Indio66
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UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:05 pm

According to the Wall Street Journal, UAL is retiring its 767s from the JFK - LAX, SFO routes. Instead, they will offer three class 757 service starting Oct. 18 to SFO and in December to LAX.

I just flew them last week and the FO was bragging about how UAL flies the widebodies as opposed to the narrows of some of the LCCs.


 
Indio66
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:09 pm

Here is the story:

CHICAGO, Aug. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- United Airlines (OTC Bulletin Board: UALAQ - News) today announced that the company will launch new three-cabin Boeing 757 premium domestic service, officially known as "p.s. (SM)," that offers customers more space and comfort, and a superior level of service for United fliers traveling between New York and Los Angeles and New York and San Francisco.
The new p.s. (SM) flights between John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) will roll-out from October 18, 2004 to late December 2004, while p.s. SM service between JFK and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) will roll-out from late December 2004 to late February 2005. The new p.s. (SM) flights are open for sale beginning Tuesday, August 3, 2004.

"The level of comfort and distinguished service usually reserved for international flights will soon be available to our customers traveling between New York and Los Angeles and New York and San Francisco," said Martin White, senior vice president -- Marketing. "Our new premium service, p.s. SM, is central in United's business strategy to effectively serve high-yield customers, by offering them an unmatched flying experience with more comfort and a superior level of service in all three cabins."

Key features of United's new p.s. (SM) service include:

* More space and comfort. p.s. (SM) customers can stretch out and enjoy
an environment created especially for their comfort and convenience:
- United First(R)offers customers the most personal space between New
York and the West Coast with the only lie-flat seat on a U.S.
carrier and over five feet of space between rows.
- United Business(R) offers customers wide and spacious leather seats
with an enhanced recline and over four feet of space between rows -
an additional foot more than United Business on other domestic
aircraft.
- Economy Plus(R) is now offered throughout the entire coach cabin and
has a 34" pitch versus the standard 31" pitch, providing customers
enhanced personal space.

* A superior level of service. p.s. (SM) service is the only service
between New York and the West Coast that offers access to laptop power,
phones and JetConnect from every seat.
- p.s. (SM) offers direct 110V laptop power connections that require
no adaptor to customers in all classes of service.
- Verizon Airfone service will keep customers in touch while flying,
and Verizon Wireless subscribers can forward their wireless phone
numbers to the Airfone handsets at their seat.
- JetConnect service keeps customers in contact using their laptops -
with instant messaging, text messaging and e-mail.

* Skillfully prepared and exquisitely presented meals. From appetizer to
salad, from main entree to dessert, United is applying the same elegant
dining options customers have come to expect from international travel
to a cross-country domestic flight.
- United First and Business feature signature Bellini champagne
cocktails, specialty chocolates and new refreshed menu choices that
appeal to the most discerning palates.
- Economy Plus offers new refreshed menu choices.

* Premium onboard entertainment. p.s. (SM) customers have countless
opportunities to pass the time:
- United First and Business customers may view a variety of
entertainment choices via hand-held DVD players and noise-reduction
headsets, along with ten program options. p.s. (SM) will be the only
provider of noise reduction headsets to first and business class
customers flying between New York and California.
- Customized onboard video programming is available to customers in
all classes of service via United's overhead entertainment system.


The new p.s. (SM) service is United's latest step in attracting and serving elite and business customers. Other recent initiatives include:

* United recently launched Ameniti, a new, exclusive luxury travel club,
for the world's most discerning travelers;
* United reconfigured three-cabin 747, 767 and 777 aircraft with up to
five more inches of legroom in the United Economy Plus(TM) and seven
additional inches of legroom in the United Business sections;
* United added new amenity kits that now include Crabtree & Evelyn's
all-natural bath and body care products made exclusively for United
First and United Business customers;
* United enhanced its healthy food choices for United First and United
Business customers traveling from Europe and Japan to the U.S. and on
intra-Pacific flights; and
* United recently hired a new Wine Consultant, Doug Frost, to design its
in-flight wine program.

