UA life post COVID-19 recovery

Old Apr 11, 20, 10:42 am
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by fwfdan View Post
I really don't think we will be going back to "normal" for quite a while... I am sitting on US-Canada in late June and a transcon in August that I am not sure will happen (leisure travel)

Have Europe in mid-september - again not sure about that one either.
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Unless a vaccine is found, we're going to be distancing a long time, plus there are going to be a lot of cultural changes due to declines in business and personal travel.

The world is going to be a lot less interconnected at the end of this. UA will be a far smaller airline.
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Old Apr 11, 20, 11:11 am
  #47  
 
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
I reckon the demand will surpass the available seats, initially.
UA will slowly ramp up flights, but demand will happen quite suddenly, IMO.

Expect FULL planes, and an underwhelming experience.
I don't know how this works specifically, but I have heard that Kirby and Munoz communicated internally that they are trying to be prepared with capacity at the ready, so that they can capture any demand spike in the next few months.

But I do agree that Kirby's definition of capacity probably means full planes and minimal on-board overhead (e.g., edible food).
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Old Apr 11, 20, 12:38 pm
  #48  
 
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Originally Posted by fumje View Post
I don't know how this works specifically, but I have heard that Kirby and Munoz communicated internally that they are trying to be prepared with capacity at the ready, so that they can capture any demand spike in the next few months.

But I do agree that Kirby's definition of capacity probably means full planes and minimal on-board overhead (e.g., edible food).
True, and we will pass a point in time soon where flight crews will have to go through requalification training to be current again. That will create a huge logistics issue that could take a few months to even put planes back in the sky.
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Old Apr 11, 20, 1:02 pm
  #49  
 
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Originally Posted by JC5280 View Post
True, and we will pass a point in time soon where flight crews will have to go through requalification training to be current again. That will create a huge logistics issue that could take a few months to even put planes back in the sky.
On that point, no I don't believe they are going to let qualifications lapse, so that they would be out for months if demand ramps up. I don't know all the ins and outs of certifications, but for example they are using cargo flights to keep pilots current.
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Old Apr 11, 20, 4:44 pm
  #50  
 
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Originally Posted by JC5280 View Post
True, and we will pass a point in time soon where flight crews will have to go through requalification training to be current again. That will create a huge logistics issue that could take a few months to even put planes back in the sky.
Not that bad at this point.

We each need three takeoffs and three landings every 90 days. Many widebody first officers routinely fail to get their "landings" on their trips. When that happens, they go to Denver for a single simulator session during which they get their three takeoffs and three landings (as well as some engine-out practice). As the flight reduction continues, we will have more pilots who need a one-day landings class.

The next step in maintaining currency is our continuing qualification program. This involved distance learning (computer lessons) due each trimester, simulator training on a nine-month cycle, and doors and emergency equipment training on an 18-month cycle. The distance learning is accomplished remotely and the rest is at the training center in Denver.

The training center is closed this month but will reopen in May for continuing qualification training and landing classes.

I think Scott Kirby's point about being ready to spring back quickly was toward the idea of early retirements, displacements, and furloughs. Going down those roads would reduce our ability to spool up quickly as they would have to run pilots through lengthy initial, transition, and upgrade courses, which take close to two months, to restaff each fleet and seat.
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Old Apr 12, 20, 12:37 pm
  #51  
 
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Originally Posted by dilanesp View Post
​​​​
Unless a vaccine is found, we're going to be distancing a long time, plus there are going to be a lot of cultural changes due to declines in business and personal travel.

The world is going to be a lot less interconnected at the end of this. UA will be a far smaller airline.
The Newark hub is a issue being so close to New York City. The past years I have been there very people congested which will be a issue in restoring the airline business. Need more places to connect since this airport has so much local traffic. More multi stop flights like back in the 1960s.
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Old Apr 12, 20, 10:02 pm
  #52  
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Originally Posted by phkc070408 View Post
Since it looks like the US is near the peak of the virus, I figured it might be a good time to speculate about what life will be life on United as we recover and after it's all over.

I was thinking about some routes that may not be restored, and IAH-SYD stands out like a sore thumb to me. I can also see the frequent LHR routes slightly reduced for a while even after most everything else is at the new normal.

