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AA/UA Legroom Question  
User currently offlineRominato From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 268 posts, RR: 1
Posted (14 years 7 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 1986 times:

AA has been pumping their ad's about offering more legroom in coach. Frankly, I would think that it's making some people take notice. My question is how much more space is there actually between seats now? Is (or has) United planning on the same thing? If so, would it apply to shuttle flights? And the end question, do you think that the added legroom would increase the perceived value to the passenger, and cut into the sardine can business of Southwest?

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineUAL-Fan From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 374 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (14 years 7 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 1761 times:

Have ridden in UAL Economy Plus several times, it's very comfortable. You can actually navigate around the people sitting next to you without them having to get up when nature calls.

Can't say much about American....I avoid it like the plague.

One interesting thing I have read: UAL claims AA admits they will eventually have to raise prices due to the fact that they will reconfigure the entire aircraft shutting out the Leasure Traveller dragging all of thier screaming brat kids on vacation......Wow, maybe that's a good thing......maybe I should give American another try!


User currently offlineFLY777UAL From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4512 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (14 years 7 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 1757 times:

UA was the first airline to announce the additional legroom in Economy, the first to initiate the removal of seats, and the first airline to complete the removal of seats on their fleet.

The two main differences between the UA and AA products are:

UNITED
-Only domestic, non-Shuttle aircraft have received the changes to seat pitch.
-Only certain amounts of seats/plane have received the changes to seat pitch.

AMERICAN
-All economy class seats will receive the changes in seat pitch.
-All fleet types will receive the changes in seat pitch.

UA's reasoning for only alotting a certain amount of seats to be taken out is that the passengers who have reached Premeir (or higher) status in Mileage Plus, as well as those passengers who have paid full fare will appreciate the legroom more than those who are on the $15 bargain ticket. The Economy Plus cabin is supposed to provide those seated in the EP section with the notion that they are in the "exclusive" section, and very important to UA, who has rewarded and thanked ONLY THEM with a higher-quality product, whereas AA "rewards and thanks" the masses, therefore making their business travelers feel as if they are no different than the $15 bargain ticket traveler.

FLY777UAL


User currently offlineBacardi182 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 1088 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (14 years 7 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 1741 times:

Now that american has taken out a couple rows, the ticket prices are MUCH higher! now, i am used to flying american and can handle getting screwed at any corner posible by them but i just can't understand them sometimes. Now the seats they have taken out are only in coach, so the coach prices have gone up. i can understand that and agree with the lesisure traveler problem. But, the buisness class tickets have also gone up allot (few thousand on long international flights). Sometimes i can't understand american but i am used to it and will continue to fly on them. Also, is the rest of the one world team doing the same? because i was looking for a ticket on british airways from buenos aires to london and it was about 3000 dollars coach class but to fly buisness it was exactly 250 dollars more! I think i might write a letter. It will go like this;

Dear One World,
Please continue to screw me as much as possible and in anyway possible. I enjoy arriving at my final destination a few days late, sleeping at airport hotels is fun! I love how you guys are so thorough with our safety because your planes are being repaired when i need to fly on them. As i said earlier, i like long delays. I an imprtant customer to you but since i sometimes fly with milage tickets, i like how you kick me off of flights and just plane s**t on me. As, i said earlyer, i like long delays. I also love how you guys treat every passenger the same, my dad just reached the 3 million mile mark with american a few days ago. You repayed him by giving him absolutley nothing, just like the rest of your passengers. Keep up the good work one world!

if anybody wants to coment on my letter go ahead, i might actually send it to them.



User currently offlineBarnaby From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (14 years 7 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 1740 times:

>>>UA's reasoning for only alotting a certain amount of seats to be taken out is that the passengers who have reached Premeir (or higher) status in Mileage Plus, as well as those passengers who have paid full fare will appreciate the legroom more than those who are on the $15 bargain ticket. The Economy Plus cabin is supposed to provide those seated in the EP section with the notion that they are in the "exclusive" section, and very important to UA, who has rewarded and thanked ONLY THEM with a higher-quality product, whereas AA "rewards and thanks" the masses, therefore making their business travelers feel as if they are no different than the $15 bargain ticket traveler. <<<

Your little snippet at AA (hell I've done it myself) aside, this is a decent analysis of the situation.

