Meet The New Boss. Same As The Old Boss?

Dear Oscar (love your name),

Thank you for your email! And welcome aboard as the new president and CEO of United Airlines. (Sorry to hear about that whole Jeff Smisek corruption scandal thing. Bummer!) 

For starters, please call me Frank in future correspondence! (No one has called me Francis since I was 11 years old; not even my mom.) And dump the "valued customer" thing, too. Whenever I read that phrase, it's usually when my bank or cable company raises my rates. Double bummer, right??!!

It's GREAT to read that you are committed to my "needs and desires" and to getting me "to my destination, on schedule." Given my experience over the past few years, that would be an enormous improvement in United's service! 

But that's the thing, you see: Millions of us have gotten used to the fact that United doesn't just break guitars. (Remember that?) Time after time, #UnitedBreaksPromises.

So why, why, why waste my time with a letter loaded with so much corporate-speak and pinstriped pablum? It just makes United sound old and dusty, like an ad from a 1970s Fortune magazine. Reign in the rhetoric: We want action, not more promises! 

I bet you didn't even write this letter, did you? Someone in corporate communications or marketing did, right? Well go down there and shake them up for me, please. And next time you jot me a note, give me some straight talk about United, the good and the bad. Maybe make it sound like a real letter, too—from a real person, not a PR algorithm.

Normally I wouldn't write, because I know you're crazy busy. But you did mention "listening to our customers" and wanting to "do better," so I felt compelled. 

If you want to be a trusted brand again, you and your communications team need to huddle and come up with a new plan. That includes giving me some way to send you feedback, rather than sending me a "no reply" email.

That way, I wouldn't have to write blog posts like this one! (Triple bummer!!!) 

Your Customer In the Extra-Legroom Seats (when they're available and I'm not bumped for a more valued customer), 

Frank J. Oswald

MAYBE OSCAR IS LISTENING (October 1, 2015): United Airlines CEO Pledges to Stop Being Awful to Customers and Employees