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UA SFO-AMS Half flight empty but no Business Saver

UA SFO-AMS Half flight empty but no Business Saver

Old May 2, 19, 3:21 pm
  #46  
 
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Haven't seen anyone mention what I believe is the most likely reason UA won't open up saver biz space so close to departure: existing passengers could easily exchange their standard award first class tickets for saver first, and get a ton of miles back. And for GS/1Ks, this is a no-brainer as the fee for changing is nothing. This is a total loss for United -- no new passengers, just less profitable ones.

I suspect UA will only have saver biz space the day of departure when saver space as been routinely available in the weeks leading up to the flight, thereby minimizing "trade down" risk.

Last edited by dkc715; May 2, 19 at 3:31 pm
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Old May 2, 19, 3:29 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by dkc715 View Post
Haven't seen anyone mention what I believe is the most likely reason UA won't open up saver space so close to departure: existing award ticket holders could easily exchange their standard award tickets for essentially half the price.
You're supposing (a) that there are any, and (b) that they'll take the time to search. You could make the same argument about Saver Economy space, and yet the flight was X9.

It's SOP for UA to open saver award space prior to departure if all upgrades have been cleared and space remains. However, it doesn't always seem to happen, and this isn't the first time I've seen questions about new routes. Whatever the cause, I don't think it's as sophisticated an analysis as all of this. It's more likely that they forgot.
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Old May 2, 19, 3:57 pm
  #48  
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Originally Posted by escapefromphl View Post
It was a good day to be non-rev looks like only a few didn't clear into business.

That's the biggest upgrade clearing list I've ever seen.
Does one have to have status to be eligible for this? Or do you just need an expensive coach ticket?
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Old May 2, 19, 4:11 pm
  #49  
 
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Originally Posted by warakorn View Post
I believe UA will earn more money by not making saver award space available. Why? Passengers, who want to fly Business Class and have the money, are more likely to fork out real cash to buy a J-seat, if saver awards are not available.
That's true, but there is a flaw in that logic. If no Saver seats are available (either on my preferred flight or perhaps alternate flights +/- a day or two) when I want to fly int'l J, I would have no choice but to redeem a Standard award. I would first do a calculation to check the effective value of the miles, and if it's much less than $0.02/mile, I'll just pay cash. The thing is, even if it's around $0.02/mile, I might be tempted to use miles, just because who knows what they'll be worth tomorrow and I can then save the cash. But, if that keeps happening that way - where I can't redeem Saver awards most of the time like I used to - then I'll eventually decide that it's not worth it to accumulate UA miles, and I'll switch my credit card spend away from the UA Chase card. UA will then lose the revenue they're getting from Chase on my behalf. If all airlines continue to go this route like it seems to be trending, then eventually I'd just switch to a 2% cash back card and be done with it. It's true then at that point my only option would be to pay cash for flights, but the thing is, if I'm paying cash, it's very likely that either one or both of the following will be true: a) another carrier will have a substantially cheaper option, and/or b) another carrier will be at the same price but with a vastly superior premium cabin offering. At that point, UA loses both the credit card revenue from Chase and doesn't get the premium paid fare from me.
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Old May 2, 19, 4:16 pm
  #50  
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Originally Posted by gadgetfreaky View Post
That's the biggest upgrade clearing list I've ever seen.
Does one have to have status to be eligible for this? Or do you just need an expensive coach ticket?
Neither. You need to be an employee or apply an upgrade instrument (miles + copay or a GPU, if you have one). There are no complimentary upgrades on intercontinental flights.
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Old May 3, 19, 3:25 am
  #51  
 
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how does giving seats to non rev or non miles passangers do that. thy flight leaves in 3 hours- it's all going to non rev upgrades or empty. how are you saying that maximizes revenue exactly?
Well, have a look at LH, SQ, CX, NH and co:
By not releasing cheap award space, the airline is enticing customers to rather buy a J-cash fare. If more and more people knew that there are not going to be cheap upgrades, they might be willing to buy the ticket completely with cash.
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Old May 3, 19, 7:37 am
  #52  
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Originally Posted by warakorn View Post
Well, have a look at LH, SQ, CX, NH and co:
By not releasing cheap award space, the airline is enticing customers to rather buy a J-cash fare. If more and more people knew that there are not going to be cheap upgrades, they might be willing to buy the ticket completely with cash.
The notion of "protecting integrity of the premium cabin" is rather a quaint anachronism these days. It's been replaced by a focus on monetizing premium cabin seats. Even SQ - one of the last hold-outs - now sells discounted upgrades.
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Old May 3, 19, 7:47 am
  #53  
 
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Originally Posted by warakorn View Post
Well, have a look at LH, SQ, CX, NH and co:
By not releasing cheap award space, the airline is enticing customers to rather buy a J-cash fare. If more and more people knew that there are not going to be cheap upgrades, they might be willing to buy the ticket completely with cash.
Anyone with any upgrade (miles/GPU/cash) would have cleared that upgrade list. Obviously, not enough people were willing to pay what UA sold the business seats for on this flight.

