HouStrategies
Topic Author
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:39 pm

Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:57 pm

Just curious. It seems like a nonstop connecting a 3.2m metro (Orange County) with 6m metro hub + national capital would be a no-brainer and a big moneymaker. They serve every other major west coast city from IAD - even much smaller Sacramento and Portland. Is there some sort of restriction on gates, slots, or fuel/weight that is the issue? (they do have nonstops to EWR, so it doesn't seem like fuel/weight is an issue with the short SNA runway) And if they did it, would it make more sense as a day flight or red-eye?
Last edited by HouStrategies on Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
User avatar
TWA772LR
Posts: 6767
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:12 am

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:06 pm

Fair point. I wonder if they have enough 73Gs to go around to make it work, or if the A319 can make it. UA has been doing a lot of for-connecting lately so I'm sure it's been tossed around in the Sears Tower.

Slightly OT but I also wonder if IAD-TXL could work. EWR-TXL is the only year-round service from all of the US to Berlin. You'd think the capitals of 2 of the worlds richest countries that are 2 very close allies would have nonstop air service but that's for another thread.
When wasn't America great?


The thoughts and opinions shared under this username are mine and are not influenced by my employer.
 
dcajet
Posts: 3958
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:31 am

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:08 pm

Airlines that operate at SNA have a cap on the number of departures they can operate out of the airport. I'd think that given that limitation, United flies from SNA to where it can make the most profit.
"Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten"
 
HouStrategies
Topic Author
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:39 pm

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:12 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
Slightly OT but I also wonder if IAD-TXL could work. EWR-TXL is the only year-round service from all of the US to Berlin. You'd think the capitals of 2 of the worlds richest countries that are 2 very close allies would have nonstop air service but that's for another thread.


Makes total sense to me. That is a strange one to be missing. Maybe beyond the range of a 757 and not enough demand for a widebody?
 
airportlover
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:42 pm

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:15 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
Fair point. I wonder if they have enough 73Gs to go around to make it work, or if the A319 can make it. UA has been doing a lot of for-connecting lately so I'm sure it's been tossed around in the Sears Tower.

Slightly OT but I also wonder if IAD-TXL could work. EWR-TXL is the only year-round service from all of the US to Berlin. You'd think the capitals of 2 of the worlds richest countries that are 2 very close allies would have nonstop air service but that's for another thread.


IAD-TXL raises a good point. The EWR-TXL route seems to do extremely well, and the business class cabin almost always sells out and the economy class cabin comes close, even in the middle of the winter. As Berlin grows as a city, tourist destination, and economy, UA would be smart to capitalize on that and dominate the TXL-US market. A second daily frequency to EWR could even be in the works or a summer seasonal upgauge to 78J. It might be smart to add an IAD-TXL flight, though, instead of adding capacity on the EWR route.
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
Posts: 768
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:38 pm

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:15 pm

There are no restrictions on flying SNA-IAD at all. 737's have been flying to EWR and HNL for years (further distances), somehow getting airborne from that ridiculously short runway.

"Slots", however, are much more restrictive - having the gate space for a flight comes at the expense of another flight. And when this is the situation, an airline will only fly the most profitable routes from a slot-or-gate-shortage airport, and leave lower-yield traffic to other airports.

Given also that IAD is reachable from a multitude of hubs from SNA, United (as well as others) will be happy to route you through one of their hubs for a one-stop. Are you connecting at IAD for another destination? In most cases, you will probably be able to reach that airport from somewhere other than via IAD.

Or United will be more than happy to take you non-stop from LAX to IAD. So will AA and AS. Eight flights a day, three of them red-eyes.

Now, if airlines had the ability to fly non-stop from multiple airports on the west coast to DCA, I'd bet SNA might be one of the airports with a non-stop.
 
dcajet
Posts: 3958
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:31 am

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:18 pm

HouStrategies wrote:
TWA772LR wrote:
Slightly OT but I also wonder if IAD-TXL could work. EWR-TXL is the only year-round service from all of the US to Berlin. You'd think the capitals of 2 of the worlds richest countries that are 2 very close allies would have nonstop air service but that's for another thread.


Makes total sense to me. That is a strange one to be missing. Maybe beyond the range of a 757 and not enough demand for a widebody?


Traditionally, Berlin traffic is not high yielding; proof of that is Lufthansa's conspicous absence on any long haul flights ex-Berlin.

There is plenty of higher yielding traffic to Germany from the Washington DC area, just not to Berlin.
"Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten"
 
User avatar
PatrickZ80
Posts: 3835
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:33 am

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:18 pm

Doesn't the runway length at John Wayne also limit it's operations? I mean, it's only 1738 meters / 5701 feet. That would make any flight with a bit of distance weight restricted.

Still, they fly to Newark with a 737-700. I guess that's the largest they can put on that route, and would require the full runway length to get off the ground.
 
dcajet
Posts: 3958
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:31 am

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:22 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
Doesn't the runway length at John Wayne also limit it's operations? I mean, it's only 1738 meters / 5701 feet. That would make any flight with a bit of distance weight restricted.

