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Speculation: Possible Routes (Flights) and Hubs, Discussion - (2017 on)

Speculation: Possible Routes (Flights) and Hubs, Discussion - (2017 on)

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Speculation: New Routes, Hubs, Flights (2017 Onward)
Because there is community interest in having a purely speculative discussion about whether other airports will pop up to become focus cities or hubs, new routes, etc. the following new thread has been amalgamated on this topic.

Note:

Going: 9 A330-300, ER190, some older 757-200 and 8 767-300ER (leaving 17), MD-80

Coming: Remainder of 16 Boeing 26 787-8, 22 Boeing 787-9 (began later 2016). A320 family - 100 A321neo, and B737-800 (100 737-MAX8) aircraft.

See Cranky Flier article on 2016 fleet changes, AA-HP-US. Link.

Also see: HELP DESK: General questions about aircraft equipment, fleet, seats, IFE, etc.

Speculation fun time: Will xxx be the next AA focus city / hub? (consolidated)


Obsolete posts from 2015 on have been moved to ARCHIVE: Speculation: Possible Routes (Flights) and Hubs, Discussion - 2015 on

All posts prior to 2015 have been moved here: ARCHIVE: Routes (Flights) and Hubs (Speculation, News and Discussion)
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Old Feb 5, 18, 12:20 pm
  #826  
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Originally Posted by ashill View Post
Is the O&D traffic (what 6P&E was talking about) at PHL really smaller than CLT? I don't think it is.

AA has 91.3% of the traffic at CLT (http://www.cltairport.com/News/Docum...portFY2016.pdf, p. 122), and my memory is that 85% of AA's traffic is connecting. Assuming that all the non-AA traffic is O&D, that means that 23% of the CLT traffic (4.8 million annual enplanements) is O&D. I can't find those numbers readily for PHL, but Delta mainline + Southwest + Frontier is more than 20% of the PHL traffic (https://www.transtats.bts.gov/airports.asp?pn=1), and there's also United, Alaska, Air Canada, Lufthansa, and the regional flights that are operated for Delta to add to the non-AA airlines that will be dominated by O&D traffic. So even if all of the remaining 80% of the traffic is AA (which it isn't), 32% of the PHL traffic is O&D and the same 85% of AA traffic is connecting (may well be lower at PHL), that's 4.8 million O&D enplanements in 2016. Factor in the others, and there would be considerably more O&D traffic at PHL than CLT.
There was something in a RFP document from the airport that stated PHL served ~60% O&D paxs in 2016 (across all airlines).

Originally Posted by FlightNurse View Post
CLT might not be as big, but the traffic that goes through the airport is larger then PHL.
In the world of these mega airline mergers, every hub does not need to serve every key strategical need.

AA has made it clear. CLT is a key domestic/Caribbean connecting hub. It has a pretty good suite of international service and AA will modestly evaluate that service to potentially add (or subtract) to the existing service. AA has no plans to make CLT into a PHL type international operation. That's from the horses mouth, that is not some type of internet airline armchair CEO stance.
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Old Feb 6, 18, 8:26 am
  #827  
 
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Originally Posted by ajeleonard View Post
I think his point is that operationally it would be easier for BA to operate it, since their hub is at one end
understand that, but don't see how anything would be operationally easier if BA operates the RDU-LHR flight over AA.
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Old Feb 6, 18, 8:35 am
  #828  
 
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Originally Posted by 6P&E View Post
My point is you need OD traffic. CLT traffic is overwhelmingly connecting. These fares are often lower than OD, especially premium fares. ORD, PHL NYC etc. have an adequate OD market due to surrounding population that can support and make TATL traffic profitable.
Well I can't find exact numbers for O/D for CLT. They just give percents. I imagine it is buried in the DOT databases somewhere if someone wants to dig if they track that sort of thing. This report from last February says 27% is O/D. For 2016, passenger traffic was 44,422,022 so 27% would be 11,993,946.
https://www.bizjournals.com/charlott...s-in-2016.html

PHL is 62% O/D. For 2016, passenger traffic was 30,155,090 so 62% would be 18,696,156.
https://www.bizjournals.com/philadel...-new-jobs.html

So for those of us doing math, that would be 55.9% more in O/D traffic based on those absolute numbers. About 12 million versus 18 million.

