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UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 2:50 am
by tax1k
I’d appreciate any thoughts on this.
I’ve had 1k or platinum status on United for 6+ years. My closest airport is BWI.
The United setup at BWI is ridiculous. Ticket counter about as far as possible from security. Gates as far as possible from security (doubling back in the same direction you came from).
The late ORD-BWI flight is almost never scheduled anymore which makes connections difficult.
Flying south from BWI on United (i.e. FLL or MIA) is absurd.
I like the codeshare with AC, but at what point does it become clear that United is just going through the motions at BWI and I should completely switch to AA or Delta? Southwest isn’t a real option for international business travel.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:04 am
by ilovelamp
Come on over to Delta. We’d love to have you!

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:08 am
by tax1k
Honestly I like delta a lot. But trying to connect in MSP is an ordeal. Like arriving in C and connecting to G on a short connection.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:14 am
by 717atOGG
tax1k wrote:
I’d appreciate any thoughts on this.
I’ve had 1k or platinum status on United for 6+ years. My closest airport is BWI.
The United setup at BWI is ridiculous. Ticket counter about as far as possible from security. Gates as far as possible from security (doubling back in the same direction you came from).
The late ORD-BWI flight is almost never scheduled anymore which makes connections difficult.
Flying south from BWI on United (i.e. FLL or MIA) is absurd.
I like the codeshare with AC, but at what point does it become clear that United is just going through the motions at BWI and I should completely switch to AA or Delta? Southwest isn’t a real option for international business travel.

I definitely share your sentiment about United being weak at BWI. Looking at December 9, they only have 11 departures (4 ORD, 2 IAH, 2, DEN, 2 SFO, and 1 LAX), compared to AA's 23 and DL's 26, but that's slightly due to factors out of their control. For one, they've already cut BWI-EWR due to a desire to have less connecting traffic out of the airport, and BWI-IAD service is rather unlikely IMO, and that plus UA's lack of a SE hub makes southern travel difficult for BWI *A travelers. Also, UA's IAD hub and healthy DCA presence probably makes them reluctant to grow BWI nowadays, although I think they could definitely bump up BWI-DEN/ORD by 1 or 2 daily flights each.

As an aside, UA surprisingly used to have a much larger (in terms of seats, only modestly larger in terms of flights) presence at BWI before merging with CO. On 12/9/2004, 15 years prior to the date I used for the sample schedules above, they had 14 flights: 7 ORD, 4 DEN, 2 LAX, and 1 SFO, with 757-200s used on a good portion of the flights and 1 767-300ER each to ORD and DEN.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:21 am
by tax1k
Do they really really expect people to drive to IAD? Because putting up with the DC beltway to get to the Dulles toll road to take four escalators and a train to the gate is nuts.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:24 am
by balz18
To be honest it’s all up to you. I fly AA and contrary to what many on this site say, I love them. Sure, it helps that I live just south of MIA and every other place I’ve lived has been near one of their hubs (DFW, PHX, ORD) but I go out of my way in many occasions to fly with them or OW partners. Delta does a lot of great things as does American and though the struggles out of BWI are getting you down, and I get that, UA does good things too. I guess it just depends on your travel preferences in the end. If you primarily fly off certain places weigh your options with who all flies to those places and the pros and cons of that. That goes for international travel as well. I think WN is a great airline but I just am not a fan of the cattle car idea but depending on what you do, your schedule and where you fly that might be a good option. Again, all in all it’s your call and what works for you. AA would love to have you as would any airline.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:26 am
by tax1k
And you would think UAL at some point needs a hub farther south than IAD?!? Delta has Atlanta. AA has CLT and MIA. Have they just given up that market?