Still, they fly to Newark with a 737-700. I guess that's the largest they can put on that route, and would require the full runway length to get off the ground.


There were (or still are) flights from SNA to Hawaii too. There's nothing operational preventing UA from serving IAD from SNA. It is purely a commercial decision based on the the number of departures they are allowed at SNA on a daily basis.
"Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten"
 
HouStrategies
Topic Author
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:39 pm

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:41 pm

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
There are no restrictions on flying SNA-IAD at all. 737's have been flying to EWR and HNL for years (further distances), somehow getting airborne from that ridiculously short runway.

"Slots", however, are much more restrictive - having the gate space for a flight comes at the expense of another flight. And when this is the situation, an airline will only fly the most profitable routes from a slot-or-gate-shortage airport, and leave lower-yield traffic to other airports.

Given also that IAD is reachable from a multitude of hubs from SNA, United (as well as others) will be happy to route you through one of their hubs for a one-stop. Are you connecting at IAD for another destination? In most cases, you will probably be able to reach that airport from somewhere other than via IAD.

Or United will be more than happy to take you non-stop from LAX to IAD. So will AA and AS. Eight flights a day, three of them red-eyes.

Now, if airlines had the ability to fly non-stop from multiple airports on the west coast to DCA, I'd bet SNA might be one of the airports with a non-stop.


I suspect this is part of the issue: limited connecting banks at IAD that could just as easily go through another hub, combined with the bulk of OD demand really preferring DCA and willing to make a connection to get there, especially if it matches their schedule better than the nonstop.
 
dcajet
Posts: 3958
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:31 am

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:56 pm

HouStrategies wrote:
PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
There are no restrictions on flying SNA-IAD at all. 737's have been flying to EWR and HNL for years (further distances), somehow getting airborne from that ridiculously short runway.

"Slots", however, are much more restrictive - having the gate space for a flight comes at the expense of another flight. And when this is the situation, an airline will only fly the most profitable routes from a slot-or-gate-shortage airport, and leave lower-yield traffic to other airports.

Given also that IAD is reachable from a multitude of hubs from SNA, United (as well as others) will be happy to route you through one of their hubs for a one-stop. Are you connecting at IAD for another destination? In most cases, you will probably be able to reach that airport from somewhere other than via IAD.

Or United will be more than happy to take you non-stop from LAX to IAD. So will AA and AS. Eight flights a day, three of them red-eyes.

Now, if airlines had the ability to fly non-stop from multiple airports on the west coast to DCA, I'd bet SNA might be one of the airports with a non-stop.


I suspect this is part of the issue: limited connecting banks at IAD that could just as easily go through another hub, combined with the bulk of OD demand really preferring DCA and willing to make a connection to get there, especially if it matches their schedule better than the nonstop.


The airport currently allows 85 commercial daily flights and 10.8 million annual passengers, and that won't change until Jan. 1, 2021, when 95 daily flights and 11.8 million annual passengers will be permitted. Based on these numbers airlines are each allowed a certain number of flights and in turn, airlines prioroitize accordingly based on the most profitable destinations. Connection banks at hubs may or may not be part of the considerations.
"Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten"
 
Newbiepilot
Posts: 3639
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:18 pm

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:47 pm

United has 20 slots at SNA. They have 6 to SFO, 4 to DEN and IAH and 3 to ORD and EWR. UA could repurpose one of those slots for SNA-IAD, but I am guessing demand is higher for the other destinations.
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
Posts: 768
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:38 pm

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:12 pm

I couldn't figure out whom to quote in the reply first, so I gave up.

I couldn't agree with more with all the responses.

Ironic, isn't it? John Wayne was known to have hated this airport, being a resident at the end of the runway. From what I have heard second hand from LA/OC people I have known, he was very vocal in the early opposition to any expansion of the airport. And don't get me started on the "neighborhood committees" sitting and revving their bulldozers at the first sign they've managed to close SNA, LGB, and BUR, shifting everything to LAX, ONT, and SAN on the west coast!
 
HouStrategies
Topic Author
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:39 pm

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:30 pm

Newbiepilot wrote:
United has 20 slots at SNA. They have 6 to SFO, 4 to DEN and IAH and 3 to ORD and EWR. UA could repurpose one of those slots for SNA-IAD, but I am guessing demand is higher for the other destinations.


I only count 2/day to EWR?
 
IADCA
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:24 am

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:34 pm

HouStrategies wrote:
Just curious. It seems like a nonstop connecting a 3.2m metro (Orange County) with 6m metro hub + national capital would be a no-brainer and a big moneymaker. They serve every other major west coast city from IAD - even much smaller Sacramento and Portland. Is there some sort of restriction on gates, slots, or fuel/weight that is the issue? (they do have nonstops to EWR, so it doesn't seem like fuel/weight is an issue with the short SNA runway) And if they did it, would it make more sense as a day flight or red-eye?


There's a bit of a strategic issue as well. It's not entirely analogous, but they only fly from IAD to one of the three Bay Area airports as well.
 
HouStrategies
Topic Author
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:39 pm

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:39 pm

IADCA wrote:

There's a bit of a strategic issue as well. It's not entirely analogous, but they only fly from IAD to one of the three Bay Area airports as well.