But you're forgetting one important factor behind UA's decision to implement Economy Plus fleet-wide. The number of Milage Plus Premiers, Premier Execs, and Premier 1K's is HUGE--so huge that upgrades (one of the key perks in any FF program) are unavailable almost all of the time. So to keep the MP-ers' happy and to keep them from switching allegiances, UA have found way to differentiate their full fare coach product from the rest of the cabin by giving the EP section some extra pitch and a few extra goodies (laptop power ports, etc) that normal coach doesn't have. I don't think its really an issue as to which airline could thank a greater segement of the population ( ), just that UA needed to find a way to keep its loyal frequent flyers a happy bunch in a hurry. I would suspect that AA's new efforts to throw out rows of seats has something similar in mind, and not simply an effort to get rid of the low-yield trash pax.


User currently offlineFLY777UAL From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4512 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (14 years 7 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 1731 times:

You explained what I was trying to say perfectly, Barnaby! (the whole "Mileage Plus" Cabin...)

FLY777UAL


User currently offlinePurdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (14 years 7 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1732 times:

UA might be able to upgrade their MP members if they installed a reasonable number of F seats in their planes... most have 12 or less. They should take a cue from other airlines (AA and CO, especially), and put in enough seats to accommodate the PAX who they are trying to make feel special.

For example, on the 2-class standard body fleet, UA has an average of 8.5% F-seats (A319: 8/126=6.3%; A320: 12/144=8.3%; 727: 12/147=8.2%; 732: 8/109=7.3%; 733: 8/126=6.3%; 735: 8/108=7.4%).

Continental's fleet averages 10.1% First Class: (733: 10/128=7.8%; 735: 10/104=9.6%; 73G: 12/124=9.7%; 738: 14/155= 9%; 752: 24/183=13.1%; MD-80: 14/141=9.9%).

Finally, American averages 11.2% F-seats (F100: 8/98=8.2%; MD-80: 14/139=10.1%, 20/133=14.4%; 727: 12/150=8%; 738: 20/149=13.4%; 757: 22/188=11.7%).

When you look at the fleets, you can see that United almost always has smaller F cabins. If they made their cabins competitively large, they wouldn't need to segregate their main cabin customers to show their appreciation.


User currently offlineFLY777UAL From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4512 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (14 years 7 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1723 times:

But profit would go down the crapper, as you have many more FC seats to fill (which equaits to much more in the way of service, and many more YC seats removed) just for a person who almost 99.9% of the time is upgrading with miles at the standard YC fare.

If you take out two rows of YC seats (6 seats/row) for one row of FC and plan on filling those 4 FC seats with mileage-upgraded YC pax., you have effectively cut 8 passengers from the flight, just to accomodate 4 upgrades!?! Sounds like the "spend a dollar to save a dime" type theory.

It seems to me as if AA and CO are the ones who should take a cue from United.

FLY777UAL


User currently offlinePurdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (14 years 7 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1712 times:

Profit would o down the crapper, huh? Then why is it tat United, a larger airline than American, has a smaller profit? According to the AW&ST Aerospace Source Book 2000, American made an operating profit of $1,748,000,000 (1.7 Billion dollars) in 1998 on revenues of 15,539,800,000 (15.5 billion). United, on the other hand, had an operating profit of only $1,435,200,000 (1.4 billion) on revenues of 17,043,300,000. In other words, United had to take in 1.5 billion dollars more than Amercan to have a profit of 300 million dollars less. American's better yields indicate that this may actually not make profits go down te crapper. Keep in mind that I'm not saying that this is the sole reason for the larger profit, only that it does not degrade profits as much as was suggested.

