United Airlines decided to dive into the weeds. Executives from the airline met with close to 200 members of the online forum FlyerTalkers to discuss some of the major issues they see with the carrier, according to USA Today. This may not seem like a bold move, but to put the company’s top dogs out in front of some of the highest-value customers comes with plenty of risk, especially for an airline recently named the second worst in the United States.
So, what was on the agenda? The frequent-flier program was of course top of mind, as many of the people in attendance hold elite-level memberships. Despite being pressed by customers and media, however, the United Airlines executives kept their lips sealed on future plans for the program.
Here are five key topics from the event:
1. How the merger will affect the Mileage Plus and One Pass programs: no details were provided on what will change. But, they are expected to come out in the next few weeks. Through 2011, according to USA Today, the programs will not be integrated, “though some streamlining changes will begin. Look for them to be integrated in 2010.
2. Doubling down for the end of the year: USA Today pushed to see if United would be offering any year-end double-elite-qualifying mile offers. The company was “noncommittal.”
3. A place to put your feet up: United would only say that a rebranding effort for its Untied and Continental lounges is “a possibility.” It may use one of the existing names – United’s Red Carpet or Continental’s Presidents Club – or it may not.
4. Slightly better seating: United wouldn’t reveal whether it’s premium economy section would be retained post-merger. Continental doesn’t have a similar offer.
5. Thresholds for top-tier: will it take 75,000 miles or 100,000 miles to become the top dog? Well, there’s still no answer.
So, United made itself visible and accessible, but it didn’t bring much to the table. This leads to the obvious question … why bother?
[photo by Deanster1983 via Flickr]