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:30 am
by balz18
I don’t think I’d say “given up” I’d say more like they shifted their true focus elsewhere. With CLT and MIA for AA and ATL for DL in the south UA likely doesn’t want to focus on growing BWI over say DCA or IAD which does suck but it’s business.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:32 am
by tax1k
balz18 wrote:
To be honest it’s all up to you. I fly AA and contrary to what many on this site say, I love them. Sure, it helps that I live just south of MIA and every other place I’ve lived has been near one of their hubs (DFW, PHX, ORD) but I go out of my way in many occasions to fly with them or OW partners. Delta does a lot of great things as does American and though the struggles out of BWI are getting you down, and I get that, UA does good things too. I guess it just depends on your travel preferences in the end. If you primarily fly off certain places weigh your options with who all flies to those places and the pros and cons of that. That goes for international travel as well. I think WN is a great airline but I just am not a fan of the cattle car idea but depending on what you do, your schedule and where you fly that might be a good option. Again, all in all it’s your call and what works for you. AA would love to have you as would any airline.


That’s well put. I guess I’m grudgingly ok with driving to DCA but IAD is too much. But if what’s happening is just a gradual abandonment of BWI I’d rather switch now of my own accord. Totally agree about WN.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:19 am
by ScottB
tax1k wrote:
That’s well put. I guess I’m grudgingly ok with driving to DCA but IAD is too much. But if what’s happening is just a gradual abandonment of BWI I’d rather switch now of my own accord. Totally agree about WN.


In the end, UA (and every other carrier) can't be everything to everyone. You live in the same metropolitan region as one of UA's hubs but that hub doesn't happen to be very convenient to you. And the nearest airport to you also happens to be one of WN's largest operations. It's not that dissimilar from living in, say, Houston's southern suburbs or the South Side of Chicago and complaining that UA doesn't serve HOU or MDW (or living in Palm Beach County, Florida and being unhappy with AA;s options from PBI).

UA is going to have a small operation at BWI what with WN driving pricing at the airport. Most people aren't going to pay a premium to fly UA with a connection when WN goes non-stop in most popular domestic markets from BWI. The WN product may not work for you but it works for a lot of people.

tax1k wrote:
And you would think UAL at some point needs a hub farther south than IAD?!? Delta has Atlanta. AA has CLT and MIA. Have they just given up that market?


There just aren't any good options. CLT only works as a hub because it was built up over three or four decades by PI/US/AA -- and the metro grew in part due to the presence of the hub. There has been a similar synergy between ATL and Atlanta. I personally think DL has chosen to put a focus city at RDU in part to block UA or another carrier from building a hub there. BNA is problematic with a 100+ daily departure WN station and few viable options for building enough gates for a large connecting hub. Everywhere else in the South is too small as a market -- with the exception of the large cities in Florida which have poor geography. An airline could probably build a hub if they can get airport operating costs low enough and have a multi-decade willingness to eat losses until the traffic flows and metro population catch up -- but that's not gonna happen.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:30 am
by ericm2031
If you don’t want a connecting flight, sometimes you have to work a little harder to get it...especially if you’re trying to be airline-specific. Should feel lucky to even have a hub like IAD nearby, although may not be the most convenient, it’s at least doable. A lot of people don’t have the luxury of even living within driving distance of a major hub. And when trying to be loyal to a specific airline, in many cases you may have to fly the opposite direction to get to the destination you want.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 9:43 am
by 77H
ScottB wrote:
tax1k wrote:
That’s well put. I guess I’m grudgingly ok with driving to DCA but IAD is too much. But if what’s happening is just a gradual abandonment of BWI I’d rather switch now of my own accord. Totally agree about WN.


In the end, UA (and every other carrier) can't be everything to everyone. You live in the same metropolitan region as one of UA's hubs but that hub doesn't happen to be very convenient to you. And the nearest airport to you also happens to be one of WN's largest operations. It's not that dissimilar from living in, say, Houston's southern suburbs or the South Side of Chicago and complaining that UA doesn't serve HOU or MDW (or living in Palm Beach County, Florida and being unhappy with AA;s options from PBI).

