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CO reitierates it plans to start IAH-Heathrow March 2008

CO reitierates it plans to start IAH-Heathrow March 2008

 
Old Apr 19, 07, 6:26 am
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CO reitierates it plans to start IAH-Heathrow March 2008

The company also announced plans to inaugurate service from its Houston hub to London/Heathrow on March 30, 2008, subject to government approval and the airline **obtaining necessary slots** and facilities at Heathrow Airport.

Nice quarter as well...esp when you think about the Feb and March disasters in NY.

Continental Airlines Announces First Quarter Profit

Thursday, April 19, 2007 6:00:06 AM (GMT-04:00)
First profit in the first quarter since 2001
HOUSTON, April 19 Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) today reported first quarter 2007 net income, including special items, of $22 million ($0.21 diluted earnings per share). First quarter net income includes a $7 million gain on the sale of substantially all of the company's remaining investment in ExpressJet Holdings and a net charge from other special items of $11 million. Excluding special items, Continental recorded net income of $26 million ($0.25 diluted earnings per share), an improvement of $72 million compared to the same period last year.
Strong revenue growth, continued cost discipline and a slight decrease in fuel prices contributed to the quarterly profit, the first time since 2001 that the company has posted a first quarter profit in what is a seasonally weak period. Continental's operating income of $64 million increased $53 million over the same period last year, despite severe winter storms that negatively impacted revenue by over $10 million.
"Thanks to the hard work of my co-workers, we were able to achieve a first quarter profit for the first time in six years," said Larry Kellner, Continental's chairman and chief executive officer. "We are competitively well-positioned because we combine solid day-to-day execution with thoughtful long-term planning."
First Quarter Revenue and Capacity
Passenger revenue of $2.9 billion increased 7.9 percent ($212 million) compared to first quarter 2006, led by strong international revenue growth. Continental's growth and high load factors, both domestic and international, and improved yield produced higher revenue for the company.
Consolidated revenue passenger miles (RPMs) for the quarter increased 5.5 percent year-over-year on a capacity increase of 4.3 percent, resulting in a record first quarter consolidated load factor of 78.7 percent, 0.8 points above the previous first quarter record set in 2006. Consolidated yield for the quarter increased 2.4 percent year-over-year. Consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (RASM) for the quarter increased 3.4 percent year-over-year due to increased yield and record load factors.
Mainline RPMs in the first quarter of 2007 increased 5.9 percent over the first quarter 2006, on a capacity increase of 4.7 percent. Mainline load factor was a record 79.1 percent, up 0.9 points year-over-year. Continental's mainline yield increased 4.1 percent over the same period in 2006. As a result, first quarter 2007 mainline RASM was up 5.3 percent over the first quarter of 2006.
During the quarter, Continental continued to achieve domestic length-of- haul adjusted mainline yield and RASM premiums to the industry.
"We are pleased with the first quarter revenue results, as we continued to grow our revenue at almost twice the rate that we grew our capacity," said Jeff Smisek, Continental's president. "While the domestic system suffers from yield pressure, the international system is performing superbly, and rewards us for our decade-long focus on international expansion."
Passenger revenue for the first quarter of 2007 and period-to-period comparisons of related statistics by geographic region for the company's mainline and regional operations are as follows:
Percentage Increase (Decrease) in
First Quarter 2007 vs. First Quarter 2006
Passenger Passenger
Revenue Revenue RASM ASMs
(in millions)

Domestic $1,295 3.3 % (0.7)% 4.1 %
Trans-Atlantic 487 24.9 % 14.3 % 9.3 %
Latin America 388 19.0 % 14.4 % 4.0 %
Pacific 225 10.2 % 10.5 % (0.3)%
Total Mainline $2,395 10.2 % 5.3 % 4.7 %

