Not to complain, but things like this make me wonder what is going on with UA and ORD. ORD is UA’s largest hub,
SFO and EWR are UA premier Int'l gateways where competition is stiff. AA at ORD, other than LHR, offers very little competition to Europe and even less to Asia. I'd say UA is putting their initial, limited resources where it will count the most. ORD will see PE and the 77W/78J soon enough but until they get gates that are able to accommodate the same number of 772-sized aircraft into gates with 77W and 787s, UA can't afford to reduce flights for the sake of getting larger planes in T1. IMO
This is too simplistic.
ORD is UA's jack of all trades hub. It has a massive domestic network as well as service to many cities in Europe and Asia, and service to Mexico and Brazil.
SFO is UA's Asia's gateway with significant domestic and European service.
EWR is UA's Europe gateway with significant domestic and Asian service.
IAH is UA's Latin America gateway with significant domestic service, a few Europe routes and an NRT flight.
DEN is UA's Rocky Mountain gateway and 2nd largest domestic hub, with an NRT, seasonal LHR, and FRA (coming soon) flight.
LAX and IAD are focus cities that cater more to O&D than connections though that seems to be shifting at IAD.
If you are UA, where would you put those brand new aircraft at first? SFO and EWR have the largest numbers of long haul flights and have the best mix of O&D and connections of the hub. It makes perfect sense.
ORD is the most well rounded UA hub and as such has a slightly higher emphasis on domestic connections. It will get them, but I can see SFO and EWR being a higher priority because it has a higher ratio of O&D to connections and O&D traffic is typically higher yield.
IAH is just as international as EWR or SFO for the UA network, but the majority of its international network is short haul and medium haul. This is no urgent need for brand new long haul aircraft based on that. The long haul flights to/from IAH are typically operated on pre-merger CO 777's which are not as archaic as the pre-merger UA ones. The 767-300 also does the job pretty well for the South America network. Putting something like 787-1000 is way too many seats for routes like IAH-SCL/GRU/GIG/LIM. IAH is ok for now.
DEN is self explanatory.
LAX and IAD have some high yielding international flights but I would think it would be harder to base those aircraft there because they dont have the number of premium long hauls that EWR and SFO have.
Their decision makes sense to me.