From baggage handlers to pilots, everyone at United Airlines will be outfitted with new uniforms. That’s a foolish investment when customer service is so inconsistent.
New uniforms are coming in 2019, but the preparation process has already begun. Employee roadshows are occurring this week and the three companies will be tapped to outfit Untied employees:
- Brooks Brothers – pilots, male flight attendants and male customer service representatives
- Trace Reese – female flight attendants and female customer service representatives
- Carhartt – ramp service, technical operations and catering operations employees
Hoping to avoid the allergic reactions many employees experienced with new uniforms at American Airlines, there will be an extended testing phase being the new work clothes are rolled out.
But why? Seriously, why?
The current uniforms are less than a decade old and hardly out of style. But that’s not the issue.
A Horrific Customer Service Fail
Yesterday, a woman was downgraded from her business class seat on a transcontinental flight in the rudest of ways. She happens to be a Boarding Area blogger and I encourage you to read her account and follow-up.
Angelina was upgraded to business class only to board her flight and be told that a “paid passenger, who was more important needed her seat because the reading light did not work in his seat.” Turned out he was just an upgrader as well.
When Angelina protested, a FA stated, “Well you were upgraded for free sweetie, this person paid, now go take your seat.”
Angelina again pointed out the passenger upgraded as well. She offered to take the seat with the broken reading light or a later flight. Both requests were denied. In fact, she was told to take her original economy class seat or “you won’t be flying.” A veiled threat…
So Angelina flew in economy class across the country. Thankfully, in San Francisco Angelina had the patience to visit the customer service desk and was taken care of by a wonderful agent named Kate Barnett. Barnett treated Angelina like a human…what a concept! She was compensated but more importantly, she received empathy and an apology.
Stories like Angelina’s are commonplace. In fact, they have been the subject of many posts on this blog lately. I have my own stories to share as well. After years of mismanagement and poor leadership, United has a huge trust deficit and a contingent of employees who hate customers, dispense poor service, and routinely fail to show rudimentary courtesy or basic common sense. I’m sorry to say that for every Kate Barnett there is a bad apple.
That is what United needs to address. Not new uniforms. And the longer this process takes, the more irrelevant the uniforms will become.