United Airlines to Customers: Screw You

United Airlines to Customers: Screw You United Airlines is going to start requiring customers to stay at their destinations longer than they want to for the privilege of flying the friendly skies.

United Airlines said Friday it will start requiring minimum stays for nearly all domestic flights beginning in October. It is also raising its cheapest fares by as much as $90 one-way.

The second-largest U.S. carrier said the moves are among a number of changes it is making to combat record high fuel prices. The Chicago-based airline has been among the most aggressive in the industry in pushing fares and fuel surcharges higher in recent months, and its latest policy could prompt other carriers to consider following suit.

Starting Oct. 6, most United fares will require a one- to three-night or weekend-night minimum stay, spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said.

United apparently has too many customers and wants to run some of them off. I guess charging extra fees for the privilege of carrying luggage didn’t do it.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. anjin-san says:

    I am a little confused. I keep reading comments from folks on the right telling me that if we would only let corporations do anything they want to, everything will be peachy in America. The free market is at work here, whats the problem? Are you calling for government regulation?

  2. James Joyner says:

    I keep reading comments from folks on the right telling me that if we would only let corporations do anything they want to, everything will be peachy in America.

    Nobody serious is making that argument. There’s something to be said for the market being better than government planning, though.

    The free market is at work here, whats the problem?

    This is free expression at work…

    Are you calling for government regulation?

    Only if United has a monopoly which it’s unfairly exploiting. Even Adam Smith was opposed to the coercive power of monopolies which, after all, aren’t free enterprise.

  3. yetanotherjohn says:

    anjin-san,
    James post is consistent with free markets.

    The supply and demand curves say if you can not afford to supply at the current price, then you raise your price. This in turn will cause the demand to decrease at the new price (hence his comment that United seems to have to many customers as they are taking steps that will likely reduce the number of customers).

    At some point the market will shake out. United has one of the most unionized work forces, so they are at a disadvantage. Southwest (which has one of the least unionized work forces) is still offering fares for less than the united increase ($89 vs $90). So i suspect at some point that United will have to back off the surcharges at least in markets southwest serves. Of course there are things that SW doesn’t offer that United does (though the list is shrinking). To that extent, some people will pay the united premium.

  4. Bithead says:

    James post is consistent with free markets.

    Yes it is.
    But let’s also remember that government over-regulation is what caused us to get here in the first place.

    The answer? Drill, Refine, Repeat.
    And dump the unions as soon as possible.

  5. Hamburger Hill says:

    I am a fan of jet blue, and will continue to be until they do likewise.

  6. FireWolf says:

    I think the problem we face with the airline industry is that we should have let them collapse after 9/11 when the government decided to hand them a large bankroll in order to keep running.

    So, if United, Delta, and the like want to go belly up, that suits me just fine. (Just be sure to give the government back the money you were given when they liquidate your assets)

  7. RWB says:

    In 1966 a freind and I were denied access to a United flight because the person at the desk did not like our hair styles ( really !). We went to the bathroom, wet our hair and combed it back. We returned to the counter with our wet heads, the a-hole said “That’s better” and let us board. I have NEVER flown United since. Little changes in the friendly skys in the last 40 years.

  8. od says:

    Why does the length of the stay make a difference to the airline? I can’t see how the day of the return flight would make a difference to the cost, unless they think the passengers are staying at a hotel they own?

  9. anjin-san says:

    Bit, did you catch this remark, per chance?

    Nobody serious is making that argument.

  10. There is nothing in either conservative/libertarian political thought or Chicago School rational actor-based economic theory that claims all corporate managers have the common sense God gave gravel.

    To the contrary, the principle of creative destruction that lies at the heart of capitalism is consistent the proposition that some capitalists will fail to adapt to changing conditions.

    Living through an era of creative destruction can be painful. Those of us with lots of frequent flyer miles on legacy airlines, for example, are likely to suffer in the next few years.

    If the lessons of the post-Industrial Revolution era of free market capitalism teaches us anything, however, it is that the process of creative destruction eventually produces something better.

