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Ted's Performance For United  
User currently offlineUA744Flagship From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 4543 times:

***DISCLAIMER***
Understanding of the information within this thread is reserved for readers who can read, write, and interpret business statistics.

The purpose of this post is to show that Ted is simply not "new paint" as many unintelligently assume.

The facts from UAL's latest 8K:

  • United's CASM is 25% higher than the Average LCC CASM, for 2004 Q1-Q3
    * noted CASMs (UA = 9.99, F9 = 8.18, WN = 7.84, B6 = 6.02)
  • Ted averaged an 85% load factor on its 18 routes, outperforming competing LCCs by 6.5 percent.
  • Ted achieved these load factors while earning fare premiums of nearly 20% over its low cost competition.

    Analysis

    1. Ted's CASM itself cannot be 25% higher than the average LCC CASM as United's overall CASM includes all mainline fleet types, particularly widebodies, that have higher CASMs on an equivalent route. One would expect it to be significantly lower than 9.99 as Ted utilizes efficient A320s in an all-coach configuration with the same amount of seats as a jetBlue A320.

    2. A combination of a 6.5 percent load factor premium with a nearly 20% fare premium suggests a RASM/PRASM premium of around 20%.


    Now I leave it to the intelligent readers to give their input on these figures and analysis. Keep in mind, unintelligent readers, that these numbers are not "cooking the books" as this is in a report given to the SEC - not an internal report.

    It's my opinion that while these figures aren't exactly proof positive on Ted making a profit for UA - it's clear and OBVIOUS that Ted is doing a much better job tha UA mainline could in competing against LCCs on its 18 leisure-oriented routes.

  • 45 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
     
    User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17662 posts, RR: 46
    Reply 1, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 4413 times:

    "Ted is simply not "new paint" as many unintelligently assume.
    "

    But it is. It's UA economy repackaged as Ted--at least Song tried to differentiate the actual onboard product. Why not fix the mainline product rather than developing something entirely new that, in reality, isn't new at all. Ted should be a fare bucket(s) on UA mainline; it would get the same results minus the costs of the whole rebrand.



    E pur si muove -Galileo
    User currently offlineUA744Flagship From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 2, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4376 times:

    No, it would not. The reason for sub-branding Ted was two-fold:
  • To deal with the perception that United is high-fare airline, that it never has lower fares than the LCCs
  • To protect United's image as a carrier that offers F class, elite flyer benefits, etc.

    If you simply made Ted fare buckets, which at first glance makes sense, you would still have a higher CASM (less seats... try 144 versus 156), plus arguably less traffic.

    The simple fact that Ted has been pitched and introduced to the world as a LCC from the get-go gets more people in Ted planes than if UA were to simply say, hey, we've got low fares now. After all, United does not pitch its master brand as an LCC - it's got mainline, it's got international, heck it's even got that crap Express product.  Smile But with Ted, the message is clear. Low fares. Rational prices all the time. Just like the LCCs.

    And for the thousandth time, the Ted rebranding costs were minimal (UA did not approach it like Song, Ted is still pitched as a part of United) and hailied and respected in marketing/branding publications.

    Ted is essentially an aircraft reconfiguration, but combined with a very cheap, yet extremely effective, rebranding to the consumer. Why spend the $$$ to rebrand? Because the costs are minimal in comparison to the increased traffic Ted gets simply for being a new LCC on the block. People generally like it when new, simple, lower price alternatives pop up on the market.

    [Edited 2004-12-16 17:27:53]

  • User currently offlineBlatantEcho From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1916 posts, RR: 1
    Reply 3, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4349 times:

    What % of the seats from that 85% load factor would have flown UA Mainline anyway. I think that's the only question worth asking at this point.


    They're not handing trophies out today
    User currently offlineUA744Flagship From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 4, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4327 times:

    To say that's the only question worth asking at this point is extremely shallow.

    But to answer your question, Ted has stimulated traffic in its markets and has increased market share, while increasing load factors and frequency, in its markets compared to when mainline ran the routes.

    And people, you can't raise the argument: "Why doesn't United just fix its whole mainline product." Do you know how costly that would be for a carrier with 450+ planes to do? United can't just eliminate First Class on ALL its routes, not only would that alienate customers, it would cost $$$ to reconfigure ALL the aircraft.

    Instead, a much more cost efficent way to combat LCCs where you are being hurt the most by them is to simply mimick their seating configurations and value propositions, even if *shock* they are eerily similar to mainline coach, but only on the routes where it makes sense.

