United Airlines has announced changes in policy to put its customers first, above on-time statistics and other important metrics. As one part of their approach, United plans to delay their own flights if multiple passengers are late for their connection. United Airlines President Scott Kirby announced that, to win business, United will focus on service, rather than cost. United operates under four core metrics, which will be reshuffled to meet this new business model. The new order of those metrics is:
- Aircraft safety
- Customer comfort
The customer-first initiative will be rolled out through a series of new policies.
- Delaying flights to ensure connections. United will delay connecting flights if multiple passengers are coming in late on originating United flights to ensure the connection is made and they reach their destination. The airline could face trouble, however, if the delay gets too long to make up the time in the air. A simple delay of 15 minutes in one small regional airport could cascade throughout the United network.
- Real-time detailed information. Rather than being vague with the reason behind cancellations and delays by stating they are due to “weather” or “maintenance,” United will attempt to explain delays in as much detail as possible to passengers and give them accurate contingency information.
- Investment in lounges. United is investing more in their lounges to give customers who are waiting for their flights a better experience.
- New aircraft. United has revealed a new 50-passenger jet from Bombardier they plan to fly, shifting the focus from capacity to comfort.
- Investment in premium for regional carriers. United is rolling out more seats and bringing newer premium seats for its short-haul flights on the A319, 767, and CRJ-700. They are also adding premium economy to their 767 fleet.
When business travel is already a stressful endeavor, a more customer-focused airline may be just what travelers want and need.