NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of United Continental (UAL) were slightly lower in early afternoon trading on Wednesday, the day after the airline announced changes at its investor day, including a new "basic economy" ticket that includes no frequent flier mileage points, no pre-flight seat selection option and bans overhead carry-on bags.
"These are customer unfriendly initiatives from an airline that has had issues with customer service," CNBC's Scott Wapner said on Wednesday afternoon's "Halftime Report."
"I respectfully disagree," Altimeter Capital CEO and an activist in United Brad Gerstner said in response on the show. "What they announced yesterday was basic economy. There are plenty of people who choose to fly on no-frill carriers where they have to pay for their bags, where they have little to not seat pitch, where they don't earn miles. United has given them the opportunity to do that on United."
By offering an option below economy, United is "segmenting" its product, which is a "good step forward" for the company, Gerstner claimed. Some customers just want the lowest fare no matter what that means in terms of comfort.
In addition, the leadership has gone through significant changes since April and is now "truly extraordinary," he said. "I truly think that this company has gone from the back of the pack to the best board and the best leadership team in the industry today."
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