Regional $500 (2.0)% (3.3)% 1.4 %

Consolidated $2,895 7.9 % 3.4 % 4.3 %


Operational Accomplishments

During the quarter, despite severe weather that hit the northeast and Texas, Continental's employees earned $5 million in cash incentives for twice finishing in the top three of the major network carriers for monthly on time performance.
The company posted a first quarter systemwide mainline completion factor of 98.8 percent, operating 23 days without a single mainline cancellation, and a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on-time arrival rate of 73.0 percent, despite the weather and air traffic control ground delay programs.
For the fourth consecutive year, Continental was the top airline on FORTUNE's annual airline industry list of World's Most Admired Companies. The company ranked No. 1 in all nine categories measured to determine the most admired airlines: quality of products and services, people management, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment, innovation, community/environment, use of corporate assets and globalness.
In addition, across all industries, Continental was ranked among the top ten in seven of the nine categories in the World's Most Admired Companies survey.
Continental was also named by FORTUNE magazine as one of the top ten "Green Giants," global companies whose environmental policies go beyond what is required. In addition, Continental was rated the most admired U.S. airline on FORTUNE magazine's 2007 list of America's Most Admired Companies, and earned top honors in LATIN TRADE magazine's "Best of Latin America" annual readers' poll.
Earlier this week, Continental won two major awards in the OAG Airline of the Year Awards 2007. For the fifth consecutive year, the carrier won "Best Executive/Business Class," which recognizes the excellent comfort, service and value of Continental's BusinessFirst product, available on many international flights. Continental also won "Best Airline Based in North America" for the fourth year in a row.
During the quarter, Continental announced nonstop service between its New York area hub at Newark Liberty International Airport and Mumbai, India, beginning in October, subject to government approval. Continental has operated nonstop service between New York Liberty and Delhi since 2005. The company also announced plans to inaugurate service from its Houston hub to London/Heathrow on March 30, 2008, subject to government approval and the airline obtaining necessary slots and facilities at Heathrow Airport. In addition, Continental announced daily nonstop flights between New York Liberty and Athens, Greece, and twice-weekly flights between Houston and Loreto, Mexico, the airline's 31st Mexican destination, both scheduled to start June 7.
Continental expanded its alliance with US Helicopter Corporation to provide eight-minute shuttle service between New York Liberty and Midtown Manhattan. Eight-minute shuttle service is also offered between the airport and Wall Street. In addition, there is fast rail service between New York Liberty and New York City.
First Quarter Financial Results
Continental's mainline cost per available seat mile (CASM) increased 2.0 percent (2.1 percent holding fuel rate constant) in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. CASM increased 1.3 percent holding fuel rate constant and excluding special charges.
"Good execution and attention to detail by our entire team brought our costs in better than expected, despite the negative impact of winter weather," said Jeff Misner, Continental's executive vice president and chief financial officer. "The team's continuous effort, coupled with a variety of initiatives we are working on, should continue to hold our costs in check."
Continental continues to enhance its fuel efficiency and today, the carrier is nearly 35 percent more fuel efficient per mainline revenue passenger mile than in 1997. With mainline ASMs up 4.7 percent and RPMs up 5.9 percent for the first quarter, fuel consumption increased only 4.0 percent.
Work began in the first quarter to install winglets on 37 of the carrier's 737-500s. Continental also began installing winglets on 11 long-range 737- 300s in April. The company expects to have winglets installed on 204 aircraft by the end of the year. Winglets decrease drag and increase aerodynamic efficiency, reducing fuel consumption and emissions by up to five percent.
Continental ended the first quarter with $2.64 billion in unrestricted cash and short-term investments.
Other Accomplishments
During the quarter, Continental increased its firm order for Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft from 20 to 25, becoming the first airline in the Americas to order Boeing's 787-9 aircraft. In addition, Continental converted 12 previously ordered 787-8s into 787-9s, for a total of 17 787-9 and eight 787-8 aircraft on firm order. The 787-9 is designed to carry more passengers and fly farther than the 787-8.
Continental took delivery of its 19th Boeing 777 aircraft in the first quarter and, earlier this week, took delivery of its 20th and final Boeing 777 aircraft.
Continental completed the sale of $1.15 billion of Pass Through Certificates in April. The certificates were issued in three different series with an average interest rate of 6.27%. Proceeds from the sale of the certificates will be used to finance the company's purchase of 18 737-900ER and 12 737-800 Boeing aircraft scheduled for delivery beginning in January 2008. Continental now has committed financing for all of its new aircraft deliveries through the end of 2008.
Continental distributed $111 million of profit sharing to its co-workers on Feb. 14, 2007. In addition, co-workers who were granted stock options on March 30, 2005 in connection with pay and benefit reductions were able to exercise the second one-third of their stock options beginning March 30, 2007. At yesterday's closing stock price, the realized and unrealized gains from these options was approximately $250 million.
Continental contributed $106 million to its pension plans in the first quarter of 2007, significantly exceeding its minimum funding requirement during the first quarter of 2007. The company contributed an additional $30 million to its plans in April, bringing its year-to-date pension contributions to $136 million. Continental currently expects to contribute approximately $320 million to its plans in 2007, significantly exceeding its minimum funding requirements during the year.
Continental issued 4.3 million shares of its common stock to holders who elected to convert approximately $170 million principal amount of its 4.5% Convertible Notes due Feb. 1, 2007 at a conversion price of $40 per share.
Continental selected Pinnacle Airlines Corporation's subsidiary Colgan Air to operate 74-seat Bombardier Q400 twin-turboprop aircraft as Continental Connection from New York Liberty starting in early 2008. Continental entered into a 10-year capacity-purchase agreement with Pinnacle, and will schedule and market the service.
Corporate Background

