The comments were made during United’s end-of-year 2022 financial report, where they announced a net income of $737 million for the endemic year.
United CEO Points Finger at Other Airlines for Not Fulfilling Obligations
While travel demand isn’t going away anytime soon, the Chicago-based airline says that not all carriers are prepared to get flyers to their final destination. This goes beyond the disruption travelers experienced during Winter Storm Elliott. Instead, United CEO Scott Kirby says other airlines are simply not prepared for a surge of travelers returning to the airport during the prime summer vacation months.
“What happened over the holidays wasn’t a one-time event caused by the weather, and it wasn’t just at one airline,” Kirby said during the call, as quoted by an AlphaStreet transcript. “One airline got the bulk of the media coverage, but the weather was the straw that broke the camel’s back for several.”
So what makes United different than their competition? During the presentation to investors, Kirby said his airline used the pandemic as a bigger opportunity to prepare for future growth. By protecting jobs, buying new aircraft, reducing utilization and investing in technology, Kirby says United will be prepared for travelers when they want to travel throughout 2023 and beyond.
“United has been pretty accurate about the macro outlooks, impact of COVID and what the recovery would look like going all the way back to February 29, 2020,” Kirby said. “And based on that, United really did take a different and unique approach to the recovery. At the onset of the pandemic, we acted first and we acted more aggressively than anyone else to protect our airline and the jobs of the people who work at United.”
Booking with Miles Could Be Problematic This Year
While all of this is good news for the flying public, those traveling on United MileagePlus points could be in for a rough time. Speaking on the relationship with Chase for co-branded credit cards, chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella noted that while the loyalty program is growing, it’s not keeping up with the growth of available seat miles. This could create a situation where flyers may need to spend more miles to get to their destination.
Whats your strategy for navigating United Airlines’ schedule in 2023? Share your thoughts on the FlyerTalk Forums.
Source: frugal travel guy