VC10er
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UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:36 pm

I know I wasn't smoking something when the media covered this story a while back, in fact I vividly recall reading "United bucks trend and is committed to be a 3 class airline" in USA TODAY. I am sure I read threads here about this here about a year ago too. It came out of the early merger announcements that CO's 2 class configuration would be used on some flights but that UNITED would still maintain its 3 class heritage and across much of its widebody fleet.

But it "seems" as I read many posts (including 'UA/CO Existing Fleet Upgrade Status) thread that A: the UA777's still in old UA configuration has not moved from 22 777's reconfigured into UA 3 class hard product in a long time. It has been said the balance would be 3 class (20+ frames) so did they slow it down? Are they still committed to making them all 3 class? The 787's will be 2 class, the remaining 767's will go 2 class. All CO 777's will be 2 class, the 757's obviously 2 class. And the famous P.S. is going 2 class. Things "feel" very 2 class oriented except for most Pre merger United 767's, 747's and half of UA 777's.

To me IMHO as the worlds largest airline with the most comprehensive global net work, and so many of their competitors and Star partners who have great Business AND First class cabins - they need to have F in and out of so many countries and cities. Will United actually have enough 3 class widebody's into all their major US hubs to cities where 3 class still rule AND is United committed to bucking the 2 class trend?

What is the new United's POV on this?
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gigneil
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:42 pm

They slowed conversions significantly during the summer. All the UA 777s will be 3 class.

Not all 787s will be 3 class. They will have a combination of the two.

They will have a very large 3 class fleet. They will have plenty of planes available.

I hope United is committed to the right number of cabins on the right route, and not randomly committing to something that does not make business sense.

NS
 
AeroWesty
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:18 am

Quoting gigneil (Reply 1):
All the UA 777s will be 3 class.

Does that include the 777s currently configured for domestic and the former CO fleet, or are you just saying that the former UA fleet of 777s will still get IPTE as originally intended? I thought there was some sort of communication that some 777s would remain 2-class.
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gigneil
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:30 am

Sorry, more specific:

The sUA 777s that are 3 class will remain 3 class. The sUA 777s that are 2 class will remain 2 class for now. The sCO 777s will remain 2 class.

NS
 
davescj
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:47 am

I heard the same announcement. But the conversions will take quite a bit of time (look at DL's conversions). I also suspect that a great deal of market research is being put into deciding WHICH routes have (or will continue to have) 3 classes of service, based on the profitability of the routes and contracts available.
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connies4ever
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:27 am

And here I thought UA was committed to being a 3rd class airline...  Wow!
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calpsafltskeds
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:57 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
Quoting gigneil (Reply 1):
All the UA 777s will be 3 class.

Does that include the 777s currently configured for domestic and the former CO fleet, or are you just saying that the former UA fleet of 777s will still get IPTE as originally intended? I thought there was some sort of communication that some 777s would remain 2-class.

There is a lot on UA's plate with reconfiguration of 764s, 763s, Y+ on PMCO birds - then add to that the repainting of all UA aircraft and at least a touchup on all PMCO aircraft.
I am sure UA's 777s need the upgrade, but
- the current 772 aircraft has PTV throughout and in seat power will not change with IPTE. they also have lie flat beds in F.
- Maybe the 772s can't be pulled into a mod line until the 787s arrive.
- Maybe it's been determined to be more important to get lie flats in the 764
- Maybe it's been determined that reconfiguring the 763s for international service is more important.
- The mod seems more extensive and would not convert as many airplanes as the 767 mods over a period of time
- Could it be availability of F and C seats be an issue?

Could UA also be hedging it's bet on the 772 3 class configuration? Maybe, but it's as likely that UA is still sorting out aircraft requirements of 2 vs. 3 class aircraft. Putting the 772 IPTE at the end of the line may give UA flexibility of determining numbers of 3 class aircraft required.

[Edited 2011-12-10 20:58:43]
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gigneil
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 5:01 am

Quoting CALPSAFltSkeds (Reply 6):
- the current 772 aircraft has PTV throughout and in seat power will not change with IPTE. they also have lie flat beds in F.

The IPTE 777s have all new seats with power, everywhere. That's a big deal.

NS
 
gigneil
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 5:13 am

Also back to an original point: nobody after the merger, ever, said they were committed to being a 3 class airline. They did say that they would be operating 3 class routes where it made sense,.

NS
 
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calpsafltskeds
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:27 am

Quoting gigneil (Reply 7):
The IPTE 777s have all new seats with power, everywhere. That's a big deal.

Then I guess both Seat Guru and Seat Expert has it wrong when they show no power in Y.
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gigneil
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:43 am

Apparently so. The Weber 5751s installed on the IPTE 777s have in seat power throughout coach.

