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United To Lose "First" Or Continental To Gain It?  
User currently offlineDALALWAYS From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 97 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 16112 times:

I am a former United flight attendant. I know that pre-merger United was the only U.S. carrier that utilized a 3-class configuration on all non-North American international flights. Considering they just spent millions of dollars on the new "United First" and "United Business" suites and seats, I cannot imagine they would discontinue this system. Does anyone know or want to speculate if pre-merger Continental aircraft (maybe with the exception of the 757-ETOPS) will take on a 3-class configuration?

50 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16878 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 15988 times:

I suspect three class will not go away, but it's going to be dedicated to niche markets such as;

P.S. flights, Hong Kong, Tokyo, London Heathrow, Paris etc..



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineTOMMY767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 6584 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 15951 times:

Quoting DALALWAYS (Thread starter):
Does anyone know or want to speculate if pre-merger Continental aircraft (maybe with the exception of the 757-ETOPS) will take on a 3-class configuration?

I could see the 764s, maybe even the 762s getting a lie flat F product somewhere down the road.



"Folks that's the news and I'm outta here!" -- Dennis Miller
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31062 posts, RR: 87
Reply 3, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 15845 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I am sure UA will keep First Class on at least the major routes. It's a point of distinction for them that they are the only US-flagged major with First Class on all of their intercontinental routes and most of the Star Alliance carriers also offer a First Class product.

User currently offlinejoost From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 3170 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 15557 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 3):
and most of the Star Alliance carriers also offer a First Class product.

I wouldn't say that. Some have it, some don't:

Featuring long-haul First:
CA
NH
OZ
SQ
TG
LH
LX
TK (only the leased Jet Airways 777-300 ER fleet)
OZ (are they keeping it?)

Phasing out First:
SA (will feature lie-flat business class)
MS (will feature lie-flat business class)

Business Class as best product:
SK
OS
TP
SN
US
AC
NZ
LO
BD


User currently offlinePSA727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 974 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 15447 times:

Continental was very big on promoting their BusinessFirst product. United, not so much. Remember the "connesieur class" days from the early 90's? I would think that United First would go away, or at least be limited to 747s and 777s. I don't see COUA abandoning international 752 service. In fact, I think there will be more of it. And there's no way they would add F to those planes. I actually think that E+ will be pulled from UA's domestic fleet and another row of F be added to the 319s and 320s. And then perhaps the combined international fleet would be J/ Y+/ Y configured for 757s and 767s, and F/ J/ Y+/ Y for 777s and 747s. But does UA's F product really compete with the F product of its competing Asian and European rivals? To me UA is more matched up with AA and DL. And AA only has F on its 777s, whereas DL doesn't have it at all.


fly high, pay low...Germanwings!
User currently offlineUA933 From Germany, joined Feb 2006, 220 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 15396 times:

In my opinion UA's F product is much better than e.g. LH's new F product on the 380. So I do not concur that they only matched AA's product or DL's J.


united - It's time to fly!
User currently offlineC010T3 From Brazil, joined Jul 2006, 3708 posts, RR: 19
Reply 7, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 15371 times:

Quoting joost (Reply 4):

Featuring long-haul First:
CA
NH
OZ
SQ
TG
LH
LX
TK (only the leased Jet Airways 777-300 ER fleet)
OZ (are they keeping it?)

You forgot about JJ... They offer F on the 332 and 77W. First Class is not offered on the 763 or 345, but both types are expected to be phased out.


User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9661 posts, RR: 52
Reply 8, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 15237 times:

UA's international network is based on flying to large cities rather than smaller markets. UA's biggest destinations are markets that do support F. HKG, SYD, NRT, LHR, FRA, etc do support it.

UA actually has an advantage with a mixed 2 and 3 class fleet. The old CO planes could go towards markets that do not support F well within the UA network like DME, EZE, FCO, BRU, etc. The old UA planes could move into EWR-LHR, EWR-NRT, etc where the F is needed. Some Asian stations that struggle to support the premium heavy planes like KIX could see the end of F.

Quoting PSA727 (Reply 5):
I actually think that E+ will be pulled from UA's domestic fleet and another row of F be added to the 319s and 320s

E+ is a major marketing tool for UA and it does earn them money. There will never be enough first class seats for the upgrades, so E+ is a great thing to have. Some airlines try to pretend like they have premium economy seats by selling exit rows, bulkheads or just the first 5 rows of economy as better. UA has a dedicated section and it is meaningful. The only E+ I could see disappearing is on the RJs.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineUnited787 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2714 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 15237 times:

Quoting PSA727 (Reply 5):
I would think that United First would go away, or at least be limited to 747s and 777s.

