Doomed United Is Textbook of Biz Don'ts
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2009 4:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – United Airlines’ dismal service and financial stature may soon send it to Chapter 11, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a “teachable moment,” Shaun Rein writes in Forbes. Herewith, three lessons:

  • Loyal customers return: "Consumers are more price sensitive in this economy, and they are trading down, but it's still a great time to capture loyalty," Rein writes. "People don't want to waste money on brands that fail to meet their expectations."

  • Sell dreams: United could take a page from the likes of Disneyland, which hawks more than a product.  "What United fails to get is that it is selling dreams, not just a form of transportation. Few United employees take pride in their jobs, and it shows."
  • Build morale: No airline can build loyalty or sell a special experience if the rank and file are demoralized by poor conditions and sky-high executive pay. "The troops look to senior management for direction. If those troops see the top brass caring for itself at the expense of others, the spirit of the entire organization erodes."