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UA 903, Why A 777?  
User currently offlineHAMAD From United Arab Emirates, joined Apr 2000, 1160 posts, RR: 7
Posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6258 times:

I might sound stupid, but i will start by saying, that before anyone thinks and bash me, if you don't like my question, don't answer it.

i have been checking and seeing that united operates an evening flight from IAD to DEN (UA903) on a 777-200. i know that when united operates the early morning flight (301) on a 777-200 its to rotate the airplane instead of sitting at IAD, and by the time those big planes return, its time to go international. my question is, why does united operate a 777 on the evening flight when its time for international departure? for instance they could use if for the frankfurt flight instead of the 767 that is currently being operated. what happens to the airplane after it lands in denver? does it stay over night or does it continue some where else?


PHX - i miss spotting
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1730 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6188 times:

The aircraft flys UA903 to DEN then is parked overnight. It usually returns as 902 to IAD (at 10:30) or 932 to IAD (at 12:45). The aircraft might also fly one of the 3 ORD flights.

The aircraft in question doesn't go to FRA because there is enough service already- 4:30PM A343 (LH), a 5:15PM 744 (UA), a 5:50PM 744 (LH), a 6:40PM 763 (UA) and a 9:45PM 777 (UA). The 763 was only recently added. I would say that's quite a lot of seats to FRA, especially considering there's a flight roughly every 45 minutes between 4:30 and 7 PM, with 2 744s within the same hour.

UA has transcon widebody service to its hubs and focus cites (763/ORD, 777/DEN, 763/SFO, 777/LAX, 763/SEA) during the international departure timebank (5-7pm) to accomodate those traveling into the US from Europe, as well as those passengers who need close to a full day in the DC area before departing (you can go to work for almost the whole day).
These flights are typically nearly full Sunday-Friday, so the use of widebodies is justified.

Plus, IAD does not have a lot of parking for widebodies, compared to SFO, LAX or DEN. If these A/C didn't go somewhere, they would be taking away from the space needed for morning flights (NRT, PEK, KWI arrival, S. America arrivals, Widebody AM domestic flights-SFO, LAX, DEN, ORD).


User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9642 posts, RR: 52
Reply 2, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6182 times:

United has some 777s on domestic routes that could otherwise be used for international flights. The 5pm departure ORD-LAX is traditionally an internationally configured 777. I've flown it before. The plane is flying a domestic route followed by another domestic route. UA could put these international planes on international runs, but still operates them domestically. For this reason, I believe UA could continue further international expansion, but I personally hope that they don't because I really enjoy the opportunity to fly on a three class plane on domestic flights. I've flown ORD-DEN, ORD-SEA, ORD-LAX on international 777s and it's an awesome experience.


If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineMakeMinesLAX From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 566 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6154 times:

It's likely this is operated by a domestically configured aircraft (i.e., a 772A) which is not appropriate for the transatlantic hop and is eventually needed somewhere else (e.g. Hawaii). UA's domestic 777 flights have historically employed both 772As and -ERs, based on availability.

User currently offlineHiflyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2172 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6129 times:

Y'all every thought about the fact UA has a 777 sized hangar at DEN and does mtc there? No big barns at IAD so this would give a sked chance for routine stuff. Just a thought...  Wink

User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1730 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6116 times:

Quoting MakeMinesLAX (Reply 3):
It's likely this is operated by a domestically configured aircraft (i.e., a 772A) which is not appropriate for the transatlantic hop and is eventually needed somewhere else (e.g. Hawaii). UA's domestic 777 flights have historically employed both 772As and -ERs, based on availability.

IAD-DEN flights are 3 class aircraft. IAD-SFO, DEN-SFO, ORD-SFO and rarely ORD/DEN-LAX utilize domestic 777s mostly on a seasonal basis. The domestic 777s (6 of them) are primarily reserved for SFO-HNL/KOA/OGG, DEN/ORD-HNL, ORD-OGG-KOA, and then any domestic flights that anticipate a heavy load (such as DEN-SFO/SFO-ORD). It's all a shuffle game. 777ERs typically only fly domestic routes to reposition the aircraft at its destination, or if there's nothing else available.

[Edited 2007-04-06 01:16:44]

User currently offlineBicoastal From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6106 times:

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 2):
United has some 777s on domestic routes that could otherwise be used for international flights. The 5pm departure ORD-LAX is traditionally an internationally configured 777. I've flown it before. The plane is flying a domestic route followed by another domestic route. UA could put these international planes on international runs, but still operates them domestically. For this reason, I believe UA could continue further international expansion, but I personally hope that they don't because I really enjoy the opportunity to fly on a three class plane on domestic flights. I've flown ORD-DEN, ORD-SEA, ORD-LAX on international 777s and it's an awesome experience

United needs that lift between it's hubs in addition to international flights. If they didn't have the big planes making positioning flights between hubs, they'd have to take their short supply of narrow-bodies off of spoke flying and add additional frequencies between hubs to take up the slack. And they need the belly lift to move freight in and out of domestic locations. None of these planes, other than the two class Hawaii aircraft, stay on domestic runs all day long. Ask a friend at United to pull up the routing of just one of its widebodies. You'd be amazed and impressed on how they are scheduled in and out of the courtry day after day after day.


