October 20 - Happy Talk And A Turnaround Plan Without Focus, Traction, Results

Board of Directors

United Continental Holdings, Inc.

Willis Tower

233 S. Wacker Drive

Chicago, IL 60606


Re: Happy Talk And A United Airlines Turnaround Plan Without Focus, Traction, Results

Dear Board Members:

Shares of United Airlines plummeted 12 percent yesterday after a conference call with Wall Street analysts. Plentiful management Happy Talk during the call revealed an operational and financial turnaround plan without focus, traction or results. Analysts were not happy! A major contributing factor to the hole United continues to dig for itself is the diversion of senior management time and attention away from the turnaround plan to a nearly three-year political campaign - led by Delta Air Lines - to encourage the US Government to protect your airline from highly effective Gulf Carrier competition. The Happy Talk is not new, however. In a July 2017 speech to the Wings Club, your CEO Mr. Munoz proudly noted that your operations are “firing on all four cylinders!.” 

There is hope, though.

As the joint United/Delta/American campaign against the United States’ longstanding Open Skies policy and Gulf Carrier competition nears its third anniversary, the Business Travel Coalition continues to believe that United’s Board will have the sense to step in and distance the company from this failed Delta-driven obsession. As the Q3 earnings call clearly revealed, now, more than ever, management’s singular focus must be on commercial matters. The message from markets was clear: now is not the time for distractions from that core mission. We are hopeful, however, that the reality of a three-year investment of a considerable sum of shareholder money in a floundering and unwinnable political campaign will soon convince the Board that enough is enough.

As I recently wrote to your Chairman Robert Milton, we urge you to use the upcoming third anniversary of the anti-Open Skies/Gulf Carrier campaign to reassess whether continuing to squander shareholder money and valuable management and Boardroom time on this failing political campaign is in the best interest of your shareholders. Respectfully, I believe that your shareholders would be better served by focusing on continuing to improve your product and service so that United can compete more vigorously and by abandoning Delta’s failing political campaign with its unachievable objective. Moreover, perhaps the markets and analysts would be comforted if Mr. Munoz and Mr. Kirby spent less time flying around the country whining about Gulf Carriers and Open Skies policy, and instead stayed at corporate headquarters focused solely on turning around your lagging business. 

Thank you for considering my views. 


Kevin Mitchell


Business Travel Coalition

See BTC letter to United’s Chairman Robert Milton at http://btcnews.co/2yVC1IQ.


Julie Yates Stewart

Managing Director

Investor Relations

Patrick Manning

Senior Manager

Investor Relations

Kristina Munoz


Investor Relations 

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