WorldVoyager
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The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Sat Mar 03, 2001 10:46 am

I recently realized that both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have announced that San Francisco will be one of its first routes with the new premium cabins (the refurbished cabins are already found on the BA flights).

The only other U.S. city among the first is New York, which is understandable. But I would have thought Los Angeles or Chicago would have come before SFO, even with all its high-tech business travelers. So, what is so special about the Bay area?
 
flyua
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Sat Mar 03, 2001 11:12 am

Dear Worldvoyager:
One thing I can tell you is, "there's gold in them thar hills!" I don't know about BA and Virgin, but the SFO-LHR route has been United's most profitable run for the past couple of years. In fact, beginning in April we will offer a third daily nonstop, albeit with a teeny-tiny 767-300. We will then have a flight to LHR with one of each: the B777, B747-400, and the late-evening B767-300. The competition on this route is fierce!
 
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RayChuang
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Sat Mar 03, 2001 11:28 am

The SFO-LHR route is a very busy one indeed--BA has TWO flights a day from SFO to LHR, both using the upgraded 744's with the upgraded First, Club World and World Traveller classes. And BA is very serious about serving SFO--they have that great Terrace Lounge for First and Club World passengers that is located in the A concourse itself.

I won't be surprised after the Bermuda II agreement is superceded in the next few years we may see BA try to run four flights per day (three 744's and one 772ER), VS run two flights per day (one A380-800 and one 744), and UA run three flights per day (two 744's and one 772ER) from SFO to LHR. Right now, it is very difficult to book an SFO-LHR direct flight, so passenger often have to fly connections via DFW, ORD, IAD and JFK.
 
OH-LGA
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Sat Mar 03, 2001 12:28 pm

Flyua:

You're not kidding...

When we had our airliners.net gathering at SFO on February 17th, I was able to secure a tour of the new BA Terraces lounge at SFO. This lounge is only the third in the world to allow passengers to board the aircraft directly from the lounge (the others are London and New York - JFK, both are exclusively for Concorde).

The reason the new cabins, at least for BA, was due to the large amount of people travelling in premium classes between these two city pairs. The flights are constantly oversold. Flyua hit it on the head, there's gold in these here hills, with all of the new dot-com millionaires and the headquarters of several high-tech companies, this route is VERY profitable for BA... I wouldn't be surprised if they tried a 2x daily the entire week (right now Wed has no double-daily) because that would probably go out full as well.

Moi,
Kai
Head in the clouds... yet feet planted firmly on the ground.
 
johnboy
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Sat Mar 03, 2001 1:18 pm

Open your Golden Gate indeed!

I would argue that San Francisco is still the financial capital of the West Coast, even though Los Angeles is roughly twice as large. Combine that with Silicon Valley money and just plain ol' tourist business, and those plane seats quickly fill up.

SF has always been an anomaly sitting on the Left Coast -- it's in the West for sure, but it's a notoriously East Coast town in demeanor. Has been for years, and that's part of it's charm.
 
modesto2
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Sun Mar 04, 2001 3:03 am

I flew UA954, SFO-LHR back in September 2000. The flight was overbooked. From my experience, I would definitely believe that this route is highly profitable. There's a reason why UA uses a 772 and 744 each day.
 
deltairlines
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Sun Mar 04, 2001 4:34 am

Right, you have Silicon Valley right there. I'm suprised BOS hasn't been brought up for upgraded service (or LHR service for VS), as it is the Silicon Valley of the East Coast (there are about 15 dot-coms in my small town alone!)

Jeff
 
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Yes Yes Yes, And Question For Flyua

Sun Mar 04, 2001 8:52 am

SFO-LHR is an amazingly profiable route for UA... I flew round trip last year and both my flights were oversold. The return trip was on a 744 and there were so many people in the boarding area in LHR that they asked the first and business class passengers to let the coach passengers board first to speed up the boarding process. The flight was already late. (the pilot claimed that there weren't enough sets of headphones on board...... uhh..... yeah.....). I'm happy they've added the 763 to the route. Part of this I think is because United connects a LOT of passengers through SFO. The people seating next to me were continuing on to SLC... the people next to them were going to Seattle... etc. Anyway my question for Flyua is (i think you said you were based in SFO) have you ever flown the SFO-LHR route? And what do you know about the new 763 service? (i.e. number of seats..... expected load factors) if you've got time i'd love to hear about it, if not well then tough shit for me.
 
