East Coast Operations – United’s CEO Scott Kirby letter to his employees


I wanted to say thank you for the incredible work you did this weekend under what were unprecedented challenges. I know it was very tough on each of you,
and it’s not over yet with weather continuing today on the East Coast.

But I want you to know that i’m proud of you.

I’m also frustrated that the FAA frankly failed us this weekend. As you know, the weather we saw in WR is something that the FAA has historically been able to
manage without a severe impact on our operation and customers.

This past Saturday, however, was different. The FAA reduced the arrival rates by 40% and the departure rates by 75%. That is almost certainly a reflection of understaffing/lower experience at the FAA. It led to massive delays, cancellations, diversions, as well as crews and aircraft out of position. And that put everyone behind the eight ball when weather actually did hit on Sunday and was further compounded by FAA staffing shortages Sunday evening.

As a result, we estimate that that over 150,000 customers on United alone were impacted this weekend because of FAA staffing issues and their ability to
manage traffic.

To be fair, it’s not the fault of the current FAA leadership that they are in this seriously understaffed position – it’s been building up for a long time before they were in charge.

But it is incumbent on them now to lead and take action to minimize the impact. It’s not their fault, but they are responsible for solving the problem they inherited.

In the next few days, I will be in touch with officials at FAA and DOT to discuss what steps FAA can take in the immediate term to prevent this from happening
again this summer and offer my assistance to help lobby for the resources that the FAA so desperately needs to finally resolve these issues.

While I’m frustrated that the FAA is letting us and our customers down, I’m encouraged at everything all of you are doing to manage the best we can. At United, our team will continue to do great things to take care ot customers no matter what happens outside of our control. We’ll also remain overstated and over resourced for as long as it takes to minimize the impact on our people and our customers.

Thank you to everyone on this list and please pass along my thanks to all our front-line people who went above and beyond this weekend.