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-   -   Whatís going on July 4 weekend? lack of bookable flight options pre-4th (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-airlines-mileageplus/2017422-what-s-going-july-4-weekend-lack-bookable-flight-options-pre-4th.html)

villox May 9, 20 5:14 pm

Whatís going on July 4 weekend? lack of bookable flight options pre-4th
 
I was scheduled to fly EWR-ANC July 4 weekend. Checked my itinerary and the July 2 EWR-ANC flight has been changed to a connection through DEN. I can accept it (assuming trip happens at all).

When I went to look at other options I couldnít even find inventory on the flights they put me on. Completely zeroed out. I started exploring other cities and I canít even get results for most cities. Canít even book NYC-ORD without a connection in IAD.

Things seem normal before and after this weekend but it seems very strange.

JumboJet May 9, 20 5:17 pm

Well almost every event has been cancelled around here through August

jsloan May 9, 20 5:29 pm


Originally Posted by villox (Post 32362235)
When I went to look at other options I couldnít even find inventory on the flights they put me on. Completely zeroed out. I started exploring other cities and I canít even get results for most cities. Canít even book NYC-ORD without a connection in IAD.

You're seeing the results of July 4th weekend being a popular leisure travel time, and leisure travel is often booked further in advance than business travel. I suspect the reason that you can't find any inventory on the flights that you're on is that they're full, as UA has consolidated a relatively high passenger load onto many fewer flights. Seats may start to open as people cancel affected reservations.

Clarkcc1 May 9, 20 5:31 pm

It isn't just July 4. OP brought up a weird thing UA is doing starting a few weeks ago - I've seen it on a few of my PNRs. Sometime after booking, UA zeros out all inventory but keeps them on the schedule - hence why one does not get rebooked and see the [Schedule Change] notification when going into your reservation. I don't know the rationale, but they seem to leave those who have booked on the flights as optimism... they hope the flights will go out but don't want to accept further bookings. Then about a month out when they're looking at the schedule more seriously, I've been rebooked into the extremely limited bare bones flight schedule. IE one was originally a Thursday redeye early June on a 777 SFO-IAD.I booked it mid-April. A week or two later it went to inventory zero'd out. Then only 2 days ago I was rebooked onto the 1 nonstop SFO-IAD flight in the decimated schedule.


Originally Posted by jsloan (Post 32362262)
You're seeing the results of July 4th weekend being a popular leisure travel time, and leisure travel is often booked further in advance than business travel. I suspect the reason that you can't find any inventory on the flights that you're on is that they're full, as UA has consolidated a relatively high passenger load onto many fewer flights. Seats may start to open as people cancel affected reservations.

The flights are not full. They purposefully zero out flights they have a good feeling will eventually be removed from the schedule.

villox May 9, 20 5:39 pm

There is not a single seat for sale from New York to Chicago on Wednesday, July 1. These theories do not hold up. If there was really that much demand they would run more planes!

in contrast, there are MANY flights for sale from
chicago to New York on Monday, July 6.

jsloan May 9, 20 6:29 pm


Originally Posted by Clarkcc1 (Post 32362266)
The flights are not full. They purposefully zero out flights they have a good feeling will eventually be removed from the schedule.

You're correct, but you're also mistaken. I checked the seat maps, and while I understand that they're not definitive, they were full. On the flights that they expect to remove, the seat maps are normally nearly empty.

This particular case, for July 4th weekend, results from a normal summer schedule being compressed down so much. Hub to hub flights fill because so many additional customers need to connect.


Originally Posted by villox (Post 32362281)
There is not a single seat for sale from New York to Chicago on Wednesday, July 1. These theories do not hold up. If there was really that much demand they would run more planes!

I'm surprised that they're not willing to oversell by more seats. Adding a new flight doesn't make sense, because they understand that most of these reservations will be cancelled.

MSPeconomist May 9, 20 6:32 pm

Could a lot of people be holding speculative leisure bookings for the long holiday weekend in the USA?

DELee May 9, 20 6:34 pm


Originally Posted by MSPeconomist (Post 32362372)
Could a lot of people be holding speculative leisure bookings for the long holiday weekend in the USA?

Don't recall that the 4th is traditionally a heavy travel weekend especially when the 4th is a weekend date. Driving yes. Flying no.

David

xliioper May 9, 20 6:34 pm

Overall, demand for dates around July 4 is weak to due limited business travel demand (same for Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends) and airlines tend to reduce their schedules around these times. UA and DL extended their domestic schedule reductions through June (and partially into July) this weekend (AA did it last weekend). The EWR-ANC flight now does not resume operation until July 6th. UA has zeroed out their two daily EWR-ORD flights for July 1st - 5th. More than likely it's going to cancel these flights rather than them being full.