Guest

RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Sun Mar 04, 2001 9:09 am

Just a little point I picked up on this interesting thread;

Do US airlines have a policy of boarding First and Biz before coach pax?

BA's policy is usually to board First/Biz last, and of course let them out first, at the other end.

Sorry for going off track!
 
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RayChuang
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Sun Mar 04, 2001 11:14 am

I believe if BA uses both jetwalks at the A Concourse gates at SFO, they can load First/Club World passengers first by using the front jetwalk, then load the World Traveller/Economy passengers with the back jetwalk.

Come to think of it, if Bermuda II is replaced with a more open air rights agreement, one thing BA may actually seriously consider is flying SJC-LHR with a 777-200ER. And it may actually work, given the large number of potential First and Club World passengers available from the technology companies in the Silicon Valley.
 
Guest

RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Sun Mar 04, 2001 12:53 pm

RayChuang- I think your probably right about the SJC-LHR run. I was surprised that American decided to place their two new 772 routes of of SJC as Paris and Taipei. British airways making a LGW-SJC or LHR-SJC flight and code sharing it with AA could be a very real possibility from this as (at least to me) I would think American would want to fly to London out of the bay area as it is probably a more frequented route. What were you talking about the front jetwalk and back jetwalk though? And Capt Picard- it is policy at every US airline I have ever flown on to board First Class/Passegners with disabilites first, then Business/Upper Tier milege members/passengers with small children second, and economy last. That was why I was surprised.
 
ILUV767
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Sun Mar 04, 2001 1:55 pm

Regarding the 767-322 Service to LHR:

Due to very high load factors on the SFO-LHR run, United has decied to add another flight to LHR. The flight will depart SFO at 7:30pm from the international G gates. United will be using one of their 63XX series 767s on this route. This aircraft will feature United's enhanced business class seats, and of course, Economy Plus. The amount of premium seats has grown with the addition of Economy plus to the international fleet.

Every 767 flying to LHR will feature 4 classes (Economy Plus as the 4th) of service, Personal Televisions, and ehanced service amenities. Sadly, there are no sleeper seats in first on the 767.  Sad If you want a sleeper, try to make the tripple or the 400, as those are running with sleeper seats.

Load wise on this route, expect to see if fill up very fast. Flights are always oversold going to LHR from SFO, and this one should ease the loads on the other two flights.

I would not be surprised if United decided to swap out the 777 at 12:30 and make it a 747. It would be full in a minute.

goU N I T E D!
 
Mit
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Sun Mar 04, 2001 10:12 pm

Capt. Picard,

Yes, every US Airline I have seen allows F/J pax to board first (or middle, or last -- whenever they want to.) And they deplane first as well.
 
johnboy
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Mon Mar 05, 2001 3:21 am

Re: front and back jetways....I believe the new International Terminal at SFO has all gates with the ability to load planes from two jetways. Certainly sounds like they're ready for that monster, the A380.
 
FLY777UAL
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Mon Mar 05, 2001 3:52 am

Flights 974/975 (763 LHR svc.) aren't on the schedule starting Sunday, October 28.

F L Y 7 7 7 U A L
 
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FLY777UAL

Mon Mar 05, 2001 4:37 am

Huh? I don't understand. Are you saying that the 3rd daily SFO-LHR flight is only seasonal service? Sorry for the confusion. Thanks
 
johnnybgoode
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Mon Mar 05, 2001 5:44 am

just a seasonal service, makes sense to me.

daniel
If only pure sweetness was offered, why's this bitter taste left in my mouth.
 