Also, Forbes had an article about PVG being one of the first routes to be restored, even if only once weekly at first.
Oh, the world is far, far away from any peak - don't expect anything to return to normal until a vaccine is found and released for public use, and that is 12-18 months away - until then, what we have today is the new normal with very limited social contact, and in terms of international travel without quarantines, forget about it. China is getting another wave of infections being brought back from abroad, this virus is going to go back and forth around the world like a shockwave over and over until a vaccine is ready, so we won't be seeing the "old days" anytime soon. So at this point, from United's perspective, "happy days are here again" won't be on the playlist until 2021-2022.
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Old Apr 12, 20, 10:51 pm
  #53  
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
I fear travel will resume much faster than that, we will forget all of this much too quickly, and be in for a HUGE surprise come November/December when a much worse "second wave" hits.
By the end of this I think it will have changed enough people that this won't actually happen. I'm not saying we won't have issues with subsequent waves (social distancing is hard for people to maintain) but I don't think people will resume travel in huge numbers.

This forum probably has the largest concentration of folks who think travel is very safe and are more willing under many circumstances to still fly. The average American is not in that group and based on how I've seen habits changing in my neighborhood in Chicago even in the last week or two (walking into the street to avoid going past someone, around 30% wearing face masks, etc.), I think people are going to be much more risk averse coming out of this with respect to travel.

Think about it - people are chomping at the bit just to go to a restaurant or hang out with friends. I don't think they'll be concerned about vacation as a priority - though I'm not a parent so that set may have a different mindset...
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Old Apr 13, 20, 7:47 am
  #54  
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
...after being cooped-up for so long, even the leisure travelers might come back in droves.... Overcompensation for being "locked up" too long.
What do we think they will use for money? In a world with 20+% unemployment and reduced hours, etc. a great many discretionary flyers will be more worried about paying the light bill than booking Hawaii.

Originally Posted by n8-the-gr8 View Post
This forum probably has the largest concentration of folks who think travel is very safe and are more willing under many circumstances to still fly. The average American is not in that group... I think people are going to be much more risk averse coming out of this with respect to travel.
If we know anything about FT it presents a warped funhouse-mirror image of the general flying public. People here not only fly more but are much more pro-flying (and pro-airline) and suffer much less economic insecurity. (FT used to have a derisive nickname for infrequent flyers who cannot just book at will: Kettles.) It's crazy for an elite FTer to imagine resuming normal flying habits and extrapolate from those plans a vision of when UA and the others snap back to "normal." In reality even people with the economic means are going to avoid flying for a long time after shelter-at-home rules are relaxed, the same way they're going to avoid crowding in bars or ballgame bleachers (not that those diversions will likely be available anyway).

Among other things, COVID-19 blows up seat-chart economics, load factors and ASMs/RSMs, etc... it is a lethal mix of incredible added difficulty achieving per-flight profitability, and a large portion of the flying public not wanting to go anyway, or not having the funds.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 7:50 am
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
What do we think they will use for money? In a world with 20+% unemployment and reduced hours, etc. a great many discretionary flyers will be more worried about paying the light bill than booking Hawaii.
Uplift

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Old Apr 13, 20, 8:06 am
  #56  
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
Um... most people have Visa cards, too. But consumers are much less apt to put discretionary / optional purchases on credit in a time of uncertainty. Add the fact that furloughed or reduced-salary workers are probably racking up CC debt right now for things like furnace repairs and root canals and transmission jobs, and Uplift doesn't exactly look like a big problem-solver.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 8:29 am
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
If we know anything about FT it presents a warped funhouse-mirror image of the general flying public. People here not only fly more but are much more pro-flying (and pro-airline) and suffer much less economic insecurity. (FT used to have a derisive nickname for infrequent flyers who cannot just book at will: Kettles.) It's crazy for an elite FTer to imagine resuming normal flying habits and extrapolate from those plans a vision of when UA and the others snap back to "normal." In reality even people with the economic means are going to avoid flying for a long time after shelter-at-home rules are relaxed, the same way they're going to avoid crowding in bars or ballgame bleachers (not that those diversions will likely be available anyway).
All true. As someone who works for a tech company that is now a direct competitor to UA and other airlines in connecting people, many business travel-driven elites will have their feelings hurt as companies sharply reduce their business travel spend (and sign contracts for enhanced videoconferencing capacity).

