So by now everyone has probably heard that CLE is no longer a hub for United. Below is an article written by a man who lives in that area and he is not happy about it. What does everyone else think about this move?
Additional link I left out...this makes a lot of valid points that Continental was better than United.
Here is the letter from the CEO:
To be honest, CLE is too close to ORD and EWR to be a successful UA HUB. They no longer have direct flights to any destinations outside of the U.S. other than Canada, most of the flights are 50 seat or smaller RJ's or Turbo-Props which is difficult to maintain a HUB using mainly those type of aircraft. Don't get me wrong as I am in no way shape or form a fan of Smisek (he has many other names with the industry), but I don't think he has it out for CLE more so Houston.
Smisek got upset with the Mayor of Houston and picked up his shovel and pale from the sandbox and pouted when the Mayor announce an expansion at Hobby Airport (south airport) to include a FIS for Southwest to do international flying from Hobby. The expansion was to be completed in 2015 and Smisek declared they would reduce flying from Intercontinental (north airport and UA massive HUB), cut jobs due to the loss of revenue from Southwest flying internationally. Come on Smisek, get a grip, UA can match Southwest flight for flight and exceed their numbers simply because Hobby cannot accommodate a huge increase if flights as Intercontinental can just due to space and runway capacity.
So while Smisek stewed and pull the future Houston-Auckland, has only added one new international destination (Munich) other airlines such as China Air, Korean Air, Turkish Airlines, Qatar and Emirates have come into town or added frequency to existing flights. Domestically he has not increased capacity to cities where Spirit and Frontier have added service. He then decided it was best to bring in a bunch of old pre-merger UA airplanes without an established crew or maintenance base and reduce much newer B737 flying at Intercontinental already with a huge pre-merger CO crew and maintenance base. Yet he and the stellar UA Board wonders why they are only producing 1/2 of the revenue that DL did last year?
To attract more customers they have removed ALL meal service from First Class on flights of 899 miles or less except certain flights that go through DEN or ORD and get a snack basket passed around if catering remembers to load it on the flight. Flights to Asia no longer have provide free alcohol United Cuts Free Booze From Asia Flights In Economy | LoyaltyLobby removes pretzels from international flights United Cuts Free Booze From Asia Flights In Economy | LoyaltyLobby increased the number of miles required for to use award travel in Business First United MileagePlus Award & Upgrade Changes Effective February 1, 2014 (Major Devaluation) | LoyaltyLobby a significant devaluation all while producing some incredibly horrible rankings Which airline placed first in our latest Middle Seat scorecard? Flying Friendly they say, okay prove it Smisek!
So CLE maybe you're lucky after all and somebody may come in to provide customer service.
Wow...great insight. Lots of information. I agree that CLE is only a RJ airport and having it as a hub no longer makes sense. Dan from Dan's Deals is a resident of the area and uses CLE so he is rightfully upset, but the statements about Smisek are pretty believeable based on your supporting info/experience.
He is a Harvard Law school graduate and hired by CO as a Senior VP and Counsel, not sure that actually qualifies anyone to be the CEO of an airline regardless of the size. I won't say that moving the UA HQ to Chicago rather than having it be in Houston which was the HQ of CO didn't have some impact in the Southwest thing at Hobby, it does seem the timing kind of fit.
While I love Chicago in the spring and fall, winter time and the employees paying state income tax something we don't have in Texas it would appear Houston should have been more attractive.....might just be me whining about them leaving 1600 Smith St.
Yeah living in Chicagoland is rough...very expensive, high taxes, very bad traffic...only saving grace is higher wages. Basically the same story here in the tri state (NY,NJ,CT).
I learned from my father that working in Operations no matter what the business is never going to lead to glory or easy upward mobility. Lawyers and marketing people are often at the top of corporations when the Ops guys to actually know how the business works often times never reach those levels or have their input truly considered often enough. As far as Smisek is concerned I remember being on lots of EWR-ORD flights where his face pops up and hes talking about how great things will be and the expanded network and the upgraded planes, and the IFE additions. Truth is, most of that was hogwash. I keep hearing more and more negative things about United each month. Smisek just doesn't seem to get it though. How can you possibly integrate a better airline into your own and end up with a worse product than you had originally? At the very least United should have slightly improved with the addition of Continental and instead it appears at least that it has declined.
Ops guys succeed if they get the chance, thus Gordon Bethune and his success with CO. I am baffled (not so after looking at the board) at why the UA Board of Directors hasn't taken action as yet to find someone with more personality, who is truly liked by employees as well as customers and stop trying to patch a problem with another patch.