I respectally disagree for the simple fact... the merger has been closed for 2 weeks and UA and CO continue to update their respective fleets with their 3 class and 2 class cabin layouts, see link below.

Given that the international 763 fleet is conversion is complete, I bet those would remain 3 class.

Since the 762 and 764 fleet upgrades have not begun...we may see the 764s become 3 class but I would bet the 762 stay 2 class.

United Existing Fleet Upgrade Status (by United787 Jun 1 2010 in Civil Aviation)

Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
I suspect three class will not go away, but it's going to be dedicated to niche markets such as;

P.S. flights, Hong Kong, Tokyo, London Heathrow, Paris etc..

Until I hear otherwise from UA, I believe the same...they have an enormous fleet with 6 very different international gateway hubs that can afford to have subfleets that will allow them to place the right aircraft on the right route even more so than they could before...going to be very exicting...


User currently offlinePSA727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 974 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 15215 times:

Quoting UA933 (Reply 6):
In my opinion UA's F product is much better than e.g. LH's new F product on the 380. So I do not concur that they only matched AA's product or DL's J.

But what about the F product from start to finish, and not just the seat? UA's RCCs are a joke compared to LH's Seantor Lounges. And with LH's in flight service, you don't have to gauge the attitude of the cabin crew to wonder what the service will be like. LH crews pretty much follow the book, UA not so much. It's very hit or miss. And then there's ANA, Singapore, Cathy Pacific...



fly high, pay low...Germanwings!
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25543 posts, RR: 50
Reply 11, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 15031 times:

I tend to agree that the future United will not be 3-class across the board.

There are markets today that really cannot support F class demand as is, and with addition of CO's many secondary markets in Europe in particular this number surges.

I tend to believe we will see a hybrid fleet of mixed 2 and 3 class aircraft, a bit like AA which offers F class but only on its 777s which serve a smaller set of destinations.

Quoting PSA727 (Reply 10):
UA's RCCs are a joke compared to LH's Seantor Lounges.

I'll take an RCC any day after recently spending time in the depressing gray LH lounge at MUC.

Quoting PSA727 (Reply 10):
And with LH's in flight service, you don't have to gauge the attitude of the cabin crew to wonder what the service will be like. LH crews pretty much follow the book, UA not so much. It's very hit or miss.

LH inflight service while consistent is nothing inspiring in my view. I like LH, but I don't fly them for the product or service really. While UA can indeed be hit or miss, the new IPTE hard product goes a long way in my book and things like service or meals are low priority as I tend to sleep virtually the entire journey.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31062 posts, RR: 87
Reply 12, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 14867 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting PSA727 (Reply 10):
UA's RCCs are a joke compared to LH's Seantor Lounges.

Well evidently CO's President Club appears to be the new model for the lounges, so that bodes well, IMO. There are reports RCCs now offer free liquor, which has been the norm at PC's for ages, as opposed to the two drink chits for international flights.


User currently offlineTN727 From Australia, joined Aug 2006, 16 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 14657 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

And QF still has a great First Class product, it will only remain on the A380, currently being phased out on the 747's.

User currently offlinedl767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 14640 times:

I think having a mixture of first class and business class flights make a lot of sense. I'm sure there are routes that can sustain a first class product while many can only support a business class product. Who knows, maybe they could put the CO business first product on business only flights and keep the UA seats on the 3 class flights.

User currently offlineUnited1 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 5983 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 14617 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 12):
Quoting PSA727 (Reply 10):
UA's RCCs are a joke compared to LH's Seantor Lounges.

Well evidently CO's President Club appears to be the new model for the lounges, so that bodes well, IMO. There are reports RCCs now offer free liquor, which has been the norm at PC's for ages, as opposed to the two drink chits for international flights.

I would not count on the PCs (or the RCCs) becoming the new model for the lounges. UA is simply offering "house" alcoholic beverages and WiFi for free....same thing that was offered in the PCs.



Semper Fi - PowerPoint makes us stupid.
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25459 posts, RR: 22
Reply 16, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 14543 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 3):
It's a point of distinction for them that they are the only US-flagged major with First Class on all of their intercontinental routes

Most business class products today are better than first class a decade or more ago. Continually upgrading F class just to maintain a differential over improved J products doesn't make sense. J is good enough for most passengers and F class takes a lot of real estate of the aircraft. If there's demand, keep it. If not, drop it like BA, which has quite a few longhaul routes without F class.

F class fares are often more than twice the J fares and very few markets have adequate demand. It would be interesting to know how many passengers in F class on UA are paying the published fares.

Offering F class also means you can't make J too good to avoid cannibalizing your F class market.


User currently onlineOA412 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 5295 posts, RR: 25
Reply 17, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 14445 times:

Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
I suspect three class will not go away, but it's going to be dedicated to niche markets such as;

P.S. flights, Hong Kong, Tokyo, London Heathrow, Paris etc..

