Location: Commuting around the mid-atlantic and rust-belt on any number of RJs
Programs: TSA Random Selectee Platinum, * Gold, SPG/HH/MR mid-tier, and a tiny bag of pretzels.
This is all fine until the upgrade does not clear. Then you are stuck in the back of a non-shuttle A319 (not entirely the end of the world) or, BOS-DCA, a ratty old 737 (take two prozac and call me when we land).
I don't see this as a win. With the old shuttle craft, you were always going to have a reasonably decent/roomy coach product. Now, if you miss the upgrade, you could be in for possibly unpleasent experience.
And, as a bonus, unless/until they reconfigure all of the other shuttle craft, you might just lose out on an upgrade opprotunity on regular mainline as these birds are used to Florida, the islands, and whatnot.
Not good, IMHO.
Saving the world, one clue at a time.
I really have to wonder what they are thinking over at US. Nowhere, including FlyerTalk, have I ever seen lack of FC on the Shuttle as being an issue of importance to anyone. Do they really expect that they will sell those seats at FC prices?
Pay with Miles, no visibility into award redemption levels, and no transfer of miles upon death.....did you realize that your SkyMiles were just devalued...again?
Personally, I miss the days of the Eastern Airlines FA's rolling the cart down the aisle with the credit card machine to collect fares and sell tickets. Another step toward destroying the uniqueness of the shuttle product. Or one more step in "if it works, we must need to fix it..."
Bad news. I just flew DCA-BOS and back on a ratty old 737 (actually it wasn't really ratty, I'm just going with the flow). That wasn't the problem. NO SAM! We're down to Heinekin, Miller, or MGD. Now, that's a downgrade.
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Flights between Boston and Washington, which already offer dual-class service, will be augmented by a 15th roundtrip beginning on Sept. 8, with Boeing 737-300 equipment. The flight will depart Washington at 6:50 a.m., and will arrive in Boston at 8:09 a.m. The return flight will depart Boston at 8 p.m., and will arrive in Washington at 9:31 p.m. Beginning Oct. 27, these flights will change to a two-class Airbus A319, and the Washington departure will move to 6:30 a.m., arriving in Boston at 7:42 a.m.
It sounds like DCA-BOS will be returning to the A319 soon, albeit a two-cabin version.
I think the real motive here isn't so much the need for First Class on the Shuttle routes as it is the benefit of one-class Airbus aircraft on high-density Florida and select Caribbean routes. The A320s stripped from the Shuttle operation are a common site out of Charlotte and, to a lesser extent, Philadelphia to Florida and the Caribbean islands. They're high capacity and don't have First Class. I'm sure the A319s are being removed from the Shuttle operation to place them on leisure routes. And no harm to Shuttle: the two-class Airbus product is fine, and upgrades are IME very easy.
Note for non-Preferred flyers: The Shuttle routes are the only routes where anyone can purchase E-Upgrades and use them on discounted fares. On all other routes non-Preferreds need to be on full fares to use E-Upgrades.
From an airline point of view, I don't see why US is adding FC on the shuttle. On such a short flight, does it matter? Given the low load factors, going to fewer seats doesn't hurt, but at the cost of an inferior coach product? I don't get it. Where do they expect to take market-share; Acela pax or Delta. I don't see FC making a difference vs. either.
As for using 737s, it makes total sense. The A319 was designed for long-haul, not Shuttle routes. Yes, it is more comfortable from a passenger point of view, but a refurbished 737 is not a bad product for the short-haul market.
Yes, the lack of Sam is a grave disappointment. I prefer to Gin Tonics. Is it also gone from the LGA shuttles? Haven't been on it for a while....
US is not hoping to sell F class seats. If you look at the website they are pushing the idea of buying upgrades ($50 for non-pref). They have adjusted the rules so that the standard U fare in fact is eligible for the upgrade. There are probably quite a few non-pref pax who are eligible for the upgrades.
When I think about it they used to use ratty 737s on DCA-BOS when I started to fly the route frequently in 1999. But then they bought the 319s for the Shuttle (!) in 2000.
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by BizJet:
Note for non-Preferred flyers: The Shuttle routes are the only routes where anyone can purchase E-Upgrades and use them on discounted fares. On all other routes non-Preferreds need to be on full fares to use E-Upgrades.</font>
I don't think so.... I think they have to be on Y, B or U fares. The U fare is not a discounted fare. It's the standard full fare on the shuttle.
Programs: US Chairman's, NW Platinum, SPG Platinum, Marriott Platinum
My understanding is the aircraft are being converted to a two class configuration to have a common config system-wide. So, we shouldn't be seeing these show up on other routes (again, from what I've been told). The existing aircraft are basically being de-shuttled and made into the standard mainline config. Ditto with the one class A320s flying around -- they are being converted to standard mainline config. I think the intent here is to allow for better crew utilization, routing opportunities, etc. The Shuttle is no longer the premium product it once was ... Acela is stealing too much traffic.
Would US be allowed to operate some off-peak shuttle flights with regional jets once they have more of them? I wondered if they just want the current planes (737, 319, 320) ready to use on other flights.