UA is going to have a small operation at BWI what with WN driving pricing at the airport. Most people aren't going to pay a premium to fly UA with a connection when WN goes non-stop in most popular domestic markets from BWI. The WN product may not work for you but it works for a lot of people.

tax1k wrote:
And you would think UAL at some point needs a hub farther south than IAD?!? Delta has Atlanta. AA has CLT and MIA. Have they just given up that market?


There just aren't any good options. CLT only works as a hub because it was built up over three or four decades by PI/US/AA -- and the metro grew in part due to the presence of the hub. There has been a similar synergy between ATL and Atlanta. I personally think DL has chosen to put a focus city at RDU in part to block UA or another carrier from building a hub there. BNA is problematic with a 100+ daily departure WN station and few viable options for building enough gates for a large connecting hub. Everywhere else in the South is too small as a market -- with the exception of the large cities in Florida which have poor geography. An airline could probably build a hub if they can get airport operating costs low enough and have a multi-decade willingness to eat losses until the traffic flows and metro population catch up -- but that's not gonna happen.


This is one of most rational posts I’ve ever seen on a.net and a pleasure to read.

To the OP, given your status with UA, you’ve clearly found a way to make their network work for you over the years. Logically, they’ve “checked enough boxes” for you in that time that you’ve continued to heavily patronize them. While the choice is ultimately yours to make, it would behoove you to remember the fabled quote, “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side”.

For example, the grocery store I almost exclusively shop at is usually more expensive than competitors in my area. I often wonder why I continue to go there knowing there are cheaper options. For me, it’s convenience. It’s close to my house, and along my route to and from work making it easy to stop at along my way. Additionally I know my way around the store allowing me to get in and out quickly. Although there are cheaper options close by, and I could arguably learn their layout in time, the store I shop at already checks the boxes that matter most for me.
I would argue this analogy applies to your airline of choice, albeit with different “boxes”.

77H

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 11:40 am
by MIflyer12
UA at BWI. As mentioned, the absence of UA at HOU and MDW. UA's absence at JFK and OAK. UA weakness at SJC... One of the top rules of airline hub economics is don't compete with your own hub(s). NW had that figured out long ago - it would fly to western destinations from DTW only to the extent of DTW-XXX O&D and DTW-XXX complementing MSP-XXX instead of competing with it. If OP can live with UA's offerings at BWI, great. He shouldn't expect UA to change its behavior unless it wipes out the IAD hub (which I am not predicting nor advocating).

AA at MIA/FLL/PBI presents the same dynamic as UA in WAS.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:11 pm
by tax1k
Lots of good insights and common sense. I was looking for a “reality check” on whether it’s just crazy to drive to DCA/IAD, take a train to EWR (which is similar to IAD drive) etc. Thanks for the perspective.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:11 pm
by tax1k
Lots of good insights and common sense. I was looking for a “reality check” on whether it’s just crazy to drive to DCA/IAD, take a train to EWR (which is similar to IAD drive) etc. Thanks for the perspective.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:29 am
by TTailedTiger
I think a UA hub at RDU or BNA would be worth some research. They have struggled with IAD for so long. UA has come a long way since Munoz became CEO and they are doing some great things. For those of us who do a lot of travel in the southeast, the additional competition would be very welcome. Delta charges exorbitant prices and AA just goes through the motions. I have yet to find a soul at AA that has the customer as their focus.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:31 am
by IADCA
tax1k wrote:
Lots of good insights and common sense. I was looking for a “reality check” on whether it’s just crazy to drive to DCA/IAD, take a train to EWR (which is similar to IAD drive) etc. Thanks for the perspective.