NS
 
United1
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:12 pm

Quoting CALPSAFltSkeds (Reply 9):
Then I guess both Seat Guru and Seat Expert has it wrong when they show no power in Y.

AFAIK all IPTE 777s and of course the P.S. 752s have power in coach...
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commavia
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:08 pm

Quoting VC10er (Thread starter):
To me IMHO as the worlds largest airline with the most comprehensive global net work, and so many of their competitors and Star partners who have great Business AND First class cabins - they need to have F in and out of so many countries and cities.

United definitely needs plenty of 3-class widebodies, but they definitely need 2-class widebodies as well. A large portion of the United network - including former United longhaul markets and former Continental longhaul markets - would be better served by a 2-class product. United will be smart to keep both and deploy them optimally - same with AA.
 
caleb1
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:04 pm

Maybe 3 class means Business, Economy Plus, and Economy.
 
SonomaFlyer
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:08 pm

UA slowed down the 777 upgrades during the busy summer season. I expect that will pick up a bit during the winter. They previously stated the process would take until 2013 to complete. Like most, I wish it were done sooner given the old configs are awful.

To address the OP's point, UA never stated they were going all three class. That would make no sense economically. You can bet that some dude/dudette in Chicago or Houston has a file filled with market analysis of every long haul route to help them right size the three class fleet and assign a/c accordingly. Unless the market justifies it, they will run two class birds on long haul routes. Conversely, markets which demonstrate yield/demand for three class service will see it continue.

UA likely put three class birds on former CO routes. I'm pretty sure they already switched to a three class 763 on the EWR to ZRH route for example.
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:15 pm

Quoting caleb1 (Reply 13):
Maybe 3 class means Business, Economy Plus, and Economy.

Maybe from an outsiders p o v the airline looks very confused right now, what am I going to get for my money.
Business,First or coach.
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Flighty
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:21 pm

Sounds confusing. I would have thought they pretty much forego all top premium revenue until they have a sizeable fleet providing product certainty. Not just on a route, but on a network of routes. If the product is inconsistent, you can forget that. Sure, a Zurich frequent flier might eventually discover the product by osmosis. But how can you run a national advertising campaign on First, a product whose availability is, basically, random and unknown to the customer..


If they aren't going to outfit entire fleets to a known standard, they better keep the route-by-route product dead consistent for multiple years at a time. Otherwise, there is little sales value to this.
 
davidkunzVIE
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:38 pm

I am sure they meant "3rd class airline".
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BrianDromey
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:21 pm

Quoting Flighty (Reply 16):
But how can you run a national advertising campaign on First, a product whose availability is, basically, random and unknown to the customer..

Most airlines are very selective about the routes that have an international first class service, airlines like BA, LH, AF, etc all use this policy. Indeed I think LX is the only European airline with F class in the entire long-haul fleet, this makes sense for Swiss given their high yield home base and reputation as a "boutique"/"quality"/"luxury" airline.
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gigneil
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:03 pm

Quoting readytotaxi (Reply 15):
Maybe from an outsiders p o v the airline looks very confused right now, what am I going to get for my money.
Business,First or coach.

Well, if you purchase Business - you get Business. Purchase First, you get First. Purchase Coach, you get coach. Seems very simple to me. If it has the word "business" in it, it is a practically identical product.

And don't give me that crap - airlines around the world, including your illustrious European and Asian carriers, offer a huge range of products on different aircraft. No complaints about that for British Airways? Lufthansa? Air France? Singapore? They ALL have different service levels that vary from route to route with very little publishing of the differences.

Check your anti-United sentiment at the door and work with logic and facts, and you'll go far. It has worked well for the world's airlines, and it will work well for United.

NS
 
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:55 pm

Quoting gigneil (Reply 19):

Thanks for defending UA I love her, she has treated me as a king. But a bit to the point of confusion, it's always good to know ahead of time what you will get. If it's the right trip, my company WILL pay for F, and sometimes after a miserable business trip to London I will use a sw to get into F. But I need to make sure it's a 767 (seat 1k) rocks! Or if a 777 I will double check its configuration.
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gigneil
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:25 pm

Quoting VC10er (Reply 20):
But a bit to the point of confusion, it's always good to know ahead of time what you will get.

The point I'm trying to make is you do know, clearly, what you're getting, every time you book.

You can tell at the time of purchase if its a 2 class or 3 class aircraft. Then you can access the fleet information from there and understand. And I know you believe firmly that the business class product is different, but it is not materially so and I guarantee they will never differentiate them for you.

I keep reiterating - this is no different than any other major world airline, except that United is going to have even less options than most.

