Being based in Cleveland, previously a Continental Airlines hub, I am now a victim, er customer, of the new United Airlines presence in North East Ohio. Very recently the merger between the two airlines was completed and I took my first flight this week under the new United processes. It was a truly surreal experience for a number of reasons. The Continental staff don't seem to have been trained particularly well in the new computer systems and spent a lot of time griping about how they didn't know how to make simple changes to people's tickets anymore, and calling for help. The boarding procedure now involves splitting even tiny little regional jets into 8 or more boarding zones including 3 or 4 zones for various levels of frequent flyer members. The gate lounge agents seemed mystified as to who was supposed to board in what order.
But I think my favorite change was in the trite airline slogans prominently displayed throughout and around the Cleveland airport. I didn't think much of Continental's "Work Hard, Fly Right" billboards in the past. I mean, c'mon, is that really a VISION for a major airline? Did we really think they were going to 'be lazy' and 'fly poorly'? But the Continental slogan was a work of literature in comparison to United's new "Place your Expectations in the Upright Position". I'm still puzzling over what mental contortions I would need to attempt in order to place my expectations in the appropriate position. And even if I did manage it, I fear I would be sorely disappointed if this week's experience was anything to go by.