Continental Airlines is the world's fifth largest airline. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 3,100 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 144 domestic and 138 international destinations. More than 400 additional points are served via SkyTeam alliance airlines. With more than 44,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and together with Continental Express, carries approximately 67 million passengers per year. Continental consistently earns awards and critical acclaim for both its operation and its corporate culture. For more company information, visit continental.com.
Continental Airlines will conduct a regular quarterly telephone briefing today to discuss these results and the company's financial and operating outlook with the financial community and news media at 9:30 a.m. CT/10:30 a.m. ET. To listen to a live broadcast of this briefing, go to continental.com>About Continental>Investor Relations.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are not limited to historical facts, but reflect the company's current beliefs, expectations or intentions regarding future events. All forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. For examples of such risks and uncertainties, please see the risk factors set forth in the company's 2006 10-K and its other securities filings, including any amendments thereto, which identify important matters such as the consequences of the company's significant financial losses and high leverage, the significant cost of aircraft fuel, its high labor and pension costs, service interruptions at one of its hub airports, disruptions in its computer systems, and industry conditions, including the airline pricing environment, industry capacity decisions, industry consolidation, terrorist attacks, regulatory matters, excessive taxation, the availability and cost of insurance, public health threats and the seasonal nature of the airline business. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date of this press release, except as required by applicable law.
-tables attached-



CONTINENTAL AIRLINES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

FINANCIAL SUMMARY
(In millions, except per share data)
(Unaudited)

%
Three Increase/
Months Ended (Decrease)
March 31,
2007 2006

Operating Revenue:
Passenger (excluding fees and taxes of
$347 and $315) $2,895 $2,683 7.9 %
Cargo 107 107 ---
Other, net 177 157 12.7 %
3,179 2,947 7.9 %
Operating Expenses:
Wages, salaries and related costs 726 672 8.0 %
Aircraft fuel and related taxes 684 661 3.5 %
Regional capacity purchase, net 430 415 3.6 %
Aircraft rentals 248 245 1.2 %
Landing fees and other rentals 193 185 4.3 %
Distribution costs 161 160 0.6 %
Maintenance, materials and repairs 144 127 13.4 %
Depreciation and amortization 99 96 3.1 %
Passenger services 90 82 9.8 %
Special charges (credits) [A] 11 (6) NM
Other 329 299 10.0 %
3,115 2,936 6.1 %

Operating Income 64 11 481.8 %

Nonoperating Income (Expense):
Interest expense (96) (101) (5.0)%
Interest capitalized 5 3 66.7 %
Interest income 36 25 44.0 %
Income from affiliates 5 17 (70.6)%
Gain on disposition of ExpressJet
Holdings shares 7 --- NM
Other, net 1 5 (80.0)%
(42) (51) (17.6)%

Income (Loss) before Income Taxes and
Cumulative Effect of Change
in Accounting Principle 22 (40) NM

Income Taxes --- --- ---
Cumulative Effect of Change in Accounting
Principle [B] --- (26) NM

Net Income (Loss) $22 $(66) NM

Earnings (Loss) per Share:
Basic $0.23 $(0.76) NM
Diluted $0.21 $(0.76) NM

Shares Used for Computation:
Basic 95 87 9.2 %
Diluted 109 87 25.3 %

[A] During the first quarter of 2007, the company recorded special
charges of $11 million related to settlement charges for
lump-sum distributions from the pilot pension plans and aircraft
related charges. During the first quarter of 2006, the
company recorded a special charge of $15 million related to
settlement charges for lump-sum distributions from the pilot pension
plans offset by a $14 million credit associated with the officers'
surrender of March 2006 restricted stock units and a $7 million
reduction of reserves related primarily to negotiated settlements on
leased MD-80 grounded aircraft.

