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Topic: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: MEL
Posted 2013-01-22 17:10:15 and read 6729 times.

I was searching options for travel from ORD-SEA and ORD-PDX and was shocked to see United only operating 3 flights per day between Chicago and Seattle. This is a serious decrease in flight frequency. If I recall correctly, it seemed about 10 years ago there was an almost hourly schedule in this market. Even American only operates 4x flights per day. Who picked up the slack? Alaska only operates 2x daily, same with Southwest (ex. MDW).

ORD-PDX is a very similar picture. I remember flying the UA 777 all the time on ORD-SEA and even flew the 3-class (FCY) UA 763 on ORD-PDX just 10 years ago. I know times have changed with domestic widebodies becoming a rare occasion, but the frequency of flights on these markets seem remarkably low for airlines that hub @ ORD.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: AeroWesty
Posted 2013-01-22 17:15:26 and read 6721 times.

Quoting MEL (Thread starter):
Who picked up the slack?

AS has introduced a score of nonstops from the PNW to markets where traffic used to have to transfer in the hubs. SEA-ORD or PDX-ORD can't be viewed in a vacuum, you have to look at where the final destinations were of those passengers.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: AirframeAS
Posted 2013-01-22 17:46:35 and read 6535 times.

Quoting MEL (Thread starter):
I remember flying the UA 777 all the time on ORD-SEA

I remember doing the DC10 both ways back In the wee early 1990's. Those were GREAT days!

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: ER757
Posted 2013-01-22 18:10:27 and read 6417 times.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 2):
I remember doing the DC10 both ways back In the wee early 1990's. Those were GREAT days!

Same here - flew ORD/SEA/ORD more times than I can count in the 80's and early 90's and it was almost always on the DC-10 unless I caught the ORD/SEA/NRT 747. They ran four or five widebody flights a day on all the major west coast routes ex ORD.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: STT757
Posted 2013-01-22 18:12:48 and read 6402 times.

What date are you looking at? I see four increasing to six in May.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: AirframeAS
Posted 2013-01-22 18:15:58 and read 6377 times.

Quoting STT757 (Reply 4):

That's for the Summer season ramp up. Nothing new.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: laca773
Posted 2013-01-22 18:16:22 and read 6365 times.

Some days are going to have a smaller schedule on certain days according demand and yield management. UA and in particular, CO is (was) very good at managing capacity according to demand. However 3 flights does seem awfully light for a route like SEA-ORD-SEA, even during the much slower winter months.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: flying_727
Posted 2013-01-22 19:04:11 and read 6132 times.

It's not only the SEA-ORD run. The entire SEA schedule is down. Normally around 30-35 flights a day has dropped to 23-24.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: jayunited
Posted 2013-01-22 19:36:41 and read 6008 times.

It is the slow season so the number of departures from ORD-SEA change almost daily depending on demand United takes this approach to control cost. The days when airlines flew half empty planes are over and although we use to fly DC10's, 747's and 777 from ORD-SEA-ORD we don't do that any more because most times those planes we only at 60% capacity and fuel was cheap back in those days. I do agree that 3 flights is a bit sparse but it's the slow season, that number should be back up to 5 or 6 departures a day once we get into mid-spring.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: MEL
Posted 2013-01-22 19:37:44 and read 6008 times.

This was looking at pretty much any day of the week over the next month. I know late January, early February are usually really slow, but only 3 daily flights seems extremely low. It's also really sad to see SEA-LAX operating with only 2x daily flights as Regional Jets (1x CR7, 1x CRJ). I know there's more competition on that route.

I remember one season, UA even ran the 2-class high density 777 on a morning ORD-SEA run. One day I was flying on it, and it cancelled due mech. Just went to the next gate (B17) and grabbed the 744 to DEN, then 722 to SEA. This was around year 2001-2002.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: MSPNWA
Posted 2013-01-22 19:50:31 and read 5927 times.

No wonder I don't see this flight overhead very often anymore. Right now it's 3 daily from UA and AA, two daily from AS. And looking at historical records, it's not just a frequency drop either. It's about all 737 now, except for an A320 or 757 from UA. I remember when UA was sending 757 after 757 with the occasional 767. And then AA had their S80s on that route. Miss them too.

Oh, and no red-eye SEA-ORD flight either? DL has one to MSP. you'd think UA or AA could do one.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: IrishAyes
Posted 2013-01-22 20:37:19 and read 5771 times.

