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It’s not every day that an airline executive flies on a competing airline. Even rarer is when the public gets a glimpse of what an executive thinks of the competition. However, an American Airlines executive recently took to Twitter to share her experience flying United Airlines. While airline executives are seldom vocal on social media, this AA executive wasn’t shy in sharing her experience with her United Airlines flight.
Elise Eberwein, VP of People and Communications at American Airlines, shared her experience on a United Airlines flight from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC). Overall, Eberwein’s review was mixed.
Eberwein’s first criticism was regarding the timeliness of her flight. The flight to Salt Lake City, United UA521, ended up departing an hour and 10 minutes late, arriving less than 40 minutes behind schedule. While no flight, regardless of the airline, should be delayed, Eberwein’s own employer has also suffered from chronic delays. In fact, a reoccurring and common complaint with American Airlines flyers is the airline’s on-time efficiency.
Eberwein, who was seated in first class, also noted that she did not receive a pre-departure beverage, when she should have received the beverage per in-flight service protocol. Nevertheless, she noted the absence of this service in her Tweets. This is equally ironic as American Airlines is notorious for failing to deliver on the same aspect of first class service.
One thing Eberwain mentioned that seemed out of the ordinary for either airline was a missing first class blanket. While domestic first class blankets on both United and American are no more than a thin sheet, they are a staple of domestic first class. More so, they are rarely absent from the in-flight service.
Additional complaints included an unreliable in-flight entertainment platform. This aspect of Eberwein’s experience is almost just as ironic, as both United and American have decided to ditch seatback in-flight entertainment in favor of streaming entertainment. Both airlines believe that passengers will prefer to bring their own device, utilize onboard power outlets and have access to speedy Wi-Fi rather than use the airline’s seatback entertainment. Eberwein experienced the drawbacks of streaming entertainment first-hand on her flight to Salt Lake City. The streaming in-flight entertainment system was inoperable during her flight. Luckily for Eberwein, she had downloaded a few episodes of Homeland.
One aspect of the United Airlines’s experience Eberwein seemed to enjoy was the service the crew provided throughout the flight. The AA executive sent multiple Tweets commending the crew for going above and beyond during the flight. Since American Airlines is suffering from what might be one of the worse employee morale crises in the history of the airline industry, there’s a good chance AA flyers won’t encounter that same amazing service Eberwein experienced on her United flight.
Eberwein, despite receiving backlash and generating a slew of criticisms of her own employer, has not deleted the Tweets. Eberwein’s perspective is quite unique given her position at the world’s largest airline and one of United’s main competitors. However, in just a few Tweets, Eberwein was able to sum up the US airline industry quite well.
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