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Jeff's speech at Deutsche Bank Aviation and Transportation Conference

Jeff's speech at Deutsche Bank Aviation and Transportation Conference

Old Sep 14, 11, 10:30 am
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Brasila View Post
Jeff can talk all he wants but the new COUA LCC carrier will never come close to the services that international carries are now providing and upgrading their products to.
That's not really the goal however, is it? Matching SQ isn't realistic. Being competent and reasonably competitive is probably good enough.
This is Jeff from Texas talking not some international leader in airline culture.
Which is why I was surprised to hear talk of using domestic to feed international. The first time I've heard something that is NOT smallball Colgan RJ speak.

How he expects to build up international capability when he's wasting Cap Ex on domestic upgrades is TBD.

Slashing MP won't help this out either.
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Old Sep 14, 11, 10:38 am
  #17  
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Originally Posted by uastarflyer View Post
How he expects to build up international capability when he's wasting Cap Ex on domestic upgrades is TBD.
What capex is being wasted on domestic upgrades? 737 E+ installation and A320 bin expansion is peanuts compared to flat beds.

Originally Posted by uastarflyer View Post
Slashing MP won't help this out either.
Actually, frequent flyer programs are not particularly effective at generating loyalty for international routes.
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Old Sep 14, 11, 11:43 am
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Agree that upgrading domestic should be second in line to updating long haul international. Just to keep up with the competition. Lay-flat beds take up an enormous amount of revenue producing seats.., so I can certainly understand why it has been such a painful pill to swallow. Personally, I am just as comfortable for 5-8 hours in an 'almost' flat seat like on AA's First/Business Class. I am 6'4" so I do not fit in the beds anyway.
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Old Sep 14, 11, 12:02 pm
  #19  
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[QUOTE=Brasila;17108334]
Originally Posted by sxf24 View Post
Well, let's remember that there's a difference between F and C/J.
Right, and your Lufthansa example falls flat the instant we begin to compare Business Class products, as the UA and CO flat beds blow Lufthansa out of the water.

Originally Posted by exibanker View Post
Agree that upgrading domestic should be second in line to updating long haul international. Just to keep up with the competition. Lay-flat beds take up an enormous amount of revenue producing seats.., so I can certainly understand why it has been such a painful pill to swallow. Personally, I am just as comfortable for 5-8 hours in an 'almost' flat seat like on AA's First/Business Class. I am 6'4" so I do not fit in the beds anyway.
The early generation flat bed seats -- like the ones installed by Virgin Atlantic and Singapore Airlines -- did indeed take up alot of space. But those who smartly waited a bit for designs that are much more space-efficient -- such as United and Continental -- ae now installing seats that result in comparatively small capacity reductions.

I'm 6'4", and while its a tight but good fit in the United Flat Bed, I'm more than comfy in CO's Flat Bed, which is 6'6" long.

Last edited by iluv2fly; Sep 14, 11 at 3:40 pm Reason: merge
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Old Sep 14, 11, 12:09 pm
  #20  
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Actually, frequent flyer programs are not particularly effective at generating loyalty for international routes.
Uhh, no. FFPs were the ONLY reason for many UA FF's to fly UA TPAC C/F over SQ and NH. UA's counting of BIS for CR1 and MM drove customers to choose loyalty over an overall better experience.
Lay-flat beds take up an enormous amount of revenue producing seats.., so I can certainly understand why it has been such a painful pill to swallow. Personally, I am just as comfortable for 5-8 hours in an 'almost' flat seat like on AA's First/Business Class.
really? CO said they did the lie flat conversion because they finally got a seat that wouldn't take up more space. Try again.
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Old Sep 14, 11, 12:59 pm
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[QUOTE=Brasila;17108334]
Originally Posted by sxf24 View Post

I will take LH FC any day over COUA LCC's B/F. Have you been to LH's FC Terminal in FRA? Have you been driven directly to a LH 747 in a Mercedes Limo and taken upstairs from the tarmac to be boarded while the plane is already fully loaded.
Having just flown LH F last weekend, I can say that if sleeping and IFE were the two most important criteria for me, I would take UA over LH F (on an A340) all the time. LH blew UA away on everything else, but the UA bed and IFE were without question superior. And 11 hours on a good bed with more than one movie that I actually wanted to watch would be worth much more than 10 minutes in a mercedes.