Quoting MEL (Thread starter):
I was searching options for travel from ORD-SEA and ORD-PDX and was shocked to see United only operating 3 flights per day between Chicago and Seattle. This is a serious decrease in flight frequency. If I recall correctly, it seemed about 10 years ago there was an almost hourly schedule in this market. Even American only operates 4x flights per day. Who picked up the slack? Alaska only operates 2x daily, same with Southwest (ex. MDW).
Quoting MEL (Thread starter):
ORD-PDX is a very similar picture. I remember flying the UA 777 all the time on ORD-SEA and even flew the 3-class (FCY) UA 763 on ORD-PDX just 10 years ago. I know times have changed with domestic widebodies becoming a rare occasion, but the frequency of flights on these markets seem remarkably low for airlines that hub @ ORD.

So funny you mentioned this. Yesterday, we were doing a SDC flying on PDX-ORD, and I too was shocked that the frequency is so low. My friend informed me that it's all because its low season; January is not ideally a great time to visit the Pacific Northwest nor Chicago (although we had three days of clear blue skies in Portland, go figure!)

Quoting jayunited (Reply 8):
It is the slow season so the number of departures from ORD-SEA change almost daily depending on demand United takes this approach to control cost. The days when airlines flew half empty planes are over and although we use to fly DC10's, 747's and 777 from ORD-SEA-ORD we don't do that any more because most times those planes we only at 60% capacity and fuel was cheap back in those days. I do agree that 3 flights is a bit sparse but it's the slow season, that number should be back up to 5 or 6 departures a day once we get into mid-spring.

Yup. I know that AA is slated to go up to 5x daily on ORD-SEA in the summer, including a red-eye. As will UA, also with a red-eye, and PDX will go up to 4x daily with the return of the redy-eye.

Quoting MSPNWA (Reply 10):
Oh, and no red-eye SEA-ORD flight either? DL has one to MSP. you'd think UA or AA could do one.

I know! I almost flew on this route back in October. DL SEA-MSP is also a quasi hub-to-hub route.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: HiFlyerAS
Posted 2013-01-22 20:47:30 and read 5733 times.

Quoting flying_727 (Reply 7):
It's not only the SEA-ORD run. The entire SEA schedule is down. Normally around 30-35 flights a day has dropped to 23-24.

UA is a shadow of their former self in SEA. Up until 10 years ago UA pretty much owned SEA but AS continues to steal market share from them. It's to the point that AS is taking over all UA gates and will control 2+ of 4 concourses. When I was a kid I remember being in awe of all the UA aircraft of every size...multiple 747's at the N gates. It was quite a sight and won't ever be repeated, at least in SEA.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: Roseflyer
Posted 2013-01-22 21:13:40 and read 5651 times.

There is a capacity drop from last year, but January and February are the slowest months. This should help yields. I flew SEA-ORD last year in february for only $200 with 8 days advanced purchase on a plane with a70% load factor. Capacity discipline is helping yields since there are no fares that low this year.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: RWA380
Posted 2013-01-23 02:27:15 and read 5287 times.

Quoting MEL (Reply 9):
I remember one season, UA even ran the 2-class high density 777 on a morning ORD-SEA run
Quoting jayunited (Reply 8):
The days when airlines flew half empty planes are over and although we use to fly DC10's, 747's and 777 from ORD-SEA-ORD
Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 2):

I remember doing the DC10 both ways back In the wee early 1990's. Those were GREAT days!

Back in the early 80's, UA begun flying their first truly international flights (vs trans border) to NRT. These were operated via SEA 6x weekly, and 1x weekly via PDX (Tuesdays only), and operated on 742's. I flew ORD-PDX on this tag once, what a wonderful flight, even in Y. In the day UA flew 747's, DC-10's, DC-8's just between PDX & SEA.

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 11):

So funny you mentioned this. Yesterday, we were doing a SDC flying on PDX-ORD, and I too was shocked that the frequency is so low. My friend informed me that it's all because its low season; January is not ideally a great time to visit the Pacific Northwest nor Chicago (although we had three days of clear blue skies in Portland, go figure!)

This week it has been cold, but an entire 7-8 days of sunshine too, a rarity here in January. By the time you read this, we are supposed to be getting a short lived ice storm.

PDX-ORD has gone from 5-6 x daily UA on 727's, 737's, 747's, 757's, 767's, DC-10's, DC-8's depending on year, to what it is now. AA had up to 4 x daily 727's or M80's to zero. Now AS has people smiling again, filling in the hole AA left.

