CHICAGO, June 8 (UPI) -- United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz got an earful Wednesday at his company's Chicago headquarters, where he personally wanted to hear employees and investors voice what may have seemed an endless stream of complaints about his carrier.
Munoz, the chief executive at United since September, listened to the feedback during the company's annual meeting Wednesday -- hoping to gain additional insight into why the carrier has lagged behind the other members of the "big three" U.S. airlines, American and Delta, since merging with Continental six years ago.
During the meet, Munoz said United's board members have been too isolated and not observant enough of the airline's operations.
"As board members, we only meet infrequently and are not as engaged with the front line," he said. "The first thing I did as CEO was I left this board room [to meet with employees]."
If Munoz was hoping to receive valuable feedback from United shareholders and front-line employees, he surely got his wish.
One former flyer and present shareholder, Jim Jackson, who had the highest elite status in United's MileagePlus program didn't pull any punches Wednesday, saying he defected to Delta after repeated negative interactions with United flight attendants, who he said did not appear to enjoy their work. At Delta, he said, he was immediately startled by the difference.
"How in the world did you allow United to get out of hand like it did?" Jackson asked.
United, the world's largest airline by destinations served, combined with Continental in 2010 -- keeping the United brand name but adopting Continental's brand appearance.
Wednesday's meeting came on the same day United released its operational performance report for May, which included a near 2 percent decline in international revenue passenger miles in the last 12 months.
The report also noted a near 10 percent increase in on-time performance, to 68 percent, over May 2015.
The airline plans to hold another investor call on June 21.