I have refrained from responding to these UAL threads, as I feel I really am not that educated re UAL ops or the American market, period. But, if I may be allowed to offer my opinion, here it is. I too feel that UAL should not dispose of the LHR route rights, or any international route for that matter.
I am thinking here of the former Canadi>n Airlines International, whose pride and joy, not to mention their cash cow, were the Asian routes from YVR.
Here's a scenario. What if United were to focus primarily on long-haul international routes from SFO, ORD and JFK only. Even expand theeir global network and add more flights to Asia, where the economy is, and will make a dramatic comeback. Reduce their domestic services dramatically, and perhaps form an alliance with, for example Southwest, or even JetBlue (who would grow as they would be "feeding" the UAL international hubs. These carriers, as stated, would be providing the essential "feeder service" to the above 3 UAL hubs. SFO could receive the LAX pax loads for international flights. United would continue to operate high yeild domestic routes (JFK-SF0/LAX/ORD; ORD-SFO/LAX/DFW/JFK, etc. Yes, this would vastly reduce the fleet, but perhaps a meaner, leaner, healthier global carrier vs global/domestic outfit would be more logical in these lean times. In short, get a knife and cut loose the excess capacity. The way i see it, there is only one way for UAL to survive, and thrive.....REDUCE and focus on becoming an international force to be reckoned with. Leave the vast majority of the domestic service to the
"American Alliance" partners.
I realize this is overly simplistic, but then again, sometimes the obvious solutions are. Sort of "Can't see the forest for the trees" school of thought.
Again, just my quick thoughts on the matter. Feel free to blast me! LOL.