[B] In connection with the adoption of SFAS 123(R), the company recorded
a $26 million cumulative effect of an accounting change to accrue
the liability for fair value of restricted stock units as of
January 1, 2006.



CONTINENTAL AIRLINES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES


STATISTICS

Three Months Ended %
March 31, Increase/
2007 2006 (Decrease)

Mainline Operations:
Passengers (thousands) 11,945 11,486 4.0 %
Revenue passenger miles (millions) 19,090 18,018 5.9 %
Available seat miles (millions) 24,124 23,035 4.7 %
Cargo ton miles (millions) 254 263 (3.4)%

Passenger load factor:
Mainline 79.1 % 78.2 % 0.9 pts.
Domestic 81.1 % 81.0 % 0.1 pts.
International 77.0 % 75.0 % 2.0 pts.

Passenger revenue per available
seat mile (cents) 9.93 9.43 5.3 %
Total revenue per available
seat mile (cents) 11.14 10.63 4.8 %
Average yield per revenue
passenger mile (cents) 12.55 12.06 4.1 %

Cost per available seat mile (CASM)
(cents) [A] 10.56 10.35 2.0 %
Special charges (credits) per available
seat mile (cents) 0.05 (0.03) NM
CASM, holding fuel rate constant
(cents) [A] 10.57 10.35 2.1 %

Average price per gallon of fuel,
including fuel taxes (cents) 189.48 190.43 (0.5)%
Fuel gallons consumed (millions) 361 347 4.0 %

Actual aircraft in fleet
at end of period 367 360 1.9 %
Average length of aircraft
flight (miles) 1,417 1,400 1.2 %
Average daily utilization of each
aircraft (hours) 11:10 10:42 4.3 %

Regional Operations: [B]
Passengers (thousands) 4,231 4,108 3.0 %
Revenue passenger miles (millions) 2,360 2,318 1.8 %
Available seat miles (millions) 3,126 3,082 1.4 %
Passenger load factor 75.5 % 75.2 % 0.3 pts.
Passenger revenue per available
seat mile (cents) 15.99 16.54 (3.3)%
Average yield per revenue passenger
mile (cents) 21.19 22.00 (3.7)%
Actual aircraft in fleet at end
of period [C] 264 270 (2.2)%

Consolidated Operations (Mainline and
Regional):
Passengers (thousands) 16,176 15,594 3.7 %
Revenue passenger miles (millions) 21,450 20,336 5.5 %
Available seat miles (millions) 27,250 26,117 4.3 %
Passenger load factor 78.7 % 77.9 % 0.8 pts.
Passenger revenue per available
seat mile (cents) 10.62 10.27 3.4 %
Average yield per revenue passenger
mile (cents) 13.50 13.19 2.4 %

[A] Includes impact of special charges (credits).
[B] Consists of flights flown under capacity purchase agreements
including ExpressJet, Chautauqua and CommutAir.
[C] Includes aircraft operated by all carriers under capacity purchase
agreement but excludes any aircraft operated by ExpressJet that are
operated by them for their branded flying.



CONTINENTAL AIRLINES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES
Three Months Ended
Earnings (Loss) per Share March 31, 2007

Diluted earnings (loss) per share $0.21

Adjustments:
Special charges (credits) 0.10
Gain on disposition of ExpressJet
Holdings shares (0.06)

Diluted earnings (loss) per share,
excluding special items [A] $0.25


Three Months Ended
March 31, Increase/
Net Income (Loss) (in millions) 2007 2006 (Decrease)

Net income (loss) $22 $(66) $88

Adjustments:
Special charges (credits) 11 (6) 17
Gain and disposition of ExpressJet
Holdings shares (7) --- (7)
Cumulative effect of change in
accounting principle --- 26 (26)

Net income (loss) excluding special
items [A] $26 $(46) $72

Three Months Ended %
March 31, Increase/
CASM Mainline Operations (cents) 2007 2006 (Decrease)

