United CEO Jeff Smisek has been making his rounds lately and spoke today at the J.P. Morgan Aviation, Transportation & Defense Conference in New York City.
I just listened to it and offer my notes from his ~30 minute talk and Q&A session:
- "Travel is an experience, not just a seat."
- "Differential offerings for each customer" through specially-tailored options for each users based on "advanced" software that tracks what customers need, leading to substantial revenue increases for United.
- Employee morale – not about classroom training, it’s about trust of management
- Poked fun at Delta – says UA will have a lot more lie-flat seats than "that carrier from Atlanta"
- Economy Plus is a moneymaker–upselling is gaining traction
- Wouldn’t share details about new mileage program, but promised customers and bean counters would love the new product.
- Again, emphasized specifically tailored travel options–specifically mentions holding fares.
- Airline clubs will be enhanced.
- Ability to toggle between United and Continental on Easy Check-In Machines at airports coming.
- Commitment to A350 and 787 program, though UA can "downsize" if necessary.
- "We’ll have the 787 years before any of our competitors have it" (and the A350 as well).
- "Mixed fleet for a considerable period of time" – No final decision yet on whether United will keep the three-cabin model.
- Premium Service (p.s. – LAX/SFO-JFK) service interiors will be upgraded – lie-flat seats will be added (no confirmation that three-cabin service would be removed, but this was during the discussion of three vs. two cabin service)
- Repeatedly refers to front-line staff as his "co-workers" not his employees.
- Would like to simplify fleet over time, though that’s a "decade long" project. Wants a fuel-efficient fleet.
- Must be disciplined in capacity – "We don’t have anything to prove in terms of size–we’re the world’s largest airline now…but we’re here to make money…We’re very focused on making money."