Well that is a very interesting answer because I have often wondered (I simply do not know AA and DL well enough) if United does indeed fly more flat bed seats (of some sort) domestically than AA or DL. As I fly less today than I did from 1991 to 2015, I tend to stick to United as much as possible for status reasons. It does seem that MANY of my UA destinations will have a 752 or 763 or HD 772 more than once a day. And now with (18?) HD 772’s zipping around, I was curious: does AA or DL have a HD WB equivalent to UA’s HD 772 people movers?
Neither DL or AA have a HD WB. The highest seat count plane for AA is their 77W which seats 304, and Delta has the A359 at 306 seats.
I could probably guess why United felt the need for a sizable fleet of LARGE high density aircraft, and AA and DL did not. But, I would be guessing! And it’s not as if United needed 4 or 6 of them, I believe it’s “19” of them?
And while the “First Class” lie flat is a quite old version of lie flats, no storage and tight, depending on the trip length...it’s FAR better than an upright chair. (Oddly, in bed mode I find them to be quite comfortable) and I’m happy to get one after a long hard day, even if it’s only ORD to EWR.
So, does anyone know how the idea for them came to be? Was it born out of necessity or them being odd ducks vs other 772’s?
Why wouldn’t AA or DL want something similar between hubs? Is it that their route systems don’t need them? Or, they didn’t have the capacity in their fleets?
-UA is the only USA carrier with 772 models (not ER’s), the earliest range-limited models.
-UA since the very beginning, UA has ran these in HD/Hawaii configs from west coast, which is an area they’re strong, especially SFO.
-UA was in the worst-position mainline fleet wise several years ago. Converting internationally configured birds from short haul East-Coast to West Europe routes to the current HD format was the quickest way to boost the domestic mainline fleet. New aircraft deliveries would take years to build.
If working from a clean sheet of paper, It’s not a winning strategy and it won’t last forever.
In UA’s case, the only other reasonable option for these would be scrapping. Going the HD route provides better outcomes than the alternative. And so here we are.
Reality is, two 739’s burn almost the same amount of fuel as a single 772. The 772 carries almost the same number of pax. (28 lay flat vs 40 domestic first being the biggest difference.
For yield and flexibility, the 2 739’s is a far better solution.
Widebodies are heavy. Heavier per pax than NB’s. They’re generally less rugged for heavy cycle counts (domestic use) and all in maintenance costs are more than what 2 NB run. (My opinion, I don’t have figures to back this statement)
So the advantage of the HD format is with slot limitations, cargo if valuable, and the fact the 777HD’s can stretch to 8-9 hours range vs 6 of current NB’s.
Reality is, if this downturn is prolonged, this fleet will shrink hella fast. It’s more less optimistic utilization of existing assets when the domestic NB fleet is already too small driving the need.
With the 4 ER’s being added, there will help on Hawaii flying from East Coast where currently utilization of international config is suboptimal.