To answer your earlier question, yes, they're basically trying to force you down to IAD. Perhaps the sole saving grace is that they've alienated enough people that the fares into and out of BWI are lower than the other two DC-area airports. But like you're saying, it's pretty rough getting decent flight times for connections. It seems to me that only connections over DEN work even half-decently with the timings anymore, but you'd know much better than I would.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:07 pm
by jetblueguy22
tax1k wrote:
Honestly I like delta a lot. But trying to connect in MSP is an ordeal. Like arriving in C and connecting to G on a short connection.

There’s literally a walkway between C and G by C13 and G17....

DL is probably your best best if you want to stay at BWI and need international access. Unfortunately you’re always going to connect, but I have to imagine you’re used to it by now. Good schedule, good coverage, good onboard product.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:35 pm
by IPFreely
TTailedTiger wrote:
I think a UA hub at RDU or BNA would be worth some research. They have struggled with IAD for so long.


Let's see, IAD is the international gateway to the US capitol. At this gateway United has 65% market share including nonstops between Washington and 15 European, 4 South American, and 2 Asian destinations. Most of them without competition. And you think they're struggling? So much for taking you seriously.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:03 pm
by TTailedTiger
IPFreely wrote:
TTailedTiger wrote:
I think a UA hub at RDU or BNA would be worth some research. They have struggled with IAD for so long.


Let's see, IAD is the international gateway to the US capitol. At this gateway United has 65% market share including nonstops between Washington and 15 European, 4 South American, and 2 Asian destinations. Most of them without competition. And you think they're struggling? So much for taking you seriously.


No need for the personal attack. Are you denying that United doesn't know what to do with IAD? They've been in a "temporary" terminal for two decades. That tells me they don't want to commit.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:10 am
by DeltaConnection
TTailedTiger wrote:
IPFreely wrote:
TTailedTiger wrote:
I think a UA hub at RDU or BNA would be worth some research. They have struggled with IAD for so long.


Let's see, IAD is the international gateway to the US capitol. At this gateway United has 65% market share including nonstops between Washington and 15 European, 4 South American, and 2 Asian destinations. Most of them without competition. And you think they're struggling? So much for taking you seriously.


No need for the personal attack. Are you denying that United doesn't know what to do with IAD? They've been in a "temporary" terminal for two decades. That tells me they don't want to commit.


Ignore that user, they like to start trouble.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:12 am
by DeltaConnection
tax1k wrote:
Honestly I like delta a lot. But trying to connect in MSP is an ordeal. Like arriving in C and connecting to G on a short connection.


What a bizarre comment, connecting in MSP may not be the quickest in the country but it’s pretty easy.

You’re either going to have to live with this or switch airlines.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:55 am
by IPFreely
TTailedTiger wrote:
IPFreely wrote:
TTailedTiger wrote:
I think a UA hub at RDU or BNA would be worth some research. They have struggled with IAD for so long.


Let's see, IAD is the international gateway to the US capitol. At this gateway United has 65% market share including nonstops between Washington and 15 European, 4 South American, and 2 Asian destinations. Most of them without competition. And you think they're struggling? So much for taking you seriously.


No need for the personal attack. Are you denying that United doesn't know what to do with IAD? They've been in a "temporary" terminal for two decades. That tells me they don't want to commit.


Considering that United dominates the international gateway in a major metropolitan area and national capitol, and reap the rewards that it provides in both government and business domestic and international travel, yes, I would say United knows what they're doing. The idea they would give up a dominant hub position in a city like Washington to build a hub in second tier cities like BNA or RDU is not to be taken seriously.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:24 am
by ScottB
tax1k wrote:
Lots of good insights and common sense. I was looking for a “reality check” on whether it’s just crazy to drive to DCA/IAD, take a train to EWR (which is similar to IAD drive) etc. Thanks for the perspective.


Honestly it's all a question of what matters more to you -- the perks you get for spending money with UA -- or the convenience of more non-stops from your home airport. There isn't a right or wrong answer. I can't really imagine a scenario where taking the train to EWR is better than driving to IAD unless it's for a long-haul market which is only served non-stop from EWR.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:55 pm
by ricport
tax1k wrote:
Lots of good insights and common sense. I was looking for a “reality check” on whether it’s just crazy to drive to DCA/IAD, take a train to EWR (which is similar to IAD drive) etc. Thanks for the perspective.