    As far as travel goes, I just hope I live to see it.

  11. just me says:

    If the lessons of the post-Industrial Revolution era of free market capitalism teaches us anything, however, it is that the process of creative destruction eventually produces something better.

    This is pretty much what I was thinking.

    It is possible we won’t have United around over the next few years, but the airline industry is moving towards the Southwest model anyway and has been for a while;.

    But I am also wondering why a longer stay saves money, and requiring it seems like it would lose some of the biggest customers of airline industries-the business traveler who may do same day or next day return flights.

  12. davod says:

    I predict the price increase and time restrictions will last less than a week.

  13. Bithead says:

    Nobody serious is making that argument.

    Yeah, I caught it, and disregarded it, since it’s been many years since I’ve considered that leftists were serious.

  14. Eric says:

    Are you calling for government regulation?

    Only if United has a monopoly which it’s unfairly exploiting.

    Careful, James. If Bithead and the other knee-jerk capitalists lurking around hear you even suggest government intervention of any sort, they’re gonna make you hand in your badge and your gun.

  15. Bithead says:

    The calls for additional government regulation when the original PROBLEM was governmental over-regulation, rather remind me of the old story about the carload of drunks headed for the cliff, who decide that the solution to the problem is to push that long pedal on the right to the floor.

    James however, is correct; here’s no monopoly involved here, save that of the government itself.

  16. anjin-san says:

    Yeah, I caught it, and disregarded it, since it’s been many years since I’ve considered that leftists were serious.

    Nice try, but the subject was unfettered capitalisim. Sorry if you ended up in the “nobody serious” bin, but with the arguments you present, what do you expect?

  17. Bithead says:

    Sorry if you ended up in the “nobody serious” bin

    Obviously, I didn’t… or it WOULD be obvious, had you actually read my response, and understood it.

  18. od says:

    James however, is correct; here’s no monopoly involved here, save that of the government itself.

    The gov’t also keeps a monopoly on armed forces, police and fire forces. The funny thing is that in general both democrats and republicans like big gov’t, they just want different flavors of it … democrats like big spending in things like health care and social services, republicans in things like armed forces and police. Which is why taxes keep going up, both increase the spending in the area of gov’t monopoly they’re interested in without cutting spending in the one the other side is interested in.

    Neither side is for unfettered capitalism (ie everything from health to armed forces private).

  19. Bithead says:

    Correct on the first two.
    Then again, those are constitutionally mandated.
    On the second two points, incorrect.

  20. anjin-san says:

    had you actually read my response, and understood it.

    Bit your posts are remarkably simple to understand, as your political philosophy is pretty much at the comic book level. Us good. Them bad. Problems all their fault. You disagree with me, you wrong.

    Your puerile use of “Democrat Party” is something a 14 year old might think clever, but most adults just find it embarrassing.

    Bush could have never happened without folks like you. His stupidity and general meritocracy have appeal for some people, who can’t handle someone like Clinton (Bill) or Obama, who are actually pretty frickin smart.

  21. Bithead says:

    Bit your posts are remarkably simple to understand, as your political philosophy is pretty much at the comic book level. Us good. Them bad. Problems all their fault. You disagree with me, you wrong.

    Clearly, then, we have a choice before us. Either you have not been actually reading my posts, else you lack the wit to understand them. This makes you either a liar or a fool. Which will you have?

  22. John Doe says:

    Bithead, you really do yourself no good. I actually often agree with you policy-wise, but I don’t know what you are trying to accomplish. If you are trying to annoy and irritate some liberals, then you are probably successful, but surely there’s more to life than just that.

  23. anjin-san says:

    but surely there’s more to life than just that.

    Apparently, not to Bit’s life…

  24. Bithead says:

    Bithead, you really do yourself no good. I actually often agree with you policy-wise, but I don’t know what you are trying to accomplish. If you are trying to annoy and irritate some liberals, then you are probably successful, but surely there’s more to life than just that.

    Well, no, I just won’t be bullied off of speaking the truth. It’s that attempt that I’ve been reacting to. And truth, as you may be aware, can be irritating, sometimes.