 
Indio66
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:11 pm

Sorry for the double post. All in all, I think that this is a good idea for UAL.

[Edited 2004-08-02 14:16:17]
 
luv2fly
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:15 pm

This is good for the traveling public, though most carriers are working to streamline and simplify there fleets, not complicate them. My point is that now UA will have a small fleet that is dedicated to running these two routes! You can not switch these aircraft to other routes because of the different configuration, also what happens to the passengers expecting a three class plane and you have to use a different one, because of a mechanical reason.
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
GSPSPOT
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:15 pm

That's all well and good, but does this enhancement NOT include transcons from IAD, their actual hub?
Finally made it to an airline mecca!
 
Indio66
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:29 pm

I am not sure if they can get the premium fare out of IAD (but I may be wrong).

I know all of those cellebs and bankers flying out of NYC are going to love the layflat seats in first (bus sounds pretty nices as well). At least UAL now has someway to differentiate itself (how about adding direct TV for all seats as well, UAL?).

 
COEWR2587
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:34 pm

I like the idea, but the fact that they are now using 757's, I don't like.
Newark Airport...My Home Away From Home
 
rolo987
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:40 pm

If the whole economy cabin will be Economy plus, what happens if a person has not reached the Mileage Plus level needed to book these seats?
 
UA744Flagship
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:40 pm

GSPSpot--

UAL already has multiple intl-config 777/763 running per day between IAD and SFO/LAX, sometimes even 744s are placed on said routes.
no wire hangers!
 
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United_fan
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:41 pm

Well,at least it will cost UA less than flying a 22 yeard-old 762 across country. I hope it will work out.
Champagne For My Real Friends,and Real Pain For My Sham Friends
 
ord
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 10:45 pm

"If the whole economy cabin will be Economy plus, what happens if a person has not reached the Mileage Plus level needed to book these seats?"

Obviously for these flights it does not matter. Anybody who buys an economy ticket, regardless of status, will get an economy plus seat.
 
Cory6188
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 10:50 pm

Where do they get the name "p.s. SM" from? Sounds confusing for the name of type of service.
 
UA744Flagship
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:01 pm

SM means servicemark. Just like how TM means trademark.

Because the press release is textual, it does not contain the logotype for p.s. service.

You'll notice when service products within a brand are displayed, they are usually accompanied by an (SM) whereas the master brand tags a (TM).
no wire hangers!
 
Cory6188
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:07 pm

Thanks for explaining that - I had never understood the difference between SM and TM. So then, for example, Continental Airlines would be (TM) and the President's Club and BusinessFirst would be (SM).
 
desertjets
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:09 pm

And to think of all those naysayers that doubted the "prediction" of 3-class 757s. Overall it seems like the best product mix that United can offer. The only real competition on the west-coast JFK runs is AA, and you have to wonder how much longer they will operate their 3-class 767-200s. Those planes are almost as old as United's.

The 18 757 fleet is as big as the 767-200 fleet. So there doesn't seem to be any issue with not having enough aircraft or having to sub in a 2-class 757 should a 3-class plane go MX.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
SafetyDude
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:20 pm

I am quite impressed with the service that UAL is going to reach, but I do not want fly transcon in a 757, regardless of what service they offer. I would take an AA 767 over a 757 any day for transcon service.

starting Oct. 18 to SFO and in December to LAX
I believe that LAX is first, and then SFO.

What is going to happen to the UAL 767s, and what will supplement what the UAL 757s used to fly?

 Smile
-Will
"She Flew For What We Stand For"
 
UA744Flagship
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:21 pm

The 757 ps fleet will only number 13.

Not all the 762 fleet is currently operating, and the p.s. 757s are earmarked for JFK-SFO/LAX exclusively, though they could be tested on other selected routes.

