AP News

On the Call: United Continental CEO Jeff Smisek


United Airlines knows it needs to get back on its customers' good side.

It angered passengers over the spring and summer with technology glitches and delays. The result showed up in the bottom line reported on Thursday — traffic and revenue both fell. And parent company United Continental Holdings Inc. reported just $6 million in net income for the quarter.

CEO Jeff Smisek said he knows that some regular customers went elsewhere, and that the airline is working to win them back. He elaborated on that after a reporter asked him on a conference call about specific plans to bring passengers back, especially corporate travelers and "Global Services" customers — typically its highest-spending frequent fliers.

"We're being very active. All of our sales people are deployed, making sure that our customers understand that our reliability is back. We're making sure they understand the product investments we're making. We've been talking about product investments, but these product investments take time to put on all these aircraft, and a lot of our customers will see that for the first time in 2013.

"We're doing all we can to get our customers back. We've got dinners around the system with our Global Services customers. We're being very active to make sure our customers understand that United is back, we're back on track, we continue to invest, and we're the airline for them to fly."


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