A letter to pilots from the United rep who manages their account with Apple, obtained by One Mile at a Time:
As we enter into another 3-year contract renewal negotiation this
coming January with Apple, your partnership is key in
demonstrating to Apple how United differentiates itself from the
competition. Overall, Apple continues to grow revenue on United
more than 20 percent annually and keeping them happy while
traveling on United is critical to the success of many of our SFO
routes. Thanks again for going above and beyond, your efforts make
a positive impact to the strong and growing partnership between
Apple and United.
If you spent $150 million a year on United, you’d probably get nicer treatment, too. And the letter shows that United’s real competition for Apple’s business are the foreign carriers:
Your professionalism and dedication to enhancing the customer
service experience for Apple Global Services customers by hand
delivering personalized ‘thank you’ cards helps us compete and win
against the foreign flag carriers especially in the very
competitive US-Asia market.
50 seats a day between SFO and Shanghai is just a jaw-dropping number. That’s 25 Apple employees flying home and another 25 heading over every single day.
Update: It’s possible that Apple just has a standing order for those seats, and some days they go unused by Apple employees. But I’ve heard from a few birdies who frequent the SFO-PVG route that “50 seats a day” undercounts the number of Apple employees making this trip, because it’s only counting United. They fly other airlines when those 50 seats are already full, and that’s not uncommon. They also apparently fly a ton on Cathay Pacific because it’s a nicer experience than United.
★ Tuesday, 15 January 2019