“It’s the old adage: You can make a pizza so cheap, nobody will eat it. You can make an airline so cheap, nobody will fly it.” – Gordon Bethune
NEW YORK CITY – I will not hesitate to fly with the United Airlines, commonly referred to as United, again.
One of the first airlines that I learned to like in the United States is United, where my kumpare Chito Ilonggo Macatual works.
The other is American Airlines, which awarded to this writer the last seat available on a Christmas Day (December 25, 2012) flight from San Franciso-Honolulu-Guam-Manila despite an eleventh hour notice.
All seats had been occupied because of peak season. Thank God nobody was offloaded.
Sometime in spring 2008, Chito Ilonggo booked this writer round trip flights from Los Angeles to Chicago via Phoenix on United.
It was a business class, my first-ever, modesty aside. As a policy, I had to wear a “business” attire to give justice to my special accommodation. Fruits, cakes, expensive wines were served aside from a spacious seat and special treatment.
I could not choose my flight the day I arrived in the airport other than wait until a seat was available.
I was on a “wait list” together with a bunch of passengers with similar booking. They were on upbeat mood queuing for a flight on a first-come-first-serve basis.
After “missing” three regular flights in the morning, I was finally on board shortly after noon time.
There was no favoritism. Nobody bumped somebody off from his seat assignment. No quarrel with the ground staff. No debate with fellow passengers.
No overloading. No need for uniformed personnel to get inside the plane and violently kick out anyone who refused to give up his seat.
The airline crew was courteous and handled their job professionally.
My pleasant experience with United happened before April 16, 2010, when United resumed merger talks with Continental Airlines after their first discussion in 2008.
On May 2, 2010, the board of directors of both Continental and UAL Corporation’s United Airlines reached an agreement to combine operations.
While United would be the surviving airline, the merged airline would adopt Continental’s logo and livery.
Continental’s CEO Jeff Smisek would head the new company. The merger was contingent upon shareholder and regulatory approval.
In July 2010, the United-Continental merger was approved by the European Commission and on August 27, 2010 by the US Justice Department. On September 17, 2010, United’s shareholders approved the merger deal with Continental Airlines.
That’s why I don’t support the idea that because of one incident on April 9, 2017 in which security officers dragged a man off a United Airlines plane in Chicago when he refused to give up his seat, passengers will boycott the world’s third-largest airline.
The ugly fracas involving 69-year-old passenger David Dao shouldn’t be used as a single barometer to sully United Airline’s outstanding reputation in the airline industry.
Now that the matter is being investigated and all darts have been thrown at the embattled airline company, let the chips fall where they may.