Videoconferencing is now robust enough to replace much (not all, but most) of the previously face to face meetings. Companies large and small have gone ~100% virtual by necessity, and will remain that way long enough to establish a new institutional "inertia" disfavoring plane rides without a clear financial net gain to the company.

Also, companies inclined to ramp up travels after the lockdown face another dreaded I-word -- insurance. At present, it's essentially impossible to obtain travel/business insurance that covers the Coronavirus pandemic and its consequences. This fact explains why nearly all large business events will be cancelled or go virtual for the foreseeable future, and adds to why future business trips will literally have to bring in dough for the company to justify the financial risks involved.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 8:30 am
  #58  
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
It seems a number of airlines are looking for ways to drum up traffic in anticipation of post Covid-19.

I just got something from SQ that I have not bothered to look into the details, because it is not a priority for me to think about traveling when there are more important things to worry about at work and home.

The perspectives of Flyertalkers can be skewed,
because I gather most of us travel for work and paid by other people, so we may not look at leisure traveler behaviors or other factors such as general economy conditions of countries around the world. Unemployment is a global issue not just in the US. May be we are more secured in our employment situation or because most of us need to travel for our work, but I have been in my travel intensive career for over 30-years and have seen the recoveries being slow post economic downturns and have led to bankruptcy restructurings across the airlines industry multiple times.


UAs international network also relies heavily on international travelers not just on US based flyers. The exposure is high and nothing is certain and everything is uncertain (other than we got our status extended for 12 months).

I will likely be the first wave of people who start flying once the travel restrictions are being lifted around the world. I have no choice because of work demand, but despite my passion for flying, I will consciously cut down on flying and also my organization and my stakeholders have recognized during this crisis that traveling may not be the only way or effective way to get things done. On the contrary, in certain sectors, the productivities actually have gone up when working virtually.

I am surrounded by my family, friends and colleagues who love to fly and travel, but no one is planning anything now unless there are existing personal commitments that cannot be changed. Some are moving kids back to colleges closer to home or considering job changes in anticipation of changes in demand, and others who decide it is more important to cut down discretionary spending to save for the uncertainties.

We will all just have to wait and see....
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Old Apr 13, 20, 8:46 am
  #59  
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Originally Posted by nerdbirdsjc View Post
As someone who works for a tech company that is now a direct competitor to UA and other airlines in connecting people, many business travel-driven elites will have their feelings hurt as companies sharply reduce their business travel spend (and sign contracts for enhanced videoconferencing capacity).
This is a great, underappreciated point. While the LCCs compete against Megabus, driving, or staying home and grilling steaks... UA/DL/AA are now competing against Air Zoom.

Allied point: my wife has been WFH for a month now, and her team is tacking up better metrics than when they commuted into the Loop every day. Even odds that when corona finally subsaides, her employer will decide all that expensive leased workspace isn't so important. I would not want to be an urban RE commercial / office space landlord right now, and I am sure the airlines will face the same forces.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 8:53 am
  #60  
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Originally Posted by nerdbirdsjc View Post
Videoconferencing is now robust enough to replace much (not all, but most) of the previously face to face meetings. Companies large and small have gone ~100% virtual by necessity, and will remain that way long enough to establish a new institutional "inertia" disfavoring plane rides without a clear financial net gain to the company.
As a mostly-remote employee, I have been doing regular videoconferences for years. While the technology has consistently improved, they're still not the same as being in the same room. If anything, what I sense most during our meetings is a desire to get back to normal.

My company is likely to slash travel budgets, where possible, for the remainder of the fiscal year. If revenues improve, the travel budgets will be restored -- simple as that. There's an understanding that occasional in-person meetings are not only more efficient, but they also build camaraderie.

Put another way: I've been hearing about the imminent death of business travel for 20 years. Prior to COVID, planes remained jam-packed.
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