UA needs to focus on international and not domestic. They know they can't win on the domestic market. They expanded and became the number one airline in the 90s and tried to go after every single person in the US. They tried to have the best route structure so that they could be the biggest and best. Well that strategy doesn't work now. Only transporting the high fare passengers is a a good idea but probably won't work either. So many people here on this forum say that carriers like UA
, US, CO
should go after the high fare passengers and offer a premium service. There is a market for this, but 6 carriers cannot fill it. There are only so many high fare passengers; the premium product would be saturated quickly if all of the legacy majors went for it.
If a carrier was to focus on premium travel only, they would not succeed by flying into every destination imaginable with tons of frequencies, because there just aren't enough high paying passengers to fill the planes. You need to supplement the system with a diverse set of passengers to succeed and be one of the biggest. Although UA
might not be going for that, they are filling that role. Leisure travelers help fill the planes, so that UA
can offer frequencies and service that the business passengers want. If the high fare passengers get what they want in the form of frequencies and good service domestically, then they will have loyalty internationally too. There are very few business travelers that fly internationally more often then domestically in the US. The two parts need to blend together.
is focused on providing what high fare passengers want. They have the benefit of probably the most diverse international structure of any US carrier. This is a strong plus for them. However they bleed money domestically. Using TED and by shrinking plane sizes, they are becoming more competitive on the domestic market. TED is offering leisure passengers options. These are necessary because believe it or not, business travelers take vacations too, and want that kind of service to be available too.
They can't just end all domestic flights, because they would lose the necessary loyalty, but they can't transform themselves into a premium carrier either. Offering high seat pitch and meals on every flight is not necessary. Few succeed when doing that. Midwest was as close to that as possible, but have added saver service to supplement the premium service. UA
needs frequency and convenience for passengers. Economy plus helps with the comfort level by giving the higher yielding passengers what they want, but still catering to the leisure travelers with what they want (low prices) so they can fill up the planes.
needs blend itself into a strong airline. They don't have to dominate every market they are in. There is no reason for them to go after the Midwest-Florida market with tons of capacity, because LCCs have that covered. They just have to have enough service so that they do not upset their loyal flyers. Domination does not mean profitability, but a strong overall product that caters to the market you are going after is what allows for financial strength. By using smaller jets with high frequencies (E170, CRJs, 737s, A319s), giving high fare passengers the benefit of economy plus, having a strong international and domestic route structure, and using TED to keep costs manageable where the number of leisure travelers is higher then typical, UA
will be able to reposition itself as a strong contender.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!