13 planes for 12 daily SFO/LAX-JFK seems perfect. With a sub fleet of 13 you can have each plane doing about 10-12 hours of utilization (1 RT) per day (block time for these transcons is 5-6 hours), plus a spare.
no wire hangers!
 
JZ
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:28 pm

Curious... looks like UA is trying to cater these 2 routes more exclusively for the business traveller. They are trading wide body cabin for more leg rooms and less crowd. The re-modeled 757 will be more like a enlarged biz jet. I guess UA will likely only have premium price on JFK-LAX/SFO routes. The budget traveller will be departing from LGA and routed through ORD then. This indicates UA is leaving all the budget travellers wanting to depart JFK for West Coast to AA/DL/JetBlue -- who all have direct flights from JFK. Only time will tell whether this will succeed.

Any case, what does p.s. stand for?
 
UA744Flagship
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:55 pm

What does it stand for?



Pics:
http://www.unitedps.com/presskit/
no wire hangers!
 
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United_fan
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:04 am

I wonder if as part of a refit,they'll all be repainted ?
Champagne For My Real Friends,and Real Pain For My Sham Friends
 
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yyz717
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:06 am

Will this mark the retirement of the 762 fleet from UA? Or will the 762's be redeployed?



I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
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PA110
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:06 am

UA744Flagship,
This is a bold move by UA to be sure. However, are the transcon routes going to be served exclusively by 757ps aircraft? If so, what implications does this have on the leisure market? 72 seats in Y+ does not make it possible to for any significant group movements. Will UA retain some 763 frequencies?
It's been swell, but the swelling has gone down.
 
SafetyDude
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:11 am

This indicates UA is leaving all the budget travellers wanting to depart JFK for West Coast to AA/DL/JetBlue
And HP.

This is a bold move by UA to be sure. However, are the transcon routes going to be served exclusively by 757ps aircraft? If so, what implications does this have on the leisure market? 72 seats in Y+ does not make it possible to for any significant group movements. Will UA retain some 763 frequencies?
What will happen to the pulled 757s for PS in terms of replacing them?

-Will
"She Flew For What We Stand For"
 
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United_fan
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:12 am

Yzy717,the 762's are gone by June 05. They'll be 23 years old by then,same age as when the 727's were retired  Sad
Champagne For My Real Friends,and Real Pain For My Sham Friends
 
D950
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:21 am

If they are going to redeploy the 762's, it shoud be a shuttle between MJV-VCV. I have flown these dirt bags for 10+ years and gladly go LGA-DEN-LAX to avoid them.
Resting on your laurels is a synonym for flirting with disaster
 
COEWR2587
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:32 am

So these planes though still won't have any PTV's, right?  Sad
Newark Airport...My Home Away From Home
 
UA744Flagship
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:38 am

However, are the transcon routes going to be served exclusively by 757ps aircraft?

Just SFO/LAX-JFK with 6 flights a day in each direction.

If so, what implications does this have on the leisure market?

The fares will remain the same. There will still be fares to compete with B6/HP, but only if bookings in Y are low -- and there will be much less discounted Y inventory. Obviously, United is emphasizing trying to win back the business market.

Will UA retain some 763 frequencies?

Unsure on this one.

What will happen to the pulled 757s for PS in terms of replacing them?

Added A320 utilization.

[Edited 2004-08-02 17:39:13]
no wire hangers!
 
SafetyDude
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:40 am

What will happen to the pulled 757s for PS in terms of replacing them?

Added A320 utilization.

Then what happens to the 320s, or are they not that utilized?

 Smile
-Will
"She Flew For What We Stand For"
 
n757kw
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:47 am

What will be the seat numbers in the three classes? I did not see it in the article.

N757KW
"What we've got here, is failure to communicate." from Cool Hand Luke
 
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yyz717
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:23 am

Yzy717,the 762's are gone by June 05. They'll be 23 years old by then,same age as when the 727's were retired

Thanks UnitedFan. I figured as much.

I'm still surprized by the move to the 752. AA operates 12 daily 762's on this route. No matter what the amenities on the US 752 ps service, I would still be drawn to the AA 762 fleet.