I could care less about Charlotte. I don't want to live there or the Philadelphia metro, but I wouldn't call Charlotte small. It is about 2.5 million metro population growing about 2%/year versus 6 million metro population in Philadelphia and staying flat. If you factored in passengers connecting from Greensboro or RDU which are 1-2.5 hours drives, then you'd probably end up with higher numbers than PHL for O/D from just central NC. Of course those airports have connections to other airlines' hubs and passengers take them instead of backtracking to a place an hour away. That isn't really AA's fault though. Can't really help that this isn't Germany or something. If the rail improves enough to CLT and they integrate it with the airport, then it likely would allow more people to originate from CLT. AA can charge premium fares from wherever for the convenience of a one-stop connection in CLT and they do so for their TATL and all of their Caribbean and South American destinations. Traditionally connecting is cheaper than an O/D one way because there are competing options, but when you're the only carrier offering a one-stop connection you have more pricing power.

Anyway, I'm not sure what the negativity is about. It is not a tangent to say that AA's second largest hub behind DFW should have more TATL flights than its smaller hubs on the thread called "Possible Routes and Hubs". As for internet armchair CEO, the word from the horse's mouth is that they're positioning their 767s in PHL and moving A330s from PHL to CLT. As for retiring the 9 A333s in 2020, they already have 15 A332s, 20 788s, 14 789s with 8 more on order, 47 772ER, 20 773ER, with a choice to order A350s, A339s, 789s, and possibly 777ERs/777Xs depending what they decide. It seems part of the issue with CLT is they are overdue an expansion so that could be contributing to AA choosing their more unique and defensible South American and Caribbean connections over TATL due to lack of space.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/tedreed.../#4f3043dd250f
https://www.forbes.com/sites/tedreed.../#60937d0314a2
https://thepointsguy.com/2018/01/aa-...rcraft-growth/

My main point was that CLT being the second largest hub with more traffic could likely afford more TATL flights. Their hubs need to be properly aligned for their regions. DFW, MIA, and CLT all overlap areas and AA doesn't seem to know what to do. PHL is being pushed as the only TATL hub even though EWR and JFK are right around the corner in terms of O/D and other general traffic competition. Even the airports served by CLT that have PHL flight also tend not to have the flights timed right for the TATL connections. They don't have a late return flight for the afternoon return TATL flights. With Air Berlin being gone, it really throws a wrench in things. DUB year-round would work if Aer Lingus joined OW but that looks unlikely. AMS is Skyteam even though it is a good destination airport. MUC, DUS, TXL, and ZRH are all unlikely since it is *A territory. LHR is their only connecting airport and it is in the most expensive inconvenient spot possible so most frequent flyers avoid it. I suppose while AA and OW neglect TATL outside of LHR, I'll burn my AA miles and switch to Delta with its dreadful Skypesos and possibly United as they are starting to offer regional flights in AA's territory to one-stop TATL hubs. I suppose it is too hard for AA to do that, but United can set up new ops while Delta is turning three times the profit on the same revenue as AA serving the same connections. Maybe AA needs an armchair CEO or a different one at least.
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Old Feb 6, 18, 8:04 pm
  #829  
 
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Originally Posted by MOC991 View Post
If you factored in passengers connecting from Greensboro or RDU which are 1-2.5 hours drives, then you'd probably end up with higher numbers than PHL for O/D from just central NC. Of course those airports have connections to other airlines' hubs and passengers take them instead of backtracking to a place an hour away. That isn't really AA's fault though. Can't really help that this isn't Germany or something. If the rail improves enough to CLT and they integrate it with the airport, then it likely would allow more people to originate from CLT.
Nor really sure what you mean here, but if I follow what you're saying, you're suggesting that CLT could or should have higher O&D numbers by people from GSO and RDU **DRIVING** to CLT to start their flight... instead of connect and start at GSO & RDU?
I mean why stop there? By your logic, any airport withing 2 hrs of Charlotte could or should just drive and start there.