There are only 2 products - 2 class international and 3 class international. We could squabble about upgraded vs. not upgraded planes, but there is no airline in the world that goes ouf of their way to explain "sorry we haven't yet upgraded this one airframe"

I understand that you like to fly F, and that you pay for F. It is blatantly clear if F is available on your flight when you book.

NS
 
koruman
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:33 pm

I don't think that ANY US airline will be able to be inherently and continuously profitable until it does three things:

1) Limit itself to Business and Economy class on short sectors.
2) Add a third class - paid Premium Economy - on sectors longer than three hours - with fares halfway between Economy and First - selling Economy seats + 4 inches extra legroom + checked baggage + First Class food + unlimited free drinks.
3) Stop comping upgrades to elites, and instead charge significant numbers of miles for elites to upgrade, and limit upgrade inventory to 2 or so seats per flight.

Until those reforms occur, all US airlines will be inherently unprofitable, as the most profitable seats will continue to be given away as a lemming-like coordinated disincentive for elites to buy premium tickets. And profits will continue only to be concocted by reducing capacity and forcing people to pay ancillary charges.
 
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:41 pm

Quoting gigneil (Reply 21):
It is blatantly clear if F is available on your flight when you book.

Of, course, if you already are in the act of booking, you are made aware of certain things.

Existing J customers will be aware of F upgrade potential on a flight by flight basis. Certainly you will get some customers that way.

If UAL wants to sell F to the netjets customer base, it has to be clearer where F is available. Probably those customers do not have the stamina to check hundreds of flights and build enthusiast type knowledge. Anyway, imo you are as good as your worst aircraft and worst terminal. Customer may ask, what will I get? On SQ at worst, you will get something quite good. UA longhaul, ideally customers would believe the same.

[Edited 2011-12-11 15:45:13]
 
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Polot
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:42 pm

Quoting koruman (Reply 22):
1) Limit itself to Business and Economy class on short sectors.

All US airlines (that have more than one class) already do this.

Quoting koruman (Reply 22):
2) Add a third class - paid Premium Economy - on sectors longer than three hours - with fares halfway between Economy and First - selling Economy seats + 4 inches extra legroom + checked baggage + First Class food + unlimited free drinks.

Most have or are doing exactly this, minus the first class food and unlimited drinks, in exchange for slightly cheaper Y+ tickets rather than splitting the difference between first class and economy. (Adding first class food to Y+ would probably end up harming the airline more, as it would significantly dilute the value of first class, especially for domestic flights)

Quoting koruman (Reply 22):

Until those reforms occur, all US airlines will be inherently unprofitable, as the most profitable seats will continue to be given away as a lemming-like coordinated disincentive for elites to buy premium tickets. And profits will continue only to be concocted by reducing capacity and forcing people to pay ancillary charges.

The airlines are never going to give up the ancillary charges. The past few years have proven that people are willing to live with them, and the airlines are not going to give up money. Who cares if the ancillary charges are a major component of most US airline's profits the past couple of years. A profit is a profit.
 
gigneil
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:43 pm

I think we'd be surprised by the sophistication of the Netjets userbase... however, when searching out flights (or having our assistants do it   ) then they can say "I want first" and get back airlines that have first - either UA will or not.

NS
 
AeroWesty
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:56 am

Quoting koruman (Reply 22):
Stop comping upgrades to elites, and instead charge significant numbers of miles for elites to upgrade, and limit upgrade inventory to 2 or so seats per flight.

That's already in the works.

Airlines have been getting more and more sophisticated in terms of monetizing domestic First Class in recent years. KUP and YUP fares on AA, P fares on DL, and A fares on US, amongst others, are becoming more widely available, plus cash upgrade offers are being published both at time of purchase and during the OLCI process, much to the chagrin and consternation of those with elite status expecting free upgrades.

UA itself will be changing the way it allocates upgrades in the new year, with far more emphasis placed on the fare paid than has been much the rule in past years.

Going forward the message will be more and more, "pay something tangible for the seats up front", and then and only then, when the airlines have identified every opportunity to fill the front with some type of premium or high-end coach fare, or extracted miles or upgrade instruments for the seats, will the remainder go to passengers with status.
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koruman
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:56 am

Quoting polot (Reply 24):
The airlines are never going to give up the ancillary charges. The past few years have proven that people are willing to live with them, and the airlines are not going to give up money. Who cares if the ancillary charges are a major component of most US airline's profits the past couple of years. A profit is a profit.

This is why shares in US airlines are in the gutter.

Aviation is a service industry, and it's one where passengers have a choice. Except in the USA.