    To be sure, I think that United has more markets it should convert to Ted, but that is a different story.


    User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17662 posts, RR: 46
    Reply 5, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4312 times:

    "Ted has stimulated traffic in its markets "

    Not really; the capacity in just about all Ted markets is the same or down after the conversion from UA mainline. For instance they would replace a 752 with an A320 to PHX.

    ""Why doesn't United just fix its whole mainline product." Do you know how costly that would be for a carrier with 450+ planes to do? United can't just eliminate First Class on ALL its routes, not only would that alienate customers, it would cost $$$ to reconfigure ALL the aircraft"

    If Ted is doing so well, as you state, then reconfiguring the entire UA fleet, though costly, would provide a significant return on their investment. I could get behind that. But what good does reconfiguring a tiny percentage of the fleet do?



    E pur si muove -Galileo
    User currently offlineOrd From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 1384 posts, RR: 1
    Reply 6, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4279 times:

    "But what good does reconfiguring a tiny percentage of the fleet do?"

    It works because it is targeting a specific segment. Look at Marriott. Their Courtyard brand works, but all Marriotts will not be converted to Courtyard. Courtyard is used to target a segment of the market that a standard Marriott would not appeal to. Ted is being used in a similar manner.


    User currently offlinePA110 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2008 posts, RR: 23
    Reply 7, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4272 times:
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    MaverickM11,

    For instance they would replace a 752 with an A320 to PHX.

    That's not necessarily true. From SFO, UA operated primarily 735 aircraft, with 1 or 2 flights using 320 equipment. There are more seats now in this market.





    It's been swell, but the swelling has gone down.
    User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17662 posts, RR: 46
    Reply 8, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4261 times:

    "Look at Marriott"

    That was what the AC management team always referenced, but where are Zip and Tango now? UA's problems are much bigger than anything Ted could ever dream of helping to solve, especially with such a small fleet.



    E pur si muove -Galileo
    User currently offlineD950 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 493 posts, RR: 2
    Reply 9, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 4187 times:

    As a Premier Executive I give UA plenty of miles, very often on a trip of 4-5 legs I end up on TED frequently, the crews are the same, the service difference depends on the experience of the flight attendants. I hope they do well, however they should have eliminated 1-2 rows of coach so that the bulkhead seat does not result in leg cramps, the mainline 320/319's are perfectly spaced. I will continue to support UAL in their struggle to survive, as they have always been good to me!!!!


    Resting on your laurels is a synonym for flirting with disaster
    User currently offlineN1120a From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26601 posts, RR: 75
    Reply 10, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 4156 times:

    >To deal with the perception that United is high-fare airline, that it never has lower fares than the LCCs<

    Yet they often are. Take for example the LAX-MSY-LAX route (the one I fly most often) which is flown by UA mainline and fills both the premium cabin and Y. Not only do the often match or beat WN on the route, but I can often get MSY-LAX-OXR-LAX-MSY for as much or less than WN MSY-LAX-MSY.

    >To protect United's image as a carrier that offers F class, elite flyer benefits, etc.<

    Ted does all the same things UA does

    >however they should have eliminated 1-2 rows of coach so that the bulkhead seat does not result in leg cramps, the mainline 320/319's are perfectly spaced. <

    If they did, they would have the same number of seats as the regular A320s and have no cost advantage. Sorry to say this, but they should have kept Y+ out of the Ted planes and just had an across the board decent seat pitch (Like WN and B6 do).

    BTW, widebodies have a lower seat-mile cost than narrow (exception being the 757 v. 767). The lowest seat-mile plane at UA is the 744, followed by the 772



    Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
    User currently offlineCx750 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 155 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 11, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 4132 times:

    "One would expect it to be significantly lower than 9.99 as Ted utilizes efficient A320s in an all-coach configuration with the same amount of seats as a jetBlue A320"


    I believe jetBlue has somewhere close to 170 seats vs 156 for Ted. Basically, Ted will lower unit costs...but higher gross weight versions would have been optimum.


    User currently offlineOrd From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 1384 posts, RR: 1
    Reply 12, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 4111 times:

    JetBlue's A320s have 156 seats.

    User currently offlineAa777jr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 13, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 4064 times:

    UA's problems are much bigger than anything Ted could ever dream of helping to solve, especially with such a small fleet.