This makes no sense to me, and maybe this isn't what you meant
At any rate, it's not how travel works in the state of NC, and a better train system there won't change people into riding a train to connect to a plane in Charlotte. What exactly would THAT accomplish, anyway?
It's at most 25-30 mins in the air from RDU and even less from GSO. Anyone from that region just hops on a plane, connects in CLT (or DCA or PHL) to wherever their destination is. It's been that way there for about 35 years back to US and Piedmont before AA was ever the brand there.
And it's CERTAINLY no more expensive to start in a Southeastern city and connect in CLT, at least not usually. Sometimes it's even cheaper to start elsewhere and connect in CLT.
No offense but your whole premise of growing CLT by moving in-state people to become originating at CLT is just not realistic.
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Last edited by LovePrunes; Feb 6, 18 at 11:12 pm
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Old Feb 6, 18, 8:20 pm
  #830  
 
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Originally Posted by MOC991 View Post
Well I can't find exact numbers for O/D for CLT. They just give percents. I imagine it is buried in the DOT databases somewhere if someone wants to dig if they track that sort of thing. This report from last February says 27% is O/D. For 2016, passenger traffic was 44,422,022 so 27% would be 11,993,946.
https://www.bizjournals.com/charlott...s-in-2016.html

PHL is 62% O/D. For 2016, passenger traffic was 30,155,090 so 62% would be 18,696,156.
https://www.bizjournals.com/philadel...-new-jobs.html

So for those of us doing math, that would be 55.9% more in O/D traffic based on those absolute numbers. About 12 million versus 18 million.

I could care less about Charlotte. I don't want to live there or the Philadelphia metro, but I wouldn't call Charlotte small. It is about 2.5 million metro population growing about 2%/year versus 6 million metro population in Philadelphia and staying flat. If you factored in passengers connecting from Greensboro or RDU which are 1-2.5 hours drives, then you'd probably end up with higher numbers than PHL for O/D from just central NC. Of course those airports have connections to other airlines' hubs and passengers take them instead of backtracking to a place an hour away. That isn't really AA's fault though. Can't really help that this isn't Germany or something. If the rail improves enough to CLT and they integrate it with the airport, then it likely would allow more people to originate from CLT. AA can charge premium fares from wherever for the convenience of a one-stop connection in CLT and they do so for their TATL and all of their Caribbean and South American destinations. Traditionally connecting is cheaper than an O/D one way because there are competing options, but when you're the only carrier offering a one-stop connection you have more pricing power.

Anyway, I'm not sure what the negativity is about. It is not a tangent to say that AA's second largest hub behind DFW should have more TATL flights than its smaller hubs on the thread called "Possible Routes and Hubs". As for internet armchair CEO, the word from the horse's mouth is that they're positioning their 767s in PHL and moving A330s from PHL to CLT. As for retiring the 9 A333s in 2020, they already have 15 A332s, 20 788s, 14 789s with 8 more on order, 47 772ER, 20 773ER, with a choice to order A350s, A339s, 789s, and possibly 777ERs/777Xs depending what they decide. It seems part of the issue with CLT is they are overdue an expansion so that could be contributing to AA choosing their more unique and defensible South American and Caribbean connections over TATL due to lack of space.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/tedreed.../#4f3043dd250f
https://www.forbes.com/sites/tedreed.../#60937d0314a2
https://thepointsguy.com/2018/01/aa-...rcraft-growth/

My main point was that CLT being the second largest hub with more traffic could likely afford more TATL flights. Their hubs need to be properly aligned for their regions. DFW, MIA, and CLT all overlap areas and AA doesn't seem to know what to do. PHL is being pushed as the only TATL hub even though EWR and JFK are right around the corner in terms of O/D and other general traffic competition. Even the airports served by CLT that have PHL flight also tend not to have the flights timed right for the TATL connections. They don't have a late return flight for the afternoon return TATL flights. With Air Berlin being gone, it really throws a wrench in things. DUB year-round would work if Aer Lingus joined OW but that looks unlikely. AMS is Skyteam even though it is a good destination airport. MUC, DUS, TXL, and ZRH are all unlikely since it is *A territory. LHR is their only connecting airport and it is in the most expensive inconvenient spot possible so most frequent flyers avoid it. I suppose while AA and OW neglect TATL outside of LHR, I'll burn my AA miles and switch to Delta with its dreadful Skypesos and possibly United as they are starting to offer regional flights in AA's territory to one-stop TATL hubs. I suppose it is too hard for AA to do that, but United can set up new ops while Delta is turning three times the profit on the same revenue as AA serving the same connections. Maybe AA needs an armchair CEO or a different one at least.
Aside from the nonsense about adding nearby cities to CLT's O&D (then add NYC and Baltimore to PHL's potential O&D, right?), you are wrong about A330s moving from PHL to CLT. PHL is not seeing a single A332 flight being replaced by a 767. PHL is getting two brand new TA flights with the 767 along with an upgauge to LIS from a 757 to 767. PHL will still see the bulk of the A332 international traffic.
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Old Feb 6, 18, 8:27 pm
  #831  
 