User currently offlineBicoastal From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (14 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 1696 times:

As a 100K on United, I appreciate the added legroom in economy plus. I agree with what was said about the difficulty in securing upgrades....even at my level. Problem for me is I rarely have an opportunity to reserve a flight more than a day or two ahead of time. Generally if it's a domestic 777, 767 or 757 flight, you have a decent chance because there are more business/first class seats. But I've been flying a lot of trans cons in United's A319 and A320. With only 8 and 12 seats in first, it's really tough to upgrade. Economy plus is the consolation prize.

The downside of fewer seats with more legroom, is that the chances of someone in the middle seat has increased exponentially. As I've said on this forum before, it's a toss up of which is better: More legroom with an obese person in the middle seat or less legroom and no one next to you (more elbow room).


User currently offlineFLY777UAL From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4512 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (14 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1690 times:

Just a little clarification--"Profits go down the crapper" is exaggeration. Not literally go down by a lot, but even $10 million less in profits/year is seen by UA as "going down the crapper".

FLY777UAL


User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3481 posts, RR: 46
Reply 11, posted (14 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1688 times:

If the added legroom on AA flights brings just one more passenger in coach on each flight and that one more passenger brings just $100 more profit per flight (very little expense since the flight is already going to be flown anyway), the added profit to AA is... $87.6 million per year (assumes 2400 flights per day).

Where's the "profits go down the crapper" problem.



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineFLY777UAL From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4512 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (14 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1683 times:

Okay, AAR90---you missed the point, buddy. We weren't talking about Economy when the "profits go down".

Thanks for playing...

FLY777UAL


User currently offlinePurdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 7
Reply 13, posted (14 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1682 times:

To put FLY777UAL's post less rudely, we were talking about replacing Y seats with F seats not about removing Y seats to increase space. For example, when American decided recently to expand the First class cabin in some MD-80s from 14 to 20 seats by removing 12 coach seats... FLY777UAL is saying that that would hurt AAs profits, I disagree.

User currently offlineLBSteve From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (14 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 1672 times:

Why is it that some of the UAL’s are often the most obnoxious and rude posters here (some professionals)? They can’t stand ANY competition whatsoever nor can they reconcile that another airline may be gaining on them with a better product? Adolescence abounds!

User currently offlineFLY777UAL From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4512 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (14 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 1669 times:

That one hurt, Steve.

Sorry everyone (most of you, atleast) ie: Purdue, AAR for jumping down your throats...it's been a VERY LONG weekend, and I'm sorry for taking that out on you guys in my posts.

FLY777UAL


User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3481 posts, RR: 46
Reply 16, posted (14 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1662 times:

Purdue Arrow writes:
-------------------------
To put FLY777UAL's post less rudely, we were talking about replacing Y seats with F seats not about removing Y seats to increase space. For example, when American decided recently to expand the First class cabin in some MD-80s from 14 to 20 seats by removing 12 coach seats... FLY777UAL is saying that that would hurt AAs profits, I disagree.
--------------------------
History has proven FLY777UAL to be incorrect. The added revenue from additional FC seating has been greater than the added costs (additional service + reduced YC revenue). Additional service cost is marginal costs since FC service is already being provided. Reduced YC revenue is marginal if at all since YC cabin is seldom filled to capacity and when it is it is filled with very heavily discounted tickets payers.

Gerald Arpy said it best in '95 or '96: "We're a premium service carrier... we let the back take care of itself."

AA revenue per aircraft per day is the highest in the industry and continues to grow.




*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlinePurdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (14 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1657 times:

Thanks, AAR90. That's what I thought, but I wasn't really sure.