At present, the major carriers in the USA act as a virtual monopoly by having coordinated (lack of) service standards, so that whether an Economy passenger is going to fly UA or DL or AA or US he is going to have to pay for his luggage, pay for his food and fight for an overhead locker. Experiences which are largely alien to those of us who fly on full-service carriers in other countries.

The same applies to "First" Class passengers. Whichever airline they choose, they will get a big seat with less pitch than international Premium Economy standards, inferior food to international Economy standards and no AVOD whatsoever.

It's like the old USSR. "Our competitors are as bad as we are, they offer the same product as us and you will have to pay these ancillary fees whichever one of us you choose".

You could conceivably have a situation where every restaurant in a city chose to ambush its clientele in the same way.

For as long as I can remember, the major US airlines have been run by clones who copy each other's every move and drive service standards into the gutter. I cannot think of any other industry as despised by its customers.

But the thing is, sooner or later you will reach a level of consolidation wherein one of the majors has a foothold in every market, not just its hubs. And when that major will have much higher calibre management than any US airline does today - perhaps even achieving a level of mediocrity, or close to it. And that airline might have the radical idea of trying to please its customers rather than relying on its hubs to force people into choosing it.
 
commavia
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:10 am

Quoting koruman (Reply 27):
This is why shares in US airlines are in the gutter.

Aviation is a service industry, and it's one where passengers have a choice. Except in the USA.

At present, the major carriers in the USA act as a virtual monopoly by having coordinated (lack of) service standards, so that whether an Economy passenger is going to fly UA or DL or AA or US he is going to have to pay for his luggage, pay for his food and fight for an overhead locker. Experiences which are largely alien to those of us who fly on full-service carriers in other countries.

The same applies to "First" Class passengers. Whichever airline they choose, they will get a big seat with less pitch than international Premium Economy standards, inferior food to international Economy standards and no AVOD whatsoever.

It's like the old USSR. "Our competitors are as bad as we are, they offer the same product as us and you will have to pay these ancillary fees whichever one of us you choose".

You could conceivably have a situation where every restaurant in a city chose to ambush its clientele in the same way.

For as long as I can remember, the major US airlines have been run by clones who copy each other's every move and drive service standards into the gutter. I cannot think of any other industry as despised by its customers.

But the thing is, sooner or later you will reach a level of consolidation wherein one of the majors has a foothold in every market, not just its hubs. And when that major will have much higher calibre management than any US airline does today - perhaps even achieving a level of mediocrity, or close to it. And that airline might have the radical idea of trying to please its customers rather than relying on its hubs to force people into choosing it.

  

Well let's not get overly dramatic or anything.

Seriously - this sort of continual criticism of U.S. airline service standards never ceases to amaze me.

I've flown on dozens of airlines all around the world - and I'm hardly as extensive a traveler as many - and I've had both great and awful experiences on plenty of them. In my experience, "service" is not only very subjective, but bad service is hardly unique to U.S. carriers. Stereotyping all U.S. airline experiences and comparing them to Soviet-era Aeroflot strikes me as narrow-minded and ridiculous, frankly.

Travelers in the U.S. don't have "choice?" "Virtual monopoly?" Give me a break. U.S. consumers - in just about every category and market, including air travel - have incredible selection and choice to choose among, with varying vendors offering different products and services, and different price points, catering to different types of travelers.

U.S. air travel experiences are "foreign" to those of you lucky enough to experience "full service" airlines overseas? Uh - excuse me. Ever flown Ryanair? Ever flown Tiger? U.S. first class so attrocious its allegedly so much worse than foreign premium Coach? Okay - how about we compare it to short-haul premium cabins in, say, Europe, instead. How does AA's or United's First stack up against BA Club Europe or Lufthansa shorthaul Business? Convertible Coach with folded middle seat anyone?

U.S. airlines - including, but not limited to, United - reflect the value proposition most sought by U.S. consumers - who generally, at least in Coach, value lower prices above all else. What's with the need to criticize that? "Value" and "service" are in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I - for example - love the "service" of how in the U.S. the airlines and airports let you in on the little secret of which gate your flight is leaving from more than 45 minutes ahead of departure, unlike with some of those more refined, "service"-oriented foreign airlines and airports. I guess that means those airlines/airports are like the USSR?

Next.

[Edited 2011-12-11 18:14:17]
 
gigneil
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:23 am

Commavia brings up great points. US Carriers are absolutely on par with Europeans on Short Haul, and they are aggressively bringing their front cabins up to par against anything from Europe.

Can we please get back on topic? Now.

NS
 
koruman
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:26 am

Quoting commavia (Reply 28):
U.S. air travel experiences are "foreign" to those of you lucky enough to experience "full service" airlines overseas? Uh - excuse me. Ever flown Ryanair? Ever flown Tiger?

