Saw this comment after the Houston Chronicle article reporting that United Airlines was cutting jobs after the Houston counsel vote allowing international flights out of Hobby Airport:
Hey United, you're not the first one to try and coerce the citizens of Houston into something they didn't want to do. Go ask Bud Adams how that worked out for him. He bailed on the 4th largest city in the country because he didn't get his way. His team now plays in the 20th largest city of the country. Now that was the plan of a genius. Wanna get away?
I understand that it isn't easy to handle a merger between two big companies. But dismantling a local well-regarded airline, taking away HQ jobs to send them to a costlier city, replacing it with terrible customer service and then after all that, making really nonsensical threats doesn't seem to be a great business plan for a service industry.
Sounds like Bud. Get huge money concessions to renovate Astrodome, put a terrible product on the field, provide horrible customer service and then threaten the city. At least Bud Adams no longer needs Houston fans.
United is going to make cutbacks as just a part of the economics of a merger. I get that. To insult our intelligence and suggest that IAH direct to Paris is being canceled because a few years from now Southwest Airlines will have some small planes flying to South/Central American destinations is absurd.
United Airlines "Loyalty" Program – You Have Options, Sorta.
I used to be a Continental Elite member, and the thought of flying any other airline was absurd to me. Even after all the miles I flew, I had very few bad experiences with Continental. Now I'm afraid to fly on United because of the poor customer service I've received. Recently, I watched an entire movie before takeoff because the pilots said they were waiting to hear from Houston to calculate fuel loads. A few weeks ago, my friend had to wait 5 hours for her plane to arrive to take her home because they didn't have a crew available to even fly the plane to her location.
And pray you never have to call United for a customer service issue unless you like hearing Rhapsody in Blue ruined for life because you were on hold so long.
Why does @United have a Twitter account? You do a search of it at any time, and it is a parade of mostly unanswered horribles.
I get few benefits to having frequent flyer points with United. Since the merger, I have received zero upgrades, even off of a wait list. In addition, they no longer directly accept American Express points as a way to purchase tickets.
And now, if you travel with your children, it looks like United now expects you to pay extra to sit with them.
American Express, on the other hand, has a program where you can use their points to purchase flights on any airline. You book through them, they charge the entire amount of the flight on your Amex, and then refund a portion of your tickets based on points. No blackouts, and actually is a pretty good points deal if the original seat isn't an expensive one.
Why should I have loyalty to a company that has zero loyalty to Houston? That has terrible customer service? That overtly threatens our region?
Given the merger, I know flights out of Houston are even more limited. And observationally, that it is often cheaper to fly out of San Antonio, Austin or Dallas because of the lack of competition out of Houston. For our city's sake, I dearly hope United gets their customer service act together, or that Houston gets some more airline competition.
From a PR perspective, it would be hard for United to make Houstonians any more angrier at them than they are now. If you have a complaint about any airline, here's the link to report it to the government which does nothing with your complaints other than public shaming.