Tag Archives: United

I Flew Delta Air Lines One Way and United Airlines Back. There Was 1 Huge Surprise
October 20, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

I tried to be fair.

I booked flights at more or less the same time, in the same class.

In the case of Delta Air Lines, it was its Delta One Class. In United’s case, it was Business Class.

How similar would they be? Would Delta confirm its reputation as the best and most comfortable of the big airlines? Would United take one look at me and decide I was an undesirable?

The route was San Francisco to New York and back again.

Delta One Means You’re All Alone.

I began with Delta and an early-morning flight.

Delta suffers in San Francisco from having to endure a dingy, desperate Terminal 1. It’s the terminal that time didn’t merely forget, but never liked at all.

At the first coffee place I stopped at, they serve only black coffee. They claimed not to even have milk.

I noticed also that the cabin crew seemed to arrive very shortly before passengers began boarding. Where had they been? Would they have time to prepare themselves?

Yet when I boarded the flight, I had a very pleasant surprise. 

My seat was by a window and there was no one seated next to me. Because there was no seat next to me.

In this Boeing 767 configuration, window seats are lone seats with a substantial area to the side for placing your laptop, books, magazines, knitting, emotional support squirrel or whatever you happen to enjoy on a plane.

This is, of course, wonderful if you’re flying alone, as I was. It’s less wonderful if you’re traveling with someone, as neither of you will be able to have a window seat. 

You’ll have to sit in the middle.

I’d pre-ordered breakfast, which was a simple, pleasant, cold affair with generous helpings of cheese and fruit.

The service, though, was efficient rather than warm. 

The entertainment system offered a large screen and the lie-flat bed was, well, who doesn’t want a lie-flat bed on a cross-country flight? This one was perfectly comfortable.

The flight, though, had one little drawback. 

There was a family of three. Dad was right behind me. Mom and highly entitled child were in the middle seats in his row.

Their form of communication involved shouting to each other across the aisle. Yes, they were from New York.

It’s easy to forget that the behavior of just one passenger can affect your flight. The only thing that saved me here was putting on my headphones and watching episode after episode of a wonderfully improbable and suitablly dramatic BBC series called The Split.

The flight was on time. Delta stuck to its promise of getting the bags out quickly. The whole thing was really quite pleasant.

United Airlines. Wait, What Just Happened?

There’d been a little hiccup the day before my flight back home.

United had emailed me to tell me my flight might be delayed by up to 30 hours. The email arrived the night before the flight.

So my biggest concern was whether the flight would be on time. 

Arriving at Newark at an ungodly hour, I was met by an extremely pleasant United Airlines check-in agent. Far more friendly, indeed, than the one I’d encountered at Delta. 

Yes, she said, the flight was on time. 

It did, indeed, board on schedule. Moreover, United’s terminal at Newark is curiously bright and airy place. I confess I rather liked being there. 

Yet United’s Business Class isn’t quite Delta One. On this Boeing 777, there were eight seats across the plane.

I was seated next to someone who, if he hadn’t been a decent human, might easily have taken over the whole armrest we shared.

He was a decently large human, you see and the armrest wasn’t too wide. 

The proximity was jarring when compared with Delta. 

The biggest surprise, though, was the service. The attitude of the Flight Attendants — one woman in particular — was a marked contrast to Delta’s slightly chilly efficiency. 

United’s Flight Attendants offered a rare warmth. It was as if they’d just come out of remedial training and had been infused with the need to project humanity. 

For first thing in the morning, their attitude came across as genuine. 

At one point, the female Flight Attendant saw that I was finished with my New York Times and said, with wit infused: “You haven’t done the crosswords, have you?”

Crosswords? Me? Lord, no. I have enough words in my regular life.

She was relieved, as she was one of those crossword people and really needed my paper. 

This was my biggest and most pleasant surprise.

From check-in to in-flight, United’s personnel exuded far greater warmth than Delta’s. It made the experience just that little bit more pleasant.

In customer service, it’s always the little things.

Tech

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United Airlines is Offering One Passenger an Incredible Perk. But Will That Passenger Accept It?
September 5, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

People look gift horses in the mouth all the time.

That horse could, after all, be Trojan and you never know what might lurk inside.

There are those, however, who truly deserve a real gift just because of who they are.

United Airlines wants to hear about those people and it wants to meet one of them in particular.

No, it doesn’t want to offer that person the job of company president.

United’s idea in this instance is to find the hardest-working person in America and send them to Tahiti for a few days.

As a little message that says: “You’re working too hard, silly. Please get a life or you’ll die.”

This little prize seems well worth winning. 

It consists of a roundtrip airfare from your hometown to Tahiti — via San Francisco — for two.

In Business Class, no less.

There are three stays, totaling seven nights, at various alluring Tahiti hotels.

And, just to make your return to life all the more meaningful, you get a $ 2,000 prepaid card for meals and other expenses.

Should you be honest enough to admit you’re not the most hard-working person in America, you might choose to nominate the person who is.

It’s likely one of the people who do most of your work for you, never complain and never ask for a raise.