No, I've never flown on either - I only fly on full-service carriers. Next question?

Quoting commavia (Reply 28):
Travelers in the U.S. don't have "choice?" "Virtual monopoly?" Give me a break. U.S. consumers - in just about every category and market, including air travel - have incredible selection and choice to choose among, with varying vendors offering different products and services, and different price points, catering to different types of travelers

Really? Fine. Well here is what the majority of worldwide economy class travellers on flights 1000-2000 miles in length on full-service carriers want.

1) Included baggage.
2) Included hot meals on any flight in the air between 0630 and 0900, 1130 and 1400 or 1700 and 2000.
3) Included seat-back IFE.

Please do advise me as to which US full-service carrier offers that on domestic economy class services 1000-2000 miles in length, and I will transfer all my domestic US flying to them.

Also, please exclude from that list any US full-service airline whose domestic economy class includes the following features that those of us from overseas despise, namely:

1) A battle to squeeze your carry-on into an overfilled overhead locker.
2) A cabin which stinks from embarkation onwards of the junk food the passengers have brought onboard with them because they knew there would be no hot meals onboard.

"UA committed to being a 3 class airline", eh? Is any of those classes what those of us in other countries call economy class? No, I thought not.
 
gigneil
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:28 am

Quoting koruman (Reply 30):
3) Included seat-back IFE.

Name them.

NS
 
Flighty
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:48 am

The US industry is not the same as the European airlines. The purposes are different. In the US they are long term insecure by virtue of our market structure.

The country identities in Europe entrench regional players, and tie up with national pride. However, by around 2030, Europe will have competed as a unified market for decades -- as ours now has. Around that time, you will probably see their airlines looking like ours -- commodity outfits competing (uncontrollably) against one another, providing a minimum safe standard of transport, nothing more.   
 
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Polot
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:15 am

Quoting Flighty (Reply 32):
The country identities in Europe entrench regional players, and tie up with national pride. However, by around 2030, Europe will have competed as a unified market for decades -- as ours now has. Around that time, you will probably see their airlines looking like ours -- commodity outfits competing (uncontrollably) against one another, providing a minimum safe standard of transport, nothing more.

It is already happening. You have a group of intercontinental carriers who intra EU service is just downright embarrassing (IB,SN,SK etc), you can't even get a cup of water for free on most of them. Then few that still continue to serve complimentary food and drink have been cutting back on portions and quality significantly, and packing their airlines with more seats (I mean seriously, you think limited overhead space is a uniquely American phenomenon?). Almost no airline offers any form of IFE on their short haul aircraft, and for most of them striking is their staff's favorite pastime.

Not just in Europe too. In Asia most of the growth has been LCC like AirAsia/Tiger/Lion. Its not a coincidence that the Qantas group has been growing Jetstar to the detriment of the QF brand, and that the other full service carriers are targeting growth in that area through airlines like Scoot(SQ) and Peach(ANA).
 
koruman
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:04 am

Quoting gigneil (Reply 31):
Name them.


Name carriers offering free domestic seat-back video in countries of comparable size to the USA?

I've had it for free on my last four Qantas domestic economy sectors, with flight lengths equivalent to LAX-DEN, LAX-JFK and ORD-JFK.

And I've had it for free on every Virgin Australia domestic economy sector, all of which correspond in length to either SFO-SAN or LAX-DEN.

And it is available on all Air NZ Trans-Tasman sectors, which are around 1300 miles in length on average.

In the USA I have had it twice ever in First Class, both times on Continental. And never once in Economy.

I don't buy at all the idea that US carriers offer their domestic passengers an a la carte choice of what to have, because I can't remember in the last few years that choice of for sale items in Economy including hot meals or AVOD. On the contrary, I think they all act collectively as a monopoly dictating what few services to make available and then charging for it.

[Edited 2011-12-11 20:14:48]
 
gigneil
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:20 am

Virgin America offers it here, as does Delta, and so does jetBlue. In first, clearly United offers it for free. There is a selection of free IFE on p.s., as well as through services on United's international flights.

Bottom line - and? You named two airlines of a multitude of them planetwide that offer nothing. Like Air France, or Lufthansa, or British Airways, or Iberia. Or, well, most of them really.

You're falling flat here because you hate American air carriers for some reason. None of those things contribute to an air carrier's profitability, since its been proven REPEATEDLY that an American traveler will fly Spirit over Virgin or jetBlue if it saves as little as $10. Remember MRTC? I do. It failed miserably - nobody would pay even a dime more to fly American for more space.

