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Best Domestic Route Structure

Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:20 pm

Looking at the domestic US, which airline do you think has the best systems of hubs, spokes, routes, and focus cities?
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RE: Best Domestic Route Structure

Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:28 pm

Best is such a difficult term. If you look at profit, it is Alaska Airlines since they are most profitable, but no one would immediately think basing an airline at a hub in Seattle is idea.

United has the best nationwide coverage for a hub and spoke airline. Delta is close, but the west coast presence is not a strong. American again lacks the west coast presence. Southwest is a bit chaotic. It doesn’t have hubs in the same sense. It just serves high O/D routes. US Airways isn’t that comprehensive. In certain areas they are strong, but others weak.

Who knows. I don’t think there is a good answer.
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RE: Best Domestic Route Structure

Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:43 pm

UA loses when it comes to the south, but they have an alliance partner in US which helps them there, and some good transcon coverage that's not replicated by the others.

DL loses when it comes to the west coast and transcon (except JFK), but they have AS to help them fill in the dots for western north-south travel that's inefficient for SLC to handle.

AA partners with AS as well for the west, but has poor intermountain west connections, and neither MIA nor DFW are ideally placed to connect the south.

Clear winner, none, though DL might have the edge with AS flying more mainline between California and the PNW, a market where UA has given up a lot over the years, plus DL's ATL hub may be better situated to connect the south vs. US at CLT. Then again, UA has better breadth and depth on transcon routes.

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RE: Best Domestic Route Structure

Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:52 am

I have to say, WN is often looking great on a simple route map, but because of Regional Jets and their route structure, the other majors serve many more airports. When you factor in air traffic in a certain area, the notable lack of frequency on a WN route can affect it.

US does quite well in the East and entire Atlantic coast region. They also do fine in the Southwest, but lose out horribly on anywhere else. Transcon isn't splendid, and anything even mildly North (other than the Northeast) is completely disregarded.

DL does quite well in the South with ATL, and okay in the East as a whole. They have the commanding DTW and MSP presence. But they lack West Coast. (Their furthest West Hub is SLC, and many of its flights go East). They do OK in the Midwest, but UA and AA are stronger. DL has the largest hub in the world, though.

AA does OK in the South simply because of hub location. They aren't the best for transit, but DFW and MIA are in the South. ORD and LAX help the midwest and Western presence. But they lack a Northwest and strong Northeast presence, and overall are fairly weak in the East.

UA is great in the West as a whole, but aren't as strong in the east, especially the Southeast.

DL and UA have more planes. US takes advantage of the fact that it is an East Coast Airline. WN and UA are huge here out west. DL is just plain DL and seems to be almost everywhere. AA isn't exactly small either. There is no good answer. I would probably say UA or DL.

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