These days, United is desperately trying to show it has a heart. Or at least, to offer the appearance. 

It offers a valuable argument by revealing that 700 million vacations days go unused every year.

Is it because people love their jobs so much that they don’t bother? Or is it, perhaps, that they’re too frightened in case their jobs disappears or is taken over by someone else?

I only have one slight worry about this well-meaning search — timed to coincide with United starting to fly nonstop from San Francisco to Tahiti.

What if the winner is someone who really is the hardest-working person in America and is one of those impossibly strange characters who really doesn’t want a vacation?

Can a boss force an employee to go to Tahiti? 

Now that would be a fascinating topic for Human Resources lawyers.

Tech

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United Airlines Has Some Great News About Its Business (There's Bad News for Passengers)
August 12, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Even if it says so itself.

The airline just released some figures for July, and, at a cursory glance, they’re glowing.

Consolidated traffic (revenue passenger miles) increased 6.9 percent and consolidated capacity (available seat miles) increased 4.0 percent versus July 2017. UAL’s July 2018 consolidated load factor increased 2.4 points compared to July 2017.

Won’t you look at that?

This means the airline’s packing them in and making lots of money.

Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that domestic traffic rose by 9.1 percent in July. Compared to last July, that is.

And Lordy, the airline is doing wonderfully in the regions. There, traffic is up a pulsating 17.6 percent.

United’s also packing them in on each flight.

The so-called load factor (number of people who are actually paying) at home soared to 90.5 percent. That’s a 2.6 percent increase.

United was loaded internationally, too. A 2.2 percent increase to 87.8 percent.

People are paying to fly United and there are more flights to more places, which makes the United world a wonderful place.

Alright, if you read the headline at all — and if you didn’t, what are you doing here? — there’s a little bad news. 

You see, when you pack more people onto your planes, it might take a little longer. 

That’s what appears to be happening. All this success in selling tickets appears to be leading to a reduction in on-time departures, the beautifully named D0. 

A mere 62.3 percent of mainline flights — that is, the non-regional variety — departed on time or even slightly early. 

This is a 1 percent drop from this time last year.

This isn’t, of course, merely an inconvenience for passengers. When a plane departs late, cabin crew must explain themselves to their bosses.

Well, you see, it was like this. There were so many darned people. And have you seen all that stuff they bring on planes? 

Tech

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Want to Turn Planes Around Faster? Delta, United, and Southwest Have Some Creative Ideas
August 5, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

We saw separately how Delta Air Lines customer service agents came up with an idea that shaves a couple of minutes off turnaround time for the airline’s jets at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. 

I was curious whether other lines did the same or similar thing, so I reached out to all of the Big Four. Southwest and United replied, while Delta also responded with a couple of other ideas worthy of attention.

Turnaround time is a big deal. The FAA reported in 2010 that flight delays cost the U.S. economy roughly $ 32.9 billion a year. Andit’s one of the key metrics on which airlines  judge themeselves.

Here are some of the other things big airlines are doing to turn airplanes around more quickly.

45 degree pushback

This is the original idea that Delta customer service agents came up with. We’ll summarize it here: Instead of pushing an airplane straight back from the gate, then turning it 90 degrees and pushing it again, the idea is to push straight back at a 45 degree angle.

This simple change shaves about a minute or more off turnaround time, which really adds up over 1,000 or more flights a day. Delta does it at Atlanta and Detroit. And, United tells me they do a 45-degree pushback at some airports as well, “depending on a variety of factors including aircraft type and setup of gate.”

The Quick Turn Playbook

This one is all United. The airline has what it calls a “Quick Turn Playbook,” which is a proprietary document that it says outlines “how all departments work together to help reduce the amount of time it takes to service and turn an aircraft.”

“The playbook was developed with the help and input of United frontline employees,” a United spokesperson told me. “We continue to go back to employees to solicit feedback on how it can be continuously improved.”

Maybe it’s working: United ranked #1 among competitors during the Q2 of 2018 for on-time departures.

Open seating

Yes, this one is limited to only one big airline–Southwest–and they were quick to point it out when I asked about turnaround tactics. Letting passengers take any open seat “saves us valuable time and keeps our aircraft moving efficiently,” as a spokesperson put it.

It’s hard to understand why other airlines don’t copy this–perhaps not on entire plans, but maybe by letting economy passengers board in order of how expensive their fares are?

Self-parking guidance systems

Both Delta and United told me they use laser-guided parking systems at some airports and gates. 

Instead of an employee standing on the ground and guiding the plane in with a couple of orange flags or lights, the laser system lets the pilot know how to inch the plane up to the gate, and when to stop. That means the employees can get ready to hook airplanes up to ground power and do other tasks more quickly.

Not charging for checked bags

Again, this is just Southwest, which doesn’t charge bag fees for any passengers. That’s in contrast to economy class passengers on United, American and Delta.

As a result, on any given Southwest flight there are likely fewer people carrying bags onto the plane and trying to put them in an overhead compartment to avoid a bag fee. That means less blocking of the aisles, and a faster process. 