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Originally Posted by MOC991 View Post

I'm not sure what the negativity is about...As for internet armchair CEO, the word from the horse's mouth is that they're positioning their 767s in PHL and moving A330s from PHL to CLT. As for retiring the 9 A333s in 2020, they already have 15 A332s, 20 788s, 14 789s with 8 more on order, 47 772ER, 20 773ER, with a choice to order A350s, A339s, 789s, and possibly 777ERs/777Xs depending what they decide. It seems part of the issue with CLT is they are overdue an expansion so that could be contributing to AA choosing their more unique and defensible South American and Caribbean connections over TATL due to lack of space.

...

PHL is being pushed as the only TATL hub even though EWR and JFK are right around the corner in terms of O/D and other general traffic competition. Even the airports served by CLT that have PHL flight also tend not to have the flights timed right for the TATL connections. .
It's not negativity. It's analysis based on exactly what the airline has said. Personally, I'd be happy for Charlotte to get more TATL and other international flights. I think the issue is with the assertion that it's "due" those flights, or that there is some systematic ignoring of the potential of the Charlotte hub.

AA is moving the 763s to focus on MIA and PHL for operational issues, and because they are good planes to try out new international markets (like PRG and BUD), and because, from PHL, they have a captive market with decent premium demand (including decent premium leisure demand in the summer) for which they do not have to offer their best products. Same with MIA-CNF. No danger of AA putting anything other than the 763 on that route...although I wish they would, because I go to Belo Horizonte all the time.

As for the second part, yes, AA is positioning PHL as the main Trans-Atlantic hub. This is what they have said. This is not surprising. It is a business market with year-round demand to key markets in Europe, able to sustain good yields, lower cost than JFK, and in the middle of the Northeast megalopolis of 50M+ people. Even if there is competition, it's geographical position offers some key strategic advantages.

I've flown through Charlotte any times, and mostly because connecting there offers better fares. That said, I'm excited for its growth, as an airport and as a city. It's a great place to fly through.

ETA: It's also worth mentioning that JFK and ORD are seeing the effects of the PHL TATL operation build-up, as well...and the resultant AA/IAG strategy of funneling TATL traffic through LHR and, to a lesser extent, MAD.
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Old Feb 6, 18, 8:56 pm
  #832  
 
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Originally Posted by MOC991 View Post
My main point was that CLT being the second largest hub with more traffic could likely afford more TATL flights. Their hubs need to be properly aligned for their regions. DFW, MIA, and CLT all overlap areas and AA doesn't seem to know what to do. PHL is being pushed as the only TATL hub even though EWR and JFK are right around the corner in terms of O/D and other general traffic competition. t.
PHL is being pushed as the prime TATL gateway, hardly the only given these recent adds: DFW-KEF, DFW-AMS, DFW-FCO, ORD-VCE, ORD-BCN
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Old Feb 6, 18, 10:02 pm
  #833  
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This whole CLT versus PHL thing is getting really old.....couldnt care less about either airport and actively avoid them.
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Old Feb 6, 18, 10:20 pm
  #834  
 
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Originally Posted by MOC991 View Post
So for those of us doing math, that would be 55.9% more in O/D traffic based on those absolute numbers. About 12 million versus 18 million.

[...]

[Charlotte] is about 2.5 million metro population growing about 2%/year versus 6 million metro population in Philadelphia and staying flat.
OK, so at that rate, metro Charlotte will catch up to Metro Philly in about 44 years! I'm not sure AA should base their 2018 route network on projected population sometime in the latter half of the century. Right now, has more than twice the population, 50% more O&D traffic at the airport (numbers you and I both came to), probably a larger-than-that advantage in international O&D traffic, and a geographical position that works for connecting flows at least as well as CLT from nearly everywhere in North American and much better than Charlotte for a large fraction of the country.

