An American Airlines Executive VP just flew United Airlines…and offered her thoughts on Twitter.
Elise Eberwein is AA’s Vice President of People, Communications, and Public Affairs. She was flying from Chicago to Salt Lake City yesterday on United 521, a 737-800. While she lamented giving the competition any business, she conceded that it was “fun” to fly on a different airline. Initially, she complained of a takeoff delay, no pre-departure beverage, and no blankets.
Fun to fly the competition as a paying Cust (tho I hate giving them the rev). @united trip report. Thus far 1 hr late, no pre takeoff bev (flying 1st class) and no blankets. Super friendly Flt Attn in front.
— elise (@elisecom) November 9, 2018
Her experience does not mirror mine. While the blankets are so thin on domestic flights they are better called gauze, I cannot recall a single flight this year where they were not available. Except on red eye flights, blankets are always by request only. I also cannot think of a flight this year in which I did not receive a pre-departure beverage in first class.
Was 521 ORD 2 SLC. Will give credit where due: Ur peeps did a fine job and ❤️ the 2 lady aviators who flew us here.
— elise (@elisecom) November 9, 2018
Sure enough the flight did depart late and arrived about 40 minutes late into Salt Lake City:
I like that she gives a shoutout to United for handling the delay well and commends the two female pilots in the flight office.
Then she commends United for its superior hot towels compared to American Airlines:
Wasn’t intended 2 compare but since u did their pre lunch hot towels were plush compared 2 AA
— elise (@elisecom) November 9, 2018
She’s right. United offers far better towels than AA or Delta.
Many of United’s 737-800s are dark, meaning no built-in or overhead in-flight-entertainment (IFE) monitors, just streaming IFE and internet. Eberwein could not download the United app in order to stream movies, but had wisely pre-downloaded Season 6 of Homeland to pass the time. A good United purser will always instruct passengers to download the United app before the doors close. Too bad Eberwein did not compare AA’s IFE library to United’s.
We had no screens today. And couldn’t get their app to download so couldn’t watch their movies. But that’s ok, I had Homeland season 6 downloaded.
— elise (@elisecom) November 10, 2018
There was a period in which I thought about working for the airline industry. But there was one condition I just could not stomach: I would need to give up my blog. I remember even when I interned at Star Alliance my boss would scold me if there was ever anything I wrote about remotely critical of Star Alliance or praiseworthy of a competitor. I appreciated Eberwein’s honest report that rather accurately captures the flying experience on United, delays and all.
(H/T: View from the Wing)
United is Satan’s airline. I’ve had status on them for 10+ years only because my home city is their hub.
Calling first class cattle class…. and the AA exec doesn’t flinch. Just shows how poorly they think of their customers, filling the volume of their seats. We’ll soon hear “Now boarding unwashed masses”
Yeah so what is coach? The pig pen. Wish she had flown coach where the majority of their customer’s fly.
My thought exactly she flew first class and still she complains. Spoiled executive you wonder why US Airlines suck so much well there is your reason.
Maybe you should try Delta where blankets & pillows are available at all first class seats even without asking.
I fly first class on AA at least twice a month between Dallas and Seattle and I can say without a doubt that they have nothing to be proud of.
So stop flying AA , nobody forces you
Sometimes you can’t stop/are forced…DFW-SEA nonstop: don’t forget DFW is *the* major hub for AA. AA offers FIVE nonstop flights from DFW to SEA, and while AS offers THREE, the flight schedule has a lot to do with what airline you fly.
For instance, I do not like to fly UA, but by the end of the year, I will have flown them 3x in 2018 — once SFO-BOS, when flying on AS would have made me late to a speaker’s dinner at a conference that started the next morning at 8:00 am; then, in a couple of weeks, I’ll take them SFO-DEN-SFO…it’s a nonstop, versus AS which would fly me via either SEA or LAX.
Great – now that the cat is out of the bag, United is going to reduce the quality of the hot towels to be “more competitive and align with their peers”
Seriously go she can go eat a D. Fly standard class on any airline then describe experience. I never have good experience on AA and avoid if I can. Fortunately my company’s travel service won’t allow because of fees an upcharges. No pre flight beverage? whaaaa!
You should have flown economy.
Who the hell is “Untited” in your article above? Maybe you all need an editor.
You must be a riot at parties.
You could just say thank you. Nice font.
You should have flown economy. That’s what most of airlines customers do. Don’t comment about how good or poor the first or business class, which shows your pompousity!
Secondly, don’t compare AA vs Delta vs United. All the are crappy American airlines where the customers are treated like cattle , no matter whether they are in first, business or economy. Compare yourself to some of the middle-eastern or Asian airlines.
