Time For A United Rant

United AirlinesThe United Airlines saga is just a total mess from start-to-finish, and it’s really difficult to know where to start in unpicking the sorry saga.

I have flown United (from New York to New Orleans) and yes they really do pack them in, they have to be the most Easy-Jet like US carrier there is.

So when you have a market, the bulk of which just wants the cheapest price to get from A to B, rather than the “luxury” of being treated like real people……. This is what you get……..

The other part of this is that it is clear the airlines PR and advertising paints a picture of the business that bears absolutely no relationship to reality.

Maybe the senior management buy into the rose-tinted image of their company – have they ever actually experienced what it is like to be bumped off one of their own flights?

Indeed the question might be asked as to why they need to advertise at all in the glowing corporate way they have – just advertise you have the lowest price on these routes and have done with it.

So there is a massive disconnect between the image United wants to put across and the reality on the ground.

And this is really important, because the last thing you want to do in business is raise expectations that you know your systems can’t deliver.

The thing that is puzzling to us Europeans is why it has taken so long for this massive disconnect to appear, and for people to do something about it.

And now let’s talk about the the customer-oriented skills of the staff.

And the staff training.

And the internal operating systems of the airline that created this incident.

That’s it – enough said !

And finally – lets talk about the PR response by the CEO Carlos Munoz.

Dave knows Carlos Munoz, because Dave worked at PepsiCO when Carlos was just a finance guy, a bean counter.

The truth is that Carlos has never had a customer facing job in his life !

And that, for me, is a major drawback in the man, and much of corporate America.

Carlos doesn’t understand brands and brand value, he only understands money and the short-term.

We, Sarah Staar Business School, will not be flying United, ever.

Let’s say there is a miss-match between our values and those of United Airlines.

Electric car meetups

ChargingPointSignIt is very rare that you can talk about there being a “community”.

But amongst electric car owners there really is a community.

Everywhere I go to recharge I finish up having a chat with other electric car owners, and lots of the time it has relatively little to do with the tech or the vehicle.

There are a lot more chargers around where I live than I first thought, and it turned out that my nearby Waitrose / supermarket has a few – not fast chargers but enough to give it a quick zap while shopping.

Yesterday I thought I would give it a try.

I arrived at the supermarket, plugged my car in, and went inside to do my weekly shop.

After about 45 minutes I came out to the car park to see that there were two other electric cars parked next to mine.  There was a very confused looking lady trying to work out how to plug her brand-new Nissan Leaf into the charger.

I asked her if she’d like a hand, she told me that she had just bought her new car two days ago and this was the first time she’d ever tried to charge it away from home.

It was quite funny because after about two minutes I was joined by an elderly gentleman who was the owner of the other car, another Nissan Leaf owner.

We all ended up having a chat for about half an hour, kind of comparing notes on cars and giving each other tips and strategies!

Quite bizarre really, I don’t ever remember standing around chatting in a car park to complete strangers before… It shows when you have something in common it can be a great way to break the ice.

Hmm, Maybe I could organise the electric car meet up….

An electric car newsletter ….

This could be quite an interesting niche to get into….

All the best,

Sarah Staar

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