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
gigneil
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:47 am

We might all be, but the average business traveller doesn't care. He'll prefer the upgraded service and amenities.

I would rather good service than AA's outdated 762s.

N
 
rsmith6621a
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:55 am

Fillier
I
L
L
l
E
R

[Edited 2004-08-02 19:06:03]
Did You Ever Think Freedom Could Be this Bad
 
artsyman
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:59 am

While personally this means little to me as I do not fly UAL, I do think it funny because all the UAL lovers on here constantly attack Continental on the basis of them running narrowbodies on transcons. Now, all of a sudden it is a good thing. From an economics point of view it is good (hence the reason why CO were already doing it), and it is only a matter of time before the PS aircraft becomes a normal 757.

J
 
gigneil
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:02 am

I disagree entirely.

JFK-LAX/SFO is not for the cheap traveller. Carriers have had no problem getting good yields in the premium cabins in past years, but demand has fallen off.

The bottom line is the New York businessman still travels as much as or more than pre-9/11, and UA believes they can get better dollars by operating a 757.

This is UA doing what the 757 is best for. Their customers would have left en-masse if they downgraded to just a normal 757 service.

Everyone here should take a look at the press kit. It looks absolutely great.

N
 
PA006
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:09 am

Seat numbers are:
F12, C26, Y72 = 110
according to the press kit.

I would have thought that first class will be 3 abreast.
4 seems to give a very narrow seat compared to the generous
pitch.
BTW, the first class seat looks similar to the ones on SQ Raffles
class.

[Edited 2004-08-02 19:10:24]
 
FLIBOYZ
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:10 am

I think that UA is playing with fire here. I just rejoined because I HAD to comment on this topic.

I work for a competing airline, and many many times when a 767 was changed to a 757 for a month or two on a particular route, not only the crews got angry but the passengers got angry. The PREMIUM customer, of course, especially. They would complain to us first, than they say they would write and complain about it to the company, which was usually recommended by the crew member. Customer input was always encouraged to change it back to a 767.

To make my point short, It does not matter if you have flat beds, a 5-course meal service, extra amenities, etc. The Business type customer, Frequent Flyers, and Premium customer all together would prefer a 767 WIDEBODY over a 757 narrowbody airplane.

I just hope AA will not be stupid and follow UA and change <ALL > of it's transcons the same way.

I doubt on the JFK-LAX run becuase it's AA's #1 route in the system. But the JFK-SFO run I can see. In fact it already is changing. AA runs 2 757's on the route already and 1 767-300 2-class. Which stinks. And the Premium customers complain.

In these trying times, I can see the changes that the airlines need to do and try. But to take away a WIDEBODY from a route that so many FF know and come to like is very sad.

As I right in my reports many times, Keep taking away stuff from Premium customer and we are going to lose them all together.
 
SHUPirate1
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:22 am

What about the passenger who flies, for example, JFK-SFO/LAX-LAS or vice-versa, as I have done in the past...I could just imagine flying LAS-SFO on Ted, and then SFO-JFK on United Premium Service...Just doesn't sound right...
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
gigneil
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:25 am

To make my point short, It does not matter if you have flat beds, a 5-course meal service, extra amenities, etc. The Business type customer, Frequent Flyers, and Premium customer all together would prefer a 767 WIDEBODY over a 757 narrowbody airplane.


That is so completely not true. It does matter. It matters a great deal.

You were downgrading people off a 3-class 767 to a tiredish 2-class 757. You can't make that comparison to a 3-class 757 configured in a brand-new luxury layout.

This is not taking something away. Arguably, this 757 is going to be way nicer than your existing 767-200s, and people will take not of that. It will go fine. Your premium passengers are going to really enjoy the new biz-class seat, and absolutely love the new first class seat.

N
 
ASTROJET707
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:36 am

Any ideas,

F= 3 abreast
J= 4 abreast
Y=6 abreast

????

