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United Airlines President: Leaving New York’s JFK ‘Was the Wrong Decision’ {2017}

United Airlines President: Leaving New York’s JFK ‘Was the Wrong Decision’ {2017}

Old Apr 21, 2017, 5:45 am
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United Airlines President: Leaving New York’s JFK ‘Was the Wrong Decision’ {2017}

https://skift.com/2017/04/21/united-...rong-decision/

United’s new president, Scott Kirby, says moving the flights from JFK was a mistake. Many of United’s most lucrative West Coast customers, he said, want to fly into New York City and not New Jersey. And United lost some of them when it switched the flights to Newark, Kirby told employees at a recent town hall meeting in Newark.

“I wish I could roll back the clock and change the decision,” Kirby said, according a recording of the event. “It was the wrong decision.”
...
Still, Kirby did not tell employees United will return to JFK, and he noted many of the lucrative customers United lost might not come back if it did. Instead, he said, United will bolster its Newark hub.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 21, 2017 at 12:55 pm Reason: Posts containing such links should contain enough information so as to be contributive
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Old Apr 21, 2017, 6:15 am
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What? SMI/J made a mistake? It can't be!!!! He was perfect

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 21, 2017 at 12:53 pm Reason: Discuss the issues, not the poster
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Old Apr 21, 2017, 6:37 am
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Now if they'd only realize that 10-across seating on the 777 is also a mistake... there's still time to reverse that one.
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Old Apr 21, 2017, 6:45 am
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Originally Posted by jgreen1024
Now if they'd only realize that 10-across seating on the 777 is also a mistake... there's still time to reverse that one.
Don't worry - Boeing has apparently carved out an additional 5 inches interior space on the 777-9x through a redesign of the interior cabin walls, so 10 wide will be fine on those aircraft.
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Old Apr 21, 2017, 6:54 am
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Bring back the helicopter from EWR, and throw in 500 PQM for the ride, and all will be forgiven.
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Old Apr 21, 2017, 6:57 am
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Originally Posted by halls120
Don't worry - Boeing has apparently carved out an additional 5 inches interior space on the 777-9x through a redesign of the interior cabin walls, so 10 wide will be fine on those aircraft.
.....only if that tenth person is just four inches wide.
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Old Apr 21, 2017, 7:09 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist
.....only if that tenth person is just four inches wide.
Don't be so negative - instead of a 17.05 inch seat in Y, the new 777x seats will be 17.55 inches wide!
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Old Apr 21, 2017, 7:17 am
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It's pretty clear, to me, that he's making the point leaving JFK has impacted corporate traffic at the West Coast point of sale, which is understandable. EWR clearly misses out on a significant portion of the greater NYC market (as do LGA/JFK), but before, United at least offered customers service to both EWR and JFK. LAX has clearly become more competitive in the time since the merger, due in no small part to the door swinging wide open because of UA.

The move probably made sense from a cost perspective, in terms of getting out of JFK leases, reallocating 737/A320 capacity on EWR-LAX/SFO to other markets to reduce 50-seaters, etc. It also probably strengthened the EWR hub, but again, at the expense of LAX/SFO. I suppose there is no reason UA could not have done both.

15% margins at EWR is the other pretty impressive takeaway I have from that piece, especially compared to AA/DL. It's not surprising that the former JV management team let EWR languish while going to work mucking up pretty much everything else they touched... if it ain't broke...!

Last edited by EWR764; Apr 21, 2017 at 7:30 am
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Old Apr 21, 2017, 7:27 am
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They are also killing all the possible *A connections via JFK. It's still a head-scratcher. To some of us, going out of JFK may make the upgrades easier, because any connections through EWR wouldn't go out of their way to JFK to try that PS.

It was a wrong decision, but it's not impossible that it couldn't undone.
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Old Apr 21, 2017, 7:28 am
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Interesting article.

I have posted many times about what I perceived as a lack of strategic thinking with some of the decisions coming out from the Smisek Regime. A bit satisfying to hear the vindication.

And I am still amazed American let Kirby go without a strong non-compete.
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Old Apr 21, 2017, 7:34 am
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Originally Posted by PaulInTheSky
They are also killing all the possible *A connections via JFK. It's still a head-scratcher. To some of us, going out of JFK may make the upgrades easier, because any connections through EWR wouldn't go out of their way to JFK to try that PS.
I still think this was, in the scheme of things, a pretty minor consideration. UA wasn't co-located with any reasonable connecting partners at JFK and didn't even codeshare with all of the Star carriers there. If anything, *A connections are easier at EWR given the behind-security transfers available to LH/OS/SK/LX/TP/AI/ET.

