On September 24, 2013, United Airlines sent out an email announcing its renewed commitment to customer experience and the resurrection of its “Fly The Friendly Skies” tagline from decades past. The email read, “‘Friendly’ now means more than it ever did. It means being user‑friendly. In other words, flyer‑friendly. We’re giving you an unmatched global network with more onboard product features, better technology and, of course, great customer service.”
The very same day that United sent that email, a friend of mine, let’s call her Jenny, boarded a cross-country flight from Boston to San Francisco. She’s a loyal United customer with “1K” status, which means that she flies more than 100,000 miles a year on United.
As Jenny stepped on the plane that day, she explained to the flight attendant that she often gets chilly on long flights and asked if she could have a blanket. The flight attendant quickly asked where she was seated, and upon learning that she was in 12A, told Jenny that she could only give blankets to people in first class.