Do we totally discount the n/s flights WN operate from both SEA & PDX to MDW?

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 11):

I know! I almost flew on this route back in October. DL SEA-MSP is also a quasi hub-to-hub route

With DL becoming a larger presence at SEA, could it be possible that we may see some domestic widebody services between SEA and established DL hubs like ATL, JFK, SEA, DTW or MSP? Routing planes for the usual rotations?

Quoting HiFlyerAS (Reply 12):
UA is a shadow of their former self in SEA. Up until 10 years ago UA pretty much owned SEA but AS continues to steal market share from them. It's to the point that AS is taking over all UA gates and will control 2+ of 4 concourses. When I was a kid I remember being in awe of all the UA aircraft of every size...multiple 747's at the N gates. It was quite a sight and won't ever be repeated, at least in SEA.

UA had a much larger presence here in the Northwest, even servicing the better part of it if you go back 30 years.
SEA has flights on UA to HKG, SAN, RNO, SMF & JFK to name a few. Not to mention the numerous short hop flights down the coast, SEA-PDX-EUG-MFR-SFO, SEA-PDX-SLE-EUG-SFO, SEA-PDX-PDT-BOI-SLC. I think every aircraft type that has operated in UA colors in the last 30 years has made it to SEA or PDX.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: milesrich
Posted 2013-01-23 05:57:18 and read 5067 times.

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 14):
UA had a much larger presence here in the Northwest, even servicing the better part of it if you go back 30 years.
SEA has flights on UA to HKG, SAN, RNO, SMF & JFK to name a few. Not to mention the numerous short hop flights down the coast, SEA-PDX-EUG-MFR-SFO, SEA-PDX-SLE-EUG-SFO, SEA-PDX-PDT-BOI-SLC. I think every aircraft type that has operated in UA colors in the last 30 years has made it to SEA or PDX.

I believe SLE was dropped in 1978 or 1979, and the SFO flight operated SFO-MFR-SLE-PDX-SEA with a 737-222 once a day in each direction. I took the flight once or twice in 1975.

But most routes have less frequencies. ORD-SEA is no exception. Yesterday, Delta reported a $7 Million profit for the 4th quarter, although without special items, Delta earned $238 million on $8.6 Billion in revenues. That is a profit margin of 2.76%. Which means that on a $300.00 fare, the airline earned $8.30, and then you wonder why they have a $25.00 bag fee. Profit margins in the airline business are razor thin. If they weren't they could really rake the money in, but with their environment, just about every penny is important.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: STT757
Posted 2013-01-23 06:30:13 and read 4989 times.

Quoting MEL (Thread starter):
ORD-PDX is a very similar picture. I remember flying the UA 777 all the time on ORD-SEA and even flew the 3-class (FCY) UA 763 on ORD-PDX just 10 years ago. I know times have changed with domestic widebodies becoming a rare occasion, but the frequency of flights on these markets seem remarkably low for airlines that hub @ ORD.

Back then UA was funneling their traffic through less hubs, with the CO merger there are more hubs for UA to serve from SEA:

SEA-EWR 5x daily, SEA-IAD 3x daily, SEA-CLE 1 daily, SEA-DEN 5x daily, SEA-IAH 7x daily, SEA-SFO 8x daily, SEA-LAX 2x daily, SEA-ANC 2x daily, SEA-ORD 6x daily

UA might have been flying more frequencies and even rotating a widebody on the SEA-ORD route, however they weren't flying 5 daily to EWR, 7 daily to IAH or daily to CLE from SEA. UA's offerings today is superior to what they offered 10 years ago, the only difference is the draw down of the Express flights.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: MasseyBrown
Posted 2013-01-23 06:31:25 and read 4989 times.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 13):
There is a capacity drop from last year, but January and February are the slowest months.

UA's normal post-holiday schedule reduction seems extraordinarily severe this year. They may have underestimated actual demand. Ignoring the Washington follies, I believe the economy is doing better than press reports would have you think.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: tommy767
Posted 2013-01-23 07:13:11 and read 4893 times.

Before we all flip out -- he's UA's SEA sked for 2/26:

IAD: 1x 757, 1x 739, 7x 738 = 3
EWR: 1x 319, 1x 738 = 2
ORD: 1x 319, 2x 738, 1x 739 = 4 (NOT 3!)
DEN: 1x 757, 1x 319, 1x 738, 1x 739 = 4
SFO: 3x 757, 1x 320, 2x CR7 = 6
IAH: 1x 757, 1x 320, 3x 739 = 5
LAX: 1x CR7, 1x CR2 = 2
ANC: 1x 738, 1x 739 = 2
PDX: 7x E120 = 7

= 35

Keep in mind this is the low season. Although it's odd some some spokes like DFW are now bigger for UA than SEA (which at one time was a large operation.)