I think this is exactly what will happen. Most (perhaps all) of CO's secondary markets in Europe cannot sustain F class service. At the same time, some of the large markets EWR-CDG, EWR-LHR, EWR-FRA, as well as EWR-HKG, IAH-LHR, IAH-GIG, etc. can support F class. So I definitely think we'll see F stick around, but it will not be available on all routes.



Hughes Airwest - Top Banana In The West
User currently offlineAZA330 From Italy, joined Feb 2004, 289 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 13750 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 16):
Most business class products today are better than first class a decade or more ago. Continually upgrading F class just to maintain a differential over improved J products doesn't make sense

I agree. It actually seems to me that, in many circumstances, Business is the new First, Coach is Economy more than ever, and Premium Economy is just what, with a little more development, could become the new Business.

Business is the new First because of the quality of the product offered: lie-flat seats on many airlines (sorry, but I cannot imagine designing a seat that reclines to 170 degrees rather than make it recline all the way, especially when other airlines have life flat seats); the food and entertainment are so similar in J and F that you really have to care about it to notice the little difference, and the other privileges (miles bonus, lounges, and so on) a business class traveler gets are not too far from what you received in First class a few years ago. When you have this kind of business class, either you do a First on the Emirates level (remembering that you have to fill it up with passengers who would pay for it), or you just take away the front 8-12 seats from your 777s, 747s and maybe 767s and replace them with the "new" business class.

For this reason, either United plans to bring First to a whole new level with the next upgrade, or they may just fill what used to be the First class section with business class seats (and please, let it be BusinessFirst seats!)


User currently offline777fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2502 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 13293 times:

Quoting PSA727 (Reply 5):
I actually think that E+ will be pulled from UA's domestic fleet and another row of F be added to the 319s and 320s

Why would they do that when E+ is a money maker? UA has previously stated E+ brings in $100M+ in revenue each year; I'd venture to guess a good day for the 4 extra F seats on each A319/20 would mean that two of the four were actual purchases, vice comp upgrades and the like.

I'm inclined to concur with previous guesstimates which suggest UA will reserve F class for its ULH or flagship routes but at the same time, I can't help but wonder how the eventual 787/A350 integration and utilization will be factored into such plans.

777fan



DC-8 61/63/71 DC-9-30/50 MD-80/82/83 DC-10-10/30 MD-11 717 721/2 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 741/2/4 752 762/3 777 A306/319/20/33 AT
User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9186 posts, RR: 15
Reply 20, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 13025 times:

UA will keep/upgrade its first class on existing UA fleet and maybe modify CO business first I think

User currently offlinecaptainstefan From United States of America, joined May 2007, 430 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 12915 times:

Quoting UA933 (Reply 6):
I actually think that E+ will be pulled from UA's domestic fleet and another row of F be added to the 319s and 320s.
Quoting 777fan (Reply 19):
Why would they do that when E+ is a money maker? UA has previously stated E+ brings in $100M+ in revenue each year

(United fan boy speaking)
Like 777fan said, Economy Plus is too big a money maker to remove it for a row of what (currently, at least) is a pretty lame first class product. Unless a big upgrade to First Class is waiting in the wings, I don't see the removal of E+ as a wise decision.

On the other hand, I can't see Continental adopting E+ anytime soon - at least until all cabin configurations are assimilated.

[Edited 2010-10-11 16:46:07]


Long Live the Tulip!
User currently offlineairways45 From United Kingdom, joined May 2000, 300 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 12740 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 16):
It would be interesting to know how many passengers in F class on UA are paying the published fares.

Absolutely, great quesion and one many airlines with First Class on International routes consider.

I would expect (and don't flame me) that UA first is mainly full of upgrades (using miles), staff - vacation travel, overbooking spill from business to first, and, the odd fare paying pax. There's often not a problem filling First Class International - just finding the folks willing to pay for it. That's why i supect airlines like UAL / BA / Cathay / JAL / ANA / LH can fill First with full fare paying pax - i.e NRT-LHR or HKG - LHR, but, can't fill it on other lessmoney making routes.

That said, recently when i flew in J class to the USA from LHR, the difference in fare up to First was quite small (not double J class) but company travel policy says no First. Boo hoo.

Airways45


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25543 posts, RR: 50
Reply 23, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 12647 times:

Quoting 777fan (Reply 19):
Why would they do that when E+ is a money maker?

Is it really?

Quoting 777fan (Reply 19):
UA has previously stated E+ brings in $100M+ in revenue each year;

At what cost?

