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United and Continental closed their merger in 2010 and created what was then the world’s largest airline. After nearly 5 years, executives are still working to integrate United Continental Holdings into a single company—and struggling with some high-profile operational and customer service problems.

1. What types of customer service and employee problems have plagued the company this year?
2. What amount of annual savings is United trying to extract from the company?
3. What percentage of United’s flights have been delayed at least 15 minutes in June? How does that compare to other carriers? Is there any relationship to this and the cost cutting measures?
4. What other risks to profitability does United face?
5. Typically, how long does it take a new venture to work out the kinks of acquiring another company? Can you hypothesize why United is taking longer?

Bachman, J. and M. Sasso. (2015). The Making of United’s Summer From Airline Hell. Bloomberg, July 17 (Retrievable online at