[Edited 2013-01-23 07:14:46]

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: AeroWesty
Posted 2013-01-23 07:18:01 and read 4885 times.

Quoting tommy767 (Reply 18):
= 35

+NRT: 1x 777

= 36

[Edited 2013-01-23 07:19:09]

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: apodino
Posted 2013-01-23 07:50:49 and read 4810 times.

I remember not too long ago that UA had a 777 on the ORD-SEA route and it was so full that I was occupying a secondary jumpseat with a Fed in the primary. Granted the reason for the 777 was to rotate it into the NRT route as the plane was continuing to NRT, but the fact that it was a full flight makes me think there is demand on the route.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: jayunited
Posted 2013-01-23 08:07:39 and read 4759 times.

Quoting MasseyBrown (Reply 17):
UA's normal post-holiday schedule reduction seems extraordinarily severe this year. They may have underestimated actual demand. Ignoring the Washington follies, I believe the economy is doing better than press reports would have you think.

I think you are right United may have underestimated demand across the system for this January and February but United isn't entirely to blame there was and still is a lot of uncertainty in the U.S. and world economy and in 2012 when UA was finalizing their winter schedule many people were focused on Washington D.C. and the drama surrounding the fiscal cliff and if that would cause another recession. So looking at the overall schedule for United this winter it seems as though they decided to play it safe and remove capacity across the system because they didn't know what would happen with the economy and they decided to be proactive instead of reactive.

It really shows how Washington's drama effects business decisions because the economy is doing better but the schedule is already set.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: Josh32121
Posted 2013-01-23 08:53:19 and read 4574 times.

How many times (if any) does WN fly MDW-SEA? That would be another big source of drain from UA's demand on ORD-SEA.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: seabosdca
Posted 2013-01-23 09:02:19 and read 4489 times.

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 11):
My friend informed me that it's all because its low season; January is not ideally a great time to visit the Pacific Northwest nor Chicago

So true. All traffic currently flying in or out of SEA is business traffic. The tourists are too smart to visit Seattle at this time of year, and there is no VFR traffic in late January either.

I'm not surprised there would only be demand for less than 10 total Seattle-Chicago flights in the last week of January.

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 11):
(although we had three days of clear blue skies in Portland, go figure!)


Sigh... meanwhile, we got trapped in an inversion and had a week straight of can't-see-your-hand fog and horrible disgusting air, replaced this morning by the usual gloom.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: BoeingGuy
Posted 2013-01-23 09:08:05 and read 4441 times.

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 23):
So true. All traffic currently flying in or out of SEA is business traffic. The tourists are too smart to visit Seattle at this time of year, and there is no VFR traffic in late January either.

Not true. There are a lot of SEA tourist leaving SEA for warmer climes (or ski trips) this time of year. Tourism traffic isn't all incoming to SEA.

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 23):
Sigh... meanwhile, we got trapped in an inversion and had a week straight of can't-see-your-hand fog and horrible disgusting air, replaced this morning by the usual gloom.

Yeah no kidding. It was starting to get really old being stuck in sub-freezing dense fog for a week. You couldn't even see the Space Needle from Capitol Hill or the water from Mukilteo.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: rampbro
Posted 2013-01-23 09:17:24 and read 4511 times.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 2):
I remember doing the DC10 both ways back In the wee early 1990's. Those were GREAT days!

My first ever airplane photo is of a UA DC-10 at the gate in ORD, about to operate that flight with my family and me on board.

I took that same route last year on a 757.

Quoting apodino (Reply 20):
but the fact that it was a full flight makes me think there is demand on the route.

The 757 was full, so story checks out.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: YULWinterSkies
Posted 2013-01-23 10:02:13 and read 4178 times.

Quoting MasseyBrown (Reply 17):
Ignoring the Washington follies, I believe the economy is doing better than press reports would have you think.

I certainly will not disagree with you on this, however, are businesses still sending people to fly out on a high fare as much as they used to? This could explain your capacity drops. Reduced frequencies because of reduced number of high-yielding fares. These might have helped "subsidize" some partially empty flights back in better days (resulting in overcapacity... but who cares if enough profit can be generated), but now, flights have to be near-full to make money while demand in # of pax has remained essentially stable... just my 2 cents.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: ual777uk
Posted 2013-01-23 10:07:54 and read 4189 times.