  25. anjin-san says:

    Well, no, I just won’t be bullied off of speaking the truth. It’s that attempt that I’ve been reacting to. And truth, as you may be aware, can be irritating, sometimes.

    “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”

    Albert Einstein

    Wow, the gods be laughing their asses off…

  26. Bithead says:

    Apparently, not to Bit’s life…

    Hmmm. How best to explain this to you? I guess you’ll have to figure this one out:

    Consider the phrase “Ideas have consequences”. We are talking about ideas, after all.

    This isn’t a game, pard. At it’s most basic and broadly viewed point, these are people’s lives, their incomes, their hopes and dreams we’re talking about screwing up via micromanagement. At every occasion where government has been involved in micormanaging situations, it’s gotten fouled up and the people living within the purview have had their lives fouled up to some degree. That’s true of both parties, though IMV to a lesser degree among conservatives, who generally try to move away from governmental control.

    That said, some focus, please;

    Let’s remember that these measures wouldn’t ever be taken were it not for the fuel situation, also the creation of yet another governmental screwup in micromanagement, trying to control everything from the dead Dino statge to the fuel tank. (All in the name of the environment, of course)

    Similarly, When the government is involved in every step of the process of running an airline, right to when and where planes from company A and company B can fly, etc, please explain to me how you have the sheer audacity to aver that the free market has anything to do with this process.

    You’re placing the blame on the wrong party, here. The problem here, as usual, is GOVERNMENT.

  27. Bithead says:

    Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth

    So, you don’t have a view of what is true and what isn’t?

    Why the hell are you arguing with me, then?

  28. anjin-san says:

    Why the hell are you arguing with me, then?

    Well when I am working, about 97% of my brain is busy solving various problems, and I need to take a break now and then, so I use the other 3% to argue with you, which is about all that is needed 🙂

    This isn’t a game, pard. At it’s most basic and broadly viewed point, these are people’s lives, their incomes, their hopes and dreams we’re talking about screwing up via micromanagement.

    And Ken Lay & Michael Milken and the like never screwed up people’s lives, incomes, hopes & dreams?

    Bit, your view of our society is one-dimensional and juvenile. Our government is deeply flawed, it has all kinds of issues. It is also probably the best form of government in the history of the world.

    Capitalism is also probably, overall, the best economic system yet devised by man (or woman). It has created undreamed of prosperity, in this country and others. Like all things in our world, it has a downside. Left unchecked, it can become an agent of greed, inequity and destruction.

    To blame one for all problems, while attributing all good to the other, is simplistic, dogmatic thinking. Socialism is not evil, it is simply, like anything else, subject to corruption. An evil or an inept leader can use it to turn a nation into a chamber of horrors. In a country like Norway, it can be blended into the mix to create a pretty cool society.

    We need to incorporate the strengths of government, the private sector and various political and economic philosophies, and work to eliminate their weaknesses. Republicans and Democrats have both provided leadership good and bad in our history, we need them both to have the society the founding fathers wanted us to have. To utterly reject either is to reject the core idea of America.

    Well… the other 97% needs to get back to business…

  29. anjin-san says:

    Well, no, I just won’t be bullied off of speaking the truth. It’s that attempt that I’ve been reacting to. And truth, as you may be aware, can be irritating, sometimes.

    So, you don’t have a view of what is true and what isn’t?

    Of course I have a view of what the truth is (see above), but I don’t claim to have ownership of the truth, which as we see, you do. Which makes you kind of silly, or perhaps just sad…

  30. Bithead says:

    And Ken Lay & Michael Milken and the like never screwed up people’s lives, incomes, hopes & dreams?

    Of course!
    But look closely and you may note a rather stark difference between those two and the schemes run by government. They’re not doing it anymore, apparently lacking the power. the force of government to back their actions.

    Bit, your view of our society is one-dimensional and juvenile. Our government is deeply flawed, it has all kinds of issues. It is also probably the best

    Only because as the founders designed it, it was the least intrusive. That’s not true, anymore.

