Through a series of 33 seminars in the Chicago area, United Airlines hopes to improve the flight experience for passengers in 2019.
Earlier today I wrote about the potential addition of three new FA bases in the Untied network. In that same memo to FA, United announced a series of meetings that will “begin to rewrite the customer narrative” for United.
I’m going to quote the memo directly so you can see exactly how United phrased it:
Beginning in February and continuing through 2019, each of you will be invited to Chicago for a special event created exclusively for our Flight Attendants that will begin to rewrite the customer narrative for United. These never-been-done-before engagements will pull back the curtain on our strategy, and your role in bringing it to life through the truly exceptional experiences that will keep our customers coming back and recommending us to others. We’re pulling out all the stops for your visit…
- Members of your executive team will speak at each of the 33 planned events.
- You’ll have the chance to connect with senior leaders from the groups that support Inflight – Airport Ops, Catering Ops, Marketing, Network Planning and Scheduling to name a few.
- We’ll host a product and technology showcase where you can check out some big upcoming initiatives.
- And we’ll celebrate each other and the bright future ahead.
We’re truly excited about all we’ll be able to accomplish together during these events – and hope you are, too! Stay tuned for more details, and can’t wait to see you in Chicago.
What Will These Meetings Accomplish?
Face-time with decision makers is usually helpful. Even if these senior leaders just smile politely and disregard FA feedback, the very act of sitting and listening is an act of respect. Hopefully, though, these leaders will listen to flight attendants and thoughtfully consider their valuable feedback. After all, FAs are truly on the front line, forced to deal with passengers each day.
While I am not sympathetic to all FA grievances, a meeting is not going to compensate for reduced staffing and “long sits”. Ultimately, FAs will deliver better service when they feel their employer has their back. And the best way to encourage good service is to operate on-time and give FAs an onboard product that customers will not complain about. I’m talking about wi-fi that works, edible meals, and comfortable seats. So many FA “service” complaints stem from problems that are initially beyond the control of the FA. That never excuses rude or gruff behavior, but it does suggest the easiest solution: fix the larger problems and the service will follow.
These meetings will not quickly solve lingering service issues. But don’t dismiss these meetings as an irrelevant gesture from management to cover up all they are taking from FAs. Imagine if more FAs are taught how to use their special iPhones to help passengers understand connecting gate information. Imagine if a FA stops to comfort a worried traveler and walks her through how to reach her next gate. It’s the little things that make service great…