If you factored in passengers connecting from Greensboro or RDU which are 1-2.5 hours drives, then you'd probably end up with higher numbers than PHL for O/D from just central NC.
Those cities both have nonstop service to PHL too, so they already have one-stop service to essentially all of the European cities AA serves (in addition to one-stop service to LHR via CLT). (And of course, RDU has the LHR flight, so it has one-stop service to essentially all of Europe.) Re your complaint about scheduled feeder flights into PHL not actually feeding Europe flights: that's entirely fair and something AA should fix, to the extent it's true. But fixing the schedules seems like a much cheaper and more effective approach than building up a duplicative TATL hub in CLT without the local demand to support it.

Traditionally connecting is cheaper than an O/D one way because there are competing options, but when you're the only carrier offering a one-stop connection you have more pricing power.
Actually, of late much of the US airline industry has in fact focused on one-stop service; they can use their network to provide one-stop service between lots of small city pairs and avoid competition with ULCCs. See Cranky Flier talking about this (with respect to United). CLT has always been about low-cost domestic connections more than pretty much any other hub in the US; that was its (very large) niche in the US Airways network and remains its niche in the AA network. So you're certainly right that one-stop connections without much competition can be lucrative. But as I said above, that can be done through PHL without the expense of building up a new TATL hub. And AA already serves the largest two TATL markets nonstop from CLT.

Their hubs need to be properly aligned for their regions. DFW, MIA, and CLT all overlap areas and AA doesn't seem to know what to do. PHL is being pushed as the only TATL hub even though EWR and JFK are right around the corner in terms of O/D and other general traffic competition.
AA has very clear strategic roles for their hubs and seems to have quite a good idea what to do with regards to allocating traffic amongst their hubs. In fact, I think (from my armchair) that may be the one aspect of their business strategy that is most clear and most sensible. Their network weaknesses are much more about where they fly and the geography of their hubs (particularly no geographically sensible Asia hub with decent demand) than how they allocate traffic amongst their hubs.

Even the airports served by CLT that have PHL flight also tend not to have the flights timed right for the TATL connections. They don't have a late return flight for the afternoon return TATL flights. With Air Berlin being gone, it really throws a wrench in things. DUB year-round would work if Aer Lingus joined OW but that looks unlikely. AMS is Skyteam even though it is a good destination airport. MUC, DUS, TXL, and ZRH are all unlikely since it is *A territory. LHR is their only connecting airport and it is in the most expensive inconvenient spot possible so most frequent flyers avoid it.
You seem to be running through all the reasons your idea (having significantly more year-round CLT-Europe flights) doesn't make sense. I agree with most of what you say here (except I don't think LHR is more expensive than other connecting airports). I wouldn't be shocked to see a few of the seasonal routes (eg MAD) going year-round, particularly given the comments from AA leadership in the article you cited above. But I don't see CLT expanding to be anything like PHL.

Originally Posted by DMPHL View Post
As for the second part, yes, AA is positioning PHL as the main Trans-Atlantic hub.
Yeah. And, of course, this was even more true of US.
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Old Feb 6, 18, 10:46 pm
  #835  
 
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Originally Posted by AANYC1981 View Post
This whole CLT versus PHL thing is getting really old.....couldnt care less about either airport and actively avoid them.
I agree with you the whole thing is absurd. American Airlines is going to do what is best for their shareholders nothing is special or sacred
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Old Feb 7, 18, 2:12 am
  #836  
 
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My speculated routes from PHL in 2018/2019, include NRT, PEK, GIG, MOW, DEL and maybe even MEL non-stop, if AA can get the right plane. Also, I'm almost 100% certain that several of the AA JFK-LHR flights will be moving to PHL to compensate for the continuing reduction in AA's connecting flows through JFK. AND PHL-TLV will return in 2018/2019 with 2 nonstops, using 3 aircraft. One of the flights may be seasonal, but I'm not certain about that.
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Old Feb 7, 18, 8:55 am
  #837  
 