User currently offlineKLM 777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (14 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1650 times:

>>>History has proven FLY777UAL to be incorrect. The added revenue from additional FC seating has been greater than the added costs (additional service + reduced YC revenue). Additional service cost is marginal costs since FC service is already being provided. Reduced YC revenue is marginal if at all
since YC cabin is seldom filled to capacity and when it is it is filled with very heavily discounted tickets payers.<<<

The issue is not simply more F class seating, but more F class seating in conjunction with less Y class seating. One or the other is not too terrible, but both taken together could really bite if/when the economy turns for the worse and if/when fare wars become a fact of life in the near future. You seem to have missed FLY777UAL's point that a full F/C cabin does not mean everbody has paid up their first class fare. Many are using their FF miles to upgrade from economy. UA has it worse than American in this respect because UA has such a high number of Premier, Premier Execs and Premier 1K's that are always attempting to upgrade but are seldom able to because of the competition. Economy Plus seating makes everyone feel special but more importantly increases the number of full-fare coach pax and reduces the need for uprgrades. I mean, why provide a full F/C service to a passenger that didn't pay for it? The costs aren't as insignificant as you have laid them out to be.

AA's trick of increasing first class seats and reducing Y-class seats means more needless uprgraders sitting in F/C and a Y-class full (in theory) of more full-fare economy pax. Its a needless gamble IMHO. What's $86.7 million to an airline like AA anyway? It will greatly reduce the airline's flexibilty to compete in the longer term since the other airlines will still be able to offer heavily discounted, yet still profitable, tix like sliced bread. And if you thought ID90's or deadheading was hard before......

>>>AA revenue per aircraft per day is the highest in the industry and continues to grow. <<<

Sorry, I'm going to disagree with you there.
[Year ending 12/31/99]

American:
------------
Revenue Passenger Miles: 112,067,000,000
Available Seat Miles: 161,211,000,000
Yield per RPM (cents): 13.12
Passenger Revenue per ASM (cents): 9.12
Operating Cost per ASM (cents): 9.39

United:
------------
Revenue Passenger Miles: 125,465,000,000
Available Seat Miles: 176,686,000,000
Yield per RPM (cents): 12.48
Operating Revenue per ASM (cents): 10.17
Operating Cost per ASM (cents): 8.97


Looks like its UAL that keeps costs down and revnues high while flying more.


User currently offlinePurdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (14 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1639 times:

KLM 777 - Why is it that you look at American's Passenger revenue per ASM, but at United's Operating Revenue per ASM? These are two different fiures, and are not interchangeable. If United "[kept] costs down and revenues highwhile flying more," then United would be more profitable than American, wouldn't they. Rather, because of Americans greater yield, American remains the more proftable airline despite the fact that they are smaller carrier in terms of boh ASMs and RPMs.

User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3481 posts, RR: 46
Reply 20, posted (14 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1635 times:

KLM 777 wrote:
>The issue is not simply more F class seating, but
>more F class seating in conjunction with less Y
>class seating.

Correct. I never said otherwise.

>One or the other is not too terrible, but both taken
>together could really bite if/when the economy turns
>for the worse and if/when fare wars become a fact of
>life in the near future.

Perhaps, perhaps not. It is easier and quicker to add seats if required than to purchase additional aircraft if needed. In the meantime, AA continues to increase revenue per day.

>You seem to have missed FLY777UAL's point that a
>full F/C cabin does not mean everbody has paid up
>their first class fare. Many are using their FF miles
>to upgrade from economy.

I know. I flew SNA 757s for 7+ years. FC cabin is always full, but seldom is every seat a full fare passenger. OTOH, those upgraded are being rewarded for the revenue they've brought to AA in the past.

>UA has it worse than American in this respect because
>UA has such a high number of Premier, Premier Execs
>and Premier 1K's that are always attempting to
>upgrade but are seldom able to because of the
>competition.

What statistics do you have to back up this claim? I don't dispute it, but I know AAdvantage has many more members (of what level I do not know) all wanting upgrades just like at UA. So the problem is at both airlines.

>Economy Plus seating makes everyone feel special but
>more importantly increases the number of full-fare
>coach pax and reduces the need for upgrades.

How does "everyone feel special" when many of those in coach do not get the "plus" seating? You're statement is not logical. It does make those lucky enough to get the "plus" seating feel "special" IF they made the effort to get the seats. What if they made no effort and got the seats anyway? What about the pax who made the effort yet sits next to someone who did not? I doubt he'll be feeling too "special."

