747s on Domestic Airlines

 
Old Apr 8, 02, 9:30 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: (TUL,OKC,DFW) Home Airports
Programs: AA Thousand Mile Club
Posts: 55
747s on Domestic Airlines

Why Dont any domestic airlines use these aircraft. BA, JAL and several others do. I know United does or atleast did on some trans pacfic flights use them. Just curious why they all went to 767s and 777s.

Thanks in Advance
OKSTATE99 is offline  
Old Apr 8, 02, 9:53 pm
  #2  
JS
Suspended
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: GSP (Greenville, SC)
Programs: DL Gold Medallion; UA Premier Executive; WN sub-CP; AA sub-Gold
Posts: 13,393
UA flies 747's among ORD, DEN, SFO and LAX. As the 747 is my favorite plane, I recently booked myself on three UA 747 flights in one roundtrip.

Airlines like to use smaller planes to increase frequency. Because UA has a large market share in the above city pairs, they can fly 747's while still having frequent flights (typically just two of many daily flights among the hubs is a 747).
JS is offline  
Old Apr 8, 02, 10:51 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: FLL
Posts: 1,679
The trend has been going on for a few years. Make sure the plane is full even if you need to turn away people.

If the ERJ-145 could fly coast to coast, AA would do it. Otherwise, they'll use the smallest thing capable, such as the 737.
Skylink USA is offline  
Old Apr 9, 02, 1:53 am
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: أمريكا
Posts: 25,275
People want more frequency over larger planes. Smaller planes also typically take less time to load and unload than larger planes, which is a plus for FFers if you ask me.

I'm much more excited about the Sonic Cruiser than the A380. Sure, I'd probably want to fly on the A380 a couple times, but I'd rather get there faster than have a full sized staircase.

d
Doppy is offline  
Old Apr 9, 02, 2:28 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Madison NJ; Watopia
Posts: 3,157
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by OKSTATE99:
I know United does or atleast did on some trans pacfic flights use them. Just curious why they all went to 767s and 777s.
</font>
NW still operates quite a few 742s and 744s, (as well as D10s).
767-322ETOPS is offline  
Old Apr 9, 02, 9:22 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Dallas
Programs: AA LTPLT UA1P Hilton Dia Marriott Plat
Posts: 1,173
4 engines vs 2 engines. Fuel ..the 400 sucks more gas which means more $$$ to operate. The 777 can carry about the same at a lower cost to operate. My pilot buds at UAL tell me dont be suprised if UA within the next year parks all there 747-400's in favor of the 777
mach92 is offline  
Old Apr 9, 02, 9:38 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: LAX; AA EXP, MM; HH Gold
Posts: 31,790
Although UA still operates 744s, look for many of those to disappear if UA's financial troubles continue.

AA, along with plenty other airlines, decided long ago that their focus would be on the high-yield, last minute business traveler. Rather than try to fill up 400 seats on a 747 to London, AA gambled that 250 seats on a 777 (maybe with more frequency than the 747 would have been flown) would leave them with fewer unsold seats at the end of the day.

And until three years ago when the 777s began showing up, AA (and many other carriers) flew 767s across the Atlantic.

Why?? It takes fewer unprofitable tourists to subsidize the smaller planes than the larger planes. As Carty once explained, the advance purchase passengers in effect subsidize the last minute passengers by covering enough of the fixed costs to make it feasible to leave some empty seats for walk-up high yield passengers to buy at the last minute.

AA still has to court the discount vacation crowd to fill up the coach cabins, but not to the same degree as on a 747 (presumably about 150 fewer discount vacationers on a 777 than a 747).

The same calculation has been made by AA with respect to domestic routes flown with 737s, super80s, 757s and until recently, 727s, instead of using more 767s and 777s for domestic routes. More frequency is what business travelers say they want, and more frequency usually means more chances to upgrade (lots more first class seats available between DFW and ORD with 17 super80s each day than there would be with 7 or 8 777s).

