ContinentalEWR
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:35 pm

United is arguably the weakest airline in this highly competitive yet very lucrative segment, probably the busiest and most important international city pair in the world.

UA has two daily flights, one a 777, the other a 767-300, both from JFK. It used to operate a third JFK frequency, departing in the morning, and from Newark, on a 777.

United still has a loyal following in the NY area, but its presence at JFK is basically limited to SFO/LAX transcons, NRT, and LHR.

Will UA just give up this route and add flights from other markets that are captured under Bermuda II?

ContinentalEWR
 
7LBAC111
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:42 pm

Interestingly, if they did give up the route, would they lose the slots to another carrier? Or could BMI operate the service for them - both are Star carriers.

Debate is what you put on de hook when you want to catch de fish.
 
JoFMO
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Mon Sep 06, 2004 11:02 pm

BMI is not allowed to operate from Heathrow to the USA under the current Bermuda2 restrictions.

And btw UA also has 8 CRJ from JFK to IAD.

But thats all; not very much for Americas biggest metropolitan area.
 
7LBAC111
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Mon Sep 06, 2004 11:30 pm

I know BMI aren't currently allowed to operate from LHR to USA, but how does this work in relation to BMI operating the service for them, and the flight carrying both UA nd BD flight numbers?
Debate is what you put on de hook when you want to catch de fish.
 
Arsenal@LHR
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Mon Sep 06, 2004 11:40 pm

United's two daily LHR-JFK flights have always been up against stiff competition. AA offers 6 daily frequencies from early morning to late afternoon. BA has the same amount with flights spread out all over the day. But i wouldn't say UA has a weaker product than VS, VS also has 2 daily flights to JFK, morning and afternoon. I suppose UA could make JFK-LHR a seasonal route when passenger numbers are higher (or isn't that allowed?).

In Arsene we trust!!
 
airplanetire
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Mon Sep 06, 2004 11:56 pm

7LBAC111, BMI couldn't operate a flight from LHR to JFK by carrying both their own and a UA flight number. Bermuda II specifically states that only two US (UA and AA) and two British (BA and Virgin) airlines can operate between to the United States and LHR, so BMI could not operate for United. On the other hand, an airline in either country can put their code on a flight between the US and LHR on any of those four airlines. For instance, Continental puts their code on a Virgin flight from EWR to LHR.

-Airplanetire
 
dutchjet
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:21 am

I do not think that UA will give up the important and prestigious JFK-LHR route; it is important to the route system as a whole, Eventhough UA offers far fewer seats on the route than BA or AA (which more or less dominate the JFK-LHR route), UA I believe does fill up the important premium class seats on the flights and the upgrade of one of the flights to a 777 is a good sign. (For years, UA operated 2 or 3 762 flights per day).

Much like the JFK transcon routes, UA's JFK-LHR operation is oriented to high fare business customers who regularly commute between NYC and London. As long as UA can keep these customers happy and onboard, UA will offer JFK-LHR service. I would not be surpirsed if, at some point, we see a Premium Service aircraft introduced by UA on the JFK-LHR flights, much like UA plans for the JFK-LAX/SFO routes, with a huge percentage of the aircraft devoted to F and C customers, plus a small E+ cabin......it may not be a bad idea at all, 757PS service between JFK and LHR. Let the bargain hunters fly with AA, BA or VS, and UA can concentrate on the high fare passengers with 3 757PS flights per day.
 
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Starlionblue
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:24 am

I would not be surpirsed if, at some point, we see a Premium Service aircraft introduced by UA on the JFK-LHR flights, much like UA plans for the JFK-LAX/SFO routes, with a huge percentage of the aircraft devoted to F and C customers, plus a small E+ cabin......it may not be a bad idea at all, 757PS service between JFK and LHR.

A fine idea, but where would they get the slot?
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
dutchjet
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:41 am

I was suggesting replacing the 777 and 763 flights with 757PS flights, as for the third flight, UA previously operated a daylight flight between JFK-LHR and UA probably has the LHR slots - I think that UA currently allows Star Alliance members to use certain of its LHR slots (babysitting) so that UA will not lose these valuable assets, I could be wrong, but with schedule tweaking, I am sure that UA can come up with an extra slot at LHR!
 
bennett123
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:45 am

Which other international routes are in doubt.

I am due to fly from LHR to LAX in April.
 
Bicoastal
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:52 am

No one has mentioned how much cargo UA is carrying in the belly of their aircraft on these flights. I don't know the answer, but if the cargo is a money maker, the flights don't need to be entirely full of passengers. I assume, too, that bmi codeshares on these flights, so United has that market in the UK from which to draw. With the Star Alliance, too, and the increasingly borderless business traffic in Europe, a German/Scandinavian/Austrian/Polish/Spanish/Portugese etc. businessperson with loyalty to one of the Star member's frequent flyer programs and needing to fly from LHR to NYC will likely choose Star Alliance member United. In fact, you would think the Star Alliance would almost require United to stay in this market.