Do I want those things? Yes I do. Do I understand why there's no free IFE choices at all on United's LiveTV fleet when they offered free overhead IFE before and do still on their widebody domestic services? No idea. Do I think Virgin America's product should be the standard for all carriers? Yeah, at least the full service ones.

But do I think its the rise and fall of the US air fleet? No. And do I think that a US airline can be successful by doing what you suggest? I do not. In fact, I think that airline would fail due to their unsustainable costs. Virgin America is great, but its not a runaway success financially. They've been flying many years now, if it was going to work it would have worked. They are a niche, and one I hope will continue to fly.

NS

[Edited 2011-12-11 20:25:06]

[Edited 2011-12-11 20:26:18]
 
commavia
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:31 am

Quoting koruman (Reply 30):
No, I've never flown on either - I only fly on full-service carriers.

So you only avail yourself of "full-service" carriers, and yet you feel equipped to comment on behalf of the alleged tastes, desires, and values of "the majority of worldwide economy class travelers." Interesting.

Well then let me be equally bold and comment on behalf of the "majority" of U.S. economy class travelers. I'm more than happy to be able to carry a bag onboard for free, and not have to pay for the cost of hold baggage unless I use it (or give sufficient loyalty to one airline so that's free, too), be able to pre-assign seat, easily buy a higher-quality/healthier meal before I board, be able to use my frequent flyer miles easily for free flights and/or upgrades to hundreds of destinations worldwide, and all of the above at generally reasonable prices.

Like I said, we all have our own product and service attributes that we value. Obviously, since United - and their main U.S. competitors, AA and Delta - have all tailored their product by and large to cater to my "majority" rather than yours, I'd say we know how the actual "majority" of U.S. consumers have spoken - with the dollars.

If United feels - and I think they're exactly right - that the markets they serve can be optimally served either by 2- or 3-class aircraft, or in some cases perhaps a mix of both, and they want to design their network and fleet planning to cater to their market, I still don't know what the need is to denigrate that?

Quoting koruman (Reply 30):
Well here is what the majority of worldwide economy class travellers on flights 1000-2000 miles in length on full-service carriers want.

1) Included baggage.
2) Included hot meals on any flight in the air between 0630 and 0900, 1130 and 1400 or 1700 and 2000.
3) Included seat-back IFE.

It is notable that the "majority of worldwide economy class travelers" allegedly demand this, and yet the airline that carries the most passengers in Europe offers none of these things.

Quoting koruman (Reply 30):
"UA committed to being a 3 class airline", eh? Is any of those classes what those of us in other countries call economy class? No, I thought not.

Wow. Just wow.
 
gigneil
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:41 am

Yeah I wanted to follow up further, Koruman - your posts are factually inaccurate as well as just being blatant flamebait. My guess is you've never left your armchair, much less sampled the worlds airlines.


NS
 
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:49 am

Quoting commavia (Reply 36):
Obviously, since United - and their main U.S. competitors, AA and Delta - have all tailored their product by and large to cater to my "majority" rather than yours, I'd say we know how the actual "majority" of U.S. consumers have spoken - with the dollars.

How do you work that piece of intellectual gymnastics out? If every full-service provider offers a near-identical product then you can draw precisely zero conclusions about what consumers want - because they have zero choice, and are buying what they are forced to, not what they choose to.

Posters like you may be too young to understand that all your airlines are and for years have been economic basketcases, and that elsewhere in the world there are full-service airlines which have made profits for years without resorting to forcing their consumers to accept inferior service levels.

I'm very pleased that United claims to be committed to three-class aircraft. But the fact that on a wide variety of international flights they are outclassed by the competition and have to accept junk yields (e.g. SYD-LAX) makes me think that the product still fails to recognise that consumers are not just morons who choose the cheapest lead-in fare but may actually pay for better service.
 
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:54 am

At first I read the title as "UA: We are committed to being a 3rd class airline" lol


If they want to be competitive in First internationally they're going to have to match their competitors, both in hard and soft product. Sorry but I cannot imagine the UA crew having the service consistency of SQ or even Qatar and Emirates. They would need to invest in a lot of training there I imagine.

Catering as well- are they going to be able provide the likes of caviar and fine wines and champagne, and six courses of gastronomic delights?

And then there's the marketing, they would need to invest quite a bit here too. I don't think anyone would rate UA F in the league of EK F now (anyone?). If they're going to revamp their international F service they'd have to do A LOT to get people to believe they really have something comparable.

They'd have to weigh the cost and the benefits.