Still, the spaciousness of the 747 is hard to beat. Anybody remember the 747SPs AA flew to Japan in the late '80s? They were outfitted with 26 seats in F, 99 seats in J and only 78 seats in coach (that's only eight rows of coach seats). Course, that was long before anyone was designing J cabins with 60 inches of pitch and fully flat beds in F with over 90 inches of pitch.

Other airlines continue to fly widebodies on routes where AA would never do so; unless those other carriers have started printing their own money, or vacationers show a willingness to pay much higher average fares, it won't continue much longer.
FWAAA is offline  
Old Apr 9, 02, 10:19 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: MIA/FLL
Programs: AA 1MM Platinum; SPG Gold; Priority Club/IHG Platinum Ambassador
Posts: 497
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Doppy:
I'm much more excited about the Sonic Cruiser than the A380. Sure, I'd probably want to fly on the A380 a couple times, but I'd rather get there faster than have a full sized staircase.

d
</font>
From what I have read it seems like the Sonic Cruiser is an overhyped attempt at a concorde style plane flying just below the speed of sound (mach .98). They do say that by the time they come out, the concorde may be completely gone in 2008. I am much more excited to see the new A380's. Those mammoth monsters are cash cows. Compared to the 747 they have nearly the same operating cost but fit over 100 more rev passengers than the 747 to make up the cost. With a cap of 555 in a 3 class modified service, or 800 in all coach seating, that is a flying cash cow.
Singapore has the first order in. Emirates has i believe the largest order. This thing is due out in 2006, 2 years ahead of the Sonic. I think the loading and unloading of this plane is going to be interesting, but from what I understand it would take two loading gates to get it done. How this would be accomplished with new security is beyond me. But once again, its not gonna be around for another 5 years or so, so many things can change.
Just my $0.02.

-Eli


------------------
Washington,DC/Miami
AAdvantage Platinum
Eli Gorin is offline  
Old Apr 9, 02, 10:21 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: New York, NY, AA 4MM PLT, BA Gold, VS Gold, Hilton Gold, SPG Gold, Marriott Gold, Hyatt Platinum, IHG Platinum, CC Gold
Posts: 1,097
FWAA, I also remember that once the first MD11's came on-line AA flew the 74SP's between JFK and LHR. And who can forget the blue leather & lamb's wool seats!
AAPlatinum is offline  
Old Apr 9, 02, 10:39 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Madison NJ; Watopia
Posts: 3,157
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by FWAAA:
Rather than try to fill up 400 seats on a 747 to London . . . And until three years ago when the 777s began showing up, AA (and many other carriers) flew 767s across the Atlantic.
</font>
UA serves LHR with 767s and 777s. The vast majority of UA's 747 routes are over the Pacific to high traffic destinations like SIN, HKG, NRT etc. I can attest from personal experience that these 747s can get quite full.
767-322ETOPS is offline  
Old Apr 9, 02, 10:52 am
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: LAX; AA EXP, MM; HH Gold
Posts: 31,790
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by 767-322ETOPS:
UA serves LHR with 767s and 777s. The vast majority of UA's 747 routes are over the Pacific to high traffic destinations like SIN, HKG, NRT etc. I can attest from personal experience that these 747s can get quite full.</font>
You are correct; they get quite full. But do they fill up at the right (profitable) mix of fares, or does UA have to sell more really cheap seats than they would if the route were flown with a 777? I don't know.
FWAAA is offline  
Old Apr 9, 02, 12:04 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: It's time to fly...ertalk.
Posts: 781
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by FWAAA:
You are correct; they get quite full. But do they fill up at the right (profitable) mix of fares, or does UA have to sell more really cheap seats than they would if the route were flown with a 777? I don't know.</font>
The premium cabins are always overbooked with full-fare and elite-upgrades. Trust me, if AA saw the *real* margins on UA's transpac routes, its eyes would bleed.
imkeww is offline  
Old Apr 9, 02, 12:38 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Programs: AA PLT, SPG GLD, PC PLT SPIRE
Posts: 4,531
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by imkeww:
The premium cabins are always overbooked with full-fare and elite-upgrades. Trust me, if AA saw the *real* margins on UA's transpac routes, its eyes would bleed.</font>
I am not an airline consultant and maybe even just a bit naive regarding airline economics, but I find it hard to believe that AA (or any airline for that matter) doesn't know the "*real*" economics about any of their competitors routes. I am sure that AA knows or can easily find out what is going on on every possible route that they are considering operating or their competitors are already operating. When it comes down to it, airlines are a very competitive business with extremely high capital requirements. They don't have this burning desire to compete against other airlines just for competitive sake. If they could profitably make money on transpac routes (taking into account domestic feeder traffic, frequency due to landing/takeoff slots, capital requirements to acquire additional planes and crews, better opportunities to deploy finite resources on other routes etc.), I am sure AA would do so.

