UAX service LNK-IAH

Old Apr 20, 14, 12:49 pm
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UAX service LNK-IAH

Hello! My apologies if this is in the wrong forum.

About 10 years ago or so, the Lincoln Journal-Star reported that CO received some sort of DOT grant to establish service between LNK and IAH. I haven't a clue why this never materialized. Before the merger, CO and COX served OMA with both mainline(737s) and RJs. Since the merger, it looks like it has gone almost exclusively to RJ service with the occasional A319. Given the frequency of flights from OMA, it is surprising that they don't offer any service non stop to IAH out of LNK.

LNK used to receive so much more service from airlines compared to now. I can recall flying TWA, Northwest, USAir, American, Delta, and United. Now all that is left is Delta and United. It would be great if IAH opened up as a connection. Any insight is much appreciated!
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Old Apr 20, 14, 1:08 pm
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I don't remember them actually getting the grant money in hand, though I know they applied for it once or twice. CO did look at IAH service a few times but never found it profitable. DL flew to MEM twice and canceled the route pretty quickly both times, but nowhere near as quickly as the whole 3 months that LNK-ATL lasted for.

The problem for LNK is the proximity to OMA, and the wealth of options from there. You can drive from downtown Lincoln to OMA in just about an hour. Most of the leisure market in Nebraska is very price sensitive and people are accustomed to driving to OMA to get the price they are willing to pay, meaning that the only people who choose LNK are business travelers, and college students without cars (even then, the OMA-LNK shuttle is under $50 one way and the price savings on airfare usually are enough to offset it).

When I lived in LNK in the past I longed for more options and at that time there were with AA still flying to ORD and DL still flying to both DTW and MEM in addition to MSP. Now I think it's down to UAX to ORD and DEN and DL only to MSP (plus Allegiant but I don't count them). Personally I would rather see AA come back and fly to DFW than CO fly to IAH, just to introduce some more competition into LNK. I think WN could also do well at LNK if they flew to HOU or BWI.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 1:57 pm
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I do think WN would do well flying to HOU...even if it were a milk run through MCI.

I fly to IAH all the time, and for me, the 2 hr round trip drive and the parking costs make OMA less attractive to me. You are right though...people just assume they have to go out of OMA to make it work. Lately I've been flying LNK-DEN-IAH or LNK-ORD-IAH to avoid OMA. Plus, you can sometimes catch a 3 cabin aircraft to IAH out of DEN or ORD. I snagged a ride in BF on the 787 to IAH from DEN just a few months ago.The extra time with connections is a downer, but so is 2 hours in a RJ from OMA. I wish they would fly some CRJ700s with a first class cabin out of LNK. I'm an aviation fan as much as anyone, but I have a hard time with more than 10 minutes in a CRJ200. I don't like the EMB145s either, but when flying alone, I like taking the single seat.

As far as AA to DFW goes, I'd welcome some other options from LNK. However, DFW is the worst major airport IMO. Guaranteed delay/cancelation if connecting through DFW in a late spring or summer afternoon due to the crazy storms that blow through there. I might be the only person I know that has been stranded on the DFW interterminal train 3 times in one year. I spent 3 hrs in the July sun on the DFW train once...I quit DFW after that! DFW connections for me always bring me in at gate 1 and my connection departs in 10 minutes from gate 1,999,999,999.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 2:54 pm
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I would love to see service from IAH-LNK. Unfortunately Houston isn't a great connection point to most of the places people in LNK are likely going (with Florida being not terrible but still not great).

Perhaps they could at least move some of the IAH-OMA flights to larger aircraft and make us IAH flyers happier.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 3:19 pm
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Originally Posted by PV_Premier View Post
DL flew to MEM twice and canceled the route pretty quickly both times, but nowhere near as quickly as the whole 3 months that LNK-ATL lasted for.
The airport won a grant for DL service to ATL again, last fall. Was supposed to start this summer, but I have not heard anything more about it.


Originally Posted by PV_Premier View Post
Now I think it's down to UAX to ORD and DEN and DL only to MSP (plus Allegiant but I don't count them). Personally I would rather see AA come back and fly to DFW than CO fly to IAH, just to introduce some more competition into LNK.
Allegiance decamped to Grand Island a few years ago. AA to DFW could work, they seem to be doing all right at GRI.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 4:47 pm
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LNK may been a part of the original Essential Air Service program but it is not presently. the EAS is substantially less of force than it was in 1978.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 6:02 pm
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Ya, DL is supposed to start LNK-ATL flights, and my recollection is it will be 4 days a week to start. Frankly, I don't see a huge demand for it, but then again I don't really ever fly DL. I'm still holding out hope for LNK-IAH on UA.

Speaking of cheaper flights out of OMA, I've not been able to see that regularly on UA. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. The only benefit to flying out of OMA for me is potentially mainline aircraft, and when traveling to IAH, having a non stop. TWA used to have 717 service, and AA used to have MD80 service in LNK. I never flew USAir because I didnt' want to be on the Brasilia to MCI. Until the DL merger, Northwest would fly DC9s into LNK. I have to believe that there is a market for at least one mainline flight on UA out of here. At least give us CRJ7/CRJ9s!!
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Old Apr 20, 14, 6:16 pm
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Originally Posted by SignatureCaptainLNK View Post
I have to believe that there is a market for at least one mainline flight on UA out of here. At least give us CRJ7/CRJ9s!!
Tomorrow's schedule shows ten flights to three national hubs, all with a flight distance less than 500 miles. UA operates single-class ERJs on routes as long as 1300 miles. LNK does not lack service appropriate to the market.