Didn't UA operate the the 777 flight # 939/8 SEA-ORD-LHR at one stage?

I know i went all the way through once from LHR on a 777 via ORD. Of course we changed and got on another 777 but it was still 3 class.

Dont even get me started on the non stop flight we uses to get from LHR to SEA on the SP. Those were the days!

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: laca773
Posted 2013-01-23 11:22:43 and read 3721 times.

Quoting HiFlyerAS (Reply 12):
UA is a shadow of their former self in SEA. Up until 10 years ago UA pretty much owned SEA but AS continues to steal market share from them. It's to the point that AS is taking over all UA gates and will control 2+ of 4 concourses. When I was a kid I remember being in awe of all the UA aircraft of every size...multiple 747's at the N gates. It was quite a sight and won't ever be repeated, at least in SEA.

Very true HiFlyerAS.
I remember when UA pulled mainline on SEA-LAX/SFO and went CR7s to start, I had a feeling evening that wouldn't last for very long. I thought UA was looking at reducing capacity @ SEA over a period of time, and looking at this schedule Tommy767 posted according the to the 26 February 2013, you can see the capacity has been markedly adjusted. At the same time, it's only obvious to many of us, SEA & PDX are still very seasonal destinations, with the exception of those who travel to from SEA for business. We'll definitely see capacity increase during the busy Spring & Summer months, but I feel we won't see UA being a large player in SEA the way we have in the past.
I also think we'll see UA drop NRT and instead have NH fly it under their Star JV.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: MSPNWA
Posted 2013-01-23 12:41:40 and read 3297 times.

Quoting Josh32121 (Reply 22):
How many times (if any) does WN fly MDW-SEA?

This week it's just two a day.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: threeifbyair
Posted 2013-01-23 13:18:20 and read 3106 times.

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 23):
So true. All traffic currently flying in or out of SEA is business traffic. The tourists are too smart to visit Seattle at this time of year, and there is no VFR traffic in late January either.

I'm not surprised there would only be demand for less than 10 total Seattle-Chicago flights in the last week of January.

Also important to remember that SEA-ORD is a heavy connecting route for AA/AS and UA. Lots of mid-sized cities east of ORD have no nonstop flights from SEA (CMH, PIT, IND, SDF, BUF, ROC, SYR, ALB, BDL), plus a number of smaller cities.

I actually have trouble finding decent fares via ORD (or DTW, MSP, DEN) to travel PIT-SEA. Most of the deals are usually via EWR, JFK, IAD, IAH, SFO, or DFW. Makes me think that either the PIT-ORD leg or the ORD-SEA leg is selling well. My last two round-trips have been via ORD with 100% LFs on all legs.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: Roseflyer
Posted 2013-01-23 13:21:23 and read 3085 times.

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 24):
Quoting seabosdca (Reply 23):
So true. All traffic currently flying in or out of SEA is business traffic. The tourists are too smart to visit Seattle at this time of year, and there is no VFR traffic in late January either.

Not true. There are a lot of SEA tourist leaving SEA for warmer climes (or ski trips) this time of year. Tourism traffic isn't all incoming to SEA.

True, but late January and February are the slowest times for travel. Business travel is usually down during the start of the year. Leisure travel is low since most people traveled in November and December. The fares and load factors are always lowest in February before the Spring Break season starts.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: BA
Posted 2013-01-23 16:54:23 and read 2322 times.

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 14):
With DL becoming a larger presence at SEA, could it be possible that we may see some domestic widebody services between SEA and established DL hubs like ATL, JFK, SEA, DTW or MSP? Routing planes for the usual rotations?

DL already operates 767s from ATL year-round and from JFK during the summer.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: BoeingGuy
Posted 2013-01-23 17:13:45 and read 2257 times.

Quoting BA (Reply 32):
DL already operates 767s from ATL year-round and from JFK during the summer.

I've seen 767s scheduled SEA-MSP also.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: MSPNWA
Posted 2013-01-23 17:17:13 and read 2248 times.

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 33):
I've seen 767s scheduled SEA-MSP also.

Yes, in the summer season. I think last year was 2x 767s and 2011 was 3x.

Topic: RE: UA ORD-SEA Is Only 3x Daily?
Username: klwright69
Posted 2013-01-24 00:39:37 and read 1975 times.

Right now UA is one a day on SEA-ANC. It goes back to 2x a day shortly.


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