United Airlines – trouble with delayed or cancelled flights
History and recent development
United Airlines is a major American airline company and – in terms of both fleet size and the number of destinations served – currently the world’s largest airline. The airline’s history can be traced back to 1926 when its predecessor Varney Air Lines was first founded. As an air mail service of Walter Varney, its first air mail flight on April 6, 1926 was the first scheduled airline service in the history of the United States. William Boeing, the aviation pioneer and owner of Boeing Air Transport, later bought Varney Airlines; in 1933, the newly formed United Aircraft and Transportation Corporation (UATC) took the Boeing 247, the first all-metal airliner, into service. United Air Lines first appeared under this name after the UATC split due to the passage of the Air Mail Act in 1934. After the war, United Airlines grew substantially, due to the increasing demand in passenger air services. United further increased in size with the acquisition of Pan Am’s Pacific Division in 1985 – hence the hub at Tokyo-Narita airport. Especially after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, United encountered severe financial problems, filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and eventually a Plan of Reorganization in 2005. In 2010, a merger of Continental Airlines and United was approved and implemented by 2012, which ultimately resulted in the elimination of Continental as name and brand. Currently, United employs 88,500 people and is traded at the stock market with a market capitalization of some 10.5 billion U.S. dollars.
United operates an impressive fleet of 708 aircrafts from ten hubs in the United States, Guam and Japan: Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), Cleveland (CLE), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), Washington-Dulles (IAD), Guam (GUM) and Tokio-Narita (NRT). Its headquarters are located in the famous Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly known as Sears Tower. United flies to a total of 373 destinations world-wide, serving most European and the few Middle Eastern and South Asian destinations from its east coast hubs in Chicago and Newark and most East Asian and Pacific destinations from San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX). United co-founded the Star Alliance in 1997, of which it is still a member.
Services and quality of service
United is rated a three-star airline on SKYTRAX, obtaining a convincing four stars in first class on long-haul flights. Passengers’ comments nonetheless generally criticize the service on board, both concerning the food served and the friendliness and competence of the crew. They note that the comfort of the seats and the condition of aircraft and cabin in some cases left a lot to be desired, appearing not very well maintained. Also it is occasionally remarked that the in-flight entertainment was not up to date, at least on some of the older planes.
Delays and Cancellations not handled well by United Airlines
The overall on-time performance of United is 90% according to FlightStats, with, however, more than 4% of the flights cancelled or diverted. In the period from August till October 2013, the delay statistics show 20 – 30% of all flights delayed, 9% being excessively delayed. Over this three month period, there was less than 1% of flights being cancelled or diverted. Thus, the performance of United in terms of cancellations and delays is not great, but also not poor. Reviews by customers who have experienced delays or cancellations were generally very critical of the airline’s handling and services. They note, in particular, a lack of communication about options once a flight had been cancelled.
Have you experienced a flight delay or cancellation on United? Click below to check how much compensation you may be entitled to claim from the airline!