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Originally Posted by AANYC1981 View Post
This whole CLT versus PHL thing is getting really old.....couldnt care less about either airport and actively avoid them.
^^^
Consistent BAD experiences connecting through PHL from the Caribbean to SAN, when only option available for Saaver J/F awards. Have given up completely at this point - even as initial bookings, to be replaced by the inevitable schedule change or last minute availability of a more desirable routing.
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Old Feb 7, 18, 11:49 am
  #838  
 
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Originally Posted by AANYC1981 View Post
This whole CLT versus PHL thing is getting really old.....couldn’t care less about either airport and actively avoid them.
Based on the West Coast - if I have a 5-6 hour TCON to connect to Europe, the 3-class JFK service is far more attractive than the flying Greyhounds used on the CLT/PHL runs from SFO (and LAX beats both, with DFW being a distant second). AA needs to up the TCON game to make PHL an attactive connection for premium flyers from the West Coast. The same goes for CLT, except with far fewer TATL options of course.

Originally Posted by perseus11 View Post
My speculated routes from PHL in 2018/2019, include NRT, PEK, GIG, MOW, DEL and maybe even MEL non-stop, if AA can get the right plane. Also, I'm almost 100% certain that several of the AA JFK-LHR flights will be moving to PHL to compensate for the continuing reduction in AA's connecting flows through JFK. AND PHL-TLV will return in 2018/2019 with 2 nonstops, using 3 aircraft. One of the flights may be seasonal, but I'm not certain about that.
^

Originally Posted by diver858 View Post
^^^
Consistent BAD experiences connecting through PHL from the Caribbean to SAN, when only option available for Saaver J/F awards. Have given up completely at this point - even as initial bookings, to be replaced by the inevitable schedule change or last minute availability of a more desirable routing.
Good to know, will continue to avoid PHL where feasible...
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Old Feb 7, 18, 12:14 pm
  #839  
 
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Originally Posted by scnzzz View Post
Based on the West Coast - if I have a 5-6 hour TCON to connect to Europe, the 3-class JFK service is far more attractive than the flying Greyhounds used on the CLT/PHL runs from SFO (and LAX beats both, with DFW being a distant second). AA needs to up the TCON game to make PHL an attactive connection for premium flyers from the West Coast. The same goes for CLT, except with far fewer TATL options of course.
I don't think premium flyers from the west coast to Europe are AA's role for PHL. They're certainly happy to use the TATL capacity to fill seats in the back where needed for west coast-Europe, but as you say, from the two premium markets (SFO and LAX), you can go via JFK, not to mention LHR (including joint venture flights) and have a much better experience. Between those two hubs, AA gets you everywhere that PHL gets you with one stop. I certainly wouldn't choose to connect on the east coast to get to Europe from the west coast; I'd much rather have a long long haul. 6-7 hours is about the most unpleasant flight length for me: too long to be short, but not long enough to really sleep (particularly when you factor in meal times at the beginning and end of the flight). PHL works very well as a connecting hub to Europe from east of the Mississippi or so where a ≈6-7 hour long haul is the reality (unless you backtrack), but is much less attractive beyond that. (That said, I speak only from personal experience being based in PHL; I've only connected there once or twice.)
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Old Feb 7, 18, 1:07 pm
  #840  
 
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<redacted>

As several of you noted, PHL is terrible and ranks the lowest in customer satisfaction with people actively avoiding it. CLT doesn't have that problem at least where it has been ranked. O/D is the only point I'd give PHL which I did with exact numbers and 6 million isn't that great when you consider that they're doing almost15 million less passengers. Distance which is 300 miles is not a point, more business/population isn't really a point as business especially international is growing in CLT and along with the connecting population and business.

Also, I never suggested CLT be made the main TATL hub. I suggested that they offer one or two more year-round TATL flights to destinations they already go seasonal to ****OR**** connect all the destinations served by CLT to PHL and give up CLT so their hubs are aligned to what they claim they want. For my discussion on where they should fly, all that I said equally applies to every flight out of PHL so it isn't a discussion of why my idea is wrong as much as it is about OW having nothing but LHR. I'm pretty sure if AA gave up anything at CLT, United would be glad to take their business that they don't consider important enough. As for the 767s and A330s, that is from AA management so I guess you can complain to AA if you don't like what I said about that.

Last edited by JDiver; Feb 7, 18 at 6:52 pm Reason: Redacted reply previously deleted post content
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