline. The entire flight schedule.

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United Airlines to Offer $9 ‘Premier Access’ Line at Security

The public has had a love/hate relationship with air travel for decades now. We love the excitement of going somewhere new or visiting people we love, but we hate having our flights cancelled, being frisked in our socks by strangers, getting hit with hidden fees and waiting in line for the infamous full body scanner.

Yet most of us accept these inconveniences as part of the reality of flying. You can’t blame an airline for the weather. Hurricanes happen. So does snow. Most airline passengers sense that we’re all going through this crazy experience together. But at United Airlines, $9 is about to change that dynamic. That is how much United is charging for “Premier Access” to fast-track security lines that offer customers reduced hassle and shorter waits.

How will the public react? This is a tough one. Sure, the airline industry has always offered special treatment to business flyers and the high rollers in first class–but this new “Premier Access” stunt has yet to pass the public’s sniff test. Read more

Will US Air/American Merger Help Solve the Industry’s PR Problems?

It’s done: American Airlines and US Airways have officially announced plans to merge, thereby creating the world’s largest carrier fit to compete with Delta and United (which went through mergers of their own in recent years). The newly formed super-airline will operate under the American name, and it will keep that brand’s awesome new logo.

Of course the merger is in the financial interests of all involved parties. But will it help them overcome the fact that the public hates them? We don’t think so. The Justice Department rejected the proposed US Air/United merger in 2001 because “it would reduce choice and possibly lead to higher fares”. Now try and guess what this merger will bring:

  • Service cuts (reduced choice)!
  • Fare hikes (higher fees)!
  • More add-on fees for checking bags, re-booking reservations, choosing seats, etc…

Sounds great, right? Of course, American will now have the advertising and PR budget of the biggest name in town. How should they spend it?

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More Tech/PR Woes for Boeing’s 787 ‘Dreamliner’

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Here at PRNewser we love to report on the love/hate (but mostly hate) relationship between the public and the airline industry. The latest trouble spot for the business of flying concerns Boeing‘s extra-fancy new 787 “Dreamliner” jets.

We don’t know about you guys, but we flew to Texas on a Dreamliner over Christmas break and it provided us with a glance into the industry’s future: fully reclining seats, larger overhead bins, seatback screens with more media choices and bigger windows with a magical “dimming” option that lets the rider determine how much light he or she wants to let in (screw you, pull down shades!).

It was all pretty cool. But Boeing and United Airlines, the only American company using the Dreamliners, have a big PR problem: the damned things just can’t seem to work right. This isn’t a new development. In fact, it’s an ongoing headache for both companies’ communications teams.

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Cervone Heads to Volkswagen

Tony Cervone has been appointed EVP of group communications at Volkswagen, marking his return to the auto industry as VW’s top PR exec in the U.S. He’ll report to Jonathan Browning, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.

Cervone worked at GM for a decade, serving as VP of global communications strategy and operations for a short time. He also spent 14 years at Chrysler, where he was VP of communications.

Most recently he was SVP and chief communications officer at United Airlines. He joined that company in 2009.


Is United Airlines Looking for an Agency?

[image: Matt Hintsa on Flickr]

That’s what we’ve been hearing, so we contacted the company to find out. Robin Urbanski, Manager Media Relations at United Airlines, tells PRNewser, “We are evaluating how we best use both our internal and external resources.” Urbanski went on to state that the company currently does not have an agency of record and has not put out an RFP. Tips are welcome.