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Yea! UA planes are full. The strategy is working. Why do I feel so bad?

Yea! UA planes are full. The strategy is working. Why do I feel so bad?

 
Old Jul 3, 07, 7:26 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Brattleboro, VT
Posts: 702
Yea! UA planes are full. The strategy is working. Why do I feel so bad?

Because I can't afford to fly UA anymore.

A month ago I tried to get a return flight three weeks in advance for my weekly commute BDL-IAD. The flight had been downsized to a 50 seat CRJ-200. The flight was full. As a 1K I could have got a Y seat just to be loyal to UA for $800 one way. I decided to fly US out of DCA for $250.

Last night I was trying to find a flight IAD-MSP a month out. I'm going to an event and admittedly want to fly at 5:00 on a Friday. The direct IAD-MSP had been eliminated 2 months ago. Flight sold out. Again I could force Y for $1500+. Instead I prudently chose to fly non-stop on NW for $475.

My last six flights were all on US at under half the UA price. No E+, but I can upgrade for $50 almost anytime I want to. I'm at 62 UA segs. for 2007 and will probably limp through to 1K for 2007 by flying US. And I feel bad about it.

UA is not in business to meet my individual needs, their strategy is successful, and if I can't afford their flights that are twice as expensive as their competitors then that's too bad.

But somehow something does not feel right about this. Is UA's strategy really working or will it come back to bite them at the next business turn down? Will their loyal customers come back when the fares go down. Who's buying these high priced fares a month in advance? Is there anyone else who's been priced off UA?

Last edited by Brattflyer; Jul 3, 07 at 7:34 am
Brattflyer is offline  
Old Jul 3, 07, 7:33 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: EWR
Programs: Sexy UA 1K
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I have noticed that UA's price is higher as well...
Well, if you cannot afford it, don't fly UA. Save the money, fly US and spend $50 to upgrade. I am doing the same thing for a trip to MSY at the end of July.

Is the strategy successful? I am not sure. But I think the economy will take care of itself.
beamMeUp38 is offline  
Old Jul 3, 07, 7:52 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Denver, CO
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Or buy US codeshares that end up being UA metal. Works for me DEN to SFO when UA is $700 I can still get a US ticket on the same flight for $400 (go figure!). Get my EQM and usually my upgrade requests work out as it shows up in United.bomb. Can be problematic sometimes though so its not all roses!
fly2work is offline  
Old Jul 3, 07, 8:09 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Programs: UA 1MM, SPG Gold, EVA Diamond
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I think summer fares are also adding to the mix... I haven't noticed my flights deviate much from last summer's prices.

On the bright side, with more profits/revenue, maybe we will see more amenities? (yeah right....)
melampus83 is offline  
Old Jul 3, 07, 8:13 am
  #5  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Full !=(necessarily) Profit
BenjaminNYC is offline  
Old Jul 3, 07, 8:25 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Originally Posted by beamMeUp38 View Post
I have noticed that UA's price is higher as well...
Well, if you cannot afford it, don't fly UA. Save the money, fly US and spend $50 to upgrade. I am doing the same thing for a trip to MSY at the end of July.

Is the strategy successful? I am not sure. But I think the economy will take care of itself.
I defected from UA for the first time in 7 years on a flight to LAS in late May; I was not going to pay $500 to fly Ted from ORD when I could fly WN for half the price and get there on time with a free snackbox. I think the question here isn't necessarily affordability, but rather, is UA worth the extra $$$?
ORDGuy79 is offline  
Old Jul 3, 07, 9:07 am
  #7  
zac
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Originally Posted by ORDGuy79 View Post
I think the question here isn't necessarily affordability, but rather, is UA worth the extra $$$?
I just booked SJC-PHX for $118 on WN where UA was $325 SFO-PHX (I wouldn't even pay this difference for UA F over WN Y on a trip this short). UA was also double the cheapest (NW, CO, AA) when I recently looked for a SFO-SDF trip.

I assume UA is getting people to pay these higher fares, but the scary thing is how bad they seem to be doing from a financial perspective. If they can't make money at these fares, are they long for this world?
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Old Jul 3, 07, 9:19 am
  #8  
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I've found summer is playing a big part in the big prices. SNA-ORD used to be routinely around $300 a week out. Now $600 or more. But I noticed a lot of fares, including international, significantly lower after September.
flyinbob is offline  
Old Jul 3, 07, 9:27 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by melampus83 View Post
On the bright side, with more profits/revenue, maybe we will see more amenities? (yeah right....)
Profits and amenities aren't linked, though airlines will certainly tell you they are when things are bad.
rjque is offline  
Old Jul 3, 07, 9:37 am
  #10  
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Join Date: Jun 2001
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Originally Posted by BenjaminNYC View Post
Full !=(necessarily) Profit
I have no problem with full or profit, My problem is that a month out or longer I'm being forced into paying Y and it's not economical to pay it.
Brattflyer is offline  
Old Jul 3, 07, 10:22 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: RMQ
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I feel bad because when there is a hiccup in the system, there is no where to go to rebook for missed flights or connections. I missed my ORD-DEN flight last week. They add 5-6 folks from standby to the flight, then re-directed the herd remaining pax to the next flight. I made that flight with TWO other pax (thanks 1K!), and the rest of the herd went to yet another flight.

It's like planning a factory to run 100%. It's not realistic to sustain that level, and when something does go wrong, it is very expensive to get back on track.

Just my $0.02.

Last edited by FF_Parrothead; Jul 3, 07 at 10:35 am Reason: typo
FF_Parrothead is offline  
Old Jul 3, 07, 11:08 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Missoula, MT
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Originally Posted by FF_Parrothead View Post
I feel bad because when there is a hiccup in the system, there is no where to go to rebook for missed flights or connections. I missed my ORD-DEN flight last week. They add 5-6 folks from standby to the flight, then re-directed the herd remaining pax to the next flight. I made that flight with TWO other pax (thanks 1K!), and the rest of the herd went to yet another flight.

It's like planning a factory to run 100%. It's not realistic to sustain that level, and when something does go wrong, it is very expensive to get back on track.

Just my $0.02.
Until there is some financial incentive for UA (and other airlines) to build in excess capacity, they won't do it. I find it intolerable for the airlines (particularly NW this summer) to think it isn't costing me time and money while they overbook passengers, overschedule staff, and don't have the ability to cope with predictable maintenance/weather interruptions. Sadly, it will take Congress to intervene on behalf of the flying public ...
Wombat18 is offline  
Old Jul 3, 07, 11:16 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
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I find that I have to work very hard to fly UA without paying much more. I start looking at fares way in advance and follow the fares. I am flexible with routings. I try to use miles and vouchers creatively. Sometimes I strategically defect to SWA (I admit it). Fortunately, I also have a lot of flexibility in might travel days.

I think business travelers might be out of luck.

I suppose this is why UA has MP ...to get us to pay more. When you figure in the double RDM, promotions, E+, status advancement, it's worth it to pay ~30% to fly UA.

What I'm scratching my ahead about is how we can have the triple combination of full flights, high fares, and poor UA financials.
BigE is offline  
Old Jul 3, 07, 11:20 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2001
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In typical UA fashion they probably pissed away inventory by selling tons of low fares months ago and now everything is sold out and folks who want to buy profitable fares are given the option of either insane fares or heading to a competitor.
whlinder is offline  
Old Jul 3, 07, 11:25 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: EWR
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Well said... ^
I love UA, but I cannot love UA that much.
Originally Posted by ORDGuy79 View Post
I think the question here isn't necessarily affordability, but rather, is UA worth the extra $$$?
beamMeUp38 is offline  

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