I’ll be losing two hours of sleep a week thanks to United

I’m always amazed by the scheduling departments at airlines. It’s such a ridiculously complex art not only to time flights so that they all match up, but also to make sure you have the specific aircraft type you need available, planning turnaround times, etc. And 99% of the time they do a darn good job.

And then there’s Tampa to Washington Dulles, which fits into the 1%. Back when I first started mileage running eons ago, I remember the 5:50AM flight from Tampa to Washington Dulles. Nothing sucks more than getting up at 3:30AM, but it was always a fun flight. There were never more than 30 passengers aboard on Saturday mornings, which might explain why it was eventually cancelled. I always fly out in the morning, so now I’m used to the 9AM flight, which is still great, because it allows me to sleep in and thanks to the arrival time in Washington of 11AM, it connects to basically any flight.

But as of mid-February United is switching the schedule of this flight. It’ll now depart shortly after 7AM and arrive in Washington shortly after 9AM. Sounds dandy in theory, but it doesn’t connect to ANY flights!!! The next flight to virtually anywhere is shortly after 12PM, a connection I could have made with the old schedule.

It would have made sense for them to have this flight at 6AM so that it could connect to the 9AM bank of flights, but there’s not a single flight to anywhere international, anywhere on the west coast, or hell, anywhere past Denver, within two hours of the arrival time.

So I guess I better get used to twiddling my thumbs at Dulles for a few hours every Saturday morning….

Filed Under: United
  1. Sounds like you should just route IAD-DEN and come say Hi!

    To compound your gripes, the LH lounge isn’t open in the morning.

  2. Sorry to hear about the new schedules. Now you’ll really get to know the matrons at the RCCs.

    As least there are connections within four hours. It would be tragic if you missed the connection time limit by a few minutes.

  3. Have to go NYC-TPA for a May weekend wedding. Was planning on UA LGA-IAD-TPA for the (probable) DEQM and upgrade on the longer leg, but the flight/connection times are horrible as you mentioned. Might be time for my first CO flight in a long while – at least I’ll get EQMs now, and, if lucky (pun intended), an UG.

  4. @Matthew I think the RCC matrons has lucky’s picture with a target on it due to the “incident”.

  5. @ptahcha: At least one of them likely does! šŸ˜€

    I have found the UA matrons to be much better the last year and a half. Now the IAD IFL staff…

  6. I would be careful about revealing your location to JOSH. Now he knows your MR schedule. You may need something more than an FA for your safety.

  7. Airline scheduling is a really difficult problem, not just the long range planning issues, like you referred to, but also the yield management (how much to price a seat), crew and maintenance scheduling, and reactive rescheduling (for example, when a snow storm shuts down an airport). The people that do this stuff are operations research guys and I’ve been to United headquarters in Chicago to see this stuff in action.

    Now that was really cool!

  8. ya okay i teh you everyteen: here is ALL!

    swean SWUHN

    JOSH has hot brakes for bens runway


    ohhhh tanks to you for spread rumor

  9. Please stay within the topic and have some proper manners, your post absolutely has nothing to do with it. Do you know how hard it is for people spent time writing and giving us great info and you just ruin it.

    Please I do ask you all to stop this. Thank you very much.


  10. You have to admit, JOSH, you are a bit creepy.

    First of all, you type in ALL CAPS, although recently, you’ve toned that down a bit.

    Secondly, you seem to post a comment on nearly every thread. It comes across as quietly stalking.

    Finally, maybe it’s the language barrier, but your comments have just a hint of homoeroticism. Perhaps that’s just the way you express your excitement over Ben’s blog, but you’d be well advised to just chill it down a bit.

    Just my 2 cents…

  11. @ The Global Traveller — Sadly there are basically no flights around that time. At least nothing I can find.

    @ hobo13 — That seems to be the only option, but it seems that flight doesn’t have any low fare bucket availability for the most part.

    @ Cliff — Same challenge here. I’m going to NY next week and ultimately booked UA, but it was painful. As soon as they have reciprocal upgrades I’m going with CO to NY for sure.

    @ Scott — I would if there were flights to anywhere!

  12. Coins, I’ve spent 3+ hours at IAD. It’s Boring with a capital B. My advice, head over to the A terminal and eat at 5 Guys. Bring a newspaper and kill an hour.

  13. I live in Tampa and fly to DC often, for leisure. I find that airlines like to schedule an early flight to DC so you can make meetings and such. Having said that, 7 am does not make sense at all, 6 am would have been way better, specially that it’s to IAD not to DCA (which is way closer to DC).

    I always wish to get an earlier flight IAD-TPA or even DCA-TPA on US on Monday morning so I don’t lose half a day of work every weekend I go to DC.

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