I'm one of UA's biggest fans and OK with the cash preservation program --- but my continued concern is about seat size on aircraft flown. I must admit I don't have load factors on any UA flights to see if this is appropriate and maybe UA will be reactivating more larger narrow bodies soon.
DL has stated it will hold loads to 60% in coach and 50% in F. UA has not placed a limit on seating, even though they will probably continue to block middle seats on seat map - can we assume if more people book those middle seats will be sold?
If UA wants to operate a more restrictive schedule than AA and DL to increase yield, is it reasonable that UA can operate fuller flights at higher ticket prices vs. AA/DL with lower fares and seat restrictions?
An Airways Magazine article 4 days ago said DL is reactivating narrowbodies and so far only larger seats sized 321s and 739s have been reactivated.
UA is flying the lowest percentage of flights in larger 739 and 752 fleets and higher percentage in 319/73G/320 fleets. Today's fleet utilization is below (type, seats: units flying/total units % flying). Also note that UA has over 80% of 739s and 752s stored/parked more than 14 days at this point.:
319, 126 seats: 21/50 35.1% ----- (parked more than 14 days 34/74,46%)
73G, 126 seats: 11/40 27.5% ---- (parked more than 14 days 51/97,52.6%)
320, 150 seats: 30/97 30.9% ----- (parked more than 14 days 17/40,42.5%)
738, 166 seats: 26/141 17.0% --- (parked more than 14 days 71/141,50.4%)
739, 179 seats: 19/148 12.8% --- (parked more than 14 days 112/148, 81.1%)
752: 172 seats*: 4/47 7.8% ------- (parked more than 14 days 44/51,86.3%) (*avg with 3 of 7 in active service having new config)
753: 234 seats: 2/21 19% --------- (parked more than 14 days 11/21,52.4%) (2 additional aircraft are flying military charters today)
So, the narrow bodied total seats offered today on flying units is 17,405 and the 116 units flying average 150.1 seats. This seats size calculation assumes each unit flies roughly the same number of flights. However, at least half the 739s flying today have only 1 flight scheduled, lowering the average by some minor amount.
I’ve taken my 3rd flight on UA from EWR to MIA. Currently there is just one nonstop a day. (The second option has a stop in IAH, and costs much more than the nonstop)
I took these 3 flights over the past 3 weeks, each time UA has sent me an email saying “your flight is about 70% full, if you wish to rebook on another flight, no change fee will apply” - each flight I was in paid First, and traveling with a friend as my seat mate. Yesterday, the 738 was near totally full (if not 100% full). I WANT UNITED TO MAKE MONEY, but it does seem like this one nonstop should upguage to a 752 or add a second (maybe E175?) flight? I am sure HQ is watching this closely, but what would be the better move? A larger single nonstop or a second frequency? (Depending on the day this nonstop has had a 739, 738, A320 or 73G)