3 Links I Love: Survey on Aviation Media, JetBlue Interview, the United Brand

Links I Love

This week’s featured link:
Aviation and the Media Survey
There’s a lot of bad reporting out there about aviation, and now the American Aviation Institute is trying to get feedback on the aviation news media in this survey. This is meant for people who are close to the industry only. I’m not being compensated for this. I just hope that a healthy response with clear results could help to improve media coverage of this industry. (There’s always hope…)

Two for the road:
Industry Insider: Marty St. George, Executive Vice President – Commercial & Planning JetBlue AirwaysAirport Business
The one and only Benet Wilson sits down with the one and only Marty St George for an interview that’s worth a read.

Editorial: United Airlines: Brand on life supportATW
How weak is United’s brand these days? Here’s an editorial looking at it. I fully believe that just about any brand can be rehabilitated (think about Continental), and United should be no different. Others may feel otherwise.

14 comments on “3 Links I Love: Survey on Aviation Media, JetBlue Interview, the United Brand

  1. The ATW article is largely accurate until the last sentence. Not to reopen the discussion of the event yet another time but since you posted the article, Muñoz defended his own employees at the expense of responding to the outrage that the world saw for something that was completely unlike any other PR event that had ever occurred in the airline industry or business as a whole. In defending his own employees and the regulations (not laws) which United created, he highlighted the insular, customer-disconnected culture of United. This isn’t an industry issue but a United issue. Suggesting that changing the name to Continental just fans the flames of division between former CO and UA employees and supporters and ignores the fact that CO’s own brand had started to slip in its latter years before the merger as its own costs soared and its strategies proved less and less successful. CO and UA both have a lot of positive brand attributes; tossing out the UA brand does nothing to fix what is wrong and, if left unrepaired, will tarnish any brand.

  2. United “brand” on life support?! What about other hated industries, like big tobacco or big oil or cable TV providers, etc. etc. It doesn’t matter anymore because air travel is a commodity. What are you going to do, not travel? I guess that’s an option if you are a pure leisure traveler. I predict the airline does just fine, tarnished brand or not.

    1. Agreed. All the casual fliers calling for a “boycott” will return to United almost immediately when they discover the airfare is $5 cheaper than American. Much like complaining about Comcast or any other oligopoly, your options are limited and while you may dislike the “brand,” you’re ultimately going to chose them anyway. Americans are getting what they demanded – cheap airfare. Speaking as a 1K flier on United, I do feel these past few weeks the flight attendants having been going out of their way to be nice to PAX and recognize our loyalty. This will blow over like any other aviation related kerfuffle.

    2. The average American has the attention span of gnat and the United debacle will be forgotten about as soon as the next press release comes out about hacked credit card information at a major retailer, or a gas price increase.

      I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count all the family and friends who said they would never fly United after the Sioux City crash…and those are the same family & friends who are promising never to fly United after the recent passenger removal..and the same family & friends who will never fly United again after the next incident. Meanwhile I’ll be prepared to pick them up at the United baggage carousel when they come visit.

  3. I like the idea for the survey but it is seriously flawed. Most people do not read/view every single media outlet. The questions that ask people to rank media outlets and reporters presume the respondent is familiar with each of them. If I never watch Fox News or ABC, what business do I have ranking them? And yet there is no option for “No opinion” or “Don’t know.” All this will do is confirm people’s bias’.

    1. Same here. I tried to take it, but didn’t get past the first page. Plus, in terms of industry relationship, they don’t distinguish between GA and commercial aviation. Second, they don’t allow for those of us who work in the aviation field on the government side, be it the FAA, contractors, or other government sponsored research.

      And you’re right, so many of the media questions I couldn’t answer in a way that was meaningful to me, so I just gave up.

  4. +1 for the comments on the ATW editorial. There’s no denying the brand is tarnished, but certainly not down and out. The pitchforks will eventually get lowered. If JetBlue can survive its Valentine’s Day debacle as such a young brand then United will survive this.

  5. A lot of Karen Walker’s stuff over the past few years has been downright hyperbolic. While this episode and Munoz’s mishandling of it will haunt United for sometime to come, it would help to keep some perspective.

    How many airlines’ brands actually became irredeemably radioactive in the past for something other than a fatal crash? Even in that category, you’ll notice that JAL, KE, and even MH have managed to weather the storm and recover, though the latter’s case required some more drastic measures and is still underway.

  6. What a shallow editorial. Repainting the planes with the name “Continental” (hey, they can even keep the Globe) is not going to fix any real problems.

  7. “United” has been the brand that Americans love to hate. It has built up over many years so now small negative things become big things and big things become giant when it has the UNITED label associated with it. Remember United breaks guitars?
    They can’t change the name now but they should have kept the Continental name post merger to rid itself of the UA stigma.

  8. These days I rarely travel in coach for many reasons and the vast majority of the time I get a reasonably good experience although many of my trips are so long I might not notice. The service is certainly better than it was a few years ago and I haven’t seen much better on Delta or American up front. I think it would take something far more scary to have a long-term dent in United’s fortunes. As others have remarked for those who rarely fly “they’ll be back.” Bad things have happened to others on other airlines but just not made the front pages. The question is whether people have the right to expect much better given what they are paying and I think they do. The sorry state of service at many American service companies just emphasizes CEOs’ preference to bow before shareholders rather than truly embrace good customer service.

  9. I don’t think anyone at United could have seen this coming. I still find it difficult to blame United for the actions of the security people who violently yanked that guy off.

  10. Have to agree with those who say that the long term damage to United will be minimal to none. That’s just the cultural climate we live in these days: when you mix myopic attention spans with peoples lack of loyalty (will sell out their own children to save a buck), this is what you get. Twenty or even thirty years ago, an incident like this, had it come to light *WOULD* have been the catalyst for the airline going out of business. Today, people just don’t care. You see a lot of saber rattling but little action. Some companies really are bulletproof and immune from damage, never mind actual liquidation (a.k.a. too big to fail). United is clearly one of them. So as appalling as it is, no matter how egregious their conduct is to the customers, they will get away with it because everyone soon forgets and will come back for more.

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