CEO Coaching: Lacking Credibility

It’s 6:45 pm in Dallas, and I’m in DFW waiting to fly back to Denver. My flight was supposed to leave at 4:33 pm. 

The inbound flight (the airplane that I am to leave on) is arriving at 7:31 pm per my United app. That’s interesting because the same app says I’m supposed to board at 7:20 pm—11 minutes before the plane is there. 

The app further states that the flight from Houston to Dallas is three hours and 49 minutes late because “it took longer than expected to load gate-checked bags.” 

Lastly, United says on the same announcement, “We value your time…”

Boarding a nonexistent plane and spending almost four hours loading gate-checked bags are both pretty much impossible (unless, I guess, if you had a sloth load the bags). How can United possibly value my time and feed me shit rather than the truth? They have thousands of flights a day, and I’m pretty sure they could build an algorithm that could identify that event A (plane at gate) must occur before event B (passengers board plane).  

And if you’re going to lie to me, at least make it entertaining! “We apologize, but we had a three-toed sloth loading bags. He sprained two toes, so he’s operating at 33% efficiency, which delayed your flight by four hours.” 

United is full of wonderful people, and it’s easy to nitpick about service. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to run a business that was whipsawed by weather, fuel prices, government regulation, and several unions. However, trying to break the laws of physics (loading nonexistent airplanes) and telling tall tales about why you’re late is beyond “oops, sorry!” It’s systemic and ridiculous. 

I wrote about United some years ago and wondered if the executives ever flew on their own flights and stood in their own lines. Now I wonder if they use their own app. 

Make sure you’re sampling your product and talking to your customers. Either that or make up some damn funny stories about three-toed sloths!

Good news! My flight update now says we’re only boarding four minutes before the plane arrives! Somebody is taking a physics class!