Guest

RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Mon Mar 05, 2001 6:06 am

Just to confirm, the NEW Club World IS available on flights to ORD.

I quote from BA's website:

When is this product going to be available on all flights?
Currently the New Club World is available on all routes from London Heathrow to:

New York (JFK)
San Francisco (SFO)
Hong Kong (shuttle services to Taipei & Manila - TPE & MNL)
Chicago (ORD)

The new seat is also available on the majority of services to the following routes:
Japan, Narita (NRT)
Washington (IAD)


 
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RayChuang
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Mon Mar 05, 2001 7:36 am

You know, if SJC's new Customs/Immigration facilities can accommodate passengers from a 747-400, I won't be surprised at ALL when the Bermuda II agreement is superceded BA may actually fly a 744 equipped with their upgraded seating out of SJC to LHR. After all, the San Jose area has very large population, and many of them would love to fly to Europe minus the hassles of dealing with getting to SFO in the first place. Remember, SJC has begun a major runway upgrade project that will allow something as big as a 747-400 to fly out of there will very little pax/cargo restrictions; this means BA could potentially assign a 744 on the SJC-LHR route.
 
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Ray-Chuang

Mon Mar 05, 2001 8:14 am

Are you sure there is enough demand for that kind of plane on that route? I mean I am certainly aware that there is huge demand, but SJC is, in fact, in competition directly with flights out of SFO. And if I count correct there are... err 7 flights daily now SFO-LHR? (3x UA, 2x BA, 2x VS)
5 of those 7 are 744s... Another 747 route out of the bay area might be stretching it a bit. Maybe not though, anyway I think you'll see a 772 in SJC before a pax 744 for flights to London. Cant wait 'till it gets here!
 
ILUV767
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Mon Mar 05, 2001 8:23 am

SJC can not support a 747!
 
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RayChuang
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Mon Mar 05, 2001 11:17 am

While you may scoff at the idea of flying 747-400 from SJC to LHR, think about this: you have a very large population of people living in Santa Clara County and southern Alameda County. And they're VERY well-off in many cases.

I think they would welcome the ability to fly to LHR without fighting the traffic hassles of going to SFO by car, shuttle van or bus. Remember what I said: SJC is doing a major runway expansion project that will produce a runway well over 11,000 feet long. And SJC has begun planning for a larger Federal Inspection Service facility that will replace the interim facility now under construction. The implication is obvious: SJC is planning for eventual 747-400 flights out of the airport, though of course not on the scale of what SFO is doing now.

I'm not asking BA to fly the 747-400 on a daily basis, but maybe more like 4-5 times per week. But at least for the immediate future if BA gets the right to fly SJC-LHR they would start with a 777-200ER fitted with expanded premium seating sections first.
 
Guest

RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Mon Mar 05, 2001 11:33 am

The runways aren't the problem at SJC. the terminal facilities are. The new FIS under construction will barely be able to accomodate the current number of international flights. And the new new FIS that is supposed to be part of "Terminal B" won't be ready for at least a decade. None of the current gates in either terminal can accomodate 747s. There is no way anyone is going to fly 747s into SJC for at least another 10 years, if not longer, no matter what the demand is. Most that can be hoped for is possibly another 777.
 
flyua
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Tue Mar 06, 2001 10:29 am

FLY777UAL: Yup, you're right about the 767-300's seasonal service. I should have known...! We SFO-based Flight Attendants love to get excited about new international flights (for US to work, as opposed to LHR crews), for it means more schedule-bidding options for us. Of course, just like our SFO-PEK and earlier promised second daily SFO-HKG, good things rarely last unless it makes UA obscene amounts of money. We at SFO so quickly forget that the world does NOT revolve around us!
 
FLY777UAL
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RE: The SFO-LHR Market And New Cabins

Tue Mar 06, 2001 10:43 am

Good news, though!

The HKG trip is reverting back to a SFO base ID (due to DEL coming online April 1st for the HKG crews...)!!!

With SFO's luck, 974/975 will be LHR's to fly...

F L Y 7 7 7 U A L

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