[Edited 2004-09-06 18:01:44]
Airliners.net has many forums. It has spell check and search functions. Use them before posting!
 
SafetyDude
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:54 am

VS also has 2 daily flights to JFK, morning and afternoon
They operate three daily flights to JFK, and two to EWR.

But thats all; not very much for Americas biggest metropolitan area.
They have numerous other flights from LGA and EWR.

-Will
"She Flew For What We Stand For"
 
JoFMO
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 1:06 am

"They have numerous other flights from LGA and EWR"

But thats all only feeder tarffic for their hubs. United presence in NYC is very low compared to DL, AA or CO.
 
sevenheavy
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 1:35 am

As stated by safetydude VS operate 3 x daily to JFK. However these services are operated by 2 x B744 and 1 x A346. The passenger capacity is nearly 1000 passengers per day as well as a massive cargo capacity, mainly due to the cargo capabilities of the A346. I am not familiar with exact UA configs but this has to be around 600 pax per day more than UA carry, no to mention the cargo.
With this in mind I would certainly say that UA do indeed have the weakest presence out of BA/AA/VS/UA. However the likes of AI/KU have successfully operated relatively low frequency service to JFK and seem to do fine. I know they are continuation flights but a large number of their pax are still ex LHR, and UA has a similar setup eastbound, feeding their flights with pax from LAX/SFO.

Regards,

SevenHeavy
So long 701, it was nice knowing you.
 
Thrust
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 1:53 am

Yes, JFK-LHR will survive. United's and AA's LHR routes are their most coveted...very profitable indeed. I don't expect United will cease any of their LHR routes until they die.
Fly one thing; Fly it well
 
Captain_777
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 2:20 am

I just flew UAL956 JFK-LHR on August 11th. The load factor was approx. 85%. I would say it will survive, and they would not discontinue this route.
 
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jfklganyc
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 3:29 am

UA is in bad shape and a lot of that has to do with bad decisions. One of those bad decisions is their route structure out of NY (JFK/LGA/EWR)
Both NRT and LHR should be with 747 aircraft. These are valuable slots that are being wasted. They also have watered down their domestic presence at LGA and EWR to hubs only.At one point they had major operations at all three airports.
Truly a waste, truly a mess, truly United.

Maybe that should be their no slogan.

PJ

 
gigneil
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 3:36 am

Both NRT and LHR should be with 747 aircraft.

And fly them mostly empty?

They do well with the routes the way they are. More would be wasteful, and that would be a bad decision.

You don't see AA with 747s on their LHR or TYO services.

N
 
A330323X
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 3:47 am

On the other hand, an airline in either country can put their code on a flight between the US and LHR on any of those four airlines. For instance, Continental puts their code on a Virgin flight from EWR to LHR.

That's not at all true. CO placing its code on VS flights to LHR is an extrabilateral authority, which no one else is able to get.

BD has tried to get on several occasions, and been denied, authority to place its code on UA flights between the U.S. and LHR.

See http://dms.dot.gov/search/searchResultsSimple.cfm?numberValue=15758&searchType=docket, for example.

US would also love to place its code on UA flights to LHR, but it can't either.
I'm the expert on here on two things, neither of which I care about much anymore.
 
Msh744
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 4:12 am


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Msh744



I flew UAL JFK-LHR-JFK in May 2003, and on the LHR-JFK flight, there were 61 passengers on our 767-300... I hope the loads have gotten a little better since then (it was nice to have an entire row of Economy Plus to myself, though).

-Msh744
 
hz747300
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 5:54 am

All my 777 flights on the UA JFK/LHR (Sept 03), but then on the return I flew LHR/JFK on the 763, and there could not have been more than 50 people on the flight. The 763 flight was in Mar 04.
Keep on truckin'...
 
N1120A
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:07 am

LAX-LHR will survive. They fill that flight so much that when I flew it, in the middle of winter, we had some turbulance on our initial climb and the F/O on Channel 9 asked LA Center for a different altitude. The one he offered she had to reject because we were too heavy. And this was on a 772ER. We had to have been full of cargo, PAX and luggage. There was talk for a while that they would upgrage the route to 744 because of loads and the need to park some 772ERs because of finances
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
ConcordeBoy
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:22 am

On the other hand, an airline in either country can put their code on a flight between the US and LHR on any of those four airlines. For instance, Continental puts their code on a Virgin flight from EWR to LHR.