F maybe something to boast about but would it profittable? As the thread starter mentioned, the have among the most comprehensive networks. Maybe it would work on some routes but would the amount they'd have to invest in it outweigh the costs for those few routes?
 
commavia
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:20 am

Quoting koruman (Reply 38):
How do you work that piece of intellectual gymnastics out? If every full-service provider offers a near-identical product then you can draw precisely zero conclusions about what consumers want - because they have zero choice, and are buying what they are forced to, not what they choose to.

Quite simple, actually.

The trend of the last 30 years has been going in the direction of what I'm describing, not what you're describing.

Airlines across the world have been moving to a lower-cost, lower-price, and (generally) lower-service standard in Economy for decades. That is hardly unique to the U.S., as evidenced by the fact that some of the largest and fastest-growing airlines in Europe and Asia are hardly "full-service," and in many cases are fare more "bare bones" than anything you'd fine on AA, Delta, United, or Southwest (the USA's four largest airlines).

And, once again, service is in the eye of the beholder. What you define as less-than-"full service" is probably considered excellent for many other people. That's not to say either is right or wrong, they're just different.

In the U.S., the product offering that United - and AA, Delta, and even these days Southwest - generally offers is pretty much in line with what most U.S. consumers are willing to pay for. Not what they "want" per se, but what they're willing to pay for - key difference. So for United specifically, that means no meals, checked baggage fees and - on topic - a mix of 2- and 3-class international flights.

Quoting koruman (Reply 38):
Posters like you may be too young to understand

"Posters like [me]?" Seriously?

I've flown about 940,000 miles in my life, on 30 airlines. Is that sufficient age and experience to be "qualified" to "understand" and comment on the airline industry and airline service standards?

Quoting koruman (Reply 38):
that all your airlines are and for years have been economic basketcases, and that elsewhere in the world there are full-service airlines which have made profits for years without resorting to forcing their consumers to accept inferior service levels.

No, many of those "full-service" airlines just resorted (for years) to tacit political protectionism and/or outright government subsidy!

And how many years back do we want to go, exactly? Because "all the way" back in 1997/1998 (not that long ago) U.S. network airlines were hardly "economic basketcases," and instead were astoundingly profitable. Gee - I wonder what could possibly have happened since then that would have had a severe impact on the economics of U.S. network carriers? Hmmm. And this year, neither Delta, United nor Southwest will be "economic basketcases" - all are predicted to be solidly profitable. Delta and United have restructured their cost structures and business models, and seem to be successful. AA is likely not far behind them. So obviously they're doing something right.

Quoting koruman (Reply 38):
I'm very pleased that United claims to be committed to three-class aircraft. But the fact that on a wide variety of international flights they are outclassed by the competition and have to accept junk yields (e.g. SYD-LAX) makes me think that the product still fails to recognise that consumers are not just morons who choose the cheapest lead-in fare but may actually pay for better service.

Well, since United's management is actually running the world's largest airline, and you aren't, I'm going to go with them.

They obviously feel, based on the mountains of actual data, that their current product offering - complimented by the investments that are making in their fleet - will position them to be competitive, profitable and successful going forward. That means a domestic Economy product competitive with where the market is in the U.S. - and thus reflective of what consumers are generally willing to pay for - and a mix of 2- and 3-class international aircraft.
 
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:35 pm

Quoting koruman (Reply 38):
Posters like you may be too young to understand that all your airlines are and for years have been economic basketcases, and that elsewhere in the world there are full-service airlines which have made profits for years without resorting to forcing their consumers to accept inferior service levels.

And those airlines have strangleholds on their markets.

NS
 
avek00
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:46 pm

Quoting gigneil (Reply 41):

And those airlines have strangleholds on their markets.

Indeed, USA carriers operate in the world's most advanced and most deregulated aviation market, bar none. As carriers elsewhere in the world begin to experience competitive pressures USA carriers are facing, they are making and will continue make commercial decisions not unlike those of their USA peers.

If United was guaranteed 60-80% of ALL US citizen traffic to overseas locales, it'd look and act differently. But being an airline in America doesn't afford that luxury.
Live life to the fullest.
 
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:16 pm

Quoting gigneil (Reply 1):
Not all 787s will be 3 class. They will have a combination of the two.

You sure about that? Everything I've heard is that it will be Business, E+ and Economy throughout the 787 fleet
We will ride this thunderbird, silver shadows on the earth, a thousand leagues away our land of birth... -Captain Bruce
 
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Polot
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:42 pm

Quoting Tdan (Reply 43):
You sure about that? Everything I've heard is that it will be Business, E+ and Economy throughout the 787 fleet

Keep in mind that when the term 3 class is used, it means First, Business, and E+/Economy. E+ is not generally considered a separate class on United because it is just economy with more legroom.
 
mogandoCI
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:45 pm

Quoting commavia (Reply 40):
In the U.S., the product offering that United - and AA, Delta, and even these days Southwest - generally offers is pretty much in line with what most U.S. consumers are willing to pay for. Not what they "want" per se, but what they're willing to pay for - key difference.

