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No. of Recommendations: 2
United has a number of things it could do to try to stay alive. The government only gave it a respirator and that doesn't seem to be enough to get United out of the ICU.

First, I'd make sure that Carl Ichan isn't lurking anywhere nearby. Honestly, though, United needs to downsize. UAL has far too many planes that require a navigator (i.e. the 727, DC-10, and early model 747's). One of the largest components of UAL's fleet is the 727, and when you are paying a person $50,000 just to stare at some instruments and make random statements to the pilots (Navigators are valuable, but computers are much cheaper and more efficient.), then you're losing money. Ultimately, expediting the process of replacing first generation 737's and 727's with new, more efficient, Airbus equipment. Also, UAL should probably trim off any routes that are unprofitable or are just breaking even, and adding planes to routes that are doing well.

Second, get some better customer service. Sheesh, I waited on hold for twenty minutes just because I had a ticketing problem with another airline that used United's reservation system. After about ten minutes I was beginning to get a little frustrated with, "Your call is very important to us. Please hold." If my call was that important to them, UAL should get more customer service reps. (and then fire the one that talked to me. Here a little snippet of the conversation: "Hello United reservations service. How may I help you?" The woman asked suspiciously.

"Um, America West referred me to you because I had a ticketing problem. They said that you could help. They gave me this-"

"Oh, well then. We're not really supposed to help you, but I will. You really should have chosen United in first place." She made it sound like she was doing me some sort of favor by doing what I'd ask for. Now that could have been a one-time thing but, it wasn't. I've had it happen twice on the phone, and once at a check desk.

If United wants more of my business it ought to have someone other than disgruntled Wal-Mart "greeters" providing "customer care." Also, it might be a good idea to try and include more of Rhapsody in Blue in the commercials. Actually, United is good enough to merit some sort of John Williams theme song for the ads. Maybe UAL could enlist the help of William Shatner. No, no, that would only make them bankrupt.

The main things, though, would be to trim up route structure, replace costly airplanes with new, more efficient, ones, and to make talking to customer service an overall better experience.

Live long and prosper United!
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