Actually, no they can't. In fact, the CO/VS arrangement was entangled in other side-legislation concerning the bilateral.

That's one reason CO has 1st dibs into LHR from the US side, should the bilateral be ammended without annulment.
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
 
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FlyCaledonian
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UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:45 am

Firstly, BA actually operates 41 flights per week LHR-JFK (6 daily plus a six-weekly service), plus a further 19 flights per week LHR-EWR (2 daily plus a five-weekly service).

UA sold a number of slots to BA earlier in the year, and if I remember correctly one set of these was those used for the third daily LHR-JFK service (I think the other two slot pairs were used for extending flights to AMS/BRU).

As has been mentioned already, BA/AA sell their LHR-JFK services on frequency, UA relies on filling up the front cabins. It just prefers to concentrate on its ORD, IAD, SFO and LAX services.
Let's Go British Caledonian!
 
AEROFAN
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 9:08 pm

UA will not give up the JFKLHR city pairing. NO matter how badly they do. It is prestigious to fly this pairing, and there are still one or two loyal pax who who will continue to fly no matter the lousy service received.

Think of all those senior mngrs and employees of corps who acquire the miles and then use them to upgrade on those cheap tkts....
 
NYCAAer
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Tue Sep 07, 2004 11:47 pm

JFK-LHR is highly reliant upon business travel, and United does have some profitable corporate contracts on its JFK services, JP Morgan Chase among them. It was a big deal when we at AA lost Chase to UA.
 
whlinder
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Wed Sep 08, 2004 1:45 am

The Star Alliance needs to have one of their members flying JFK-LHR. Since UA is the only one that can, the route will stay.
 
SafetyDude
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Wed Sep 08, 2004 5:40 am

The Star Alliance needs to have one of their members flying JFK-LHR. Since UA is the only one that can, the route will stay.
Alliances really play a factor in that decision, as if it is to the airline's extreme benefit to cancel JFK-LHR, LH, for instance, could do JFK-FRA-LHR. It is not as nice as a direct JFK-LHR, but if you need to go there, it is possible.

For the record, BA also operates a JFK-MAN flight.

Maybe if UAL wants higher loads, they should change their ridiculous pricing policy on their website.  Big grin

-Will
"She Flew For What We Stand For"
 
AA B777-200
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Wed Sep 08, 2004 6:12 am

I know competition on the LHR-> US market is fierce. An AA insider told me that AA is very happy with its 777 performances on the JFK-LHR run (6 daily). Noop, coach isn't always full, but's it's the high yield that pleases the airlines!
But then again, BA and VS are agressive players as well, so UAL, let's see what you got and kick some ass! I hope they'll stay...
 
ordpark
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Wed Sep 08, 2004 12:14 pm

The freight and mail loads out of JFK are HUGE......very few open holes.
 
Thrust
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Wed Sep 08, 2004 2:01 pm

I remember LHR-JFK being pretty full when I flew an AA Boeing 777 on the route...of course that was on January 3rd, 2003, I believe, so I'm not really sure if this is really consistent with today's numbers. In my opinion, LHR isn't worth dropping for any airline. The sale of ORD-LHR in itself was damaging enough to TWA, so UA in their current situation would be foolish to drop even one LHR route...as someone mentioned earlier, fierce competition...no LHR route is worth dropping in my opinion...they are lifesavers. Long live UA's and AA's LHR routes  Big thumbs up
Fly one thing; Fly it well
 
Jasper711
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Wed Sep 08, 2004 3:10 pm

As one of the most arguably prestigous routes in aviation, there is no way UA will pull out of this sector. The day that it does will mark the beginning of the end to United as we know it.
 
UALFAson
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Wed Sep 08, 2004 3:30 pm

Once again, a legitimate question involving UA that can't be answered or discussed without a few extraneous UA-bashing posts thrown in. I guess some things never change on a.net.

While the size of their operations has fluctuated over the years, United has never been a major carrier out of the NY-area, even if it is the "largest air market in the world." It operates the service it can profitably--namely, frequent service to its domestic hubs for business travelers and select international service.

Why should UA try to grow its NY ops if it doesn't think it can make money there? What, the city needs more flights to Florida? Delta, for example, isn't big in Chicago, which is the #3 market, and nobody seems to be clamoring for them to open a hub there. UA cut back MIA b/c it wasn't profitable and it won't grow NY for the same reason. Once again, the fallacy theory of one carrier trying to fly from every city to every other city.
"We hope you've enjoyed flying with us as much as we've enjoyed taking you for a ride."
 
chris78cpr
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Wed Sep 08, 2004 7:04 pm

I have flown the UA route LHR-EWR twice returning through ORD/IAD-LHR both times! I enjoyed those flights and i remember them being at 95% capacity at least, if not 100%!!!!! I think that while UA has its problems it is still providing a good service and can market its self on that which will keep it alive, especially on the LHR-NYC route!

