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United’s CEO on making flying less horrible

David Brancaccio Sep 7, 2016
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A United Airlines plane sits on the tarmac at San Francisco International Airport.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It’s been one year since Oscar Munoz took the top job as CEO of United Airlines. Under his leadership, the number of on-time flights has gone up and the number of lost bags has gone down at the carrier. Plus, the economy — as measured by job creation — is improving, meaning more passengers might want to fly. You think they’d be sitting pretty at United, but problems remain. 

Munoz joined us to talk about the challenges that remain, whether travel surveys are rigged, and — of course — the weather. 

On what airlines can and can’t control when it comes to weather:

I think the hardest thing that historically the industry may have relied upon is that we can’t control weather, we can’t control air traffic control, and use that at the end of the day as an excuse. Things do happen, we know they happen — we don’t exactly know when they are going to happen — but we should definitely be prepped. A very quick example: Farmers’ Almanac is calling for a very nasty winter, particularly in Chicago — one of our main hubs. So as we speak, our operating team is hard at work as to how are we going to accommodate passengers. 

Click on the audio player above to hear more. 

 

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