Cost per available seat mile (CASM) $10.56 $10.35 2.0 %

Less: Current year fuel cost per
available seat mile [B] (2.84) --- NM
Add: Current year fuel cost at prior
year fuel price per available
seat mile [B] 2.85 --- NM

CASM holding fuel rate constant [A] 10.57 10.35 2.1 %

Adjustments for special charges (credits) 0.05 (0.03) NM

CASM holding fuel rate constant
and excluding special charges
(credits) [A] $10.52 $10.38 1.3 %

[A] These financial measures provide management and investors the ability
to measure and monitor Continental's performance on a consistent
basis.
[B] Both the cost and availability of fuel are subject to many economic
and political factors and are therefore beyond the company's control.

SOURCE Continental Airlines
Corporate Communications of Continental Airlines, +1-713-324-5080, or [email protected]
cerealmarketer is offline  
Old Apr 19, 07, 6:48 am
  #2  
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From your title it seems CO is gonna start up flying Internally within not only the UK but London as well.

Kinda like CO flying EWR-LGA or DFW-DAL

Did you mean to say CO will fly to both LGW & LHR or will start up flying IAH-LHR? If IAH_LHR what about CLE & EWR will they remain as LGW or be switched also to LHR?

Last edited by craz; Apr 19, 07 at 8:18 am
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Old Apr 19, 07, 7:10 am
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The big question is who will sell CO the slots.
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Old Apr 19, 07, 7:26 am
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Originally Posted by craz View Post
From your title it seems CO is gonna start up flying Internally within not only the UK but London as well.

Kinda like CO flying EWR-LGA or DFW-DAL

Did you mean to say CO will fly to both LGW & LHR or will start up flying IAH-LHR? If IAH_LHR what about CLE & EWR will they remain as LGW or be switched also to LGW?
XYZZY...help! Title should say 'IAH-Heathrow'
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Old Apr 19, 07, 7:31 am
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Craz -

You're doing it too! (But we get the idea).

Originally Posted by craz View Post
what about CLE & EWR will they remain as LGW or be switched also to LGW?
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Old Apr 19, 07, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by spainflyer View Post
Craz -

You're doing it too! (But we get the idea).
I was heading out the door, difference is by mine its clear I meant LHR by the OP its not so clear cut as I asked will CO just be looking to move the IAH flights or all of the London flights to LHR?

Even AA I believe still services LGW from RDU and DFW(even thou they also serve LHR from here).
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Old Apr 19, 07, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by craz View Post
Even AA I believe still services LGW from RDU and DFW(even thou they also serve LHR from here).
AA does, indeed, serve LGW from RDU. They actually lose out on a fair amount of biz with my company, because BA doesn't offer connections from LGW to CPH.

I know I am alone in the wilderness, and that it probably wouldn't work, but in my crazier moments I wonder if CO/Skyteam flyers (I have no doubt that the airlines will make more money in/out of LHR) wouldn't be better served if ST just abandoned LHR and started a mini-hub out of LGW. I mean, everytime I ask what the big deal is with Heathrow, the only answers I get are 'connections' and 'the Tube.' But without a substantial ST presence at LHR, I just don't see how CO flyers really benefit by moving there. As far as I can tell you will still be stuck with mainly being able to connect with ST to the main hubs, at least on one ticket. And if you wanted to take advantage of the BA flights, why wouldn't you just take BA across the pond and save the $$$$? What am I missing?
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Old Apr 19, 07, 9:43 am
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Listening to the conference call right now...


The LHR service from Houston will be on top of existing LGW service. They'd like to add EWR-LHR as well, but did not mention CLE.
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Old Apr 19, 07, 9:56 am
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Originally Posted by cerealmarketer View Post
Listening to the conference call right now...


The LHR service from Houston will be on top of existing LGW service. They'd like to add EWR-LHR as well, but did not mention CLE.
Not including CLE at first isnt a surprise to me, espescially since it will be difficult to obtain slots for flights from the megahubs. Honestly, I would prefer flights to AMS and other SkyTeam hubs more than LHR.
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Old Apr 19, 07, 10:20 am
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More from the call...

