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  #21  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2012, 6:05 PM
k1052 k1052 is offline
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Originally Posted by Kingofthehill View Post
IMO, the one domestic airline that manages to rise above the fray is Virgin America. Brand new Airbus a319/320s, leather seats, mood lighting, extensive IFE, onboard outlets, fun, easygoing staff, cool terminal and lobby areas, etc. They really are as good as it gets when it comes to domestic travel. American/United/US Scareways/etc have dated on-board products and offerings, stupid nickel and dime fees for the smallest of amenities, and old, grumpy, menopausal staff. Not to mention aging, unrenovated jets, and small, cramped regional jets on long-ish routes:
I'll agree with this. My travel from ORD to SFO and LAX has picked up in recent years and I always flew American. Once Virgin started service I haven't been back on AA on these routes as the pricing has almost always been better and the flight experience/cabin crew is far superior.

As for United....if they had the last plane out of hell I wouldn't get on it.
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  #22  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2012, 6:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Rail Claimore View Post
No US airline has service of a consistent quality that can match some Euro and Asian carriers, but certain airlines seem to have a propensity for bad service. In my experience, this has always been with US and UA.
I don't know, Rail Claimore. I've flown on pretty much all the domestic carriers (United/US Air/Northwest/Southwest/Continental/American/America West/Frontier/Delta/AirTran/etc...), and I have yet to notice a large difference between any of them. They pretty much ALL suck. It seems to be more of an airport issue than an airline issue in many situations, though. Some airports are simply more prone to cancellations and long delays than others.

Aaron (Glowrock)
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  #23  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2012, 6:42 PM
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Trae Trae is offline
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Originally Posted by bunt_q View Post
Hey, I am all for Houston screwing with United however they can. Because there's another United hub an hour and a half north of there in Denver more than willing to pick up some of that international traffic (with an expansion already underway).

By the way, I'm not sure what Houston is complaining about. That's one of the airports I prefer to connect through if I have to. It's certainly nicer than most, and I've never had any trouble with United. They're a thousand times more pleasant than Southwest's buses with wings.
Is Denver really a better location for United to route their connections for Latin American flights, too? I don't think Denver's location is better than Houston's. Besides, United has already screwed with Houston by taking both the headquarters and operational headquarters away (couldn't even leave one). They are already locked into the billion dollar plus investment at IAH, that started with Continental. There is no way they are going to abandon it, and they are clearly bluffing. Other airlines would gladly come in and take the market share in a growing metro both economically and population wise. United basically wants to continue their monopoly, which is what people in Houston are complaining about (they increased ticket prices after the merger at IAH). I'm not even sure that if Continental was still HQ'ed here, if the city would not still consider what Southwest is proposing.
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  #24  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 4:20 PM
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The Greater Houston Partnership is getting behind Southwest. Huge blow to United:

Quote:
The Greater Houston Partnership is backing a plan to expand Hobby Airport that would allow for international flights.

The Partnership’s Business Issues Committee voted unanimously to support the plan to add five gates and a Customs facility to the airport. Southwest Airlines is pushing the plan so it can start flying to Mexico and the Caribbean. The Partnership’s board of directors is expected to adopt a resolution in support of Hobby expansion by the end of next week. “This is a critically important issue for Houston. We want two vibrant airports and the benefits that go along with it: more jobs, more travelers and a competitive advantage for our city,” said Tony Chase, chairman of the Partnership. United Airlines, which dominates the Latin American market from its base at Bush Intercontinental Airport, has fought the proposal. Company officials and consultants have argued that dividing the city’s international air traffic will cost jobs and routes.

A city consultant’s study concluded that the Hobby plan will create 10,000 jobs and inject $1.6 billion into the local economy. Having the most prominent voice in the Houston business community behind the Hobby plan is another blow to United, which merged with Houston hometown airline Continental in 2010. In pressing its case, United has been drawing on the good will and trust Continental generated as an active corporate citizen for decades. The Partnership’s immediate past board chairman is Larry Kellner, who was CEO of Continental from 2004 to 2009. The Partnership’s airports task force is chaired by Michelle Baden, United’s managing director for international and state affairs and a registered lobbyist for the airline at City Hall.

