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UA to pilots: We're considering retiring all 747s by end of 2018 (Phaseout EOY 2017).

UA to pilots: We're considering retiring all 747s by end of 2018 (Phaseout EOY 2017).

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Old Aug 21, 17, 9:33 pm   -   Wikipost
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United to retire 747 by end of 2017

Current scheduled 747 routes

Currently 14 left, retirement plan as follows(updated Aug 2017):

N127UA Owned - Exit 15-Aug-17 Age 18.0
N181UA Lease -01-Nov-17 -Exit 15-Oct-17 Lease return Age 26.0
N117UA Owned - Exit 30-Oct-17 Age 18.8
N174UA Lease- 09-Dec-17 Exit 30-Oct-17 Lease return Age 27.8
N105UA Lease- 09-Dec-17 Exit 01-Nov-17 Lease return Age 23.4
N107UA Lease- 01-Jun-18 Exit 01-Nov-17 Lease return Age 19.2
N175UA Owned - Exit 01-Nov-17 Age 27.2
N116UA Owned - Exit 10-Nov-17 Age 18.9
N118UA Owned - Exit 10-Nov-17 Age 18.7
N128UA Owned - Exit 10-Nov-17 Age 17.5
N119UA Owned - Exit 20-Nov-17 Age 18.7
N121UA Owned - Exit 20-Nov-17 Age 18.6
N178UA Lease - 01-May-18 Exit 20-Nov-17 Lease return Age 27.1
N180UA Owned - 20-Nov-17 Age 26.3

See details at United Fleet Site.
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Old Feb 20, 16, 9:00 am
  #1  
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UA to pilots: We're considering retiring all 747s by end of 2018 (Phaseout EOY 2017).

http://www.briansumers.com/home/2016...g-747s-by-2018

Thought this topic deserved a thread of its own. So much for keeping them around until 2020. One word: Maintenance. Despite cheap oil, the maintenance of keeping four holers until many of them turn thirty is just too expensive for UA to justify the cost. DL is dumping them as fast they as can although the Yen devaluation is much more of a factor. Initially they planned to retire them in 2018 as well.

I suspect we'll soon here of a top off order of either the 77W or 787-9 to cover the replacement of the extra planes as the first A35J isn't supposed to arrive until October 2018. One of the dumbest fleet decisions UA made since exiting bankruptcy was not ordering the 77W sooner and waiting until they became cheap relatively speaking.
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Old Feb 20, 16, 9:02 am
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Well, not unexpected, but sad nonetheless. Not that I am nostalgic. I just loved the upper deck and the F section of that plane. I I have flown it since shortly after it was released. OK, maybe I am nostalgic
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Old Feb 20, 16, 9:16 am
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End of an era!
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Old Feb 20, 16, 9:16 am
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Two of my greatest memories of flying: walking up the steps to the business cabin on the upper deck for the first time on a flight from ORD-HKG in 2005 and sitting in 1K in the nose of the plane in First class and experiencing take off on a flight to NRT.

Yea, it may not offer the greatest experience back in coach, but the first class cabin is like nothing else and the upper deck is a great place as well!
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Old Feb 20, 16, 9:22 am
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Taking all that Y inventory offline also suits UA's capacity-constraint strategy, which will be important in the next recession.
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Old Feb 20, 16, 9:22 am
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Leaving out the words ’may ’ and ’considering ’ from your post definitely sensationalized your comments, but is deceptive and I can’t think it’s more than an attempt to propagate misleading information.

Regardless of what you may have thought was said, it indeed was not what was reported.

Last edited by JeffSmisekMustGo; Feb 20, 16 at 9:44 am
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Old Feb 20, 16, 9:59 am
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Originally Posted by JeffSmisekMustGo View Post
Leaving out the words ’may ’ and ’considering ’ from your post definitely sensationalized your comments, but is deceptive and I can’t think it’s more than an attempt to propagate misleading information.

Regardless of what you may have thought was said, it indeed was not what was reported.
Agreed. "May" needs to be added here.

I for one hope that this does not come to pass.
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Old Feb 20, 16, 10:11 am
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Oh, come on guys, the article itself is a blog, it's not from the NY Times. So, the entire thing is speculation. But, it seems speculation based on new comments from United management. I love the 747, think it is the best passenger aircraft ever made. But, of course it's coming to pass, that these birds will no longer exist in the US3 fleets. It's interesting that the story didn't mention Lufthansa flying the 747-800 and most like will continue to do so for at least 15 years.