CO had a fantastic fleet and you knew pretty much what you'd get when you got on the plane as far as amenities. Now they've developed a mess with upgrades to interiors of the old UA planes, some having WiFi, others have old overhead monitors for an entertainment system that you can't see anyway, others have nothing at all...and it's that way for all the A319/A320's and the newest B739ER's as some will have DirecTV and others no. Nothing like booking a flight across the country thinking you might be able to watch TV only to get on the plane and hope you're able to entertain yourself for 5 hours.
It's one of those situations where if you don't laugh you will cry. I have never been the CEO of any company but as a consumer you have to wonder...wouldn't consistency be the best policy no matter what the situation? Be it IFE, Wi-Fi, meals, cabin layout, reservations, employees, boarding processes, you name it. How does this overwheming sense of inconsistency get solved? Well IMO it starts at the top.
Not sure if you have had the opportunity to read this but if not give it a look. I find it to painfully spot on. This is why I am an AA elite.
That is an awesome article and whoever this guy Rohan is hit the nail on the head. Jeffy needs to go and save the pieces of what could be a great airline to both work for and be a passenger on. He took a fantastic airline and turned it into a mere dumpster for the other legacy carriers to toss their blue water.
I've learned something today with all this UA stuff and that is I don't dislike the airline itself, I very much dislike Slimesek, or as former CO employees dubbed him FLIBS, Frank Lorenzo In Better Suit.
It's hard to toss over a million miles down the drain at this point, better to use them when we can for trips with other Star Alliance airlines like we will this summer to Europe while taking an optimistic look at other options. Living in a huge HUB city it is very hard also to take the non-stop flights away and have to change to another carrier that will require making stops and changing planes. Why do you ask pluto77 did it sound as if I was complaining about this airline or more pointing out issues?
You know if you'd just tell AS to operate more flights to IAH it would all be good!!!!!
LH has already gotten some of my miles as well as AC!
marriottmemberfromla, you must have not come through IAH when I was working then as I could find many ways to delay flights!!! LOL
I've only used IAH for 2 years. So far so good. I've never really had issues with DEN (though it has a high delay rate), but I just prefer IAH. I love Chicago and enjoy a lot of things about their airport (Tortas Fronteras, picking up Garrett popcorn for friends), but I avoid ORD. Over 25% of their flights get delayed.
Once completed the final runway config will be pretty darn impressive...it probably won't be done until 2018 but who cares if it is steadliy getting better each year. IMHO, this plan is not the typical meets capacity today but in a year will already be overwhelmed, it looks like the final confiuration will mean that their capacity and setup will be great for decades.
GREEN= NEW Runway
Yellow= Removed Runway
Phase 2 (now complete)
Phase 3 (work has now begun)
Nicely done. Looks like they are extending some runways and adding a close parallel in other cases other than Phase 3. In the Phase 3 picture they are adding a new parallel which will be able to be used for all weather simultaneous quad approaches as the closely spaced parallels are not far enough apart to land more in all weather and look like they'll be designated as mostly departure runways. Very interesting, thanks for sharing.
No problem! On a related air travel note, anyone see the "Mile High Club Snub" article/video? If I was on this flight and I was diverted and delayed because of this clown I would have been more than a little miffed. At least United didn't have anything to do with it. LOL
Ah, I didn't realize that you were still joined to them in that way. Understood. Yes, you've pointed out a lot of issues over time my friend (just my observation). Call it what you will! I simply opt not to fly with United because their customer service is terrible. Not worth the misery.
As a non-frequent flyer (16-18 flights/year), I have found that by trying to buy into airline loyalty, I end up on the losing end of the deal, mainly because I am not a true frequent flyer. I will never be upgraded since I will only barely (and maybe) make the bottom tier of status, and it takes forever to get enough miles for a free ticket, and award tickets have all kinds of problems of their own. I have learned through trial and error to just go with whatever airline offers me the best itinerary (as I'm still working, itinerary is important - I'm not interested in burning valuable annual leave on 2 or more connections and/or an overabundance of airport time just to save a buck) and the best service for the lowest price. This means that I'm flying a number of airlines - mostly AS, DL, AA, QF, LH, AF, depending on my destination and though I'm not getting any miles that will add up quick (since earnings are spread across airlines) and no status, I'm still shopping the sales, mostly getting good deals and having good flying experiences. At the end of the day, I'm happy.
It doesn't surprise me that Cleveland is no longer a hub. It is close to Chicago. It is a bummer if you live in Cleveland though. I live in LA and having United as a hub makes flying very convenient. American Airlines also has a hub in LA, but I have never been a big fan of them (they have made a lot of changes in the last few years though).
If I am going to the east coast, I prefer going through Houston. I've had the best luck with weather and delays in Houston. I've had good luck with Denver too, but I prefer Houston. I've never used Cleveland. I try to avoid Chicago.