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2nd daily UA IAH-NRT? (UA back to 1 flight Jan-31-15, ANA Starting 77W in June 2015)

2nd daily UA IAH-NRT? (UA back to 1 flight Jan-31-15, ANA Starting 77W in June 2015)

Old Jun 3, 14, 9:43 am
  #1  
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2nd daily UA IAH-NRT? (UA back to 1 flight Jan-31-15, ANA Starting 77W in June 2015)

I was doing some spot checking for some dates this month and both flights seem to be packed.

Anyone have any official data?
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Old Jun 3, 14, 10:14 am
  #2  
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Is the new one the 9am (earlier) one? It's P9 (cheapest of the cheap biz fares) basically every day for the next two weeks, and every economy bucket seems to be open on every flight too.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 10:29 am
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It's too early to be able to make a call as to the success of a new long haul route, but there's no reason why this shouldnt succeed. It is well-timed for connections to a number of markets with growing ties to Japan/Asia, and the Houston local market is as strong as ever.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 11:20 am
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I have been surprised at how well the second flight is actualy doing. I think UA got it right on this one. Now if they could just get the intra-Japan awards flights to display, that would be nice.

UA Insider has just informed me that to search and book award travel within Japan on-line you must search "one way" travel, and round trip can be booked thru the call center.

Last edited by kenziid3; Jun 3, 14 at 4:11 pm Reason: Edit
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Old Jun 3, 14, 11:24 am
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While the flight itself might be doing well, I am wondering if it actually adds to the overall US-NRT revenue, or just cannibalizes some other US-NRT routes.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 12:12 pm
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Originally Posted by cesco.g View Post
While the flight itself might be doing well, I am wondering if it actually adds to the overall US-NRT revenue, or just cannibalizes some other US-NRT routes.
Its not just revenue cannibalization that is at issue, but also CASM. If this flight cuts some flow to the ORD and SFO flights, or the LAX flight, it may make them more marginal (especially LAX, there is only so far that UAL can downgage).

But the big issue is CASM. SFO-NRT is 4447nm (5118sm), IAH-NRT is 5767nm (6637sm) The extra distance probably adds about $120 per passenger in fuel costs each way, and I bet the CASM is at last 20% higher. So having someone go xxx-IAH-NRT vs. xxx-SFO-NRT simply adds to United's costs, and hurts the bottom line unless they can get a greater increase in revenue, which I doubt they can.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 1:26 pm
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IAH-NRT doesn't just connect the USA to Japan and beyond; it also connects Asia and South America (assuming that at least one of the IAH flights is timed correctly for those connections).

AA has long flown two daily flights to NRT from its Texas hub at DFW, and there are anecdotal reports that the DFW flights are AA's best-performing flights to Japan. AA's TPAC yield last year was an atrocious 12 cents per mile, far lower than UA or DL, and yet DFW performs well enough to maintain two daily flights. That alone tells me that two daily IAH-NRT flights is probably a wise move for UA.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 1:30 pm
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Agreed, I think this is more for Japan-LATAM traffic, not the other way around quite so much.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 1:33 pm
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Originally Posted by FWAAA View Post
IAH-NRT doesn't just connect the USA to Japan and beyond; it also connects Asia and South America (assuming that at least one of the IAH flights is timed correctly for those connections).

AA has long flown two daily flights to NRT from its Texas hub at DFW, and there are anecdotal reports that the DFW flights are AA's best-performing flights to Japan. AA's TPAC yield last year was an atrocious 12 cents per mile, far lower than UA or DL, and yet DFW performs well enough to maintain two daily flights. That alone tells me that two daily IAH-NRT flights is probably a wise move for UA.
But we had this discussion already, right? UA has two TYO flights ex-SFO that AA doesn't have, as well as one from DEN, EWR, and IAD. (They're at parity from LAX and ORD).

So two for AA from DFW probably makes sense, given lack of NRT exposure elsewhere, but it's not clear if two from IAH make sense for UA.

All being said, looking at the next two weeks, I've never seen flights basically every single day on other routes that are R9I9 like they are on this new IAH flight.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 2:51 pm
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Flew 2nd IAH-NRT on 5/21, E+ section was half-empty and had bulkhead seats to myself. Obviously, nice to have some spaces in E+, but was wondering if this route is a bust. I like DCA-IAH-NRT for mileage run purposes, so I hope 2nd route will stay.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 3:02 pm
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
Its not just revenue cannibalization that is at issue, but also CASM. If this flight cuts some flow to the ORD and SFO flights, or the LAX flight, it may make them more marginal (especially LAX, there is only so far that UAL can downgage).