Look at it this way. With the industry enjoying 80%+ year round load factors having lower density aircraft with E+ means you are turning people away.
If you added a row of two on each aircraft and sold them at 80% of the time, would that revenue exceed whatever alleged up sell revenue you garner from today's E+? Simple answer is Yes. Even when E+ was rolled out at UA in 2003 it was mentioned one of the reasons they were able to do it, was because the industry was in a downturn struggling for passengers and any extra revenue was a good thing. Today the situation is different as airlines set record load factors quarter after quarter.

At the end of the day, as much as I personally like E+, I think it then comes down to what marketing value does it have to overcome the revenue benefits of more physical seats provide.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineDALALWAYS From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 97 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 12452 times:

Quoting OA412 (Reply 17):
It would be interesting to know how many passengers in F class on UA are paying the published fares.

I can tell you that when I was working at UA, full fare customers were rare. Maybe one or two per flight. First is typically filled with Global Services passengers that purchase business class fares then upgrade. I left the company in 2008 before the fuel price debacle, so I am assuming that not much has changed.


25 BMI727 : Probably both. Since there are certainly markets where CO could sell first class and make plenty of money doing that, and there are certain markets t
26 PSA727 : I've always questioned the logic in this as well. At the very minimum, E+ is taking away 6 Y seats, or preventing 4 F seats from being in the cabin.
27 N766UA : If UA got rid of E+, there'd be absolutely no reason for me to fly them. On transcons or longhaul flights, legroom is more important to me than food,
28 Stitch : As I recall, UA has noted E+ up-sells brings in scores of millions of additional revenue per year. It might even be north of $100 million...
29 ScottB : And that really hits on the head the reason why international First Class has been replaced on many carriers with upgraded Business Class products; t
30 Post contains images kgaiflyer : On the other hand, I fly VX occasionally for their awesome $9 cold roast beef sandwich with a Heineken. Nothing like it on United (hint. hint )
31 FlyASAGuy2005 : Just my personal opinion as an outsider looking in is UA will keep C. I'm not too sure about the 762 (PS for transcons maybe?) but def the 764 will se
32 N766UA : I flew them LAX-SFO and really enjoyed my flight. If I lived on the west coast, I'd probably fly them more, but their shortest flight out of Boston i
33 washingtonian : Like most others, I agree that we will see a hybrid. 757s will remain 2-class obviously. But even if United wants a sub-fleet of aircraft with F, whic
34 washingtonian : Also, what does United have to do to make CO's new BusinessFirst seats similar to United's new Business Class product? I know the seats are very simil
35 SkyPriorityDTW : Not going to happen... E+ is a point of distinction for United in addition to another way of making money. Every time I've flown United, I've forked
36 VC10er : and JJ. And a nice F too, although just 4 seats. i have flown UA First to and from many desinations in Asia. Its pretty damn good. SQ, no. Cathay, no
37 Mats : There are two way to look at this question: From United/Continental's standpoint, First Class may attract revenue. It may be tangential revenue from m
38 DocLightning : Depends on your airline, your routes, and your customers. Some airlines (some of which are among the most respected carriers in the world like CO, VS
39 CALPSAFltSkeds : Go look at the UA 763ER map on Seat Guru and you'll see that the F seats take up twice the room as a Business seat. If the tickets aren't double and
40 UAL777UK : I agree but those major markets, namely LHR, SYS, HKG, NRT and FRA will see it remain. IMHO if it were to go there would be a lot of people hacked of
41 RoseFlyer : HKG, LHR and SYD almost never have non-revs in first. Those routes are typically filled with revenue passengers paying for the fair. If you want to g
42 Post contains images kgaiflyer : Some airlines charge extra for bulkhead and exit rows. On CO 73NG planes with Direct TV (1) the extra kneeroom puts you further from the small screen
43 sldispatcher : That pretty much sums it up. I would not be shocked to see a few 763's put on current Continental EWR - Europe routes just to test the E+ and First C
44 dfambro : So true, UA has gotten all of us 1Ks with 'domestic economy-only' travel policies used to 36" pitch and going back to 30-32" would feel like betrayal
45 NorthstarBoy : Believe it or not, there are people out there who will only fly dedicated F class and will only accept a 2 class aircraft (and very grudgingly at that
46 baw716 : UA's F class product will IMHO be market specific, where there is a demand for the product and people are actually paying for it. Everywhere else, the
47 Post contains links DALALWAYS : ****************UPDATE************** I just read this article on MSNBC, it seems to go right along with the question that I asked. http://www.msnbc.ms
48 STT757 : This quote from the above linked MSNBC article makes me think they are keeping International First class;
49 CODC10 : I read that in the context of domestic first class, which is an important differentiating factor over airlines like Southwest or JetBlue. With that s
50 LipeGIG : Well, i see UA now in a better situation than before and i do believe they will keep F class. Now they have two worlds that they can mix up to produce
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