Delta CEO Ed Basitan does not agree with United CEO Oscar Munoz’s assessment of how passengers feel by the time they step onto a plane.
Last month, Munoz told ABC News that by the time passengers stepped onto any United aircraft, they were already “pissed” at the world.
It’s become so stressful, from when you leave, wherever you live, to get into traffic, to find a parking spot, to get through security…Frankly, by the time you sit on one of our aircraft …you’re just pissed at the world and I don’t care what coffee or cookie or smile I’ll give you, you’re just ready to…”
His assessment drew a mixed reaction, with some defending him for “telling it like it is” while others questioning not only what angers passengers (airlines, not airports) but how a CEO could just accept that, even if it true.
> Read More: United CEO Oscar Munoz Embraces His Inner-Kirby
Speaking to the radio program Marketplace, Bastian was asked if he agreed with Munoz’s statement. He replied:
I disagree. Those certainly aren’t Delta customers he’s speaking too. We find our Net Promoter Score, which is how we track customer satisfaction is at an all-time high at Delta. For the first quarter, we just scored a 50 in terms of grade. That grade 10 years ago was about a 20. Today it’s up to a 50. You know, this industry is about more just airplanes and technology, it is about people. And we have wonderful people that provide great service. So, I just flew in from Atlanta and it was a great flight. I didn’t see anyone upset. I thought everyone really enjoyed the experience and arrived early!
You could argue that the question was a softball lobbed up to him. What else is he going to say? At the same time, I do think it represents a fundamentally different way United and Delta think about their customers. FYI, a Net Promoter Score is a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships.
> Read More: Delta CEO “Encourages” Boeing CEO
My take is that Bastian is correct. Airlines can play a key role in reducing the stress of air travel. There is no need for airlines to simply surrender to the notion that passengers will simply be angry. That is not my experience and a smile and a cookie can absolutely go a long way.
Who is right, Bastian or Munoz?