    This sums up this entire thread...did UA think they'd fool creditors by operating their TED LCC? Going on yr 3 of BK, guess so...



    User currently offlineJacobin777 From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 14968 posts, RR: 60
    Reply 14, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 4018 times:

    I really don't fly on United too much (found out I've been shafted on a bunch of FF's miles by them), but it does seem that they have been succeeding in going head-to-head with Frontier and winning that battle somewhat...


    "Up the Irons!"
    User currently offlineMoman From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1054 posts, RR: 4
    Reply 15, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 4001 times:

    UAL744:

    Thank you for the figures. I have been trying to see/hear any figures for Ted for months now.

    But I still do not understand how Ted is a LCC. Take this: "The facts from UAL's latest 8K: United's CASM is 25% higher than the Average LCC CASM, for 2004 Q1-Q3 * noted CASMs (UA = 9.99, F9 = 8.18, WN = 7.84, B6 = 6.02)".

    What are Ted's CASM? How would they be considered a LCC, even if they have CASM of 9.0? The might be LCC compared to mainline, but not compared to the "real" LCCs.

    I am also skeptical that Ted is the magic elixir for United. At least they are trying new things.

    Moman



    AA Platinum Member - American Airlines Forever
    User currently offlineUA744Flagship From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 16, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3981 times:

    Obviously, Ted is not meant to be the "magic pill" for United's emergence from Bankruptcy. It is just a component of an overall strategy.

    Ted's CASM is not released. Wish it was. But even if the CASM on Ted flights wasn't the LCC average of around ~7.5 cents, the most important point is that consumers embrace Ted as an LCC.

    LCCs get much of their revenue advantage simply because they pitch themselves as the lowest-fare alternatives. The flying public has developed the habit of assuming the LCCs always have the lowest fare, which has been a problem for the major carriers even as they have matched or even beat fares.

    The curious thing about passenger buying behavior is that many will forget looking at the legacies and just opt to buy their tickets at Southwest.com, or jetBlue.com, or AirTran.com. The low fares and fare caps make them feel like they're always getting a better deal, so they are happy with just going to one source and saving time.

    Believe it or not, most of the LCC customers book at the LCC website or hotline, not through a travel agent or online fare search site, like Expedia.


    User currently offlineBahadir From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 1803 posts, RR: 11
    Reply 17, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3959 times:

    Ted is a fine product for flights 2-3 hrs. Don't get me started on 5 hr IAD-LAS though.

    During my 6 months SEA-LAS commute I almost exclusively took SEA-SFO-LAS-LAX-SEA routing instead of HP/WN/AS non-stops. Why? Because I like the airline and those segments benefited me. If Ted was all coach with no Econ Plus, my $$$ would vote for one of the 3 alternatives, most likely the home town airline AS.

    Econ Plus is why I am still loyal to UA and I am glad that they are still sticking to it.



    Earthbound misfit I
    User currently offlineUA744Flagship From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 18, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3943 times:

    The problem with the whole airline-within-an-airline concept is that the track record of these business ventures has been horrific.

    In the US and even in Europe, no legacy-bred LCC has proven its success.

    The problem I see is not in concept, but in execution.

    Tailoring your product to match a dominant market segment has worked in other industries. Good examples: retailing - Banana Republic (high end), GAP (mid range), Old Navy (low end); cars - Lexus (hi end), Toyota (mid range), Scion (low end). There's no reason it shouldn't work in the airlines.

    However, I believe that low-cost/low-fare divisions will only work and should only be implemented if:
  • You don't alienate your existing customers
  • You don't confuse your existing customers
  • You don't have to spend much to tailor your product
  • Your tailored product is competitive with its competition
  • There's not too much of your taillored product

    So far, I think Ted is on the right track. By keeping ties with the United brand (unlike Delta's Song which seeks to be perceived as different altogether) it satisfies *most* of its current customers, and doesn't confuse them by putting the so called "network product" with its volatile fare structure, yet still offering competitive fares, on dominant LCC routes. There's nothing wrong with the Ted product - it's not barebones or unsafe. And Ted is not everywhere United is, because it's not wanted everywhere United is.

    These facts remain:
  • United has only spent money repainting planes and reconfiguring aircraft, and running very cheap marketing campaigns
  • Ted capacity (as measured by seats AND frequency) have gone up in every single Ted market
  • Ted has greater load factors and greater market share than UA did on the 18 Ted routes

    You can't really say the same thing about other legacy-bred LCCs. Song spent a fortune creating a totally new experience and distancing itself from Delta. Song is using aircraft that are too big for its markets (low load factors relative to the LCCs).


