Check out this transcript from an interview Richard Quest had with Glenn Tilton and Jeff Smisek. I especially “enjoyed” this part of the interview:
QUEST: Right, now you`ve skated to my territory. Let`s talk about the business flyer and exactly-if I look at some of the online blogs, in the last 24 hours, Glenn, you are either doing a deal that is about to destroy the best airline in the world, or Jeff, you are getting into bed with the devil and you should be removed and taken out and shot. I mean, they simply-the online flyer talk community is-can`t decide which of the airlines they think is getting the best or the worst.
TILTON: I think, Richard, that the online bloggers community has too much free time.
SMISEK: Yes, I think they`re-I think they`re-both side are wrong, Richard. What we`re bringing together is an airline, Continental, which is know for its culture, is known for its extraordinary service levels, with a carrier like United, with a great worldwide brand, great assets, and great operational performance and operational integrity.
What customers want is high quality service and an airline that operates on time and can be relied upon.
I wish I could say I’m surprised. This is the same attitude Glenn has with everyone else — his customers, his employees, and his shareholders. If his employees bring up the morale issues, he’ll simply say “go somewhere else if you don’t like your job.” If his shareholders and customers express concern about the future of the company, he’ll simply say “it’s the same for all legacy airlines, and if you don’t like United fly someone else.”
Also, Glenn, you might notice how Mr. Smisek is the CEO of the “new” company. There’s probably a reason for that, other than you wanting your golden parachute. He doesn’t have a workforce of 50,000 people (used to be 60,000 before you came around) that hate his guts. There are lots of CEOs that are unpopular, but I’ve never seen such widespread disgust from the employees of any company for their boss as at United. And it’s for good reason.
Glenn needs to go back to school and learn about the benefits of treating your employees (and your customers) right. When someone expresses concern you can respond to them instead of insulting them. But it would take someone less arrogant than Glenn to understand that and mingle with the “common folk.”
Either way, Glenn, I’m already planning your retirement party! It’ll be a good day for customers, employees, and shareholders.