User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1730 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6093 times:

Quoting Hiflyer (Reply 4):
Y'all every thought about the fact UA has a 777 sized hangar at DEN and does mtc there? No big barns at IAD so this would give a sked chance for routine stuff. Just a thought...

This is true, however heavy maintence and overhall is done at SFO only.

Bicostal touched upon something else I left out- cargo lift.


User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1730 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6077 times:

Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 6):
Ask a friend at United to pull up the routing of just one of its widebodies. You'd be amazed and impressed on how they are scheduled in and out of the courtry day after day after day.

This is an intersting idea. When I go to work this evening, I'll pull a sample 777 (domestic v. international config) as an example.


User currently offlineBicoastal From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6047 times:

One other thing specific to DEN. Without any United flights to Asia and Europe from its Denver hub, they have hundreds of people from Denver's huge catchment area flying to IAD, ORD, LAX and SFO (and return) to make those international connections. They need the widebody lift on key flights timed to make those international connections just to meet the demand. Maybe someday.....for those DEN fans.....United will add a few international flights from there and lessen the need for widebodies to and from its other hubs.

[Edited 2007-04-06 01:28:38]

[Edited 2007-04-06 01:29:29]

User currently offlineHiflyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2172 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5913 times:

Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 7):
This is true, however heavy maintence and overhall is done at SFO only.

Yes..heavy and overhaul are done at the MOC but DENMM has line capability on the 777 and the aircraft is given over 12 hrs at DEN to have it performed. FYI it's quite easy to get the parts enroute from MOC to DEN to meet the bird without having to fly the bird 2 hrs more to get it to SFO....and 2 more hours to get it back to IAD reducing available ground time. FYI they get 2 a night for that...one from ORD and one from IAD....and send them back ready to go the next morning to ORD and IAD....as 2 of the 8 777 birds they handle a day currently. Goes down to 6 in May for the spotters...and 7 during the summer.

But lot of you had great thoughts on other reasons...good to see!

[Edited 2007-04-06 02:56:48]

User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25338 posts, RR: 22
Reply 11, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 5797 times:

Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 6):
And they need the belly lift to move freight in and out of domestic locations.

AA also has a daily 777 MIA-DFW-MIA. I recall lthe recent CNBC special "A Day in the Life of American Airlines" where they were interviewing one of AA's cargo managers at MIA. He said the 777 on MIA-DFW was mainly operated to handle containerized and palletized cargo from South America.


User currently offlineIC408 From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 26 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5629 times:

As mentioned earlier, line maintenance is likely the main purpose but the number of inbound pax from Europe through IAD are pretty high and UA903 is the first flight with legal/realistic connections to DEN and the ability to sell F/J/Y seats to those pax probably helps with revenue as well. So the Intl 777 makes a lot of sense esp since its the second to last flight of the day to DEN with UA933 being an A320 and catering more to O/D traffic.


Opinions expressed within my posts are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of United Airlines, Inc.
User currently offlineLTU932 From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 13864 posts, RR: 50
Reply 13, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5561 times:

Quoting MakeMinesLAX (Reply 3):
It's likely this is operated by a domestically configured aircraft (i.e., a 772A) which is not appropriate for the transatlantic hop and is eventually needed somewhere else (e.g. Hawaii).

The 772A is frequently used for Transatlantic flights out of IAD and possibly also from ORD (everything depending on the distance, if it's too long, then a -200ER will fly the route). Just because it's a 772A, doesn't mean it doesn't fly internationally.  Wink


User currently offlineB52murph From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 241 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5464 times:

Quoting MakeMinesLAX (Reply 3):
It's likely this is operated by a domestically configured aircraft (i.e., a 772A) which is not appropriate for the transatlantic hop and is eventually needed somewhere else (e.g. Hawaii). UA's domestic 777 flights have historically employed both 772As and -ERs, based on availability.

Nope...as already mentioned, it's a 3 class 772A. I have flown this flight several (at least 4) times and am scheduled to do so again the end of this month. Each time, the aircraft has arrived from MUC; not sure how long it's been that way, but this has been the case going back at least 3-4 years. It's almost always full in Y going out from IAD, with many pax needing departure mgt cards to confirm seats at the last minue.

When I last flew this flight last November (right after Thanksgiving), it seemed as if half the pax load was in line with departure management cards at the gate trying to get seats. The gate agent wasn't pleasant about it either....but that's a long story for another day.


User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1730 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (7 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 5240 times:

Quoting B52murph (Reply 14):
It's almost always full in Y going out from IAD, with many pax needing departure mgt cards to confirm seats at the last minue.

When I last flew this flight last November (right after Thanksgiving), it seemed as if half the pax load was in line with departure management cards at the gate trying to get seats. The gate agent wasn't pleasant about it either....but that's a long story for another day.

That would be stand by passengers/ employees.


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