    Capitalism is also probably, overall, the best economic system yet devised by man (or woman). It has created undreamed of prosperity, in this country and others. Like all things in our world, it has a downside. Left unchecked, it can become an agent of greed, inequity and destruction.

    Wrong.Left unshakled, it was reponsible for people wanting to come here, and live, which in turn is what made us a country of immigrants.

    To blame one for all problems, while attributing all good to the other, is simplistic, dogmatic thinking. Socialism is not evil, it is simply, like anything else, subject to corruption.

    Again, wrong. Socialism IS evil. And both parties signing onto it, doesn’t make it less so. As Walter Williams said not so long ago:

    Republicans and right-wingers support taking the earnings of one American and giving them to farmers, banks, airlines and other failing businesses. Democrats and left-wingers support taking the earnings of one American and giving them to poor people, cities, and artists. Both agree on taking one American’s earnings to give to another; they simply differ on the recipients. This kind of congressional activity constitutes at least two-thirds of the federal budget.

    Regardless of the purpose such behavior is immoral. It’s a reduced form of slavery. After all what is the essence of slavery? It’s the forceful use of one person to serve the purposes of another person. When Congress, through the tax code, takes the earnings of one person and turns around to give it to another person in the forms of prescription drugs, social security, food stamps, farm subsidies or airline bailouts, it is forcibly using one person to serve the purposes of another.

    That is evil. That it is all very LEGAL, of course doesn’t make it moral. To extend the metephor, slavery was legal. Was it moral?

    And don’t tell me how it’s all to help our fellow man. There’s a major difference between theft and charity. As Williams says in the same article:

    An argument against legalized theft should not be construed as an argument against helping one’s fellow man in need. Charity is a noble instinct; theft legal or illegal is despicable. Or, put another way: reaching into one’s own pocket to assist his fellow man is noble and worthy of praise. Reaching into another person’s pocket to assist one’s fellow man is despicable and worthy of condemnation.

    Now, to tie this to the subject at hand, United, the mount of governmental control being exerted on the company is certainly socialism, and equally certainly nothing short of slavery.

    And you… You don’t find that evil. Why am I not surprised?

    but I don’t claim to have ownership of the truth, which as we see, you do.

    And yet you argue like you got your information handed to you on two tablets while on a mountain climbing journey.

    Well when I am working, about 97% of my brain is busy solving various problems, and I need to take a break now and then, so I use the other 3% to argue with you, which is about all that is needed 🙂

    Ummm… no. It’s clear more brainpower is needful. Some intellectual honesty would be handy, too.

  31. anjin-san says:

    Well I see you are still obsessed with the concept of someone reaching into your pocket. A Freudian would have a field day with that, but thats another topic.

    One question, how do you feel about George Bush reaching into your pocket, taking out your money, and than adding it to the plane loads of cash that have been sent to Iraq, where they simply vanish? Some is in off shore accounts of cronies, some has probably ended up in the hands of terrorists, many billions vanished to God knows where.

    This does not seem to bother you a bit. But money going to improve the quality of life in our country makes you furious.

    As for your above arguments, I am afraid they don’t really merit a response. You are simply confirming that you viewpoint is completely one sided and dogmatic. Its simply the flip side of Marxist drivel…

  32. Bithead says:

    Well I see you are still obsessed with the concept of someone reaching into your pocket.

    Look a little deeper. I’m more concerned with what’s right and wrong. That’s a qualification you simply refuse to admit exists. The easy way out of a problem is to reach into someone else’s pocket, and to ignore the immorality of doing so. I’ve noted that you tend to lean in that direction.

    One question, how do you feel about George Bush reaching into your pocket, taking out your money, and than adding it to the plane loads of cash that have been sent to Iraq, where they simply vanish?

    Fisrst, it doesn’t simply vanish as lend-lease once proved a few years back. Similarly, our investments in South Korea have proven to be well placed.

    This does not seem to bother you a bit. But money going to improve the quality of life in our country makes you furious.

