The Cranky Flier Interview: United CEO Oscar Munoz – Part 1

Across the Aisle Interviews, Podcast, The Cranky Flier Interview, United

Remember that whole podcast thing? Well I’ve spoken with a variety of readers/listeners and learned that it’s the interviews with industry people that they liked most out of that experiment. The Cranky Flier Interview I actually agree with that sentiment, since a transcript of an interview isn’t the same as hearing it directly from someone’s mouth. And for that reason, I’ve decided to turn the Cranky Flier Podcast into The Cranky Flier Interview.

This won’t be a regularly-scheduled podcast. Instead, I’ll simply post when I have interesting interviews. And today, we start with none other than United CEO Oscar Munoz.

I sat with Oscar in November at the California Club, a fancy downtown LA private club, and I enjoyed our talk. If you’re looking for details on how comfortable seat 4K will be on the new 777-300ER, this isn’t your podcast. As is usually the case with my CEO interviews, I talk about the bigger picture. Hopefully I’ll be able to line Scott Kirby up for an interview soon so we can get into the details.

In the meantime, enjoy the 22m20s first part of my interview with Oscar. We start with just how he ended up getting this job and the conversation goes from there. Listen below or download this episode (right click and save).

A special thank you to this week’s sponsor, Koufax the Dog, the coolest dog in the coolest land. You can find him on Twitter @KoufaxtheDog. (I’m aware this doesn’t sound real, but it actually is our first paid sponsor on the podcast.)

I’ll look to publish the back half of my talk with Oscar next week. In the meantime, feedback about this new idea is always welcome.

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27 comments on “The Cranky Flier Interview: United CEO Oscar Munoz – Part 1

  1. Hi why don’t you properly cover the Mexican & the LATAM carriers?

    Our viva next work in particular Viva Colombia will do a CEO interview

    1. Dfr – Funny you mention Viva in that I was blown off 3 times by the former CEO in an attempt to do an interview. But ultimately this blog primarily focuses on the US. That being said, Latin carriers have an important impact on the US market, and I’m definitely interested. But with 3 posts per week, I have to pick and choose the subjects. Let’s see if I can work some more Latin coverage in.

  2. Haven’t been able to listen to the podcast, but you should be very proud that after 10 years your blog is considered significant enough to get interviews with people t the very top of the industry. Go around with a grin on your face today and enjoy it

  3. Would it be possible to provide a link to the interview in print form? Most people read faster than people speak and it would speed thing up a bit on the longer interviews. Thanks!

    1. Chuck and others – I’m somewhat torn on the transcript idea. I know some people don’t want to listen, but frankly, I think a lot is lost in reading the transcript on some of these interviews. That’s not the case with all, and there are some I might not put into audio form at all. But I’m not sold on doing a transcript every time, especially since there’s a lot of work involved.

      1. I appreciate the hard work you do already for this blog, so your reasoning is understood. I guess I’ll get used to your dulcet tones via the podcasts…lol.

  4. I would be happy with it on Stitcher. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and really forget to check here for one. If it was in my subscriptions on there, I imagine it would be a lot easier for many of us.

  5. This interview in particular is one where a transcript would not have done it justice at all, just because of the emotion and passion that came through.

    Great leadership lessons and things to think about in this interview as well. To me, this was less an “airline” interview and more a leadership interview.

    Finally… What’s with the jab at cats at the end, Brett? Are you an anti-felinite? ;-)

    1. Kilroy – Oh yeah, I’m a dog person through and through (even after my pup snapped my finger…). I’ve never had a use for cats. Even worse that I’m allergic to them! (Let the war begin…)

  6. Another vote for the written form. I can skip through to the parts that interest me the most. It’s a much better use of my time.

  7. Gonna second all motions that request a written transcript. Like Chuck and Tory posted earlier – can read much faster than listen.

  8. Thanks for a nice interview. I *love* the whole concept of Oscar saying “we need to find our north star,” and I could so see the symbolism of it the day Polaris was unveiled. Looking forward to part two!

  9. Won’t be surprised if Oscar gets an email from someone in legal to not mention the fact that he was still working on things in the hospital while the SEC and investors were under the impression that Brett Hart was running the show. Credit to you for getting that out of him.

    I’m confident that Oscar is the best of the US3 CEOs – although it sounds like Kirby (who scares me as a flyer) is being groomed to take over sooner rather than later.

  10. I have to say, I love what Oscar has to say and where we’re going as a company! But after all these years and we are still “sub UA & sub CO” ! Flying ” ours and there planes” !!! Get it done already. Technology is there that IT departments can figure this?

  11. I got to know Oscar when we were both working at a Los Angeles law firm at the beginning of our careers. I am glad that he is healthy and I congratulate him on his outstanding career. He is a great guy and has earned his success.

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