But the big issue is CASM. SFO-NRT is 4447nm (5118sm), IAH-NRT is 5767nm (6637sm) The extra distance probably adds about $120 per passenger in fuel costs each way, and I bet the CASM is at last 20% higher. So having someone go xxx-IAH-NRT vs. xxx-SFO-NRT simply adds to United's costs, and hurts the bottom line unless they can get a greater increase in revenue, which I doubt they can.
It's hard to make that comparison because UA SFO-NRT service is 744 and IAH-NRT is 772. The 777 will have considerably less fuel burn but slightly higher CASM owing to its smaller number of seats. However, I would have to believe a 772 on a 5767nm sector is probably approaching the CASM of a 744 on a 4447nm sector because CASM tends to decrease as you increase LOH. The factor that often won't increase commensurately is RASM over a longer haul unless you're discussing a city pair with a significant revenue premium for a nonstop service (IAH may have it).

With respect to your argument about IAH shunting flow over ORD/SFO, well, if that were the case, it would be a failing of UA's RM system to allocate traffic to its most profitable routing. I certainly wouldn't put it past UA's crack IT team, though!

What you're missing with the second IAH-NRT is that it is more competitively-timed to capture deep South America transit traffic that already has to pass through customs enroute whether it be at JFK, IAH, LAX, or DFW. The new flight may drive more lucrative new business to UA as NRT transit at now no longer requires lengthy layovers. I think this route is about driving more traffic in the SE/Florida/Latin America to NRT over IAH as it is a growing market, rather than an attempt to reallocate existing flow.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 3:08 pm
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by Putt86 View Post
Flew 2nd IAH-NRT on 5/21, E+ section was half-empty and had bulkhead seats to myself. Obviously, nice to have some spaces in E+, but was wondering if this route is a bust. I like DCA-IAH-NRT for mileage run purposes, so I hope 2nd route will stay.
I can't imagine that midweek flights are that popular for the long haul TPACs - the second IAH-NRT will leave at 11AM on Wednesday and arrive at 230PM on Thursday - not exactly an ideal schedule for the biz traveler (especially with no wifi on the 777).
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Old Jun 3, 14, 3:34 pm
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Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
It's hard to make that comparison because UA SFO-NRT service is 744 and IAH-NRT is 772. The 777 will have considerably less fuel burn but slightly higher CASM owing to its smaller number of seats. However, I would have to believe a 772 on a 5767nm sector is probably approaching the CASM of a 744 on a 4447nm sector because CASM tends to decrease as you increase LOH. The factor that often won't increase commensurately is RASM over a longer haul unless you're discussing a city pair with a significant revenue premium for a nonstop service (IAH may have it).

With respect to your argument about IAH shunting flow over ORD/SFO, well, if that were the case, it would be a failing of UA's RM system to allocate traffic to its most profitable routing. I certainly wouldn't put it past UA's crack IT team, though!

What you're missing with the second IAH-NRT is that it is more competitively-timed to capture deep South America transit traffic that already has to pass through customs enroute whether it be at JFK, IAH, LAX, or DFW. The new flight may drive more lucrative new business to UA as NRT transit at now no longer requires lengthy layovers. I think this route is about driving more traffic in the SE/Florida/Latin America to NRT over IAH as it is a growing market, rather than an attempt to reallocate existing flow.
United currently runs either 747x2 or 747 and 772 ex-SFO. Its seasonal, but will become only one plane (I assume a 744) once HND starts. Flying a 744 is a better CASM than 772x2, and the question is not really what AC UAL flies, but what routings it puts those A/C on.

If, United has enough traffic to fill 772x2 from IAH with (a) O/D traffic and (2) traffic connecting on to central/south america, then adding a flight with higher CASM makes sense as they can get a yield premium. My point is that to fill the second plane, they need to discount those flights (or price them the same as ex-SFO). Running a couple of quick searches of places that have connection to SFO/LAX (both shower lower CASM flights) and also DEN/ORD (longer, but still shorter than ex-IAH) I get the same fares, or actually cheaper fares ex-IAH over the next few months. That said that United is allowing traffic to flow to the high CASM ex-IAH flight, or pushing it there with a slightly cheaper price.

That suggests that to me(at least at this point) the flight is not a flight that will increase yield overall.

That said, if they get more for the BF seats than from other gateways, it may make it all make sense.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 3:38 pm
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Flew IAHNRT UA 1 about a month ago and it was really really empty! Business was less than half full and Economy had 77 passengers.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 4:37 pm
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The IAH-NRT route makes great sense for latin america connections. It also takes the pressure off the IAH-SFO feeders, which often fill early, and I suspect this costs UA some revenue.

That said, UA is clearly having some trouble filling its NRT flights. SFO-NRT is also an upgrade bonanza. Today's UA852 is booked only 29/52 in J and that's a pretty normal state of affairs right now. We'll see what happens when they move one of the two dailies to HND.
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