They will never compare to international airlines. Just like in education. They rarely compare to Indian and African students. Only to certain countries that they hand pick.
Re: “couldn’t download the United app”, I hear reminders to download the app at boarding and on the plane just as often as reminders to step aside to let others pass and instructions on how to put bags in the overhead bins. If she didn’t download the app before departure, she was making a concerted effort to not listen to the instructions.
This VP needs to learn how to write in English. She writes like a five year old!
It’s twitter. Writing and grammar get a pass.
It’s too bad that more airline executives dont fly their own airlines in an economy seat. It would really benefit them to take a flight like the every day Joe does instead of riding in first class.
Why would u want to fly economy when u can afford first. Makes no sense.
That depends upon WHY you are flying…
If, for some reason, you (as a VP of X airline) decide to personally pay to fly on Y airline because — again, for some reason — either X doesn’t fly between Point A and Point B, or a flight was cancelled, or the timing of said flight would make you late for (e.g.) the wedding…then, sure, fly in whatever class you can afford and are willing to pay for. But that isn’t the only reason execs with one airline fly on a different carrier…
When VX was acquired by AS, I urged every AS exec and FA to fly on VX prior to it completely disappearing…to see and understand just why VX loyalists and elites were so dedicated to that airline. Several did exactly that…both in F and in Y…and follow-up conversations I had proved their flights were quite illuminating. (Doesn’t mean AS didn’t destroy RED and the IFE, but at least there was some understanding AND some changes to AS for the better!)
Personally, I think execs with X airline should fly ALL the other airlines from time to time, A through Z, in order to experience first-hand what the competition is doing right AND doing wrong…it can only result in improving *your* airline (X).
Joni, I agree 100%. the fact that (e.g.) Doug Parker has never flown on AA’s 737-MAX aircraft, to me, speaks volumes!
I find it pretty astonishing that there was no predeparture drink offered unless this woman boarded very, very, very late. I’ve done about 100+ first class legs on United this year – even short hops between ABQ and Denver for example – and a pre-departure drink was offered on every. single. one.
Could be due to delay of flight. More important to limit delay than get out pdbs
How ironic. I live in a town where United and American are our only choices to fly to the major hubs. They collude to keep prices stratospheric and their services never fail to stink in almost every category. It’s amazing what happens in similar towns when other competitve airlines like Southwest enter the market. Prices really drop and services really improve. A pox on them both.
I usually fly United from NYC to Las Vegas in Business first . I find them to be very friendly and on time. The food I can not comment because I eat Kosher only and they don’t serve kosher on those flights. Always plenty drinks and coffee .
Female pilots? We airline pilots don’t discriminate. We are just pilots.
Time you get over it.
I disagree with you Matt, that most of UA 737-800s are dark. I frequently feel like you get the facts wrong.
Most in fact have have DTV (105 737-800 aircraft), whereas only 17 have PDE only (excluding Guam AC). Here’s a great site you can use for reference: https://sites.google.com/site/unitedfleetsite/mainline-fleet-tracking
I am a Gold Lifetime on AA with over 1.8M miles. What I can tell you is that AA treats me like a citizen of the “unwashed” especially since I fly coach now. The agents in the terminal where they check bags are intentionally rude and outright combative. Their gate agents are surly, their CSTLs (supervisors) act like prison guards (I’m sure they carry tasers) and generally the Flight Attendants barely look you in they eye. When they do, it looks like they’re all angry at you.
So I just sit, read a book and ask for NOTHING. I smile and get no response, I greet them when I get on board and get ignored and I get off of the plane as fast as I can, swearing to dump this airline as soon as I use up my miles.
AA, I used to LOVE you. You were my airline where ever I went. Now I wish you’d train your flight attendants that passengers are not their enemies. I understand that passengers are far more difficult than they used to be, but your flight attendants act like they hate all of us and their jobs. Take some lessons from Alaska Air/Virgin. I always walk off their flights with a smile on my face.
Oh, I will say one thing. AA is better than United. I haven’t flown that airline in over 20 years.
Flight was delayed, no mention as to why. If the plane came into the gate late from another destination and was being turned, I would find most airlines forgo they pre-flight beverage. Catering is usually the last to the airplane. People and bags coming off the A/C have a bigger priority than things “food.”
I think her revue is objectionable and should be read with that in mind.
I do about 150 flights a year. Have for along time negative opinion of AA due to lack of leg room. With the newer planes maybe I should go e them another chance. P.S. Delta blankets are great. Even while watching TV 😉
Flying is Absolutely not what it was.
