ChrisNH From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 3920 posts, RR: 2 Reply 1, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1918 times:
Service by United Airlines was a whole lot better in the 1980s and 1990s than it is now. Back in the 1980s, United made a big PR splash by becoming the first airline to go mainline to all 50 states. With an already strong presence in Hawaii, it was relatively 'easy' for them to backfill the other 48.
Anyway, United needed to come to Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont as part of the '50 States' campaign. Massachusetts (Boston), Connecticut (Hartford); and Rhode Island (Providence) were dots already on the route map. New Hampshire turned into Manchester, and Maine turned into both Portland and Bangor. Vermont was obviously Burlington.
Bangor didn't last very long, but during the heydays UA would run 727-200s, 727-100s, 737-200s, and later 737-300s. That was the same mix into all of the secondary New England cities, with the exception of PVD and MHT, which eventually saw Airbus jets (319/320) and 757s. Hartford has always been the second biggest New England station for United, fielding DC-10s and 757s routinely during that time. I'm mostly speaking about the four 'northern New England' stations of BTV, MHT, PWM, and BGR.
As for Portland, it's all Express now. The station is largely a seasonal one, much busier from Memorial Day through Labor Day than it is from Labor Day through Memorial Day. Even so, the mainline flights often would be tag-ons to Manchester flights. Flight 1230 was a common round-robin that would go ORD-PWM-MHT-ORD every mid-day. It would actually be full on all three segments, including PWM-MHT, because even though only a handful of people would get on at PWM, it was still a full plane from the ORD-originating passengers bound for MHT. Then at MHT it would largely empty out before filling back up with MHT-originating people. 1230 was served by the 727-200 and 737-300 for most of its tenure, which became the two most-seen aircraft types used by United at Portland. They tagged on BGR this way as well, which became a way to serve those two Maine stations when they never could fill a dedicated jet on their own.
The story I just relayed would surprise anyone not familiar with the 1980s or 1990s, because it was a whole different airline landscape back then. Happily, I did an awful lot of business flying during those two decades and took Flight 1230 (and numerous others) many times. My personal logbook shows about a dozen UA 757 flights into and out of MHT, which (sadly) is a type that will probably never be seen here again. BGR-MHT-ORD, MHT-BTV-ORD, MHT-PVD-ORD, ORD-PWM-MHT, ORD-PWM-BGR are just some of the clever routings that United created to serve some pretty thin stations with mainline jets.
Pretty popular as its the only direct service offered. It's been there as long as I lived in the area and that dates to 1983...For a long time it was mainline service, but in recent years has been dropped to Express service
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
Flyer62 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 124 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1714 times:
United still has mainline service at Burlington Vermont, 2 round trips daily on their A-319. BTV never lost mainline service,just was cut back to two mainline flights,it should be PWM that kept the mainline flights not small BTV,there are more people in PWM area than BTV,United dont know what they are doing I guess
KPWM From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 2288 posts, RR: 1 Reply 4, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1610 times:
Quoting Jwb2 (Thread starter): I was wondering how popular is this service does it manage to maintain passengers all year
Yes it's a popular route and is operated year-round. When American Eagle dropped the route (2002 I think), UA express (GoJet) became to only carrier with PWM-ORD route. The loads are pretty good. I flew PWM-ORD and back 2 weeks ago and the load factor was around 95% on the CRJ.
I think UA started PWM-ORD service in 1984. I flew the route many times in the 90's when UA still used 737's in the route. Complete with meal service and some kind of McDonalds kids meal if I remember correctly. Those were the days! As others have mentioned, now it's all express stuff.
Iwannagothere From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 41 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1578 times:
I used to fly ORD-PWM often on AA. Was even reticketed for a flight on UA when the service ended. I remeber the flight being full. Any chance AA will be back? They've dropped their BGR service now so maybe PWM will be back, Yet somehow I doubt it.
UN_B732 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 4288 posts, RR: 4 Reply 6, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1461 times:
I'm surprised; but UA has the only legacy mainline into Burlington (US dropped it's PHL A319, NW ran the DC-9 for one summer). jetBlue has more capacity, but between the CR7s / ERJs to IAD, the 2 A319s to ORD and the RJs to ORD they must be one of the biggest carriers here.
VIflyer From US Virgin Islands, joined May 1999, 496 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 1362 times:
Quoting Iwannagothere (Reply 5): I used to fly ORD-PWM often on AA. Was even reticketed for a flight on UA when the service ended. I remeber the flight being full. Any chance AA will be back? They've dropped their BGR service now so maybe PWM will be back, Yet somehow I doubt it
I use to work those flights PWM-ORD/BOS/JFK and the loads appeared to be decent but according to the company the yields were low and they decided to pull the plug on PWM totally. The ORD flight all the times I worked it seemed to be around 75-80% but i don't know what those tickets were going for. I honestly don't think that MQ will be going back to PWM (shy of a merger or something) any time soo just if only on the fact that AMR/MQ doesn't seem to be too interested in the NE sector regional feed (look how much MQ's direct BOS/LGA feed has dropped since PWM and others stopped).
KPWMSpotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 388 posts, RR: 2 Reply 9, posted (5 years 7 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1188 times:
To answer the original question, UA's service to PWM remains consistent year round. While loads are not as high in the winter months, the route has been operated 3 or 4 times daily with CRJ-700s for the last year. Service to IAD will often see downgrades to CRJ-200s in the winter, but O'Hare remains popular.
ChrisNH is correct about PWM's original United service. PWM was first served by UA in 1984, often connected to flights that also served BGR, MHT, or BTV. These remained 727s and 737s up to the early 2000s, but after 9/11, almost all flights were downgraded to CRJ equipment. Soon after that, United lost its jetbridge in Portland (snatched up by Independence Air, when they broke off from UA Express), in exchange for one of the lower RJ stands ("gate 2" for those of you who know PWM's layout). These RJ stands work fine for frequent CRJ flights, giving United the ability to bring in flights from ORD and IAD at the same time, but they also rule out the possibility of mainline equipment, since the stands are stationary and cannot accommodate a plane taller than a Canadair or Embraer.
I suspect that loads between Portland and Chicago are high enough to warrant an E-170, or even A319 on the flight, but the problem is that United has nowhere to put the planes. Currently all of the jetbridges are spoken for. JetBlue seems to be very happy with United's former Gate 10, and the other airlines into PWM aren't showing signs of downsizing. While PWM may deserve mainline service again with UA, we may have to wait for the terminal expansion to be completed before that can happen for real.
KPWMSpotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 388 posts, RR: 2 Reply 11, posted (5 years 7 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1098 times:
Quoting KPWM (Reply 10):
Is there any timeframe on that? Do we know when it's supposed to be completed?
The first phase is progressing this summer, with the parking garage expansion, and some interior improvements to the existing terminal. Those should be finished by fall.
The expansion of the terminal building is scheduled for 2009, but the apron is not scheduled to be constructed until 2011. I'm not sure if new gates will come online with the new building in a year, or further in the future.
MOBflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1209 posts, RR: 4 Reply 12, posted (5 years 7 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1060 times:
Quoting ChrisNH (Reply 1): BGR-MHT-ORD, MHT-BTV-ORD, MHT-PVD-ORD, ORD-PWM-MHT, ORD-PWM-BGR are just some of the clever routings that United created to serve some pretty thin stations with mainline jets.
I understand your point, but that's not incredibly creative on UA's part. Ever heard of DL's classic DFW-ATL route? I think it went DFW-SHV-MLU-JAN-MEI-BHM-ATL. Three of those cities no longer have mainline, and one of them is approaching EAS status.