PsiFighter37 May 9, 20 6:37 pm

I think it's pretty clear that UA only uploaded a schedule change that goes through the first weekend of July. I had booked an EWR-PWM RT flight departing Thursday 7/2 and coming back Tuesday 7/7. The Thursday 7/2 flight has been changed to EWR-IAD-PWM (they must have chopped the only direct flight that was on the June schedule), but PWM-EWR on Tuesday 7/7 still shows the usual slate of several nonstops on the E145.

villox May 9, 20 6:57 pm


Originally Posted by jsloan (Post 32362360)
You're correct, but you're also mistaken. I checked the seat maps, and while I understand that they're not definitive, they were full. On the flights that they expect to remove, the seat maps are normally nearly empty.

This particular case, for July 4th weekend, results from a normal summer schedule being compressed down so much. Hub to hub flights fill because so many additional customers need to connect.


I'm surprised that they're not willing to oversell by more seats. Adding a new flight doesn't make sense, because they understand that most of these reservations will be cancelled.

again it doesnít make sense that Wednesday, July 1 is totally booked but Monday, July 6 is wide open. it has to be a schedule load issue.

I do recall that United asked for CARES exception to not run Alaska service until July 6 and was denied. There must be something special about the July 6 date.

jsloan May 9, 20 7:24 pm


Originally Posted by villox (Post 32362421)
again it doesnít make sense that Wednesday, July 1 is totally booked but Monday, July 6 is wide open. it has to be a schedule load issue.

For the most part, the domestic schedule has only been updated through July 5.

villox May 9, 20 7:32 pm


Originally Posted by jsloan (Post 32362463)
For the most part, the domestic schedule has only been updated through July 5.

See now this is the logical (yet disappointing) explanation.

SS255 May 9, 20 7:51 pm

I had the same issue today: I noticed they had put me on alternate flights for LAX-ORD-AVP on July 2. I was trying to find other options, and they’re not even showing any LAX-ORD flights as bookable on 7/1 or 7/2. My return flights on 7/8 haven’t been touched (yet).

dkc715 May 9, 20 7:55 pm

Another data point - not a single nonstop available for sale from Ewr or lga to Denver between June 27 and July 5.

When I asked an agent, she said she is seeing massively overbooked loads on the few scheduled flights those dates. So strange. Unitedís flexible booking and cancel policy is making it impossible to predict loads or allow new bookings. They need to fix this. Seeing it on the transcon routes too.

CALIF65GM May 9, 20 9:01 pm

I noticed this last weekend and again starting yesterday/today for LAS-SFO on 7/5.

No res were accepted; even though the schedule showed 6 or 7-flights that day. During the week, a couple of flights became available and now the entire schedule is down to only 2-flights for the 5th. As I need to need to be back by a specific time, I'm almost tempted to book on Alaska too and see which flight actually runs, but I don't want more credits as I already have credit with UA and SW.

fumje May 9, 20 9:06 pm

I think they've just (yesterday evening) gone through and consolidated a whole bunch of flights in the June and July time frame. The result is that many flights are functionally full or probably even overbooked. I expect they are predicting many will still cancel or change reservations over the next few weeks.

LAXtoCHI May 9, 20 9:36 pm

Is it possible the schedule change isnít fully loaded yet?

My LAX-MSN on July 1 now shows as rebooked LAX-ORD (redeye) - MSN, but if I search for flights myself there are zero flights scheduled LAX to ORD on UA for July 1. Which seems implausible, even in the COVID context.

Iím looking to rebook via DEN, so am hoping a few more options may appear soon if the schedule change isnít fully loaded yet?

zombietooth May 9, 20 9:52 pm


Originally Posted by MSPeconomist (Post 32362372)
Could a lot of people be holding speculative leisure bookings for the long holiday weekend in the USA?

I am.

jsloan May 9, 20 10:46 pm


Originally Posted by LAXtoCHI (Post 32362643)
Is it possible the schedule change isnít fully loaded yet?

Not in the way you're suggesting, no. If anything, they might remove more flights.


Originally Posted by LAXtoCHI (Post 32362643)
My LAX-MSN on July 1 now shows as rebooked LAX-ORD (redeye) - MSN, but if I search for flights myself there are zero flights scheduled LAX to ORD on UA for July 1. Which seems implausible, even in the COVID context.

And, it is implausible. There are two LAX-ORD flights on 7/1; 12:45 AM and 10:30 AM. Both are showing zero availability, but the 10:30 AM flight has quite a few seats available / blocked on the seat map. One reason could be that the seat reassignment procedure didn't work as well on that flight, and there are more confirmed passengers without seat assignments.


Originally Posted by LAXtoCHI (Post 32362643)
Iím looking to rebook via DEN, so am hoping a few more options may appear soon if the schedule change isnít fully loaded yet?

I see one sensible itinerary on 7/1, and it's currently available (J1 Y1): The 2:09 PM departure from LAX via DEN; it gives you a one hour connection in DEN.

