The cost of fuel, labor and maintenance all rose sharply in the first quarter, helping push United's profit down to
The results released Monday beat
The power to raise prices was also swinging United's way. A key revenue-per-mile figure was flat, adding to evidence that a two-year decline in average fares is over. United expects the revenue-per-mile figure to rise by 1 to 3 percent in the second quarter.
It is unclear whether last week's incident in which
“It is obvious from recent experiences that we need to do a much better job serving our customers,” Munoz said in a statement. He said the company is “dedicated to setting the standard for customer service among
Ahead of its report, United led a rally in airline stocks Monday. The
Excluding non-repeating items, United said first-quarter profit was
Revenue rose 3 percent to
Airlines are prospering from travel demand that remains relatively strong. Reduced competition — several major airports are dominated by one or two carriers — may limit United's financial fallout to the dragging incident.
“They are more punctual, they're losing fewer bags,” Kaplan said. “But it takes some time for the perception to catch up with the reality. This resets the clock. It was the last thing they needed.”
United has said it is examining policies including booting passengers off sold-out flights, and has promised a complete review by
Besides the damage to United's reputation, investors are nervous that airlines are planning to add too many flights, undercutting the recovery in prices.
United will increase domestic service this summer, adding some new routes and offering more-frequent flights on others. Munoz has defended the expansion as necessary to fill gaps in United's route map that were created when the airline was shrinking.
United executives planned to discuss the first-quarter results with analysts and reporters on Tuesday.
David Koenig can be reached at http://twitter.com/airlinewriter