All of the Above
Try sitting in coach where you pay for everything, no blankets, no overhead space available and most of all seating space so small you get cramps when you get up. I will not fly this aircraft again due to the horrible seating space. I have 3.5M miles on AA where I will pay extra to fly on in the future
When no blanket is offered, it’s logical to presume they don’t exist. DL and AA proactively provide them, and of course the quality of those is far superior to the “gauze.” It appears UA is (understandably) ashamed and/or trying to save $$ by hiding them from F customers. It’s also insulting to require that pax use their own data service (if it even works once boarded) to download an app when the other carriers logically allow one to get it while in flight. Unlike the other carriers, they brand Panasonic Wi-Fi as their own, so they should absolutely permit pax to use it to obtain their own app for free. UA has many strengths, but they choose to have some unnecessary weaknesses.
I’ve flown UA up front for years, 12 or 15 times a year. This woman must have been wearing her “AA VP” t-shirt. The only time there’s no pre-departure beverage is a ruckus somewhere that all the FAs have to sort out before takeoff. I thought everyone knew you ask for what you want in biz class. For example, I never use a blanket, so just need to get the thing out of my way before takeoff. If I wanted one, or an extra pillow, or anything at all, I’d just request it after the seat belt sign goes off. I can count on one hand the number of FAs who haven’t been professional and friendly over the years. United has its problems, but this little report is weird. Good fodder for her blog, tho.
If she had flown coach her report would have made AA look way better. UAL coach is one step above steerage on the Titanic. Thanks to the merger, Jeffy-boy’s questionable activities and deals, and the Pirate Board of Directors, UNITED is actually 2 steps lower than PEOPLE EXPRESS. UAL could care less about customers, passengers, or anyone else. The UAL crede is..”Blood from a stone ?? We’ll get every last drop.”
It is really sad the service on American carriers has deteriorated so badly in the last twenty years or so. Once one flys the Middle Eastern Airlines one realizes very quickly how excellent airline travel can be. No wonder that no American airline is ever included in the top 10 world airlines. I remember the good old days on Braniff when, in first class the meals were individually prepared and the service was excellent. Flying today is just like taking a Greyhound Bus. So sad!
In April ’18 I flew AA from Maui to DFW in 1st class. It was a great experience on a comfortable 777. The FA’s were very nice and attentive. I hope to repeat the experience in April ’19.
You could always fly Southwest. They may not have fist class but everybody is treated well, and they have the best employees!!
RE: ALL this “super service” on the “middle Eastern” airlines; Wonder how the rate of pay for their flight attendants compares to AA, UA and the rest of the USA airlines; Wonder what would happen if they get a complaint about the service; Are THEY UNIONIZED? Wonder how much the governments subsidizes their “name brand” airlines.
Had a UA “red-eye flt Denver->LAX delayed TWO (2) hours because someone on the incoming flight dropped his cell phone down an opening by his seat (accidentally) and it apparently slid all the way down into the luggage area somewhere. OH the “reward” for the delay? We got served some small bags of “gummy bears”; THEN to top it all off, the GATE in LAX was at the uber FAR END of the terminal and we had to walk what must have been a mile to get to the baggage area and the area where your ride would pick you up. Use to fly a lot in SoCal and learned long ago if possible do everything you can to AVOID UA.
This was a great article and I really enjoyed the frankness, good and bad. I am a former Global Service with United. Now retired but try to fly United when I can. I think more airline executives should actually be required to fly competitors from time to time just to compare as Elise has. This includes, as one comment mentioned, put the Asian and Middle Eastern, (Singapore, Thai and Emirates) on their list. They make it very difficult to fly our US choices. Yes flying is different today. Understand. I spent 35 years flying Delta (2M miles) and United (1.8M miles). Even though I rarely fly today, Delta has forgotten me and United tries from time to time. Example, I took my wife to Spain and Portugal for our 37th anniversary. Flying a mix of United and Lufthansa, paid and unpaid, United didn’t help with any part of the flight but Lufthansa did make a effort and a difference. But it would be good to have the Big 3 fly Emirates once, or Etihad, or Singapore and see what a huge difference it is. The US carriers are about squeezing as many $300 seats on a plane while, Emirates will charge $10,000 plus for a first class suite. Again this was a very interesting article and look forward to reading more in the future. Thanks Elise.
Upper 10% comment on their views and think we should be impressed with their view and thoughts. Especially if you have to pay for your own flight and not a gift of your employer and if your not overpaid for your Over educationed spoiled self.
Why don’t they fly economy and see what the rest or normal people use.
Then worry if their towels are wet or warm.
Worry about getting their safe is more important.