    Because as a rule, it doesn’t work as planned. How many trillions have been spent on (suppsoedly) the elimination of poverty since LBJ? If you look closely, the problem has gotten worse, instead of better.

    And for someone who thinks Marx is so much drivel, you certainly seem to spend a fair amount of time defending his twisted ideals.

  33. anjin-san says:

    First, it doesn’t simply vanish

    Sorry to burst your bubble Skippy, but 8 billion dollars in cash has simply vanished in Iraq. And we are not even talking about the billions of dollars spent on projects that the government in Iraq has refused to accept hand-off of.

    Lend-lease? Wrong war dude, a Democrat was running that one, and the money and weapons actually went to where they were intended. In either case, it does not have a damn thing to do with Iraq.

  34. Bithead says:

    Lend-lease? Wrong war dude, a Democrat was running that one,

    And thereby you automatically have no argument with the concept. And I’m suppsoedly simplistic about such matters? You do understand, don’t you, that you strolled right into that one?

  35. anjin-san says:

    You are the one arguing that the fact that lend-lease was a success 60 years ago proves that there has been no taxpayer money stolen in Iraq in the 21st century. That is patent nonsense, wandering into the realm of fantasy…

    The success of lend-lease in WW2 has nothing to do with Iraq, validity of the LL concept or execution notwithstanding…

  36. Ari Herzog says:

    I have 7 letters for you: J-E-T-B-L-U-E

    Jetblue isn’t raising prices or demanding minimum destination stays. Nor are many other airliners.

  37. Bithead says:

    You are the one arguing that the fact that lend-lease was a success 60 years ago proves that there has been no taxpayer money stolen in Iraq in the 21st century.

    No. That one git by you. You said it ‘disappeared’, when demonstrably it does not.

    Jetblue isn’t raising prices or demanding minimum destination stays. Nor are many other airliners.

    That’s right enough Ari, but as James has pointed out they aren’t nearly under the unions as far as United is. How do you suppose JB is able to save you that kind money, anyway?

  38. anjin-san says:

    POLITICS-U.S.:
    ‘Staggering Amount’ of Cash Missing In Iraq
    Emad Mekay

    WASHINGTON, Aug 20 (IPS) – Three U.S. senators have called on Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to account for 8.8 billion dollars entrusted to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq earlier this year but now gone missing.

    In a letter Thursday, Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon, Byron L Dorgan of North Dakota and Tom Harkin of Iowa, all opposition Democrats, demanded a “full, written account” of the money that was channelled to Iraqi ministries and authorities by the CPA, which was the governing body in the occupied country until Jun. 30.

    The loss was uncovered in an audit by the CPA’s inspector general. It has not yet been released publicly and was initially reported on the website of journalist and retired U.S. Army Col David Hackworth.

    The CPA was terminated at the end of July to make way for an interim Iraqi government, which is in turn scheduled to be replaced by an elected body early in 2005.

    “We are requesting a full, written account of the 8.8 billion dollars transferred earlier this year from the CPA to the Iraqi ministries, including the amount each ministry received and the way in which the ministry spent the money,” said the letter.

    The senators also requested that the Pentagon designate a date by which it will install adequate oversight and financial and contractual controls over money it spends in Iraq.

    They accused the CPA of transferring the “staggering sum of money” with no written rules or guidelines to ensure adequate control over it.

    They pointed to “disturbing findings” from the inspector general’s report that the payrolls of some Iraqi ministries, then under CPA control, were padded with thousands of ghost employees. They refer to an example in which CPA paid the salaries of 74,000 security guards although the actual number of employees could not be validated.

    The report says that in one case some 8,000 guards were listed on a payroll but only 603 real individuals could be counted.

    “Such enormous discrepancies raise very serous questions about potential fraud, waste and abuse,” added the letter.

    This is not the first time that U.S. financial conduct in Iraq has come under fire, specifically over funds slated for reconstruction after the U.S.-led attack in March 2003, which then went unaccounted for.

    In June, British charity Christian Aid said at least 20 billion dollars in oil revenues and other Iraqi funds intended to rebuild the country have disappeared from banks administered by the CPA.