  • User currently offlineMoman From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1054 posts, RR: 4
    Reply 19, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3899 times:

    UAL744:

    "The curious thing about passenger buying behavior is that many will forget looking at the legacies and just opt to buy their tickets at Southwest.com, or jetBlue.com, or AirTran.com. The low fares and fare caps make them feel like they're always getting a better deal, so they are happy with just going to one source and saving time."

    You hit the head on the nail there. I have showed my coworkers/family/friends a couple times how Southwest does not always have the lowest prices. It seems to be ingrained in people's heads that Southwest is always cheapest. I proved to them how AA was the same price or cheaper on quite a few routes.

    Back to topic, you make a lot of excellent posts. And yes, the past is littered with failed "airline-within-a-airline" concepts. Ted seems just like United Express. If this is not so, can you describe how they are different?

    Moman



    AA Platinum Member - American Airlines Forever
    User currently offlineTWFirst From Vatican City, joined Apr 2000, 6346 posts, RR: 52
    Reply 20, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3852 times:

    >>To say that's the only question worth asking at this point is extremely shallow.<<


    I disagree. Because this question is in essence the same strategic question United asked itself from the beginning: How do we retain market share at a profitable level against LCC's on given routes where we compete? The way to measure the results of the strategy (i.e. TED) that United is currently executing is to look at TED's market share and yield. If TED is only capturing a very small amount of incremental traffic over what United mainline would have captured without TED, but at lower yield, then the strategy isn't successful.



    An unexamined life isn't worth living.
    User currently offlineUA744Flagship From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 21, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3824 times:

    Moman:

    I assume you are referring to United Shuttle, not United Express. In addition to the obvious differences (no F class, larger & more efficient equipment, nationwide primarily leisure destinations instead of hi-frequency western destinations) Ted is different because of the way it pitches itself. There's not United in front of Ted. To the customers that are familiar with United, yes, they know Ted is literally Part of United. But to the price-conscious consumers, Ted is another new LCC that gives lower fares. Yes, it's hard to think that a difference as subtle as the name can affect consumer behavior, but it does, in conjunction with all the cheap marketing effort Ted has done.

    It's all part of trying to capture more of the leisure segment, and put them in the United system, when they would normally disregard United as a relevant low-fare option.

    TWFirst:

    It seems you are disagreeing just to disagree. The questions you ask are not at all as boiled down as "how many of the customers flying on Ted would have flown on United anyway"? You point out the factor of yield. That was not part of the original question. Note the distinction.

    Well, to answer your query, there are internal UA communications from the summer and spring that continue to say that Ted has actually achieved greater yields, even while increasing capacity. While this has not been externally released, it is what UA is telling its employees. If you do a search of the posts that I've made, you'll see the text of these releases.

    It's not at all unbelievable... hmmm... 20% fare premium over the LCCs in the current markets. Guess what? United's *systemwide* yield is actually lower than Southwest's. If Ted is achieving a 20% fare premium over LCCs in Ted markets, it's easy to deduce that Ted's yields are better than mainline.

    It's quite an interesting paradox - that an LCC fare structure earns a better yield than a legacy. But this is what's happening in many US markets, and why the LCCs are flourishing. In many markets, the extra traffic and increased loyalty stimulated by lower and simpler fares creates more revenue than a wide, unpredictable variety of highly priced and discounted tickets.


    User currently offlineTWFirst From Vatican City, joined Apr 2000, 6346 posts, RR: 52
    Reply 22, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3807 times:

    >>TWFirst:

    It seems you are disagreeing just to disagree. The questions you ask are not at all as boiled down as "how many of the customers flying on Ted would have flown on United anyway"? You point out the factor of yield. That was not part of the original question. Note the distinction.

    Well, to answer your query, there are internal UA communications from the summer and spring that continue to say that Ted has actually achieved greater yields, even while increasing capacity.<<


    Oh yes... that's what I was doing... disagreeing just to disagree because I just love wasting time doing that you know...  Insane

    Jesus, take the chip of your shoulder... if you don't want to have a discussion, then don't post a thread.

    In my mind, the question of yield is always implied in any discussion or question of Legacy/LCC competition, because the whole point of LCC's existence is that their lower overhead costs allows them to charge lower fares and succeed on lower yields. Yes, that doesn't mean that's automatically what happens in a given market, but it is a pretty safe assumption.

