Although United Airlines has had a rough time this past month dodging bullets in response to last week’s violent treatment of a passenger, quarterly earnings were higher than expected.
United Continental Holdings Inc was forecast to earn 38 cents per share in the first quarter of 2017 by Wall Street analysts. Instead, the major airline company posted 41 cents per share. Revenue was up to $8.42 billion, a 2.7 percent increase from last year, and better than the predicted $8.38 billion.
“In the first quarter of 2017, our financial and operational performance gives us a lot of confidence about the foundation we are building,” stated Oscar Munoz, CEO.
United’s stock closed on Monday afternoon up 2 percent, to $70.77 from its close on Friday. The stock rose even higher in after-hours trading, reaching $71.55 per share, almost back to its previous price before the incident of April 9.
The incident involved cell-phone videos depicting a bloodied passenger being dragged off a United flight by policemen to make room for United personnel. Without venturing into whether United was within their legal rights to call law enforcement to force the man off the plane, the bad publicity was not good for the stock price. Yet, it seems to have taken only a bit more than a week for the shares to bounce back, and the company’s revenues did even better than expected.
The company said that it is hoping for improved customer service in the future.
“It is obvious from recent experiences that we need to do a much better job serving our customers,” Munoz said. “The incident that took place aboard Flight 3411 has been a humbling experience, and I take full responsibility. This will prove to be a watershed moment for our company, and we are more determined than ever to put our customers at the center of everything we do. We are dedicated to setting the standard for customer service among U.S. airlines, as we elevate the experience our customers have with us from booking to baggage claim.”
Come next spring Southwest Airlines stewardesses will be dolled up in new, Cintas-designed uniforms nothing like their skimpy, eye-catching look of the 1970s. The new uniforms were co-designed with employees of Southwest as well.
Cintas is also creating a uniform facelift for Chicago-based United Airlines, due for exposure next year. Coming in September travelers on American will also be greeted with freshly designed uniforms.
The new uniforms for all three airlines seem to be part of an overall improvement in customer service in the wake of record profits resulting from historic low fuel prices. They are also revamping, along with their uniforms, their images and brands.
Now that Southwest Air is turning 45 it appears they are trying for a more “mature” image. There company has certainly expanded, with 90 destinations, including some international markets.
The new look for the female flight attendants on Southwest features bold blue and warm red: the colors seen on the new Southwest uniform that was launched in the fall of 2014. On top of the uniforms will be Bold red fitted jackets, and an homage to the crazy short shorts and miniskirts of the 70s with a well-placed zipper running up the dress from the hem. The men FAs will get a new look, too, consisting of dark blue pants and jackets over lighter blue shirts. Their neckties will be a bold and brave red.
In a bit of an ironical twist it turns out that the winner of a big legacy sponsorship agreement with the Chicago Cubs is not necessarily the same airline the team flies out and back of the Windy City.
American Airlines was successful earlier in the year to acquire a key sponsorship of Chicago’s home team, the Cubs; a deal even sweeter now that the Cubs are in the race for the National League pennant. Yet, when it comes to actual travel time, the Cubs pick American Airlines to take them on the road.
United Airlines, which used to have a ten-year contract with the team, simply could not compete with the American Airlines offer. Nevertheless, United Airlines supplies the team with its charter flights, including its most recent trips to New York City to play against the Mets.
The Cubs were hoping that this unusual arrangement would remain “under the radar,” but an internal United Airlines blog posted earlier last week that United had “played a big role in getting half of the postseason contenders where they need to be.”
The blog also stated that the airline has a “reputation for running a smooth charter operation” which gave them the opportunity to service 13 Major League Baseball teams this season.