I also live near BWI. And, I almost never go in/out of it. I understand the frustration with IAD, but the fact that it's a major hub with nonstop service to just about anywhere you want to go makes it totally worth the schlep for me.

I also just don't get BWI's appeal. Unless you want to take the chaotic, flying Metrobus that is WN, there's not much there from any of the other carriers (except perhaps NK, who I'd take WN before I'd take them). You also have the MTA Police who are too busy running speedtraps and breezing around the terminal on Segways to keep the traffic moving around the terminal, lousy dining options (unless you love fast food), and every time I've flown in there - regardless of the carrier - it's taken forever to round up someone to man the jetway so we could get off the plane and get our bags. I've been to airports in Iran that are better run. Even when I lived in Baltimore city, I'd go out of DCA or IAD, as I know I'd be off the plane, gotten my bag, and been 1/2 the way up the Parkway before I'd be out of that hole.

Another way to look at it is that you're probably not gaining much time back if you have to connect flying out of BWI vs. driving a little further to IAD or DCA to catch a nonstop.

Happy travels!

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:28 am
by tax1k
DeltaConnection wrote:
tax1k wrote:
Honestly I like delta a lot. But trying to connect in MSP is an ordeal. Like arriving in C and connecting to G on a short connection.


What a bizarre comment, connecting in MSP may not be the quickest in the country but it’s pretty easy.

You’re either going to have to live with this or switch airlines.


My dislike of MSP stems from a C to G or H (can’t remember) connection a few years back where the gate agent basically closed the door in my face after I ran across the airport.

But it’s probably time to get past that. And after seeing the DL posts (this one and above) I’ve actually booked all my flights in January on DL. Great scheduling and prices. Albeit a new airline to learn.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:38 pm
by zuckie13
ScottB wrote:
I can't really imagine a scenario where taking the train to EWR is better than driving to IAD unless it's for a long-haul market which is only served non-stop from EWR.


Clearly you've never driven around the DC Beltway in rush hour.....

Last time I came back into IAD it took me over an hour and 45 minutes in barely moving traffic to get back home to the norther 'burbs near BWI. I might want to choose 2 1/2 hours by train over nearly two hours of tired stressful driving next time....

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:16 pm
by tax1k
Exactly.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:51 pm
by ScottB
zuckie13 wrote:
Last time I came back into IAD it took me over an hour and 45 minutes in barely moving traffic to get back home to the norther 'burbs near BWI. I might want to choose 2 1/2 hours by train over nearly two hours of tired stressful driving next time....


It ain't just 2.5 hours by train. You've got to get to and from the train station (either at BWI or in downtown Baltimore). Acela doesn't stop at EWR so you're on one of the 8 or 9 daily Northeast Regional services which do stop there or taking a cab to/from lovely downtown Newark. Realistically it's adding at least three hours and you probably need to allow extra time in case the train is delayed. And you don't want to book anything getting into EWR much later than 9:30 pm as the next train after the 10:22 which goes all the way to Baltimore from Newark Penn is at 3:45 am. Traffic can be stressful but so are multiple changes in mode of transportation.

Personally I'd take a non-stop on WN long before subjecting myself to doing Baltimore-Newark unless it were for an intercontinental non-stop which WN doesn't offer anyway. And for the vast majority of travelers (basically the ones who aren't spending enough to be 1K or GS) the WN product is equal or superior.

Re: UAL @ BWI

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:18 pm
by zuckie13
I usually do take a non-stop on WN. Only exception is my employer sending me on a trans Atlantic trip and requiring me to take the cheapest US based airline fare. Non Stop from IAD was cheaper than a connection from BWI, so I got stuck with it.