Honestly, pajamas and better wines would make UA very competitive with LH in the air.
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Old Sep 14, 11, 1:12 pm
  #22  
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Originally Posted by sxf24 View Post
UA has made investing in its premium product a priority. Since most demand is for C/J tickets, rather than F, this is where most of the focus is. UA's next generation C/J product on both 2- and 3-class aircraft is very competitive with C/J products most of its competitors.
The UA/CO C/J seat is currently competitive, but it will soon fall flat (pun intended!) with true next-generation products which have a staggered layout and nobody immediately next to you (a la NH or LX).


Originally Posted by sxf24 View Post
Getting hung up on legacy branding for a subsidiary that is going to disappear in the next 6 months seems a bit shortsighted and petty. Let's focus on the hard and soft product being rolled out and wait to see how UA brands its C/J cabin on 2- and 3-class aircraft once the integration of the two carriers is complete.
Have they announced the sunset of the BusinessFirst branding? If so, I missed that announcement. For all we know they could keep BusinessFirst and add another brand for First (FirstFirst or RealFirst?).


Originally Posted by entropy View Post
Uhh, no. FFPs were the ONLY reason for many UA FF's to fly UA TPAC C/F over SQ and NH. UA's counting of BIS for CR1 and MM drove customers to choose loyalty over an overall better experience.
Remember, CO wasn't terribly good at using its FFP to generate loyalty internationally. CO's FFP was generous to domestic flyers, but very weak and uncompetitive for international or very frequent flyers. I can see how someone with a colistic background may not see the possibility.


Originally Posted by sxf24 View Post
Actually, frequent flyer programs are not particularly effective at generating loyalty for international routes.
It's really a matter of the design of the frequent flyer program.

There are also other factors such as route network. If you have a stronghold at your hub with a relatively captive customer base, they're going to fly you anyway.

There are also different types of rewards -- if an airline gives absolutely no reward outside of bonus miles to its top tiers flying internationally, then that program is likely skewed towards domestic flyers and against international flyers.

CO's policies were even more extreme at the time -- with 50% EQM on partners (many more int'l itineraries require partner travel), and a pricing structure that was hostile towards codeshares.

In that case, THAT FFP would fail to generate loyalty among int'l travellers.


Originally Posted by HeathrowGuy View Post
But those who smartly waited a bit for designs that are much more space-efficient -- such as United and Continental -- are now installing seats that result in comparatively small capacity reductions.
It's not really about "smartly" waiting -- many who waited around lost business to those who had better products. Was the delay worth it? Who knows?

The fact of the matter is this is a constantly evolving item, and airlines need to re-invest in upgrades as quickly as they can. Many U.S. carriers missed on the angle-flat revolution because they didn't update as frequently, while others replaced their barcaloungers 10+ years ago with angle-flats.

The next one looks like it's the staggered model. Who knows what's after that. Once the integration is complete, maybe UA/CO will have the cash it takes to stay up to date with this stuff (that's in addition to leading the world as the world's leading airline).
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Old Sep 14, 11, 1:13 pm
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nah.., all I require are two cocktails and by Bose earphones
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Old Sep 14, 11, 1:15 pm
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Brasila View Post
I will take LH FC any day over COUA LCC's B/F.

For any COUA LCC apologists to really believe their airline will be comparable in an international competitive market is fool hardy.

I know of know one who would take COUA B/F over true international carriers FC such as LH, EK, TG, SQ, MH, QR, CX, KE, etc...is pure wishful and denial thinking....
Again, regardless of the current branding, 'BusinessFirst' is a C/J class product, not a F class product. UA's F class is not particularly competitive with the airlines you list, but its C/J is.

Originally Posted by entropy View Post
Uhh, no. FFPs were the ONLY reason for many UA FF's to fly UA TPAC C/F over SQ and NH. UA's counting of BIS for CR1 and MM drove customers to choose loyalty over an overall better experience.
Perhaps I should say FFP are not particularly effective at driving profitable loyalty for international routes.