AJ707
 
D950
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:41 am

As far as I can see, if it is at all possible, UAL will put you on TED from ORD or DEN to the west coast more often than not, yet SFO-LAX is still UAL service (two class).
Resting on your laurels is a synonym for flirting with disaster
 
PA006
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:46 am

F,C=4 abreast
Y = 6 abreast

Check out the seating plan in the press kit posted above.
 
UA744KSFO
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:53 am

While I'll miss the 767 between here and JFK (which I practically grew up on), I'm going to wait to try the enhanced 757 service before I criticize it. It's true, I like flying on widebodies and don't like flying the 757 long-haul, but I've got to reserve judgment until after I fly on it.
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:15 am

The only real competition on the west-coast JFK runs is AA

For premium travel, yes... though B6 (and to a lesser extent, DL) do indeed still influence the market.
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
 
KKMolokai
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Trans-con's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:15 am

I just read in the news how United soon may be faced with repossession of aircraft, exact numbers unknown. If true, this may be what is sparking UA into finding "replacement" trans-con aircraft.

It has also been rumored that UA may have long-haul aircraft on their Pacific routes repossessed as well, as part of their restructuring/reorganization.

With that said, and if true, then UA's 3-Class 757 is not an "innovation," rather a last ditch effort to hang on to the trans-con market.
We are the people of American Airlines. And we know why you fly.
 
VSlover
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:22 am

I agree with Fliboyz on a certain aspect. I would take the widebody over the narrow anyday, primarily because seat pitch has been limited in the past on the narrows. For example, I was in first from HNL-ORD where the pitch was 60" though because of MX, they wanted to route me through SJC on a 757 which I refused simply because the pitch on the 57's is something absurdly low at 40" for first, which I simply will not do--I have also had the same experience when the plane was downgraded on a SFO-JFK run.

Though in the case of p.s. service, the pitch in both biz and first does beat that of the AA 762 service which is the only reason in hell I'd consider the flights. Service I dont care much about as I do for space.

Predictions on how long until AA comes up with something comprable?
 
TomFoolery
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:26 am

I'm glad to see a major (non LCC/Legacy, whatever you want to call it) start to trend away from stooping to the level of trying to compete with the LCC niche (that is why UA came up with TED). opefully, this will bring SERVICE back to the skies again, even back here in economy. Hopefully, this will not be unique to just transcons, but expanded throughout the system.

TF

Paper makes an airplane fly
 
ual777contrail
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:30 am

ARTY,
Show me a thread where anybody CARED what fleet type CO flies transcon. Are you just trying to generate some feed back for CO(your company) because you guys fly 57's transcon? Do you need a hug? Smile

LUV2FLY,
If they ever got into a situation where they had to swap a 2 class 57 for a 3 class or vise versa, they would issue downgrade kits to those having to be reseated in the coach cabin. I have had to give a few out in my day and maybe one person complained.

I heard we were selling out 767-200s to NWA? They want to run them for 30 more years. Smile

UAL 777 CONTRAIL
 
ord
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:46 am

"I just read in the news how United soon may be faced with repossession of aircraft, exact numbers unknown. If true, this may be what is sparking UA into finding "replacement" trans-con aircraft...With that said, and if true, then UA's 3-Class 757 is not an "innovation," rather a last ditch effort to hang on to the trans-con market."

The aircraft being replaced in the transcon markets are 767-200s. They are very old. They were put up for sale a long time ago. This has nothing at all to do with the aircraft that may be repossessed.

Also, the 3-class 757 product has been in the planning stages for a full year. This is in no way a last-ditch effort of any kind - it's giving premium passengers what they want. The definition of "innovation" is the "introduction of something new." Considering the United 3-class 757 will be the only plane of its kind flying transcon, unlike any other competing transcon service, I would say it is an innovation.
 
ORD2PHL
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RE: UAL To Dump 767 On Transcon's

Tue Aug 03, 2004 4:06 am

As far as I can see, if it is at all possible, UAL will put you on TED from ORD or DEN to the west coast more often than not, yet SFO-LAX is still UAL service (two class)

Well I dont think you can see very far then, the only two (current) direct Ted flights from ORD are LAS and PHX. UA does not fly to LAX or SFO on Ted directly from ORD; some of which are widebody service 777/767/744.
 
baw716
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UAL To Dump 767s On Transcons

Tue Aug 03, 2004 4:13 am

Greetings all
Thanks to UAL744Flagship for the Press Information.

If you have read my posts on this subject, one of the things that I have consistently said that United (and other legacy carriers) are not going to get people to pay $2000-3000 transcon when they can fly JetBlue for $295.00 one way maximum.

With this said, this new aircraft configuration is going to be a work of stellar genius on the part of United, or just another misguided attempt to attract the 5% of the market that pay higher fares. However, it is still my contention that US businesses will not pay the high fares domestically on the legacy carriers when JetBlue offers the same O&D services to more convenient airports in the Bay Area and LA Basin (OAK and LGB respectively).

There can be no mistaking that this is a VERY bold move on the part of United.
At least, one cannot say they are not thinking outside of the box.

Let's examine the salient features of this aircraft, then the market deployment:

First, the 757 has a pretty long range (up to 3500nm with full 200 seat payload). With a 110 pax load, I wonder how much further the aircraft can fly, for sure 4000mi, perhaps close to 5000mi?

The major change in this aircraft is the type of First Class seat being installed in this aircraft. The seat product looks very similar to the SQ space bed, or the seat that is currently installed in the Privatair 737NG that flies transatlantic for LH. That aircraft operates EWR-DUS nonstop, which is about 3800mi, with 48 seats on board. This is a new generation Business Class seat.
At the moment, United is far behind the competition in Business Class, and I would imagine they are looking for a Business Class seat. This is a very smart way of testing this seat product, since if this bed product works in the 757, then it could be the seat replacement for Business Class on the 777 fleet. It could also be solution for the 767, as there is a single seat unit that can be installed in the 767.

The existing Business Class seat is being put in C class, as is the existing 757 Economy Seat. All they are doing is changing the pitch to 34".

This is a perfect mix for transatlantic markets where UA is operating a 767-300. This aircraft could easily make any point in Western Europe, and possibly open up other markets in which the high yield traffic exists, but the routes are so thin that a 767-300 would not be viable. Since the payload is reduced, there is so much more flexibility that can be offered with this aircraft.
In essence, they have taken the LH concept of an all Business Class aircraft and created an "Executive Flyer" which allows for additional comfort in all cabins while gaining the operational efficiencies of the 757 for long haul.

Additionally, I have stated that UA should do away with First Class, especially on Europe. If the new F class seat product becomes very popular, then they may go the way of SQ, removing F class on all the 777s and going with a upgraded J class service. With a 777, 767 and 757 aircraft mix flying long haul, they would have the ability of offering the same Premium product across all aircraft types. VERY SMART! You may say, well, what about the 747?
Sell them to the highest bidder. With a two cabin product, they could take the 777 practically anywhere, and if they lease a few 777LRs when the come out, then they can offer the same product on ultra long haul flights. Offering a consistent product across all the international markets, being short, medium, long or ultra long haul is part of the key to success. The other part is really making sure the customer is comfortable, the travel is efficient and cost effective. Now they have a real opportunity to do that.

So, in this respect, I congratulate United for coming up with a solution for transatlantic flights. Taking a 110 seat aircraft from their IAD hub (or ORD) for that matter to business points in Europe, this could be a very very effective product. The key is going to be getting people to accept flying a narrow body aircraft on long flights instead and tweaking the product to meet the customer demand before deploying it in place of the larger aircraft.

This may be WHY they are placing the aircraft on the top premium transcon routes. This would give them the opportunity to test market this aircraft on a route which provides feed from JFK over LAX/SFO to its Asian routes, and from the west coast via JFK to LHR and deep South America over JFK.