The one they’re not doing

I found a few other interesting tactics. Ryanair, the low cost European carrier, says it cut turnaround time “dramatically” by removing seat back pockets, which means there’s no place for passengers to stick trash that has to be cleaned out. 

But the interesting one is a more complicated boarding dance called the Steffen Method, after the astrophysicist who came up with it in 2014. In summary, passengers would board from the outside in: window, then middle, and then aisle. And they’d board from the back, skipping every other row.

One drawback: Travelers flying together couldn’t board together if they were really strict about the process. Maybe that’s why it hasn’t really caught on.

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Toyota to launch 'talking' vehicles in United States in 2021
April 16, 2018 6:04 pm|Comments (0)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) plans to start selling U.S. vehicles that can talk to each other using short-range wireless technology in 2021, the Japanese automaker said on Monday, potentially preventing thousands of accidents annually.

Toyota Motor’s logo is pictured at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show in Tokyo, Japan October 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

The U.S. Transportation Department must decide whether to adopt a pending proposal that would require all future vehicles to have the advanced technology.

Toyota hopes to adopt the dedicated short-range communications systems in the United States across most of its lineup by the mid-2020s. Toyota said it hopes that by announcing its plans, other automakers will follow suit.

The Obama administration in December 2016 proposed requiring the technology and giving automakers at least four years to comply. The proposal requires automakers to ensure all vehicles “speak the same language through a standard technology.”

Automakers were granted a block of spectrum in 1999 in the 5.9 GHz band for “vehicle-to-vehicle” and “vehicle to infrastructure” communications and have studied the technology for more than a decade, but it has gone largely unused. Some in Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission think it should be opened to other uses.

In 2017, General Motors Co (GM.N) began offering vehicle-to-vehicle technologies on its Cadillac CTS model, but it is currently the only commercially available vehicle with the system.Talking vehicles, which have been tested in pilot projects and by U.S. carmakers for more than a decade, use dedicated short-range communications to transmit data up to 300 meters, including location, direction and speed, to nearby vehicles.

The data is broadcast up to 10 times per second to nearby vehicles, which can identify risks and provide warnings to avoid imminent crashes, especially at intersections.

Toyota has deployed the technology in Japan to more than 100,000 vehicles since 2015.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said last year the regulation could eventually cost between $ 135 and $ 300 per new vehicle, or up to $ 5 billion annually but could prevent up to 600,000 crashes and reduce costs by $ 71 billion annually when fully deployed.

NHTSA said last year it has “not made any final decision” on requiring the technology, but no decision is expected before December.

Last year, major automakers, state regulators and others urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to finalize standards for the technology and protect the spectrum that has been reserved, saying there is a need to expand deployment and uses of the traffic safety technology.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

Tech

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United Technologies Will Buy Rockwell Collins for $30 Billion
September 5, 2017 12:43 am|Comments (0)

Jet-engine maker United Technologies Corp has agreed to would buy aircraft parts manufacturer Rockwell Collins Inc for $ 30 billion, including debt, the companies said.

Under the deal, Rockwell shareholders will receive $ 140 per share in stock and cash, split between $ 93.33 in cash and $ 46.67 in United Tech stock, the companies said in a statement.

The offer represents an 18 premium to Rockwell’s closing share price on Aug. 3, the day before media reported that UTC was weighing a bid for Rockwell.

Under the deal, the companies said that Rockwell Collins and UTC’s aerospace systems segment will be combined to create a new business unit named Collins Aerospace Systems.

“This acquisition adds tremendous capabilities to our aerospace businesses and strengthens our complementary offerings of technologically advanced aerospace systems,” UTC’s chairman and chief executive officer, Greg Hayes, said in the statement.

“Together, Rockwell Collins and UTC Aerospace Systems will enhance customer value in a rapidly evolving aerospace industry by making aircraft more intelligent and more connected,” he said.

The deal, which includes $ 7 billion in Rockwell’s debt, is expected to save more than $ 500 million by the fourth year after its completion, the companies said.

Morgan Stanley & Co LLC was the financial adviser to United Tech and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz was its legal adviser.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Citigroup Global Markets Inc were Rockwell’s financial advisers, while Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom was its legal adviser.

Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; editing by Leslie Adler.

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United States Cloud Computing Stack Layers Market Present Scenario and Growth Prospects 2017
July 30, 2017 10:20 pm|Comments (0)

“United States Cloud Computing Stack Layers Market Professional Survey Report 2017” Purchase This Report by calling ResearchnReports.com at …


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Analysts Expect United Online to Announce $0.13 Earnings Per Share (NASDAQ:UNTD)
February 20, 2016 6:05 am|Comments (0)

The Communications segment provides Internet access services and devices, including dial-up, mobile broadband, digital subscriber line (NASDAQ:UNTD), e-mail, Internet security, Web hosting, and voice services. The Content & Media segment offers social …


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Fair Parade Treats from NBU Will benefit The United Way
December 21, 2015 12:55 am|Comments (0)

The posts on this comments board are strictly the opinions of the individual poster and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the owner of this website, the webhosting service, New Braunfels Communications, Inc., d/b/a KGNB-AM and KNBT-FM radio, …


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