Originally Posted by channa View Post
The UA/CO C/J seat is currently competitive, but it will soon fall flat (pun intended!) with true next-generation products which have a staggered layout and nobody immediately next to you (a la NH or LX).
Or DL

Originally Posted by channa View Post
Have they announced the sunset of the BusinessFirst branding? If so, I missed that announcement. For all we know they could keep BusinessFirst and add another brand for First (FirstFirst or RealFirst?).
They haven't announced it will continue.


Originally Posted by channa View Post
It's really a matter of the design of the frequent flyer program.

There are also other factors such as route network. If you have a stronghold at your hub with a relatively captive customer base, they're going to fly you anyway.
International premium ticket purchase decisions are made almost entirely based on network and product. FFP programs have very little influence on paid premium international traffic.

Last edited by iluv2fly; Sep 14, 11 at 3:41 pm Reason: merge
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Old Sep 14, 11, 1:25 pm
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
Have they announced the sunset of the BusinessFirst branding? If so, I missed that announcement. For all we know they could keep BusinessFirst and add another brand for First (FirstFirst or RealFirst?).
There was a thread quite a while ago with some pictures of printed materials that only showed First and Business, but nothing definitive. I think there is no way they can keep BF. Otherwise it would be completely confusing.
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Old Sep 14, 11, 1:46 pm
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Originally Posted by sxf24 View Post
I don't know about you, but I heard Jeff speak and feel like I can comment on the topic at hand.

UA has made investing in its premium product a priority. Since most demand is for C/J tickets, rather than F, this is where most of the focus is. UA's next generation C/J product on both 2- and 3-class aircraft is very competitive with C/J products most of its competitors.
While the CO side will continue to (and has for years) argue that intl 3-cabin F is a "waste of time" and that there is no need to offer the product (as you have personally done on multiple occasions), the truth is that pmUA's intl. route network fully supports F inventory. If what you say is true, UA wouldn't have made a strategic decision to invest in a brand new F suite for ever one of their nearly 100 intl. widebody aircraft (and upgrade them into the 763).

Saying things like F won't be focused on because more C seats are sold is generally not supported by reality. in fact, look for Smisek to unveil an upgraded soft product for United First. [Unduly personalized comment deleted by moderator.]

Last edited by Ocn Vw 1K; Sep 14, 11 at 3:13 pm Reason: See last line above.
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Old Sep 14, 11, 2:11 pm
  #27  
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
The UA/CO C/J seat is currently competitive, but it will soon fall flat (pun intended!) with true next-generation products which have a staggered layout and nobody immediately next to you (a la NH or LX).
This is doubtful, at best. The competitive dynamics of NH and LX's home markets allow them to get away (at least, for now) with installing premium cabin products with a rather low seating density. The other major USA and European legacies would plunge themselves into financial ruin on many routes if they attempted to mimic those layouts.

Originally Posted by tuolumne View Post
While the CO side will continue to (and has for years) argue that intl 3-cabin F is a "waste of time" and that there is no need to offer the product (as you have personally done on multiple occasions)
What are you talking about? The introduction of First Class onto some PMCO routes is long overdue and will be warmly welcomed by those who have been waiting some time for an International First Class offering. That being said, I fully expect the introduction of F on PMCO flying to be the result of continued switcheroos with PMUA aircraft and NOT by adding F to PMCO's longhaul fleet (a move that, with the possible exception of the PMCO 777 fleet, makes little financial sense).

Last edited by iluv2fly; Sep 14, 11 at 3:41 pm Reason: merge
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Old Sep 14, 11, 2:14 pm
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Originally Posted by tuolumne View Post
While the CO side will continue to (and has for years) argue that intl 3-cabin F is a "waste of time" and that there is no need to offer the product (as you have personally done on multiple occasions), the truth is that pmUA's intl. route network fully supports F inventory. If what you say is true, UA wouldn't have made a strategic decision to invest in a brand new F suite for ever one of their nearly 100 intl. widebody aircraft (and upgrade them into the 763).
I've never personally said 3-cabin F is a waste of time. Perhaps your confusing me with someone else...

I will say that there is no need to offer 3-cabin F on many routes because it won't sell. If you're going to mostly use a premium class for upgrades, you'll never be able to afford to keep the product competitive. Since the demand for C/J is much larger and widespread, it makes sense for UA to continue focusing its investment here. Maintaining 3-cabin F on certain routes where you can sell it also makes sense.

