United Airlines CEO-in-waiting Scott Kirby is known to ‘manage by spreadsheet’. If an investment can’t be tied directly to revenue-generation, it’s unlikely to survive. One customer investment that’s getting that axe is delay compensation vouchers. Passengers have been ‘surprised and delighted’ to get apologies from the airline and travel vouchers without even asking for them after long flight delays.
Via the indefatigable Brian Sumers an internal United Airlines memo details that the carrier will no longer automatically send out vouchers to passengers on flights that are delayed less than 6 hours.
United’s internal document says the change is based on ‘feedback they’ve received’. Negative changes for customers are always based on customer feedback, never tell you what that was or who the customers are who like negative changes.
The airline had been proactively sending compensation vouchers to customers when their flights were delayed for controllable reasons such as mechanical issues and crew (but not weather). By considering on a case-by-case basis whether to compensate customers when delays are the airline’s fault they’ll save significant money though United doesn’t say how much.
Now, for delays between four and six hours, employees will decide what compensation to offer — and they’ll only give it after customers ask for it, according to the memo. United agents can share compensation through a mobile app on their airline-owned iPhones.
“When situations arise, and they warrant compensation outside of this guideline, do the right thing to take care of the customer,” United told employees. “With the ongoing enhancements within the In-the-Moment Care app, you can issue compensation on the spot, recover service disruptions, and avoid sending the customer to a website or service desk.”
Sumers notes that “United’s new policy is similar to what Delta Air Lines now offers, and that’s probably by design.” It’s always a good bet to project American Airlines and United Airlines changes based on what Delta has already done.
[…] pandemic United Airlines in the Scott Kirby era was looking at ways to cut costs. In January they stopped sending out travel vouchers as an apology for flights delayed less than six hours. Of course United attributed this to ‘customer feedback’ because clearly customers are […]