    If Ted HAS "actually achieved greater yields, even while increasing capacity".. then awesome! Yippie yay! I wasn't saying they weren't... I was simply saying that the question posed earlier that you poo-pooh'd as "shallow" ISN'T shallow.






    [Edited 2004-12-16 21:33:47]


    An unexamined life isn't worth living.
    User currently offlineUA744Flagship From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 23, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3791 times:

    If you're gonna do a tit-for-tat and pull a drama queen response, the question WAS shallow - there was no mention of yield. Basing Ted's success on traffic stimulation only... that's oversimplifying.

    And I didn't write that you said the yields weren't good, I was just answering your question.

    Take a chill pill.


    User currently offlineTWFirst From Vatican City, joined Apr 2000, 6346 posts, RR: 52
    Reply 24, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3770 times:

    >>I was just answering your question.<<


    But I wasn't asking YOU a question.... I was posing a rhetorical question. And YOU initiated the tit-for-tat buddy. I simply posted my thoughts on the original question posed... it wasn't an attack on you. A bit sensitive, are we?



    An unexamined life isn't worth living.
    25 UA744Flagship : Not sensitive, just like to call people out on their bullshit. "What % of the seats from that 85% load factor would have flown UA Mainline anyway. I t
    26 TWFirst : Now it's my turn to "lay it out plain and simple" Please re-read the COMPLETE reposted sentence below: Because this question is in essence the same st
    27 Moman : Good point, what is the number for incremental traffic that Ted achives over what United would have had anyways? Ted is different from United in my op
    28 MaverickM11 : "What % of the seats from that 85% load factor would have flown UA Mainline anyway. I think that's the only question worth asking at this point."" I t
    29 FA4UA : UA744 and ORD... if I could I'd resubmit you to my respected users list... oh well. I just worked another TED trip over the past 48 hrs. I did Mainlin
    30 UA744Flagship : Yay, TWFirst, you win. Your phallus is bigger than mine, etc. etc. If I equated my personal self worth to that of United, I'd have committed suicide b
    31 TWFirst : >>Your phallus is bigger than mine, etc. etc.
    32 Post contains images OH-LGA : heck it's even got that crap Express product. That's a cute comment - coming from someone who worked for an Express carrier for a short time... Ted is
    33 Post contains images Planespotting : that is a lot of airlines niche.....back up for ID 90 and non reving airline employees
    34 Post contains images UA744Flagship : The Express product in ORD and IAD leaves a lot to be desires vis-a-vis the western, SkyWest-dominated stations. Don't worry, I'm still proud to have
    35 N1120a : >Yes, but if you *noticed* I put "on an equivalent route". Widebodies only have lower CASMs when stage lengths goes up, and narrowbodies are unable to
    36 UA744Flagship : Not necessarily. Those widebodies used on short sectors are in high-density configuration. UA's widebodies, with the exception of the 22 high density
    37 Post contains images AeroWesty : Regarding the chart posted in reply #34 - is that to mean UA carried zero passengers even on mainline connecting routes DEN-FLL and IAD-FLL in Septemb
    38 Post contains images UA744Flagship : Aerowesty, DEN-FLL and IAD-FLL are routes UA never served before (with mainline equipment). The only proof to tip your belief is United issuing intern
    39 Post contains images AeroWesty : UA744 - Highly doubtful that "United's word" would be believable to skeptics though. That's why I asked my questions in the manner that I did. But to
    40 UA744Flagship : Aerowesty, thanks for an insightful post. I do see what you're saying. Unfortuntely, UA is being very secretive about Ted's financial performance, whi
    41 D950 : I used to fly UAL into MIA very often, watching service go from 757's to 735's over time and eventually to near zero. My question to the UA people, wh
    42 Post contains links and images AeroWesty : I don't know how get the data where it shows 1-stop or 2-stop traffic. If you know, please tell me how! I hope you have a lot of disk space and either
    43 Ord : "DEN-FLL and IAD-FLL are routes UA never served before (with mainline equipment)." I'm fairly certain United operated mainline equipment in the early-
    44 Hiflyer : Username: D950 I used to fly UAL into MIA very often, watching service go from 757's to 735's over time and eventually to near zero. My question to th
    45 D950 : Thanks Hiflyer, did not realize that much of a difference was involved. I guess I will ride the 735's till they drop, and switch to AA out of LGA.
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