As the country is opening up, I made a couple calls to 3 friends and a relative that are are either a 1K or GS to see what there travel plans are and found out some startling, very concerning information. Below:
United Global Service member based in Austin: Needs to go to SFO a few times in June but over all, not going to be traveling much. United has no nonstops to SFO right now loaded and he said he will probably wait til a week before to book and he said he will be flying Alaska vs United if United doesn't load and nonstops because Alaska still has a nonstop (assuming they operate it). He said it will be his first time on Alaska.
United 1K in Houston: manages a construction site in Omaha...flies back and forth every week, even during covid to manage job site. United has cancelled so many flights he hasn't even been able to connect the last several weeks, gave up on United and has been flying American through Dallas lately instead. He is very mad at United for booking flights through DEN or ORD and cancelled all their flights on several days with zero options even with long layovers to get back and forth. He said American has cancelled some flights but still seems to be operating several flights a day between Dallas and both Houston and Omaha and hasn't been an issue. He had all his flights booked for June, united just pulled their schedule to eliminate OMA-IAH for June this past weekend. Spent Sunday on phone with United arguing and cancelling the flights. Said he will be re-booking with American.
United 1K in Omaha: Needs to go to Newark mid-June to receive a high dollar international shipment. Tried to book OMA-EWR Sunday and can't even get there with a connection in Chicago. She is super mad and has been a United loyalist. I suggested to try WN, she hates WN and said she would rather drive. lol. She said she'll probably end up on either American or Delta as the trip isn't an option but has to go.
United 1K in Omaha: In financial sector and was looking to get has travel back in order for June...also said flights are so limited with only a single flight a day to ORD from Omaha in June that he can't get any roundtrips to even price out and if they do, they have a super long layover. He said he will be looking at other airlines this week. Note all said they plan on flying in July too but none will be looking to book anything for several weeks until schedules finalize.
That said, out of the 4 1k/GS friends I spoke to Sunday night and last night, really none are booking United and all 4 are going to be traveling in June. Seems like most are waiting til last few weeks to book to make sure schedules are finalized as stuff has changed so much but if there is nothing to book, will need to book with other airlines.
My personal opinion after hearing this, United needs to be very careful not to lose too many high dollar elites. For example, after some searching, they are only flying 1 OMA-ORD in June and it doesn't even operate ever day. ORD-EWR is only 2x daily. You really can't run an airline with a schedule like that. I'd say at a minimum, you need 2x daily OMA-ORD and 5x daily ORD-EWR (hub to hub). Also, should probably be flying 1x daily OMA-IAH on a 50-seater.
If United doesn't add flights for June or start flying a reasonable schedule that allows for connections, other airlines will gain big time over United. and United loads will stay anemic.
As a side note, I'm a United Platinum, Iowa based, I don't know when I will fly next. Probably late June or July but won't be booking anytime soon.
Well I can’t really say much for the first two, though Alaska has only been operating a handful (~15) daily flights at SFO, so I seriously doubt they’ll be offering a nonstop to AUS in June. The two in OMA are full of it though.
United just redesigned their schedule in May to improve connections and will be implementing similar changes for June either this weekend or next. Most of the hubs ran roughly a 30% seat factor yesterday with this new schedule so I’m not sure why everyone is so down on the United schedule.
There are currently two daily flights OMA-ORD and OMA-DEN, both of which line up with the “mega banks” that have been built in each hub, and both of which offer 45-60 minute connections to anywhere they want to go.
For example, OMA-EWR via ORD:
OMA 0630 ORD 0811
ORD 0920 EWR 1224
OMA 1515 ORD 1658
ORD 1745 EWR 2055
Even your friend who wants to go IAH-OMA should not have much longer than a 1 hour layover in ORD or DEN, though he’s right that it’s a bit out of the way versus going through DFW.