>I mean, why provide a full F/C service to a passenger
>that didn't pay for it? The costs aren't as insignificant
>as you have laid them out to be.

Actually they are. It is _marginal costs_ that need to be addressed. The FC cabin and service are already being provided. The only added cost is for food/beverage and passenger handling (i.e. time).

>AA's trick of increasing first class seats and reducing
>Y-class seats means more needless uprgraders sitting
>in F/C and a Y-class full (in theory) of more full-fare
>economy pax.

If you were an AAdvantage member trying to obtain an upgrade, would you believe yourself to be a "needless upgrader"? And a "Y-class full" truly is theory since AA seldom flys full acft.

>Its a needless gamble IMHO.

Thankfully, neither you nor I are paid to make that type of gamble. AA management is paid to make those gambles and has proven themselves fairly adept at choosing a profitable course of action more often than not.

>What's $86.7 million to an airline like AA anyway?

Almost 10% profit increase per year! I guess you don't own your own business or you would easily understand. To put it another way, would you prefer to take home 10% more in your paycheck each week or not bother with it?

>It will greatly reduce the airline's flexibilty to compete
>in the longer term since the other airlines will still be
>able to offer heavily discounted, yet still profitable,
>tix like sliced bread.

Maybe, maybe not. Folks with a whole lot more info than you or I are making those decisions.

>And if you thought ID90's or deadheading was
>hard before......

Agreed. But then AA is not in the business of flying non-revenue passengers anywhere.

>>>AA revenue per aircraft per day is the highest in the industry and continues to grow. <<<

>Sorry, I'm going to disagree with you there.
>[Year ending 12/31/99]
>
>
>
>Looks like its UAL that keeps costs down and
>revnues high while flying more.

RPM and ASM take into account route structure which makes airline-to-airline economic comparisons virtually useless since no two airlines operate the same identical route structures. AA does not have the long Pacific flights of UA. UA does not have the short haul commutes of US or DL. Etc., etc.

The only constant when comparing airline economics is TIME. Reread my statement you'll note I wrote of Revenue/Acft/Day (i.e.: time). In the final analysis it is revenue/time and costs/time that matter. Revenue/time - costs/time = profit/time.

As noted in earlier postings: UA flys more passenger miles; DL flys more passengers; etc., etc., etc. Different routes to the same objective: maximum profit/time period.

In the end, I suspect UA and AA managements are addressing the same or similarly perceived problem with slightly different approaches. UA partially modified its coach cabins while AA is modifying their entire coach cabin. Both airlines have increased FC seating - UA slightly, AA a lot. A different approach by different management teams at different airlines ultimately seeking the same objective.... higher profits for their airline. IMHO, much better to have differing approaches than to have everybody doing the same thing all the time. You, the customer, get to decide which one you prefer by voting with your $$$$$.

Sadly, my seat isn't gonna get modified so I'm stuck with the MD90's limited leg room but most excellent view. ;-)








*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineKLM 777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (14 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1632 times:

FOR 4th quarter 1999

American:
-----------
ASM: 40,857,000,000
RPM: 27,545,000,000
RASM: 9.14
Passenger revenue yield per passenger mile (cents): 13.56

UAL:
-----------
ASM: 43,942,000,000
RPM: 30,555.000,000
RASM: 10.13
Passenger revenue yield per passenger mile (cents): 12.45

AA: Smaller ASM, Smaller RPM (hence smaller airline), greater yield but less revenue per ASM.


User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3481 posts, RR: 46
Reply 22, posted (14 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1629 times:

KLM 777 wrote:
-------------------------------
AA: Smaller ASM, Smaller RPM (hence smaller airline), greater yield but less revenue per ASM.


You continue to use "seat/mile" figures. They mean nothing when comparing the economics of different airlines using different route structures.

Try looking at time as the common denominator.
Time is the only constant between different companies.




*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
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