"This is Larry, Frank. On the slot side, we're comfortable that we can find the facilities and slots for at least one flight, which is why we announced Houston Heathrow. We'll work to find more than that. And on ATI, I think we'll continue to look at opportunities. We have not been as aggressive as some of our competitors to do joint ventures. We think we've got great opportunities to grow from both Houston and New York, great positioning with the 787. Having said that we'll always look at opportunities that make sense for us but I think the driver in the business for us is we want to continue to expand across our system in ways that are smart with an international focus and Heathrow a key element in that. Clearly we'd like to get more than one flight in there at the start but we're comfortable we'll get it at least one. And that will be haven, by the way. "
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Old Apr 19, 07, 10:40 am
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Originally Posted by cerealmarketer View Post
They'd like to add EWR-LHR as well
One very, very disappointing result of this would be that the VS partnership would most likely be dropped. This is currently one of the better options around for using CO miles on US-UK.
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Old Apr 19, 07, 10:44 am
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Originally Posted by pbarnette View Post
I know I am alone in the wilderness, and that it probably wouldn't work, but in my crazier moments I wonder if CO/Skyteam flyers (I have no doubt that the airlines will make more money in/out of LHR) wouldn't be better served if ST just abandoned LHR and started a mini-hub out of LGW. I mean, everytime I ask what the big deal is with Heathrow, the only answers I get are 'connections' and 'the Tube.' But without a substantial ST presence at LHR, I just don't see how CO flyers really benefit by moving there.
I'm soon flying a CO revenue ticket to LGW and connecting on an award ticket to elsewhere in Europe. There are *no* Skyteam flights available from LGW, necessitating a trek over to LHR and probably an overnight due to the amount of time that takes.
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Old Apr 19, 07, 10:52 am
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Originally Posted by xyzzy View Post
I'm soon flying a CO revenue ticket to LGW and connecting on an award ticket to elsewhere in Europe. There are *no* Skyteam flights available from LGW, necessitating a trek over to LHR and probably an overnight due to the amount of time that takes.
I am doing the same thing at least twice this summer, though one of the trips I may just take BA from LGW and avoid the shuffle.
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Old Apr 19, 07, 11:03 am
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Originally Posted by pbarnette View Post
AA does, indeed, serve LGW from RDU. They actually lose out on a fair amount of biz with my company, because BA doesn't offer connections from LGW to CPH.

I know I am alone in the wilderness, and that it probably wouldn't work, but in my crazier moments I wonder if CO/Skyteam flyers (I have no doubt that the airlines will make more money in/out of LHR) wouldn't be better served if ST just abandoned LHR and started a mini-hub out of LGW. I mean, everytime I ask what the big deal is with Heathrow, the only answers I get are 'connections' and 'the Tube.' But without a substantial ST presence at LHR, I just don't see how CO flyers really benefit by moving there. As far as I can tell you will still be stuck with mainly being able to connect with ST to the main hubs, at least on one ticket. And if you wanted to take advantage of the BA flights, why wouldn't you just take BA across the pond and save the $$$$? What am I missing?
ST members have enough Hubs already in Europe it would be a complete waste of Money IMO. Theres CDG,AMS,FCO,MXP,PRG , it would be like OW or *A starting a hub at Orly since CDG is ST tuff.

A hub works if the Home Carrier is apart of an Alliance, Europe isnt the US.
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Old Apr 19, 07, 11:13 am
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Originally Posted by xyzzy View Post
I'm soon flying a CO revenue ticket to LGW and connecting on an award ticket to elsewhere in Europe. There are *no* Skyteam flights available from LGW, necessitating a trek over to LHR and probably an overnight due to the amount of time that takes.
I think I was a little unclear. What I would think ideal for flyers would be for ST to just abandon the idea of operating out of LHR and just operate out of LGW instead, where they could offer more flights to more places. Slots are always going to be limited into and out of LHR, so ST will necessarilly have a relatively small presence at LHR. I would prefer that they instead increase service out of LGW and just abandon LHR. That way, you would have several choices ex-US rather than the limited number of flights CO can scrape together into LHR.

Of course, none of the ST airlines would ever give up the opportunity to serve LHR, so you would never get the sort of coverage out of LGW that would lead to my "ideal world" and we will be stuck with a situation only marginally better than we have now, with everyone fighting to get onto the precious few flights into and out of LHR.
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