Just seen this story on BBC - report states that a BA 747 travelling IAH-LHR landed for (minor) technical issue at Cardiff towards the end of the flight. Flight operated by a 744. Slightly surprised to see that the flight had only 138 passengers on board......
Seems very low?! Is this just because it was the Sunday-Monday red-eye rather than a full weekday? Or are loads on the BA flights out of IAH typically this low (and just high on J/F/cargo to make the economics work). Seems very strange - BA typically operate fairly near capacity in my experience; only time I have had a very empty 744 flight on BA was the old daytime LHR-NBO (which was scrapped after a while, when they realised that most of the high-yield passengers like to fly this route overnight).
Tdan From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 408 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 23812 times:
Average loads on BA out of IAH are around 60% for the full year based on HAS's traffic statistics. Average fares are very high as the premium cabins have very high paid LFs. Additionally, BA uses their lowest density 744s on the route. When CO flew into LGW, LFs were between 60-70% for the year, yet it was their most profitable route on an absolute basis. This is why you can never judge a route's financial performance based on LF alone. Huge local market that is essentially 50% F/C/J traffic.
We will ride this thunderbird, silver shadows on the earth, a thousand leagues away our land of birth... -Captain Bruce
bobloblaw From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 1615 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 23740 times:
Keep in mind its also February. Slowest month on the North Atlantic. I am surprised that BA doesn't use a 777. Even if LF is not a good proxy for profits, you should still use a lower cost plane and not haul a lot of dead weight. Unless the 744 is needed for cargo.
nighthawk From UK - Scotland, joined Sep 2001, 5126 posts, RR: 34
Reply 5, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 23618 times:
Quoting Tdan (Reply 1): Average loads on BA out of IAH are around 60% for the full year based on HAS's traffic statistics.
I'm surprised it's as low as 60%, a few colleagues have travelled to IAH recently, and every time i've looked at the loads they have been close to full. Although having said that, tonights flight is empty. February really must be a quiet time for this route!
Ratypus From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 176 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 23526 times:
Yeah, thanks all - I did figure it must just be a route with very high yields - was still surprised to see it was quite as low as that - Y must have been nearly empty! Contrast with some of the other fairly high-yielding routes (HKG?) where they still manage to fill the Y cabin with cheap fares as well.
mutu From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 536 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 23438 times:
Dont forget BA send a daily 777 and 747 on this route, and UA have multiple dailies. Whilst there is a relatively large number of total seats to fill daily there is also plenty of premium traffic to make the profit for both of them even with the back lightly loaded during the week
ely747 From Slovakia, joined Jan 2013, 140 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 23024 times:
Going back a couple weeks there were some comments in regards to 5 years since BA38 crash and to be honest I was actually surprised to find out there were only 152 pax on that 11hr flight. It seemed relatively low given the fact it was a direct service between London and Beijing. These days, it's a 744 service year round. Anyone who can comment on some LF or front of the aircraft occupancy to PEK?
raffik From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2006, 1716 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 21654 times:
Quoting ely747 (Reply 11):
Going back a couple weeks there were some comments in regards to 5 years since BA38 crash and to be honest I was actually surprised to find out there were only 152 pax on that 11hr flight
I suppose it depends on the cargo load and more importantly, how many F/J passengers there were of that 152 people.
The outbound flight could have gone full for all we know. Lots of factors to profitability
factsonly From Montserrat, joined Aug 2012, 816 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 21431 times:
If you think 138 pax. on a B747 is low, I can tell you that I once departed IAH with just 7 pax. on a B747-200 heading for MEX. There were ten cabin crew on-board to handle just 7 pax, they literally had to search the cabin to find them.
It was along time ago, but some may be able to guess the airline.
BA0197 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2011, 274 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 21276 times:
I can confirm from the BA station manager at IAH that BA has been profitable for the last 6 years and is one of BA's highest yeilding NA routes. Shell and BP both have extensive contracts on the routes in F and J class. This was the rational by putting the new 77W on the route with the new cabins in the back and ensure that BA has a better product that UA on the route. BA also has a Galleries First and Club at IAH
The route has a VERY high LF during the summer months (near 95%) as BA has quite the following in Houston. (They are the largest Foriegn Carrier at IAH).
Quoting raffik (Reply 12): I suppose it depends on the cargo load and more importantly, how many F/J passengers there were of that 152 people.
Cargo is very good here at IAH. In addition to the 2 daily departures to LHR, BA also sends a 748F on Sunday to STN
Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 3): I am surprised that BA doesn't use a 777. Even if LF is not a good proxy for profits, you should still use a lower cost plane and not haul a lot of dead weight. Unless the 744 is needed for cargo.
BA will send the largest AC to where it is likely to get the largest return. Yeilds allow for the 744 and 77W to be used. During the summer the 77W changes to a 772 and the 744 as well. During the summer other routes need to 744 capacity I could presume.
AAIL86 From Finland, joined Feb 2011, 408 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 18564 times:
When I worked at American, it was very common for flights to Europe in winter to depart with very low load factors. I remember seeing a manifest for a DFW-LHR flight that had only 7 people (3 in F, 2 in C 3 in Y) on the 777. At departure the FA's decided it was easier to move everyone to F and keep them there. People always ask well why not just cancel the flight in that case, but the reality is that its just not that simple. Usually the plane is needed downline.
The bottom line is that in a 365 day operation there are going to be flights with extreme differences in load factor. You really can't say any anything about the financial performance of a route based on a few outliers. In fact depending on the types of tickets issued for the flight, its very possible those 138 passengers turned a hefty profit for BA.