However, while C/J is competitive, lets not fool ourselves and pretend that UA's F is remotely competitive with any first-tier airline.

Originally Posted by tuolumne View Post
Saying things like F won't be focused on because more C seats are sold is generally not supported by reality. in fact, look for Smisek to unveil an upgraded soft product for United First. But don't let facts get in the way
The reality is that UA sells more C seats that international F seats. That doesn't mean you should ignore F completely. UA has been consistently clear (including at the DB conference) that it will be prudent with its capital expenditures, a fact reflected in its decision to prioritize flat beds in C over other product enhancements.
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Old Sep 14, 11, 2:14 pm
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Brasila View Post

I will take LH FC any day over COUA LCC's B/F.
That's not the relevant comparison. It's whether you'd take LH C over UA/CO C.

There's also the rather major point that most of our experience with longhaul F is as aspirational award travel, or as upgrade from C, unless you are truly shelling out 5 figures for your flights, in which case, congratulations, and I might ask this: why are you bothering with UA loyalty instead of simply whatever carrier will give you luxurious experiences in F?

And because aspirational awards are an important part of UA's program, I'll point out that while LH has much nicer lounges and soft product than UA, LH Miles and More is a horrible program for upgrades compared to UA/CO, and their award chart's much, MUCH worse in mileage requirements than UA/CO's.

Aren't you one of the ones complaining about how $mi$ek is ruining M+? How do you think most 1Ks would like 210K F awards from North America to SYD to go along with a hypothetical SFO First Class Terminal and caviar on the plane? 2 SWUS/CR-1s per qualifying year as a 1K to go along with Mercedes rides? Do let me know what you think about that one.

Originally Posted by boolean64 View Post

Having just flown LH F last weekend, I can say that if sleeping and IFE were the two most important criteria for me, I would take UA over LH F (on an A340) all the time. LH blew UA away on everything else, but the UA bed and IFE were without question superior. And 11 hours on a good bed with more than one movie that I actually wanted to watch would be worth much more than 10 minutes in a mercedes.

Honestly, pajamas and better wines would make UA very competitive with LH in the air.
As the 747/A380/revamped A340/A330 hard products roll out, though, LH comes out well ahead. (I also don't have problems sleeping in LH F or mind smallish screens, so LH superior soft product will win my mileage redemption business... as puny as that is. )

The other thing UA would need to work on would be the premium experience on the ground to come closer to LH's. Right now, LH has better facilities in NYC (JFK lounge) than UA/CO does at EWR. If they're serious about their F product, I'd think they would want to invest in premium ground experience at EWR/SFO/ORD. Doesn't have to be a Mercedes, but refreshing the lounges... well, I'd argue that the VS lounge at SFO beats the UA IFL there.
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Old Sep 14, 11, 5:05 pm
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post

As the 747/A380/revamped A340/A330 hard products roll out, though, LH comes out well ahead. (I also don't have problems sleeping in LH F or mind smallish screens, so LH superior soft product will win my mileage redemption business... as puny as that is. )

The other thing UA would need to work on would be the premium experience on the ground to come closer to LH's. Right now, LH has better facilities in NYC (JFK lounge) than UA/CO does at EWR. If they're serious about their F product, I'd think they would want to invest in premium ground experience at EWR/SFO/ORD. Doesn't have to be a Mercedes, but refreshing the lounges... well, I'd argue that the VS lounge at SFO beats the UA IFL there.
Oh, I slept just fine on the old LH seat...but I've slept better in the new UA suite. I didn't mind the small screen either since I just used my own IFE. But I definitely have friends who care about the IFE above everything else and would gladly drink Nicholas Feuillatte and Glenlivet in exchange.

UA could definitely pull off the LH ground experience at SFO if it was willing to spend the money and try. The IFL is nice enough, just need to add a hot menu and upgrade the buffet...perhaps buy better booze (although I was impressed to see woodford reserve), and do the car service, especially collecting domestic connections from T3.

But I'll believe it when I see it. In the meantime, I'll earn on UA and burn elsewhere.
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