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All these horror stories about United ... I've know for quite a few years about United employees' attitude problem - and the fact that it got worse after the employees got, and later gave up, ownership of the airline. So I was very worried when Continental decided to merge with United, and even more worried when they decided to operate under the United name. (Sure, United had greater name recognition than Continental, but United's reputation was far worse.) I was a very loyal Continental customer for a long time, and back in the '90s, Gordon Bethune and Greg Brenneman (chairman and president) did a terrific job of turning the airline around and making it a place where employees liked to work. That showed in every interaction I had with Continental employees. Not surprisingly, both execs are gone now; I can't help speculating that they would have turned down a merger with United because the brand was so toxic. Even so, I can't help wondering if the Klebahns' experience would have been different if young Phoebe had been transferring in Newark or Houston (old Continental hubs, presumably staffed largely with former Continental employees) rather than O'Hare (a longtime United hub). Myself, I've been lucky not to have had any terrible experiences with United, before or after the merger. I still have my Continental/United frequent flyer membership, but lately (because of the particulars of where I live and where I tend to travel these days) I usually take Delta - or, more often, Delta's regional airline affiliates.
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Aug 16, 2012