BA do extremely well on their Texas-London routes over the course of the year - even though there may some days that they don't do as well...
jayunited From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 887 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 17918 times:
You have to remember that it is the slow season and a lot of flights not just BA flights are going out with plenty of empty seats. The other day I was checking one of United's flights from IAH-LHR went out full in BusinessFirst all 50 seats were taken but out of 217 seats in coach only 69 were occupied. The same thing happens here in Chicago of the 3 flights UA has all 3 767's go out full in first and business class but I've seen coach go out with as few as 29 passengers out of 151 seats in coach. The airlines make up for this by increasing the amount of cargo that they ship. Cargo demand has not dropped so instead of canceling or reducing the number of frequencies because of the staggering number of empty seats in coach the airlines are using those empty seats to increase the amount of cargo they put on these planes. During the slow season Cargo in addition to premium customers filling premium cabins is what keeps a lot of international flights going over the Atlantic.
So if you are in coach you should definitely take advantage of all that room cause in a few months you will be begging to have an entire row and peace and quiet to yourself on a international flight.
bohica From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2671 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 16537 times:
Quoting bthebest (Reply 6): Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 3):
Even if LF is not a good proxy for profits, you should still use a lower cost plane and not haul a lot of dead weight. Unless the 744 is needed for cargo.
If you have a plane to spare - I imagine all the 777s are being used on other routes that don't have the high F/J loads.
On the flip-side there might not be anywhere else to send that 747.
lemonkitty From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 130 posts, RR: 9
Reply 22, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 16024 times:
Quoting factsonly (Reply 13): If you think 138 pax. on a B747 is low, I can tell you that I once departed IAH with just 7 pax. on a B747-200 heading for MEX. There were ten cabin crew on-board to handle just 7 pax, they literally had to search the cabin to find them.
It was along time ago, but some may be able to guess the airline.
brilondon From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 4123 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 15676 times:
I usually travel through IAH on my way to LHR and I like the Y class as there are usually open seats in the back and I can stretch out across the four seats in the middle or get to have 3 seats to my self.
GSTBA From UK - England, joined Apr 2010, 465 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (1 year 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 14949 times:
I have done about 15 (30 flights) round trips with BA on the IAH route.
I have only seen Y over 75% full On all but 3 of the 30 sectors . On nearly every flight both F and J have been full and WTP normally 80% full. That's is both on the 77W and Hi J 747. It is worth remembering that IAH is BA's 3rd highest earner for revenue across the network. With I believe only LOS and JFK making more.
About 80% of the pax in J and F fly out at the start of the working week and fly back before the weekend. Such a journey is not cheap Due to the Saturday night stay fare rule, that is still in place on many Longhaul routes industry wide.
The cheapest fare for a passenger flying out on a Tuesday and back on a Saturday is £6450/$9165 in Business and £10,747/$16,100 in F. With fares like that it is easy to see how it is one of the best performers
: It's February. Only full flights between the U.S. and Europe right now are going to Florida.
: I was on a TWA 747 red-eye once, LAX-BOS in the 1970's, and there were 12 of us passengers. The FAs were kind enough to stow armrests for us so that w
: Haven't been on an empty 747 (although I do see numbers on the PHX-LHR BA flight that are in the 150 range), but I was once on a regularly scheduled A
: Why did I then still manage to spend >1k getting across? Maybe I need to book sooner next time. This is why many of the US carriers eventually dro
: I was on BA 197 on March 1st last year, the later of the two LHR-IAH daily flights. The 744 was just about empty, with not more than 80-90 people on b
: Yes, cargo is a big boost for this route. BA fare class O starts as low as $837 on the IAH-LHR route with a 7 day purchase restriction and a SAT nigh
: I agree with most others. It's February. Other than Thailand and Southeast Asia, this is the least busy travel time of the year. Some airlines really
: Why doesn't BA fly the 744 in the afternoon and use the 777 in the evening?
: Midflight, ORD-LHR on a United 747-400 in April of 2011......75 passengers total.
: I have been on a flight with only 2 passengers on it. It was a SAAB 340 and the F/A sat with us for most of the flight. We all had to sit in the back
: I have been on a A330-200 flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong with only 25 passnegers.
: I was on an ORD-CDG in 2010, J was only half full, and Y had only about 12 pax (763 AA). This happens. Keep in mind that full fare F from IAH-LHR can
: BA197 left tonight with 13 in F, 52 in J, 12 in W and 56 in Y. 133 total. BA made money (quite a bit actually) keeping in mind that the F and J revenu
: In December I did the MAS a380 to LHR, and it had only 100+ economy passengers. Very nice, with lots of space for everyone. Sadly for me it was only a
: Wow... I once did LHR-FCO on a nearly empty flight. It was weird having a row of Y to oneself... Is this route scheduled to go to the A380 for BA? It
: What are the loads like to places like LAX from LHR at this time of the year? Do they struggle much like IAH etc?
: I wonder why Virgin haven't jumped on the LHR-IAH bandwagon if the revenue is so good, that is their usual way of working.
: Load factor means little. If you work for an oil company and travel that kind of flight (time), you are traveling in J or F. That is part of what we a
: I'm sure this has been disclosed before, which other BA markets are in the top 10 in regards to excellent yields and hight demand for P & J? JFK..
: You do realize to get enough people to go to where the oil is they have to do that?!? Would you rather pay the oil prices that would happen if there
: I certainly think it should be. I've posted my rational on the "Future of IAH Part 3" post. Why not though? I would think that the later arrival into
: i beat you all... a B777 flying from ORD to LHR with 5 pax on board.... must have been a boooooooring flight for cabin crew.... http://www.telegraph.c
: I thought the afternoon flight BA194 would have more passengers so it would make sense to use the 744 then use the 777 in the evening when you have l