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How empty does a flight need to be to get cancelled?

How empty does a flight need to be to get cancelled?

Old Apr 2, 12, 3:37 pm
  #1  
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Will UA cancel a intl flight due to low loads?

Hello

I am visiting some friends in Los Angeles next week and am flying on united on the Sunday non stop on April 8 I was able to get upgraded from a friends swu which expires at the end of April. I have been looking and it looks like the loads are low on that flight in the 3 cabins.

My fear is UA will cancel the flight due to the low pax load. Does that happen?



Many thanks
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Old Apr 2, 12, 3:42 pm
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Doubtful. They still need to reposition the tin.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 3:44 pm
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most likely no since they will still have cargo to transport and to reposition the a/c
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Old Apr 2, 12, 3:55 pm
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Not at all. Are you flying LHR-LAX? That flight has over 180 passengers booked, hardly an empty flight.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 4:03 pm
  #5  
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OP I take it you looked at the Seat Map and thusly drew your conclusion. The problem is we cant use the seat map for this type of info. Especially with an Intl flight where alot of folks not only dont ask for a preassigned seat but dont check in online either.

Ive flown on flights that looked as if there was but a handful of passengers, turned out there were 2 maasive groups on the flights
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Old Apr 2, 12, 5:37 pm
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Originally Posted by Hachiko View Post
Not at all. Are you flying LHR-LAX? That flight has over 180 passengers booked, hardly an empty flight.
Yes and how do you know there are over 180 pax booked? The seat map tells otherwise and to the other poster I was going by the seat map.


Many thanks
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Old Apr 2, 12, 5:39 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by TaxiDog93 View Post
Yes and how do you know there are over 180 pax booked? The seat map tells otherwise and to the other poster I was going by the seat map.


Many thanks
As said, the seat map is no indication of tickets sold since many times a seat is not yet assigned. You could have 200 tickets sold and only 25 people actually have selected a seat.

To know something more specific like having already sold more than 180 seats means that poster probably has access to UA's reservation systems (i.e. an employee).

As for canceling because of low loads, aside from the reasons listed already (cargo revenue, plane needs to be in the next city for other passengers, etc.), scheduled carriers are obligated to operate the flights for which they publish a schedule for. There are many FT stories of people being on planes as the only soul on board (in addition to the crew).

Last edited by PHL; Apr 2, 12 at 5:45 pm
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Old Apr 2, 12, 5:40 pm
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UNITED cancelled my IAD-ACC a few weeks ago due to light loads (it was cancelled about 6 hours before the flight for 'operational' reasons).

The loads on that flight were veeery light.

And now UNITED is ending that route altogether.

So it happens.

But LHR-LAX is a very different story than that....
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Old Apr 2, 12, 5:47 pm
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Flight status: Cancelled

Reason: "Operations"
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Old Apr 2, 12, 5:50 pm
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Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
UNITED cancelled my IAD-ACC a few weeks ago due to light loads (it was cancelled about 6 hours before the flight for 'operational' reasons).

The loads on that flight were veeery light.
It's possible that UA needed a plane for a route with more passengers and as a result, to minimize the net travel disruption in its network, chose to pick off a lightly loaded flight. You might want to put away your tin foil hat, however. Simply because a flight is lightly loaded doesn't mean that it will be canceled.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 5:52 pm
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Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
UNITED cancelled my IAD-ACC a few weeks ago due to light loads (it was cancelled about 6 hours before the flight for 'operational' reasons).

The loads on that flight were veeery light.

And now UNITED is ending that route altogether.

So it happens.

But LHR-LAX is a very different story than that....
What happens on a cancel nowadays? Do they just re-route, with no cost to themselves, except for boarding? Or is it an IDB?
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Old Apr 2, 12, 5:56 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyerChrisK View Post
It's possible that UA needed a plane for a route with more passengers and as a result, to minimize the net travel disruption in its network, chose to pick off a lightly loaded flight. You might want to put away your tin foil hat, however. Simply because a flight is lightly loaded doesn't mean that it will be canceled.
That indeed happens. if you have ten flights and 9 airplanes because one goes mx, the airline may cancel the flight with the lightest load, on the theory that it is easier to deal with fewer passengers who have to be rebooked.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 6:15 pm
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I can understand that UA will re-evaluate entire routes over the course of months, as they have done with IAD-ACC, and if it's not making enough money, decide to end service. My Nov 30 flight from LHR to ORD was less than half full, and I had every confidence that they would indeed operate it. The same was true for my LHR-ORD on march 5 (slightly more full than the Nov 30 flight). They needed to get that 767 to where it needed to be for its next journey.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 6:22 pm
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So the answer to the question "Will UA cancel a intl flight due to low loads?" is yes.

I would not be so confident as you are, as I have personally experienced it. It was NRT-SEA on a Thanksgiving Day, canceled more than 2 months in advance.

Obviously they did not need the plane in SEA to continue on its next jouney that day.
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Old Apr 2, 12, 6:23 pm
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an example of an Empty flight that wont be CXed!

UA10 on 9/26 the date changes every year. Its the 3rd flight on that date for EWR-TLV. Ever since PMCO started sending this bird at 5am it goes out pretty empty probably more crew members then passengers

Whats going on is simple, in 2012 9/26 is Yom Kippur TLV shuts its Airspace to All Air traffic from Noon on 9/25 (this year) until 2-3 hrs after sunset on 9/26 So if CO doesnt send that bird at 5am then there cant be any 91 on 9/26 TLV-EWR that flight usually will be completely full. CO will end up with some passengers but will fill the cargo hold with cargo to insure the flight wont be a loss $$wise. It will land and turn around 2 hrs later as the 91. CO has been doing this for a few yrs now if they werent making any $$$ between the 10/91 combo they wouldnt run them. SO they send the 10 over and it will be almost empty (btw look at the 90 for 9/26 EWR-TLV and most seats are taken) so its not well its still 6 months out

also on 9/25 the 91 doesnt operate (TLV is Closed) only the 85, thusly why they will run 3 flights on 9/26 instead of the usual 2

Then on 9/27 the 90 is departing a few hrs early to make sure it can land and the passengers make it to where they are going before the Sabbath starts. Its being done since alot of COs passengers are Religious and since YK is on a Weds it doesnt offer them many flights to get over before the Holiday of Succoth starts on Sun 9/30 @ Sundown
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