DL has a practice of using 2-class aircraft on domestic routes longer than 750 miles, so if LNK-ATL starts you might see an F cabin (and wifi, and Economy Comfort seating).
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Old Apr 20, 14, 6:39 pm
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Originally Posted by SignatureCaptainLNK View Post
I have to believe that there is a market for at least one mainline flight on UA out of here. At least give us CRJ7/CRJ9s!!
I'm afraid I have to disagree with you, maybe a CR7 to Denver would work, but that's about it. Frankly, you should be glad that LNK hasn't gone to a Q400 (which, while it has an F cabin, would result in markedly longer flight times to and from both DEN and ORD).

One time I do think CR7 and/or A319 would work is on home game weekends, fly one or two in on a Friday and one or two out on a Sunday. Of course, this would mean tolerating massive losses on the return flights where the demand could not support the capacity.

I think if you are holding out for an F cabin aircraft to show up in LNK, you are probably flying the wrong airline...After all, we are talking about the same carrier that thinks IAD-MIA is of such little importance that they can dink around with one express flight a week. I do agree that LNK-ATL might end up being a CR7, though IIRC last time they did the experiment it was on a CR2.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 8:23 pm
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Originally Posted by SignatureCaptainLNK View Post
I have to believe that there is a market for at least one mainline flight on UA out of here. At least give us CRJ7/CRJ9s!!
There are even larger markets without mainline service.

UA is shrinking and even cutting markets altogether. I'd be happy you still have service on UA.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 9:00 pm
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I very much doubt we will see LNK-IAH service anytime soon, or more than likely, ever. As others already stated, the proximity to OMA diminishes the demand and increases prices, which is why LNK is used predominately by a few select business travelers. Even with that said, most people (including those business travelers) will still use Eppley anyway because of far more options and better prices. I grew up in Lincoln and we always flew out of Omaha for as long as I can remember.

I'm a bit confused as to why a sub-60 minute drive from Lincoln to Omaha is less convenient than flying all the way to Denver or Chicago, having a layover, and then flying to Houston. There are many major cities in the world where a one-hour commute to the airport is normal. Plus on-site parking at OMA is very cheap, starting around $5 per day.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 9:16 pm
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Originally Posted by LNKed View Post
I very much doubt we will see LNK-IAH service anytime soon, or more than likely, ever. As others already stated, the proximity to OMA diminishes the demand and increases prices, which is why LNK is used predominately by a few select business travelers. Even with that said, most people (including those business travelers) will still use Eppley anyway because of far more options and better prices. I grew up in Lincoln and we always flew out of Omaha for as long as I can remember.

I'm a bit confused as to why a sub-60 minute drive from Lincoln to Omaha is less convenient than flying all the way to Denver or Chicago, having a layover, and then flying to Houston. There are many major cities in the world where a one-hour commute to the airport is normal. Plus on-site parking at OMA is very cheap, starting around $5 per day.
I live about as far from OMA as one can and still reside in Lincoln city limits. It's about an hour and 10-15 minutes for me to get to the airport and park. I do it a lot, but to have an early departure time, it is brutal. Parking in Lincoln is much cheaper, and most of the time I can get someone to give me a ride. I avoid ORD if possible, but sometimes it is the best for my schedule. The drive is usually the worst when I come in late in the evenings. It's brutal coming in at midnight and then having another hour drive after that. I swear that my bags must come in on another flight, because no airport is as slow at getting bags off as OMA.

I guess I am odd in that I'll take a connection to a mainline flight out of LNK vs OMA direct, all things being equal. Lately, the direct flights to IAH from OMA have been several hundred more than connecting flights both out of LNK and OMA. I do love the a319 service, but it seems to only be one way. I've never seen anything other than RJ from IAH-OMA in the last 6 months or so. Thankfully we have not been downgraded to Q400 service!
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Old Apr 20, 14, 9:45 pm
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Originally Posted by SignatureCaptainLNK View Post
I live about as far from OMA as one can and still reside in Lincoln city limits. It's about an hour and 10-15 minutes for me to get to the airport and park. ....
I live in a larger SMA (105 in the nation versus Lincoln is 158th). 70-100 miles to the nearest airports (regularly a two hour drive). Lots of people have similiar circumstances. It a consequence of where we chose to live.
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Old Apr 20, 14, 10:16 pm
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My friend who lives in Lincoln says the drive to OMA isn't necessarily the worst part; it's the inconvenient scheduling out of OMA. Departures tend to be at 5 PM or 4 PM, meaning you must cut out of work in Lincoln quite early; arrivals back into OMA are around 11 PM, so you have a late and long drive back home.

It's a long way from 1976, when my very first jet flight was on a United 727 LNK-ORD!

Edited to add: AA added MHK and UA added FOE (similar situations to LNK) in the last few years, so you never know.

Last edited by DenverBrian; Apr 20, 14 at 10:38 pm
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Old Apr 21, 14, 2:45 am
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
LNK may been a part of the original Essential Air Service program but it is not presently. the EAS is substantially less of force than it was in 1978.
Not sure what EAS has to do with this conversation. The grant LNK received in connection with attracting ATL service was through the Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) - completely distinct from EAS.
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