Srbmod - you brought up a good point, something that I was thinking about over the weekend. What risks are UA
taking on by having alliances with independent regionals such as Skywest, ACA
, and Mesa? By risks, I mean not only your point about poor service on the regional which puts a bad image on the main carrier, but what about receiving a good quality experience on the regional which the main carrier doesn't emulate?
A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to use UA
's Skywest service between LAX
and back. I used it before when this route was operated by Air Wisconson (after the United Shuttle shut down), nothing to write home about, but the experience with Skywest was vastly different. The planes were immaculately clean, and the Skywest flight attendants should be giving lessons in attentiveness and service to the mainline flight attendants. While reading the in-flight magazines, I was impressed at how much Skywest had grown (I remember their humble beginnings out of SLC
) and the expansiveness of their route network. It rivaled some of the majors. My thought was, for some of these short trips, where UA
/DL and Skywest overlap, why not choose Skywest all the time and bypass UA
Maybe this is why ACA
is trying to go off on its own? UA
retracted so much in short-haul service in the east, ACA
recognized it and decided that they're better off on their own, rather than turing over some of their profits to UA
? Now UA
needs to find a partner in the east, and they also have a new competitor to deal with. As someone posted earlier, if UA
had an ownership stake in ACA
, this would not be a problem.
For economics, UA
has turned over a lot of routes to the regionals, but from what I experienced, they could be paying a long-term price.