They're "willing" because the alternative is much worse : 1. Spirit Air, 2. Greyhound, or 3. Not Traveling

Entirely confusing correlation (people forced to pay due to lack of realistic alternative) with causation (people wanting to pay because the product provides value - better service or lower price - over competitors). That's the reason why jetBlue is a success and VirginAmerica allows flying to be fun and enjoyable again.

And what do people always compare the US carriers to the crapo "European regional" product and think the US is "not so bad" ? Look at CX, SQ, TG (and a whole range of East Asian carriers) to see what "full service economy" product done properly. That's where comparisons should be made (if UA/DL/AA strive for world fame), not against Spirit or Ryanair.
 
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Polot
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:49 pm

Quoting mogandoCI (Reply 45):
Entirely confusing correlation (people forced to pay due to lack of realistic alternative) with causation (people wanting to pay because the product provides value - better service or lower price - over competitors). That's the reason why jetBlue is a success and VirginAmerica allows flying to be fun and enjoyable again.

VX is also highly unprofitable, and B6's profits have essentially been flat the past couple of years despite massive growth, so apparently people aren't willing to pay enough to allow flying to be fun and enjoyable again.
 
commavia
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:00 pm

Quoting mogandoCI (Reply 45):
Entirely confusing correlation (people forced to pay due to lack of realistic alternative) with causation (people wanting to pay because the product provides value - better service or lower price - over competitors). That's the reason why jetBlue is a success and VirginAmerica allows flying to be fun and enjoyable again.

So if so many people so loathe the allegedly horrific service that get on AA, Delta, United, USAirways and Southwest, as an alternative to JetBlue and Virgin, how come those two airlines aren't growing exponentially (and at least in Virgin's case, profitably)?

JetBlue is a great airline with a great product. They do well. Virgin has excellent service. They have yet to prove (in my view) that their business model is scalable and sustainable. However, what AA, Delta, United and USAirways have proven is that plenty of people or more than happy to buy a (generally, relatively) cheap, basic airline ticket and then pay for other stuff (checked bags, etc.) if they use it.

Quoting mogandoCI (Reply 45):
And what do people always compare the US carriers to the crapo "European regional" product and think the US is "not so bad" ?

Because it isn't so bad.

Quoting mogandoCI (Reply 45):
Look at CX, SQ, TG (and a whole range of East Asian carriers) to see what "full service economy" product done properly.

Okay. No problem. Give U.S. carriers little meaningful competition, tacit political protection if not outright government ownership/subsidy, virtually no labor regulation to speak of (lower pay, often no unions), and I'll bet you U.S. service standards would be as good as Cathay, Singapore and Thai, also.

... But, alas, back here in reality, however, I'm not sure why that is a fair comparison anyway. Cathay and Singapore don't have any domestic flights, and generally fly longer sectors than many U.S. domestic flights. How is it fair to compare an AA MD80 ORD-LGA with a Singapore A380 SIN-NRT, and yet it is unfair to compare an AA 737 ORD-BOS with a Lufthansa 737 FRA-LYS?
 
gigneil
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:46 pm

Quoting Tdan (Reply 43):
You sure about that

100% sure. There will be a mix of 787s with and without first. It was reiterated recently is my understanding.

NS
 
mogandoCI
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RE: UA: "we Are Committed To Being A 3 Class Airline"

Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:03 pm

Quoting commavia (Reply 47):
How is it fair to compare an AA MD80 ORD-LGA with a Singapore A380 SIN-NRT, and yet it is unfair to compare an AA 737 ORD-BOS with a Lufthansa 737 FRA-LYS?

Compare SIN-BKK to AA's ORD-LGA and come back. Both CX and SQ have "regional" products that could be fairly compared to US domestic service.

Even take the flagship LAX-JFK, which is longer than CX's/SQ's SIN-HKG.

Quoting commavia (Reply 47):
However, what AA, Delta, United and USAirways have proven is that plenty of people or more than happy to buy a (generally, relatively) cheap, basic airline ticket and then pay for other stuff (checked bags, etc.) if they use it.

Again, your point only shows that in a commoditized oligopoly, price trumps product differentiation. For a big chunk of the country that doesn't live in NYC or BOS, flying legacy is their only realistic option. For every town with major LCC presence, we observe a substantial chunk of passengers choosing product value over diming-to-death.

Once Wright Amendment lifts in a few years, AA might be in for a crude awakening.