It's all about the strategy airlines what to pursue. And down gauging, is the strategy most US based carriers, there's nothing speculative there, it's what they have been doing and is the plan they have publicly stated for the future (and Japan based it seems) want to pursue. ME and other Asian and European carriers, seem to be keeping the concept of heavy capacity, long routes alive.
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Old Feb 20, 16, 10:22 am
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Originally Posted by Longboater View Post
I suspect we'll soon here of a top off order of either the 77W or 787-9 to cover the replacement of the extra planes as the first A35J isn't supposed to arrive until October 2018.
From the article:

"We are contemplating an accelerated retirement plan for the 747s, Howard Attarian, United's senior vice president for flight operations, said in a message to pilots. "If we do decide to head in this direction, we plan to accelerate widebody deliveries to replace this capacity,"
As others have pointed out, this plan is conditional.

For now, United flies 747s from San Francisco and Chicago. But this week, United also told pilots it will remove the 747 from Chicago in February 2017, leaving only San Francisco with 747 service.
This is news to me! I'm glad I fly out of SFO
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Old Feb 20, 16, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by transportbiz View Post
It's interesting that the story didn't mention Lufthansa flying the 747-800 and most like will continue to do so for at least 15 years.
Just to be precise, it's the 747-8, not -800.
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Old Feb 20, 16, 10:40 am
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I suspect a lot of it depends on what the fundamental level of demand is going to be to/from China (e.g. what their economy actually looks like) .

If they can fill 60 J seats but have to discount or leave empty a ton of economy, then it makes lots of sense to sub in a 777 and beer-can the 74's.

Given that they're not really going to be using NRT and HKG as a hublettes in Asia, it doesn't make sense to chase those extra seats for another fleet (expensive to operate/maintain) type.
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Old Feb 20, 16, 11:01 am
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Originally Posted by wxguy View Post
Just to be precise, it's the 747-8, not -800.
Well, like Cadillac's nomenclature, sorry I can't keep up with the alphabet soup.
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Old Feb 20, 16, 11:04 am
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Originally Posted by transportbiz View Post
Well, like Cadillac's nomenclature, sorry I can't keep up with the alphabet soup.
Basically, any Boeing variant launched since the 787 does not have 00s at the end of its version.
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Old Feb 20, 16, 11:18 am
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Originally Posted by transportbiz View Post
It's all about the strategy airlines what to pursue. And down gauging, is the strategy most US based carriers, there's nothing speculative there, it's what they have been doing and is the plan they have publicly stated for the future (and Japan based it seems) want to pursue. ME and other Asian and European carriers, seem to be keeping the concept of heavy capacity, long routes alive.
Hard for me to call the 77W a real downgauge; seating capacity is almost the same - if not more in dense configs.

I think UA actually played this one very well. The 77W is a solid aircraft, and they're getting them for a song.
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Old Feb 20, 16, 11:36 am
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I'm sure UA will buy the 748 now since I emailed 1K Voice.


Dear 1K Voice,

I just read an article that United is looking into retiring all its 747s by 2018 instead of 2020.
With that, I just changed my upcoming LAX-NRT direct flight on the 787, so that I would be able to return on the 747 going through SFO. So instead of getting back into LAX by 10:50am, I will be getting back at 3:15pm (and paying $10 more), just in time for rush hour traffic. But it is worth it since the 747 is a great plane to fly.

When a 747 goes by at the airport, everybody notices. Nobody looks when a 777 goes by, because it looks like a 737, only larger…nothing to see. When I travel with companions at SFO and they see the row of United 747s all lined up at the international terminal, they are always impressed and inspired. They want to fly!

Soon to being the only US carrier to fly the 747, this will give reason for people to want to fly United.
Ordering a fleet of 747-8s would obviously be major news and would inspire a generation of young and old travelers to want to fly United.

Well it looks like United will become another generic airline like all the others. Too bad.

A few other things:
- A 2-engine plane across the Pacific (LAX/SFO - Australia) is not reassuring.

- People fly International First Class. With the Smisek era, they decided to dumb down GF then say that it is just a bigger seat (so don’t fly in Global First…great anti-advertisement!). There is this thing called competition and United could try it sometime….they could have a great product.

- Get them when they are young…getting a deck of cards/wings pin, etc. was such a big deal for me, United became my favorite airline. Even thought I should have left when the merger with its horrible Fresh Brew, and generic livery came in, I stuck by United, all based on memories from when I was a kid.


Just my 2˘,
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