ATW Editor's Blog

Welcome home Mr. Munoz!


What a great photo posted by United today of CEO Oscar Munoz with his doctors as he prepared to return home following a heart transplant.

Mr. Munoz is all smiles, looks great and says in an open letter that he feels “as strong as ever” and promises it won’t be long before he’s back in the office.

A very good note to begin 2016. From all I’m hearing, Mr. Munoz made an excellent start at United, focused on the right things that need prioritizing, and brought a welcome warmth to the company’s leadership.

I have not always been kind about United’s customer service standards in this blog, and there’s no doubt that there is much yet to be done to bring this airline up to same levels of not just its international competitors, but increasingly its US rivals. It stuns me that an airline can be a founding member of the Star Alliance, yet not take note of the huge differences between its long-haul cabins and onboard service and those of Star partners like Air New Zealand, ANA and Singapore Airlines. I mean, eight-abreast in business class on a 777?

However, I am going to note here that I’ve just done a round trip from Washington to Geneva – on a 767 direct outbound and on a 777 via Heathrow on the return. The less said about the aircraft and cabins, the better. BUT, on both flights the cabin crew was outstanding; friendly, engaged, happy. On the return flight, we had a two-hour delay, sitting in the plane but still at the gate. This was caused by a software glitch with the pilots’ iPad electronic flight bags. However, the crew chatted with passengers and brought around snacks and drinks and genuinely worked hard to keep everyone relaxed.

So I hope this is a sign of happier employees under their new leadership. And that this is the beginning of better days to come for United. And, most of all, ATW wishes all the very best to Mr. Munoz as he completes his recovery. We look forward to his return.

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