The NYC transcons are about O&D first, and for UA, secondarily feeding the Pacific network.
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Old Apr 21, 2017, 7:57 am
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It's very insightful, but still leaves me scratching my head. I got to New York a lot, and it's way easier to get into the city from EWR than JFK. JFK is 1:10 on the train. EWR is like 40 mins on the NJ Transit.

The article sites actors - do they care which airport? (I honestly don't know). It talks about flying F...well, they could have kept 3 cabin on the EWR routes, and could still bring it back. But that point seemed more to be about aircraft config than airport.

I'm genuinely curious if people going to Manhattan really prefer JFK over EWR. I certainly don't, but maybe I'm an anomaly? I prefer LGA to JFK, it's 30 mins into the city!
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Old Apr 21, 2017, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by PaulInTheSky
They are also killing all the possible *A connections via JFK. It's still a head-scratcher. To some of us, going out of JFK may make the upgrades easier, because any connections through EWR wouldn't go out of their way to JFK to try that PS.

It was a wrong decision, but it's not impossible that it couldn't undone.
It wouldn't be easy or cheap...those slots the gave up at JFK are long gone, and not may airlines are interested in selling them.
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Old Apr 21, 2017, 8:41 am
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Originally Posted by PaulInTheSky
To some of us, going out of JFK may make the upgrades easier, because any connections through EWR wouldn't go out of their way to JFK to try that PS.
You underestimate the Flyertalk community
I, for one, would. LOL.
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Old Apr 21, 2017, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by deskover54
It's very insightful, but still leaves me scratching my head. I got to New York a lot, and it's way easier to get into the city from EWR than JFK. JFK is 1:10 on the train. EWR is like 40 mins on the NJ Transit.

The article sites actors - do they care which airport? (I honestly don't know). It talks about flying F...well, they could have kept 3 cabin on the EWR routes, and could still bring it back. But that point seemed more to be about aircraft config than airport.

I'm genuinely curious if people going to Manhattan really prefer JFK over EWR. I certainly don't, but maybe I'm an anomaly? I prefer LGA to JFK, it's 30 mins into the city!
I live in Manhattan (on the UWS). Theoretically, it is easier for me to fly in and out of EWR (geographically closer) than out of JFK. However, I avoid EWR like the Plague.

IME (and mileage varies widely on this, obviously), traffic heading out to EWR is just as bad as heading out to JFK, so that is a wash. Coming back from EWR, depending on the time of day, can be much worse, so unless you time it exactly right, and hope that the flight arrives exactly as scheduled (and that, on an international flight, customs is not an unmitigated disaster), coming in from EWR can take forever and a day.

There are also fewer cabs coming in from EWR to Manhattan. What there are are (obviously) Jersey-based, and like to play games with Manhattanites. Manhattan-based car services charge more to go to/from EWR than to go to JFK (still better than those damnable Jersey cabs, though).

Then there is the EWR experience itself. JFK needs some work. EWR is a disaster. Dirty, dingy, overcrowded, poorly managed. And that is as an F/J passenger. The lounges are a joke. My husband once said to me that the BA lounge in TXL, the one everyone makes fun of for being a time capsule, is an oasis of tranquility, with decent quality teas, good coffee making machines, and constant cleaning. It never feels crowded, the staff keeps it clean and tidy, and it feels like a sweet, quaint way to say good-bye to Berlin.

Go to any J lounge in EWR, and it's like the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. Someone is always yelling at some poor staff member, finding a clean spot -- scratch that -- finding an empty spot at which to set down your things becomes an ever more stressful challenge. The minimal offerings are of questionable quality and look like they have been sitting out a bit too long. The bathrooms too often look like they were, perhaps, given a quick once-over in the morning, and then were opened to a frat house for the rest of the day (if that's the bathroom in a J lounge, what on earth do the bathrooms in the rest of EWR look like?).

And then there are the interminable lines, too often unrelieved by status or class of service. No real fault of the airline -- it's just the lack of personnel at EWR that makes the lines so unrelentingly long and the experience feel like a cross between the last flights out of Cuba when Batista fell and checking into minimum security prison.

I realize that I exaggerate (but not by a lot). Flying in and out of EWR is an unpleasant experience for most of us who live in the area and have a choice. It has made UA a non-factor in making travel plans.
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