It’s all just a game until it turns ugly. And in this case, it did so quickly and as literally as possible, in a turn of events that left Continental Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek in the spotlight in regards to his questionable comments made in reference to US Airways, likening the airline to an ‘ugly girl’.
In this case, the game is airline industries and the objective is to come out on top of the financial pyramid. In a world where airlines routinely vie to keep their business cheaper, better, and more desirable than other companies around the globe, competition is fierce and very often ends up with one successful branch and the rest struggling to keep up. Merges, the ‘alliance’ of certain airlines with one another, are usually done silently and efficiently, but the competitive spirit needed to organize and arrange these business transactions got the better of a certain Continental Airlines CEO.
With a merger between United and US Airways imminent, the transition to a merger between United and Continental came as a well-received surprise to those in Continental, the ones who would benefit from such an alliance. In a moment of ecstasy for Continental CEO Jeff Smisek, his tasteless comment made about US Airways came to become public knowledge, to his unquestionable embarrassment.
According to those present in the telephone conference when the comment was made, Smisek said:
Seen as one of the weaker airlines in the industry, the comment has struck a nerve among US Airways employees. Smisek and US Airways CEO Doug Parker alike have received letters inquiring as to why the company is regarded as the industry’s ‘ugly girl’, putting considerable pressure on Smisek to explain his “chauvinistic, offensive” comment.
In response to the raised eyebrows that resulted from the comment, Smiske has issued a formal apology to US Airways, citing that he “got carried away in the moment”.
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