This seems like pretty bad revenue management from UA, other airlines run aggressive business class sales (VS/BA), allow name your price upgrades or at least open saver award space, but UA just basically let an easy $50k per flight revenue walk out the door. I’m seeing similar loads up front on the other new or seasonal flights out of SFO, like Zurich. Is this just the new mode of operation? Is there some benefit we’re not getting here?

Last edited by escapefromphl; May 3, 19 at 8:04 am
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Old May 3, 19, 8:11 am
  #54  
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Originally Posted by escapefromphl View Post
This seems like pretty bad revenue management from UA, other airlines run aggressive business class sales (VS/BA), allow name your price upgrades or at least open saver award space, but UA just basically let an easy $50k per flight revenue walk out the door.
Huh? How do you know that pax weren't offered buy-ups at check-in? Not everyone is willing to pay for an upgrade.

Post-merger, few have ever accused UA of failing to monetize the premium cabin. In the views of many here, UA's fault is doing that too aggressively, to the detriment of waitlisted elites.
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Old May 3, 19, 8:23 am
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Huh? How do you know that pax weren't offered buy-ups at check-in? Not everyone is willing to pay for an upgrade.

Post-merger, few have ever accused UA of failing to monetize the premium cabin. In the views of many here, UA's fault is doing that too aggressively, to the detriment of waitlisted elites.
My point is if your business cabin is less than one-third full at check in your revenue management has basically failed.
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Old May 3, 19, 8:34 am
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I was on MUC-ORD 4/30, 23 non revs (both standby and upgrade lists) cleared into Polaris. There were whole families of 5-6 people (same 3 letter last names) cleared. Great day to be non rev MUC-ORD. My fare was H, lowest available for sale when I booked on 4/5 and my GPU immediately cleared.

My outbound ORD-FRA on 4/22, on the other hand, only 1 person cleared upgrade list, I was #10/20 when we took off.
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Old May 3, 19, 9:06 am
  #57  
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Originally Posted by escapefromphl View Post
My point is if your business cabin is less than one-third full at check in your revenue management has basically failed.
And that is faulty reasoning. You can't draw any credible conclusions at all from a single flight.

However, the fact that UA has taken this route seasonal suggest bookings overall have not met expectations. The decision to add new routes is made far above revenue management. And sometimes you don't know how a route will sell unless you give it a try. I'm not going to fault UA for being willing to take chances. Not every at bat results in a home run.
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Old May 3, 19, 9:14 am
  #58  
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You can draw some conclusions tho right? If they had opened it up business class to awards either at check in or ideally the day before it would have gone better. At least 2-3 of those seats might have been allocated to saver awards which would have been better from a revenue maximization standpoint.

I think what we've learned is they don't open saver awards up on new routes no matter how empty the flight is.

Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Huh? How do you know that pax weren't offered buy-ups at check-in? Not everyone is willing to pay for an upgrade.

Post-merger, few have ever accused UA of failing to monetize the premium cabin. In the views of many here, UA's fault is doing that too aggressively, to the detriment of waitlisted elites.
Virtually all of United Profits come from the mileage program and if they are shut out the airline goes bankrupt tomorrow.

In that instance even the highest elite tier becomes worth a lot less. Beat up the folks buying miles enough and our GPU upgrades won't be too useful.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; May 3, 19 at 2:11 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old May 3, 19, 9:51 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
And that is faulty reasoning. You can't draw any credible conclusions at all from a single flight.

However, the fact that UA has taken this route seasonal suggest bookings overall have not met expectations. The decision to add new routes is made far above revenue management. And sometimes you don't know how a route will sell unless you give it a try. I'm not going to fault UA for being willing to take chances. Not every at bat results in a home run.
Agree on one single flight, but a quick sampling of a couple of days in May shows cabin often less than half full on multiple days (not all) on this route and no businerss saver awards, yet there are plenty of saver options on LH.
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Old May 3, 19, 9:55 am
  #60  
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Originally Posted by escapefromphl View Post
One single flight, but a quick sampling of a couple of days in May shows cabin often less than half full on multiple days (not all) on this route and no businerss saver awards, yet there are plenty of saver options on LH.
I would agree they seem to be excessively tight with the saver award inventory. What we can't tell is whether that's RM's fault, or RM simply implementing management directives.
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