Does anybody know how solvent United is?

 
Old Aug 21, 08, 9:01 am
  #1  
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Does anybody know how solvent United is?

The latest on the TATL charges/BOB for C domestically/price increases for BOB has me wondering how much longer United has left. I contacted PW (Customer Relations) earlier today about something else. I had made a comment, and the agent told me two things that added to the concern. 1. Southwest hedged its fuel, and we didn't. (True) 2. All airlines are charging for everything. (False) United has had a keep your head in the sand, and the problem will go away culture for a long time. Now the problem might be that United will go away.
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Old Aug 21, 08, 9:06 am
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Originally Posted by JoeTravel View Post
The latest on the TATL charges/BOB for C domestically/price increases for BOB has me wondering how much longer United has left. I contacted PW (Customer Relations) earlier today about something else. I had made a comment, and the agent told me two things that added to the concern. 1. Southwest hedged its fuel, and we didn't. (True) 2. All airlines are charging for everything. (False) United has had a keep your head in the sand, and the problem will go away culture for a long time. Now the problem might be that United will go away.

Reasonably solvent... they still have a bunch of cash on hand, and a whole bunch of unencumbered aircraft (plus a pretty big windfall from the new Chase deal).

1. Yes WN hedged (and while back it was an EXCELLENT move) However, it should be noted that thier route expansion will eat into the hedges. Also oil is now around 115 (ish)... how much did they hedge at 138 ?

2. It isn't that they are charging for everything... they have always charged for the items, just now they are seperate line items.
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Old Aug 21, 08, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by jhayes_1780 View Post
Reasonably solvent... they still have a bunch of cash on hand, and a whole bunch of unencumbered aircraft (plus a pretty big windfall from the new Chase deal).

1. Yes WN hedged (and while back it was an EXCELLENT move) However, it should be noted that thier route expansion will eat into the hedges. Also oil is now around 115 (ish)... how much did they hedge at 138 ?
Yes, WN is well hedged, and workers all happy, etc. However, WN has one of the highest labor cost structures around. While we all wish the best for everyone, it will be quite interesting to see how WN operates with this given cost structure when the hedges run out (as they will around 2011, when WN will be hedged in fuel at around 15%).

Keep in mind, all these moves UA is making on BOB for trans-Atlantic flights in in direct response to the demands of "us," the paying passengers of United Airlines. UA does not "want" to make these moves. However, they must do something, as the marketplace (that would be us passengers) have shown time and again we are hyper sensitive to ticket prices. The meals we ate in Y did not appear by magic.
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Old Aug 21, 08, 12:04 pm
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UAL is about the middle of the pack among network carriers for cash on hand, but is only beaten out by AMR for level of debt (AMR does have about twice as much cash). If they go into bankruptcy this time it will be Chapter 7 since no lender is going there in the current environment, and even if a lender was willing to lend them money the lender may not be able to raise the cash. Plenty of folks waiting for the chance to pick at UA's rotting carcass though.

Say hello to Pan Am, Eastern, and TWA, all formerly dominant carriers.
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Old Aug 21, 08, 12:14 pm
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Agree with bordeauxboy above.

But the key thing here, and what everyone is missing as they lament the passing of Y meals (that they paid for anyhow in higher ticket prices), is that UA has leadership that recognizes the threat of Chap 7, and is actually taking action to prevent this (BOB on trans-Atlantic flights, etc.). One may not agree with the leadership's actions, but something proactive is being done.

Pam Am, Eastern etc. were living in the past, regulated world of international air travel, mired in terrible labor/management fights, etc.

WN's fuel hedges are discussed endlessly. A very smart and lucky move on their part, and one UA was simply not allowed to pursue under the rules of Chap 11.
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Old Aug 21, 08, 12:17 pm
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This ran in todays issues of USAToday. Basic numbers for the big players

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/fligh...ng-power_N.htm
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Old Aug 21, 08, 12:40 pm
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This can't be taken seriously as long as it says that US has an "Updated, fuel-efficient fleet". That line, if anywhere, belongs under CO's listing.
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Old Aug 21, 08, 12:51 pm
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Originally Posted by ConciergeMike View Post
This can't be taken seriously as long as it says that US has an "Updated, fuel-efficient fleet". That line, if anywhere, belongs under CO's listing.
US is on their way to a modern all Airbus fleet. Can't say much for the rest of the airline, but they've been pretty proactive in this arena.
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