But the Partnership still backed the Southwest position.

“GHP has carefully deliberated on how increased competition changes the landscape within airport systems, having reviewed and analyzed extensive data and listened intently to representatives from the Houston Airport System, city of Houston, United and Southwest,” said Jeff Moseley, president and CEO of the Partnership. “We intend to keep working with all airlines and parties to protect and grow our region’s airports.”

City Council is scheduled to vote next month on the Hobby expansion plan.
http://blog.chron.com/houstonpolitic...bby-expansion/

Southwest continues to play the "we are a Texas company" angle when lobbying for the Hobby expansion and it is no doubt working.

Quote:
FORTUNE -- United Continental Holdings is learning the hard way that it isn't wise to mess with Texas. The recently merged airline's decision to choose Chicago as its corporate headquarters over Continental's hometown of Houston appears to have resulted in a big loss of political capital with the city and its airport authority. The move could end up hitting United's bottom line hard as rival Southwest Airlines targets Houston to be its first international hub.

There are a lot of unintended consequences when it comes to merging two companies, especially two major international airlines. When Chicago-based United (UAL) announced its merger with Houston-based Continental at the end of 2010, the decision to move the newly combined airline's headquarters up to Chicago wasn't given much thought. United had struck what it had said was a sweetheart tax and rental deal with Chicago city officials a year earlier to keep the airline's headquarters in the Windy City in the event of a merger with a rival airline. Houston, apparently, never had a chance.

The loss of Houston as Continental's headquarters meant moving most of its major corporate functions to Chicago. Continental's then chief executive, Jeff Smisek, not even a year into the job, became the combined airline's chief executive. Smisek was quick to make the move out of Houston but the mood at Continental's headquarters in downtown Houston was somber, as much of the staff did not want to move to Chicago......

.....But all that intangible political capital was trashed when the airline merged with United. The loss of the Continental name was bad enough for the city, but the loss of the headquarters was a big blow to its ego. While Houston is still United's largest hub with over 17,000 employees living and working in the city, the loss of the C-suite appears to have been an unforgivable sin.

Southwest Airlines (LUV) is hoping to cash in on United throwing away its golden goose. It has brazenly asked Houston's airport authority to pay nearly $100 million to upgrade Hobby to receive international flights. The upgrade would allow Southwest to use Hobby to launch truly competitive international air service to the same locations where Continental has held an almost near-monopoly in non-stop service for years. This would, invariably, force Continental to lower prices on competing routes or to even pull out of some them completely if Southwest is able to put enough pressure on its margins.

This possible Southwest expansion also has larger implications for the airline industry. Southwest inherited international air service to a few destinations south of the border and to the Caribbean when it acquired AirTran in 2010. It has just started to put plans in motion to expand international service - under the Airtran banner, for now - launching routes to Mexico from Orange County, CA and San Antonio, TX. But unlike those locations, Houston is a major hub for Southwest and is seen as a major gateway to Latin America. If Hobby does go international, Southwest will be able to fill its Latin America-bound planes with passengers from any of the 36 domestic destinations it already serves through Hobby.
http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.co...hwest-houston/

An article from Bloomberg:

Quote:
Southwest’s plan would create Houston competition for some flights to Latin America, the region where United posts its highest yields, or average fare per mile, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Latin America produced a bigger gain in first-quarter yields than routes in the U.S. or across the Atlantic and Pacific, United said.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-0...-busy-hub.html

And here are some excerpts from United's "study":

Quote:
United has added more flts to IAH than any of its other hubs since the merger and IAH has grown more since 1996 alone than Hobby has in total current flying.

The comparison to the MIA/FLL situation is invalid because it neglects the fact that AA dismantled its San Juan hub during the same period to increase MIA, and that AA Latin traffic is actually down overall from where it was.

The comparison to ORD/MDW is also invalid since it ignores that Mexicana ceased operation in this period, that carriers were only backfilling, and total Latin traffic is actually down.

Comparison of multi-international airport cities in both Europe and the US show that multi-international airport cities have seen no growth or actually shrunk, while single international airport cities have seen growth.

United would pull 6% of current capacity and 4% of planned capacity as a result of loss of connecting traffic to support routes that Houston O&D doesn't warrant and/or are already unprofitable but supported by overall network. Future planned routes that would not be flown include Asia/Pacific, Transatlantic, and South America. Auckland and China are specifically cited as examples of routes that cannot be supported by Houston O&D alone, and would be harmed by shifting connecitng traffic on network supporting flights.
http://keepiahstrong.com/docs/UnitedStudyMay3.pdf

lmao. United's scare tactics are so easy to see. It is really ridiculous.
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  #25  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 9:59 PM
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Rail Claimore Rail Claimore is offline
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Doesn't matter really. Short of an act of Congress similar to the Wright Amendment, the city can't really get in the way if WN wants to expand at HOU, unless it wants to lose out on federal funds and/or have a legal mess on its hands.

City must consider Southwest plan for Hobby, lawyers say
By Chris Moran
Updated 12:17 a.m., Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Quote:
...

The city could reject a proposal for Hobby to go global only if the airport did not have the capacity to accommodate international flights, if noise or other environmental concerns could not be overcome or if public safety were threatened, Diaz said. None of those conditions apply in the case of Southwest's plan, Diaz said.

"Southwest Airlines is very aware of its rights to airport access under federal law, having battled for such access time and time again over the past 40 years. We look forward to a full vetting and understanding of these issues," said Paul Flaningan, a Southwest spokesman.

...
http://www.chron.com/news/houston-te...by-3540934.php
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  #26  
Old Posted May 10, 2012, 4:27 AM
Kngkyle Kngkyle is online now
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I really don't see this as having much of an effect on United. United will either just cut some of the routes Southwest starts or dump capacity on them and make them unprofitable for Southwest. I'm pretty sure that United has a cost advantage over Southwest now due to bankruptcy labor concessions. I know when Virgin America started flying 2x daily from Chicago to San Francisco, United responded by going from something like 9 daily flights to 16 daily flights.

Ultimately I'd say United needs Houston more than Houston needs United. The city seems to know this, but should be somewhat cautious not to overdo it because although United won't dehub Houston, United can certainly shift capacity around and perhaps cut some long-haul international routes that Southwest isn't going to make up for.
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  #27  
Old Posted May 10, 2012, 6:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Kngkyle View Post
I really don't see this as having much of an effect on United. United will either just cut some of the routes Southwest starts or dump capacity on them and make them unprofitable for Southwest. I'm pretty sure that United has a cost advantage over Southwest now due to bankruptcy labor concessions. I know when Virgin America started flying 2x daily from Chicago to San Francisco, United responded by going from something like 9 daily flights to 16 daily flights.

Ultimately I'd say United needs Houston more than Houston needs United. The city seems to know this, but should be somewhat cautious not to overdo it because although United won't dehub Houston, United can certainly shift capacity around and perhaps cut some long-haul international routes that Southwest isn't going to make up for.
United isnt dumping anything. Houston is growing too fast and there is too much growth in the energy industry and the Latin American population. If United drops it, some other airline will pick it up. Southwest's new 737 planes are going to have more range anyway.
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  #28  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2012, 9:54 PM
Kngkyle Kngkyle is online now
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Originally Posted by Trae View Post
United isnt dumping anything. Houston is growing too fast and there is too much growth in the energy industry and the Latin American population. If United drops it, some other airline will pick it up. Southwest's new 737 planes are going to have more range anyway.
So far United has cut more than 50 daily flights from Houston, 30 of which were just this week, including service to Paris. They don't take effect for a few months still, but have been loaded into the schedule.

Looks like Smisek wasn't bluffing.

Meanwhile, United announced lots of new flights from other hubs today:
SFO to Taipei and Paris
ORD to Monterry MX, Thunder Bay ON, Nassau, Jackson MS, Anchorage
LAX to Kelowna BC
DEN to Williston
IAD to San Salvador
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  #29  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2012, 5:15 AM
GrimReaper GrimReaper is offline
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