Markie May 10, 20 6:37 am

American has a similar profile of flights - clearly lots of people plan to be travelling that weekend.

aero219 May 10, 20 7:25 am

In my opinion this is more complex than extreme loads/demands on consolidated flights. There must be some method to the madness.

For example, an itinerary of mine in late June was updated last night. Previously (up to a few weeks ago) there were 20something flight options to choose from - every one of them completely empty. Last night with the new schedule, even though I've been re-ticketed on the reduced schedule, all inventory is zero'd out except J1 Y1 on the remaining operating flight. More interesting is that 3 of the 4 flights are completely empty and I retained my seat assignment - but the fourth flight swapped aircraft types (CR7 to E175 - essentially no change in total seats), and I was not assigned a seat -- nor can I select one because the entire seat map is blocked. i.e. more than ever, seat map availability bares no correlation at all to fare Inventory.

I'm sure there is a method to the madness...

mahasamatman May 10, 20 7:33 am

It's a typical weekend at United. Never trust anything you see on united.com on a weekend.

IAH-OIL-TRASH May 10, 20 8:58 am

Looking at Houston to Las Vegas - $401 is consistently available (non-BE) through month of June on the one non-stop scheduled. Nothing bookable in/around July 4th and then $233 consistently available (non-BE) on 6 non-stops showing through rest of July. Looks like UA is providing "discount" on flight schedules that will obviously (IMHO) change :)

united 1k flyer May 10, 20 12:01 pm

Iím on a Chicago to London flight in late July and they took the route down from 3 767s to 1 767. When I figured out I couldnít select a seat so I called. They are overbooked in business class by 8 seats. WHAT ARE THEY THINKING. Economy is apparently WAY overbooked also. I get why their doing this but at least put enough planes on a route so you donít have to deny boarding to people.

AirbusFan2B May 10, 20 12:31 pm


Originally Posted by united 1k flyer (Post 32364053)
Iím on a Chicago to London flight in late July and they took the route down from 3 767s to 1 767. When I figured out I couldnít select a seat so I called. They are overbooked in business class by 8 seats. WHAT ARE THEY THINKING. Economy is apparently WAY overbooked also. I get why their doing this but at least put enough planes on a route so you donít have to deny boarding to people.

They can always rebook you to the RJ from ORD to LGA with an overnight stay in NYC and then a cab ride out to EWR to catch the LHR from there. :-)

villox May 10, 20 12:32 pm


Originally Posted by AirbusFan2B (Post 32364107)
They can always rebook you to the RJ from ORD to LGA with an overnight stay in NYC and then a cab ride out to EWR to catch the LHR from there. :-)

no refunds!

jsloan May 10, 20 12:36 pm


Originally Posted by united 1k flyer (Post 32364053)
I get why their doing this but at least put enough planes on a route so you donít have to deny boarding to people.

UA is trying to forecast how many passengers they'll actually have, which is likely quite different from the number of tickets they've sold for any given flight. With two-plus months before your flight, there's plenty of time for them to add another flight if it turns out to be necessary. I suspect you'll find that seats start to open on the seat map as people cancel their plans.

aaronc84 May 10, 20 3:24 pm

This is all kinda crazy. I'm sure they have a good financial reason for handling it all like this, but I'd imagine it's deterring some travel as well. I'm looking to spend a month or two in Seattle with my partner (who is in school there), and I only get ONE route and time for PIT-SEA via ORD on June 17. On top of that, all the seat maps are pretty full, which doesn't sound very safe. I really want to get out there and see him but I'm not sure riding on a full plane is worth it right now. Might wait to see if they adjust again? Or do y'all think what's posted is really what June is going to look like?

jsloan May 10, 20 3:55 pm


Originally Posted by aaronc84 (Post 32364514)
Or do y'all think what's posted is really what June is going to look like?

There is very little chance that they will add more flights to the schedule; however, it's possible that seats will open up on flights that currently aren't appearing because they're full.

But, yes, this is really what June is going to look like. UA has taken an axe to their schedule because they're not seeing demand rebound. They've already said publicly that July may be more of the same.

IAH-OIL-TRASH May 10, 20 4:02 pm


Originally Posted by aaronc84 (Post 32364514)
....On top of that, all the seat maps are pretty full, which doesn't sound very safe....

You might notice all the middle seats are grayed out. That means they are blocked, not occupied.

aaronc84 May 10, 20 6:02 pm


Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH (Post 32364596)
You might notice all the middle seats are grayed out. That means they are blocked, not occupied.

Got that part, but PIT-ORD is an E175...do you know how they're handling things in that situation?

jsloan May 10, 20 6:15 pm


Originally Posted by aaronc84 (Post 32364821)
Got that part, but PIT-ORD is an E175...do you know how they're handling things in that situation?

Suggest you check out this thread:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unit...ing-masks.html

Note that UA will still sell seats up to their usual capacity; the blocked seats may be assigned at the gate. Some other airlines are capping their flights, but UA is not.

aaronc84 May 10, 20 8:17 pm

Great, thanks!


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