For example, AA probably knows that the route between two isolated mountaintops in the Andes is a very profitable route for some other airline, but AA probably couldn't make money on the route given the restrictions and considerations above. Same for transpac, I am sure AA would love to earn some of the *real* margins that UA, SQ CX, etc. earn, but that they can do better with transatlantic or latin america where they have a better presence.

If for the same amount of capital requirements etc. AA can make more money shuttling us short hoppers around on MD-80's all day long than trying to go head to head against an entrenched UA/SQ/CX transpac where AA would only have one landing/takeoff slot, that is why we are stuck in MD-80's.

Just my non-airline consultant's $.02.
onedog is offline  
Old Apr 9, 02, 1:52 pm
  #14  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 30,335
One thing noone has mentioned is the airport's perspective. Several years ago, SFO tried to put pressure on AA and UA to employ fewer frequencies on bigger planes between SFO and LAX, but was rebuffed by the, "our passengers demand lots of flights," argument. In cases -- both political and capacity related -- where landing slots are in short supply, bigger planes are often a strategic necessity.
moondog is offline  
Old Apr 9, 02, 3:56 pm
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: أمريكا
Posts: 25,275
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Eli Gorin:
From what I have read it seems like the Sonic Cruiser is an overhyped attempt at a concorde style plane flying just below the speed of sound (mach .98). They do say that by the time they come out, the concorde may be completely gone in 2008. I am much more excited to see the new A380's. Those mammoth monsters are cash cows. Compared to the 747 they have nearly the same operating cost but fit over 100 more rev passengers than the 747 to make up the cost. With a cap of 555 in a 3 class modified service, or 800 in all coach seating, that is a flying cash cow.
Singapore has the first order in. Emirates has i believe the largest order. This thing is due out in 2006, 2 years ahead of the Sonic. I think the loading and unloading of this plane is going to be interesting, but from what I understand it would take two loading gates to get it done. How this would be accomplished with new security is beyond me. But once again, its not gonna be around for another 5 years or so, so many things can change.
Just my $0.02.

-Eli


</font>
That's great for the airlines if they can fill up the plane and make a ton of money, but I'm a passenger.

The SC will take 95 minutes off an LAX-CDG flight versus most currently used planes (the A380 will be slower than most other planes). It will also make trips like NYC-SYD (10,000 nm) non-stop. Besides the fact that it would fly faster, you'd have a ton of time not having to change planes on the West coast - 18 hours on the SC versus 24 hours connecting in LAX.

Not to mention the differences in loading and unloading times. The Airbus people claim they'll be able to turn one of those things around in 45 minutes, which I think is complete nonsense. Unloading 500 pax, even from two gates, is going to take a good half hour or more. Then cleaning and reboarding? Plus 500 people's worth of luggage off and on? How about if someone doesn't board and because of PPBM you have to pull that bag? Good luck.

Even ignoring flight and turnaround time, most passengers prefer more flexibility to larger planes. I'd rather have three flights a day to choose from than one. AA offers four night flights JFK-LHR and I've had good reason to take three out of the four. I wouldn't have been too happy if I only had one or two choices.

My guess is that high-yield business passengers would choose the SC for time savings and more frequent service, over the A340, which only has the benefit of more space.

d
Doppy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread