So, United has their problems, but they're not bad enough to risk a change.

Saw this quote in an exchange on Church of the Customer. It's a pretty sad state when it comes down to this. But, many companies plan to operate in exactly this place...good enough and safe. Works well when there is little or no viable choice and no one else is doing anything extraordinary. Problem is...both of those dynamics always, always shift. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.

Once the airline gets bad enough, even the  most inconvenient of options will be better than enduring their good enough strategy. Even at $5 per gallon, driving might be a better play.