With six trips per day, this has to be what they are doing. They currently run 6-8 trips per day in the JFK-LAX/SFO premium transcon markets. Only one of the aircraft is operated 300ER international aircraft. The others are flown by the only remaining 762s in United's fleet. These aircraft are old and worn and while United has done a great job of keeping those aircraft in good working order, they are getting more and more maintenance intensive. Taking them down now is a good cost cutting move and the relative cost of refitting 13 aircraft is going to be much less than the maintenance and operating costs of the current 762s for the next year.

So,to recap: They are testing: a) if a 757 with this type of configuration is a viable alternative for long haul thin routes b) a new seat for Business Class and c) changes in their Premium market amenities to be more competitive on international routes. Where better to test it on the current premium transcon flights? If the intention is to put this aircraft on international routes, and remove F class, change the F cabin to C and increase the number of seats, take the existing C class seats and make them a premium Economy product and leave the 34'' for Economy, this could work and work well.

Now, here is my fear:
They are positioning this aircraft on JFK-LAX/SFO, and replacing the 767 fleet entirely. This means that UA will lose between 50-70 seats per flight (762, 763). That translates to a net loss of between 300-350 seats per day.
There has to be a second tier of service to replace some of the seats on that route. If not, then another competitor will come in and put a larger aircraft (763) on the route and siphon off the lower price pointed Economy Class traffic.

Another fear is that they are using this special aircraft to capture the high yield business strictly between the JFK-LAX/SFO markets. If this is true, then United is diluting themselves. I have said it before and it bears repeating: Noone will pay the high fares that United will have to charge to make that aircraft profitable. JetBlue will add additional capacity to LGB and OAK and kill United dead.

Those of you who are familiar with the JetBlue product already know the advantages of their product: A320=wider seat, bigger cabin feel.
Also, they have taken seats out of the aircraft and make the back of the aircraft 34 inches. The front half is 32 inches. The rationale is simple: If you need to get off fast, you can sit up front and live with the 32in pitch. If you are not in a hurry, you can sit in the back, which with a 34 in pitch, an 18in wide seat and Direct TV is not a bad way to fly from JFK-OAK/LGB and without the congestion that you would have both at LAX and SFO.

In addition, Delta will put the 767 back on SFO and LAX with Business Elite. This gives them the capacity to carry 42 J class passengers and 150 in Economy. Two trips per day in each direction would be sufficient to connect to their banks at JFK. This plus the limited O&D traffic would keep them in the game, especially with a lack of United capacity.

American will simply put the 767s they have not reconfigured back to high density on the route and will offer another wide body product.

United needs to add capacity. So here is a radical idea: Why not put TED on JFK-SFO/LAX as an alternative for the Economy market. Adding 350 seats back to the route is about 2.3 trips per day with a TED A320. Start with two strategically timed flights in each direction, then bump it up to three if it is successful. Then United will have not taken anything away from the market; far from it. They would have added frequencies, alternative products, one for the through connecting international passenger and the occasional domestic high yield passenger, the other for everyone else, at fare levels competitive with JetBlue. Add purchased meals on the TED portion and you will have a winning combination.

Remember in another one of my posts that this business is cyclical? Well, back in the 50s, United offered two types of product on transcon: Mainliner service and their normal product, both operated with DC6 or DC7 equipment.
Deja vu?

This is why I say that this is either a stroke of genius or the height of stupidity. I would like to think the former and that the current transcon is a test. Additionally, this aircraft is a PERFECT fit for east coast to Asia flying feeding flights from the west coast to Asia. London is not so big a market as all the Asia flying; however if UA were to put that aircraft on Seattle/Portland as well as LAX/SFO, then there is a potential to take traffic away from BA up north. If the concept works, then it could be extended to the IAD flights, which would make the transcon connecting product more consistent with the International Service. That is down the road.

Time will tell. At least we can't say that United isn't doing something. That is a good thing.
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998