Chris
5D2/7D/1D2(soon to be a 1Dx) 17-40L/24-105L/70-200F2.8L/100-400L/24F1.4LII/50F1.2L/85F1.2LII
 
ryanair
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Thu Sep 09, 2004 2:10 am

This is a blue chip route. There is no question about it.
 
whlinder
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Thu Sep 09, 2004 2:27 am

Alliances really play a factor in that decision, as if it is to the airline's extreme benefit to cancel JFK-LHR, LH, for instance, could do JFK-FRA-LHR. It is not as nice as a direct JFK-LHR, but if you need to go there, it is possible.

How many corporate contracts are you going to win routing business travellers LHR-FRA-JFK?
 
ord
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Thu Sep 09, 2004 2:35 am

"As one of the most arguably prestigous routes in aviation, there is no way UA will pull out of this sector. The day that it does will mark the beginning of the end to United as we know it."

Prestige does not equate to profits. As long as the routes generates profits for United it will stay. But dropping the route would hardly come close to signaling the end of United. That's a ridiculous statement. Delta, Continental and Northwest are fine U.S. airlines and none of them flies the route.

Remember Braniff? Their CEO, Harding Lawrence, used to say that all of Braniff's international routes were "prestigious" and that only a world-class carrier could fly such "glamour" routes. Look where all that glamourous flying got them.

[Edited 2004-09-08 19:39:02]
 
bobnwa
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Thu Sep 09, 2004 2:38 am

Whlinder,

Don't forget the winner of a corporate contract goes to the airline that gives the biggest discount as the #1 priority. Other factors enter in, but the biggest discount usually gets the contract. Sometimes it is better for a carrier to back off and the let the competitor carry the heavily diiscounted pax and hope to sell their seats at greater yield.

It's always been true in airline corporate sales that the airline giving the biggest discounts, is the one in most financial trouble. This was very evident near the end of of TWA.

Sometimes you don't want the corporate account.
 
UA772IAD
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:27 am

I think they'll keep the routes just to keep their presence at both airports. The problem with this route JFK-LHR is that it is so competitive. There are sooo many airlines that operate this route (could it be the most popular), obviously its historic. They definitely wouldn't want to lose their slots at LHR (they have one of the highest). UA's bigger presence for this route lies to the west and to the south at IAD and ORD, both with 3 daily flights.
 
StarGoldLHR
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RE: UA JFK-LHR, Will It Survive?

Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:47 am

*** LHR to JFK is my most flown route in the world.
At last count I have made this journey 26 times in 5 years.
In fact in 2004 I have flown this route 5 times.


I have flown all UA's flight numbers from LHR to NYC area (EWR and JFK) and seen there service decline over the last 3 years.

BA without doubt rule the LHR-JFK market.
AA and VS follow.

I rate VS service the highest, with AA and BA, sadly UA is the withered arm of the route.

Ive flown UA 3 times from LHR to JFK this year, Jan, Feb, June.

On all occasions the a/c was not full. In fact in June I flew last minute on an $800 ticket and was complimentary upgraded to Business.

Business was mostly empty, First WAS EMPTY

This for me was the biggest warning sign I saw on UA to date.


Many Star Alliance flyers are starting to use BMI's Manchester Services to the US as this without doubt competes highly with VS and keeps Star Alliance Loyalty. (I also have used this three times this year). If BMI opened a MAN - JFK route that would see UA's end of transatlantic business from me. (Though US does a MAN-NYC route).

US Airways isnt really cutting it as there service is much like UA's, though credit goes to them flying from other airports besides LGW. LH / SK / OS arent really suitable as reason fares from the UK are not available due to local EU demand from the UK for their flights).

More recently Ive been using VS's service on the LHR-JFK route, as I qualified stargold with both BMI and UA, and as such figure extra comfort and miles in a new airline is worth it and VS offers the frequency and the service.

It's a pity.. UA used to offer so much more than the bare bones service from LHR to JFK they do today.


Btw... Unless i'm going to LAX or IAD there's really little point to JFK anymore with UA. In both cases... for IAD I fly to MAN and use BMI, or fly to MAN and goto ORD for LAX (or go direct with UA from LHR).



My worst fear is UA will pull out of the UK, I'm believing this end will come from LHR by mid-next year. UA now has less than 10 flights a day to the US from LHR, and they dont fly from any other UK airport. (ORD/LAX/SFOx2/EWR/JFKx2/IAD/DEN)
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