That doesn't surprise me as much. They wouldn't want to compete with SWA on OAK-BWI, and they would also want to drive as much traffic into their SFO hub as possible.
 
slcdeltarumd11
Posts: 4367
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2004 7:30 am

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:44 pm

Quite simply united would have to cut a flight to add it. Either a 737-700 or 757-200 could operate the route on takeoff with no issues. They must think their current operation offers enough time options to the hubs they serve. I don't think it's a demand issue, I think it's a slot issue.

SMF has alot of traffic to DC since it's the largest state capital. Lots of lobbyists and traffic to fill the plan with business travellers.
 
IADCA
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:24 am

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:56 pm

HouStrategies wrote:
IADCA wrote:

There's a bit of a strategic issue as well. It's not entirely analogous, but they only fly from IAD to one of the three Bay Area airports as well.


That doesn't surprise me as much. They wouldn't want to compete with SWA on OAK-BWI, and they would also want to drive as much traffic into their SFO hub as possible.


OAK isn't the one I was thinking of, and it's not like they're scared of flying other routes out of IAD that Southwest flies to BWI (including both PDX and SMF and strong WN stations like LAS), so I don't think that part holds water. And note that they don't fly to any LA Basin airport besides LAX from IAD, almost like "driving traffic through their LAX hub" is a goal there too.
 
winstonavgeek
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:00 pm

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:00 pm

SNA-IAD probably is not going to happen for a while considering they don't have Milwaukee or Memphis in their network from IAD. They don't even have Salt Lake City. However, who knows? It may happen.
 
dcajet
Posts: 3958
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:31 am

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:00 pm

HouStrategies wrote:
IADCA wrote:

There's a bit of a strategic issue as well. It's not entirely analogous, but they only fly from IAD to one of the three Bay Area airports as well.


That doesn't surprise me as much. They wouldn't want to compete with SWA on OAK-BWI, and they would also want to drive as much traffic into their SFO hub as possible.


UA does not operate at OAK. AFAIK, their BWI operations are rather small, (probably just the likes of ORD and IAH) which is logical, with their IAD hub just 50 miles down the road.
"Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten"
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
Posts: 768
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:38 pm

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:15 pm

dcajet wrote:
HouStrategies wrote:
IADCA wrote:

There's a bit of a strategic issue as well. It's not entirely analogous, but they only fly from IAD to one of the three Bay Area airports as well.


That doesn't surprise me as much. They wouldn't want to compete with SWA on OAK-BWI, and they would also want to drive as much traffic into their SFO hub as possible.


UA does not operate at OAK. AFAIK, their BWI operations are rather small, (probably just the likes of ORD and IAH) which is logical, with their IAD hub just 50 miles down the road.


And Newark +/- two hours away, airport to airport by Amtrak.
 
HouStrategies
Topic Author
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:39 pm

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:47 pm

winstonavgeek wrote:
SNA-IAD probably is not going to happen for a while considering they don't have Milwaukee or Memphis in their network from IAD. They don't even have Salt Lake City. However, who knows? It may happen.


It doesn't surprise me that they don't serve cities inside the perimeter with nonstop access to DCA. Delta owns SLC. But they would have a monopoly on SNA-DC nonstop.
 
winstonavgeek
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:00 pm

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:42 pm

HouStrategies wrote:
winstonavgeek wrote:
SNA-IAD probably is not going to happen for a while considering they don't have Milwaukee or Memphis in their network from IAD. They don't even have Salt Lake City. However, who knows? It may happen.


It doesn't surprise me that they don't serve cities inside the perimeter with nonstop access to DCA. Delta owns SLC. But they would have a monopoly on SNA-DC nonstop.


MKE and MEM would be great connection points for United. A monopoly does not necessarily matter. What matters is yields and loads.
 
DTWLAX
Posts: 911
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:19 pm

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:52 pm

winstonavgeek wrote:
SNA-IAD probably is not going to happen for a while considering they don't have Milwaukee or Memphis in their network from IAD. They don't even have Salt Lake City. However, who knows? It may happen.

I guess SNA is a bigger market than MKE or MEM.
SLC is a DL hub, so I doubt UA will start that.
 
smflyer
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue May 01, 2018 4:44 pm

Re: Why doesn't UA fly SNA-IAD nonstop?

Sun Feb 24, 2019 4:58 am

slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
Quite simply united would have to cut a flight to add it. Either a 737-700 or 757-200 could operate the route on takeoff with no issues. They must think their current operation offers enough time options to the hubs they serve. I don't think it's a demand issue, I think it's a slot issue.

SMF has alot of traffic to DC since it's the largest state capital. Lots of lobbyists and traffic to fill the plan with business travellers.



Can confirm, there is a lot of government affiliated on the SMF-IAD route. Its why the flight is one of the few transcons that leave out of SMF in the morning with the vast majority of the transcons going out as red-eyes.

If I remember correctly, UA pulled the SMF-IAD route during the recession and there was an outcry from some local state representatives that they would have to connect somewhere and UA brought the route back seasonally until the economy got better to support daily service.

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos