UA life post COVID-19 recovery

Old Apr 13, 20, 9:00 am
  #61  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Prior to COVID, planes remained jam-packed.
No fear factor before. And I expect post-COVID the planes will still be jam-packed, but there'll be a lot less of them. All the majors will emerge smaller. Those Mad Dogs and 767s in the desert aren't ever coming back.

As for the replaceability of in-person business meetings... pre-COVID I flew for client meetings, live workshops / simulation exercises, event production, etc. Even before current events I knew the former were extremely inefficient from time and value standpoints: 36 or 48 hours away from home for perhaps 4 productive hours in someone's office, at objectively indefensible cost to client, consider my combined expenses and time-card costs. I expect I will still fly to lead workshops and such, but see a lot less of the "politically necessary" travel.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 9:18 am
  #62  
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This is so very true - Iíve been warning about a long term transition away from business travel, but the virus has made the shift happen in weeks instead of years. Business travel as we knew it is finished at this point and it will never come back to its prior levels. Unless someone needs to install or build a product at a customer site or deal with a business-saving emergency, virtual meetings are now here to stay and while planes will eventually fill again, the ratio of higher margin business travel to lower margin discretionary travel will shift dramatically and depress airline revenues pretty much permanently going forward.

Originally Posted by nerdbirdsjc View Post
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, 10:03 am
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
This is so very true - I’ve been warning about a long term transition away from business travel, but the virus has made the shift happen in weeks instead of years. Business travel as we knew it is finished at this point and it will never come back to its prior levels. Unless someone needs to install or build a product at a customer site or deal with a business-saving emergency, virtual meetings are now here to stay and while planes will eventually fill again, the ratio of higher margin business travel to lower margin discretionary travel will shift dramatically and depress airline revenues pretty much permanently going forward.
(bolding mine)
Maybe UA will rip out some J seats in favour of more PE and/or more comfortable Y seats?
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Old Apr 13, 20, 11:48 am
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I find it very odd that people are quick to condemn UA and CO for retiring aircraft such as the 735, 762 and 757 just a few years ago yet are now speculating that UA should retire dozens of aircraft. Business travel will be picking back up within a couple of weeks or a month and come sunmer there will be an explosive demand for leisure travel, specifically around the US at first but will then expand to the rest of the world next season. Those theoretically retired aircraft will be missed and necessary.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 12:10 pm
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Meola10 View Post
Business travel will be picking back up within a couple of weeks or a month and come sunmer there will be an explosive demand for leisure travel, specifically around the US at first but will then expand to the rest of the world next season. Those theoretically retired aircraft will be missed and necessary.
I hope youíre not putting money behind this bet.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 1:52 pm
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Meola10 View Post
I find it very odd that people are quick to condemn UA and CO for retiring aircraft such as the 735, 762 and 757 just a few years ago yet are now speculating that UA should retire dozens of aircraft. Business travel will be picking back up within a couple of weeks or a month and come sunmer there will be an explosive demand for leisure travel, specifically around the US at first but will then expand to the rest of the world next season. Those theoretically retired aircraft will be missed and necessary.
On the contrary, the most optimistic operational planning at one major US carrier I'm privy to calls for a 50% bounceback in Q4, but no serious summer travel until 2021. The more conservative strategists say summer 2022 is the next chance to earn an honest profit.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 2:16 pm
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Before all this, I mostly traveled for work, domestically and internationally. I don't expect business travel to come back for a while simply because people are not going to plan distant meetings until they are fairly comfortable that people will actually be able to attend. However, I am also unpersuaded that videoconferencing will replace most face-to-face meetings. I do think that people are getting more comfortable replacing conference calls with video calls. But there is still an in-person communication aspect to business conversations (and the meeting and meals that tend to go with those), particularly with different languages and cultures, that they simply cannot provide. What is more, the same technology that makes it possible to work outside the office means that you can work while traveling to see a client pretty much the same as if you were in the office. I mean wifi on planes, wireless access pretty much anywhere, and VPNs. I don't see much drop in productivity while traveling in recent years. Sometimes I seem more productive (like on a long daytime flight back to the US). And a few thousand in out of pocket costs to visit a client, at least in consulting, will quickly pay for itself with one additional project that pops up in conversation. So I think business travel will come back, but slowly.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 3:37 pm
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Originally Posted by Artpen100 View Post
Before all this, I mostly traveled for work, domestically and internationally. I don't expect business travel to come back for a while simply because people are not going to plan distant meetings until they are fairly comfortable that people will actually be able to attend. However, I am also unpersuaded that videoconferencing will replace most face-to-face meetings. I do think that people are getting more comfortable replacing conference calls with video calls. But there is still an in-person communication aspect to business conversations (and the meeting and meals that tend to go with those), particularly with different languages and cultures, that they simply cannot provide. What is more, the same technology that makes it possible to work outside the office means that you can work while traveling to see a client pretty much the same as if you were in the office. I mean wifi on planes, wireless access pretty much anywhere, and VPNs. I don't see much drop in productivity while traveling in recent years. Sometimes I seem more productive (like on a long daytime flight back to the US). And a few thousand in out of pocket costs to visit a client, at least in consulting, will quickly pay for itself with one additional project that pops up in conversation. So I think business travel will come back, but slowly.
Yeah, I'm with you there. I don't think it'll be back to 100% of what it was, or that it'll bounce back this year. But the value hasn't disappeared and video conferences will never fully replace face to face.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 3:54 pm
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Zeeb View Post
Yeah, I'm with you there. I don't think it'll be back to 100% of what it was, or that it'll bounce back this year. But the value hasn't disappeared and video conferences will never fully replace face to face.
In my view, it will be highly dependent on the organization and management team. Yes, some people will continue to see the value in face to face meetings which is really just a perception and tradition vs reality, but we are talking about a significant amount of business travel that is never coming back, and that is going to permanently change airline economics going forward.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 4:28 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
.... Yes, some people will continue to see the value in face to face meetings which is really just a perception and tradition vs reality, .....
While agreeing there is more webex/zoom/... in many folk's future, having been conducting / attending online meetings for a couple of decades now, there is a place for online and there is a place for face to face. Virtual / online work best when the participants know each other well, familiar with their mannerisms, and for small groups. Especially in a mixed cultural environment, it is easier for a few to dominate a discussion when virtual vs in-person. The more controversial the topic, the more disagreement in the participant, the less likely a virtual meeting will reach a resolution. Virtual meetings need to be short -- people burnout and lose interest faster. 5-day training workshop online in multiple timezones is not going to work well. And a virtual team needs to meet in person from time-to-time to resync / refresh interpersonal relationships (very key IMHO). Virtual meetings have a place (as I said I have been doing 5-10 hours a week for decades) but have limitations and do not work as well for some personal styles or certain situations. There is a place for virtual meetings but it is far from a complete replacement for in-person meetings.

But I have taken us far off-topic, and such general changes to society probably belong elsewhere.

To get back on topic, I think we will see a small airline system for at least a couple of years, there will be travel anxiety with especially as second and third COVID waves occur and the economy is depressed but I think this time the airlines have learned the need to control the glut of capacity. They will right-sized and try to restore margins -- And that's the model I expected UA to follow.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 5:22 pm
  #71  
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A poster stated that United would only fly from EWR to Dublin in the future. Well according to Routes Online, they will be starting back up the 3 main routes (although I see nothing for IAD) and initiating the SFO flight in July which is a surprise.

https://www.routesonline.com/news/38...00gmt-13apr20/

So that's not terrible at all, in my eyes.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 5:46 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post

To get back on topic, I think we will see a small airline system for at least a couple of years, there will be travel anxiety with especially as second and third COVID waves occur and the economy is depressed but I think this time the airlines have learned the need to control the glut of capacity. They will right-sized and try to restore margins -- And that's the model I expected UA to follow.
I also fully expect that there will be a smaller number of elites as people reduce travel, business or personal due to economy and fear.

UA has no choice but to kill the current absurd PQP/PQF scheme and back track to PQM OR PQD route to encourage more people to fly.

UA will realize that the dollar amount they want to get status is not only too greedy, but also simply unattainable.

I can't wait to see a much lower bar for premier qualification in 2021.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 5:55 pm
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Originally Posted by kb1992 View Post
I also fully expect that there will be a smaller number of elites as people reduce travel, business or personal due to economy and fear.

UA has no choice but to kill the current absurd PQP/PQF scheme and back track to PQM OR PQD route to encourage more people to fly.

UA will realize that the dollar amount they want to get status is not only too greedy, but also simply unattainable.

I can't wait to see a much lower bar for premier qualification in 2021.
​​​​​
I doubt they will go back to the old system, but they may very well lower the thresholds or offer bonus points.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 6:01 pm
  #74  
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Originally Posted by Owenc View Post
A poster stated that United would only fly from EWR to Dublin in the future. Well according to Routes Online, they will be starting back up the 3 main routes (although I see nothing for IAD) and initiating the SFO flight in July which is a surprise.

https://www.routesonline.com/news/38...00gmt-13apr20/

So that's not terrible at all, in my eyes.
Be careful reading that reports which actually states
Majority listed below is showing service resumption from 20/21MAY20 (US departure) for the moment in the GDS as well as OAG, as United only updated schedule up to 19MAY20,
that is far from a definitive statement from UA on resumption.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 6:02 pm
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Simple question: How many months after a vaccine/cure is broadly distributed, will TSA processed passengers in the US get back to 90% of peak (let's call peak 2.2M passengers/day in the US)?

My answer is 5 months. So if a vaccine is broadly administered in Feb of '21, I think we're back to 2M TSA passengers/day in July '21.
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