An Open Letter To United Airlines

24 Feb

Dear United Airlines:

I admit it-we’ve had our ups and downs.  But you know, deep down, that I have always loved you.  I’ve loved you even though you lost my luggage when I was speaking at a major conference and gave me a hard time about buying ONE lousy outfit so I could look presentable (I still have that outfit).

United Boeing 757 at Dulles Airport Photos by Benet J. Wilson

I’ve loved you even after the flight attendant on my HKG-SFO flight spilled hot coffee on me and never apologized (although I did get that 1 drink coupon from the purser).  I’ve loved you through thick and thin, through Allegis, the pilot strike in 1985, Cattle by United, TED and your nearly 10-year flirtation with mergers. I’ve even continued to love you despite my extreme dislike of the new “Frankenlivery.”   I could go on, but you get my point.

So you finally merged with Continental, and I understand that these things take time.  I was delighted to hear that you’re expanding Economy Plus to the Continental fleet, as reported by Bloomberg, among others.  I’d be even happier if you kept a CO livery in the fleet because I’m a sentimental fool, but you already told me in Aviation Week’s Things With Wings blog that wasn’t going to happen.

But now, my dear United, you need to throw me — and millions of other aviation geeks — a bone.  Not only do I want you to keep my beloved Channel 9, I want you to expand it to the Continental fleet.  Please.  For the uninitiated, Channel 9 allows passengers to listen as the cockpit crew speaks with air traffic control.  We get to feel like we’re a tiny part of the process.  We get to hear pilots doing their jobs.  We get to feel like we’re sitting in the cockpit.

So now, I’m beginning my official appeal here to get you, my dearest United, to not only keep Channel 9, but also expand it to the Continental fleet. So pretty please, please consider my request.  I hope to hear from you soon.


Aunt Benét

P.S.  Readers, if you’re with me, please send a Tweet to @UnitedAirlines and let them know how you feel about keeping Ch 9 using the hashtag #keepCh9.  Thanks!!

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9 Responses to “An Open Letter To United Airlines”

  1. Mark Ashley February 24, 2011 at 8:28 am #


    (But why did you have to bring back bad memories by posting that image of the Ted logo?…)

    • Aviation Queen February 24, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

      Mark-I just felt a strange need to bring up the fiasco that was Ted. My favorite Ted story? I was at Sky Harbor airport and they had jauntily decorated several Ted gates in themes. At the “Mexico Is Our Friend” gate, there was a colorful serape, two large sombreros, a pinata, maracas and a big Mexican flag — and a United employee with a bitter look on her face. That summed up Ted nicely for me!! Benet

  2. Al B February 24, 2011 at 1:59 pm #


    I love Channel 9 and make a point of thanking those captains who enable it upon exiting. Even if it is retained, I’m guessing that it will still only be available at the captain’s discretion.

    It provides a good idea of what’s coming up ahead, particularly in terms of delays.

    • Aviation Queen February 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

      Al-I just want captains to have the discretion to use Channel 9 – or not. I just want to make sure that they keep it so the captains can make that choice. Thanks, Benet

  3. rcoppel February 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    My favorite channel 9 story – lots of us were listening as our pilot told the tower he had to pull over and get fueling instructions from corporate headquarters. The tower says OK and tells him where he can pull over. Then, after a time, the pilot comes on the PA system and tells us we have been in line for takeoff and will be taking off soon. People throughout the cabin ripped off their earphones and started booing the lying bastard! How stupid can a pilot be not realize his plane is equipped with channel 9?

    • Aviation Queen February 25, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

      I think sometimes they forget to turn on (or off) the Channel 9 switch. But wasn’t it nice to have Channel 9 to let you know the truth of your delay?


  1. Tweets that mention An Open Letter To United Airlines « Aviation Queen -- - February 24, 2011

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Benet Wilson, Flying With Fish, Benet Wilson, Jonathan Heckman, Di and others. Di said: RT @benetwilson: An Open Letter To United Airlines [...]

  2. An Open Letter To United Airlines « I'm a helpless Travel Addict! ;) - February 25, 2011

    [...] Source: [...]

  3. Top Five Aviation Stories of Interest « Aviation Queen - May 23, 2011

    [...] USA Today’s Today In The Sky columnist Ben Mutzabaugh writes about a topic that makes my heart a little sad: the phase-out of United Airlines’ iconic tulip logo.  But in a bit of good news, United used its Twitter account to say it was keeping Channel 9. You can read my original appeal to UA on that topic here. [...]

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