United Airlines Launching Brisbane Flights

United Airlines Launching Brisbane Flights

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United Airlines is expanding Down Under, and adding service to a third destination in Australia.

United launching San Francisco to Brisbane route

As of October 28, 2022, United Airlines will launch a new year-round 3x weekly route between San Francisco (SFO) and Brisbane (BNE). The route will initially operate to Brisbane on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and to San Francisco on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

The service will operate with the following schedule:

UA96 San Francisco to Brisbane departing 11:20PM arriving 6:30AM (+2 days)
UA97 Brisbane to San Francisco departing 10:30AM arriving 6:40AM

The flight will cover a distance of just over 7,000 miles, and it’s blocked at 14hr10min westbound and 13hr10min eastbound.

United will use a Boeing 787-9 for the route, featuring a total of 257 seats. This includes 48 Polaris seats (business class), 21 Premium Plus seats (premium economy), 39 Economy Plus seats (extra legroom economy), and 149 economy class seats.

This will be United’s third destination in Australia, after Melbourne and Sydney. It’s impressive to see United’s continued international growth, as the airline operates far more interesting ultra long haul flights than its two biggest US rivals.

United will be the only US airline flying to Brisbane, though Qantas also operates some long haul flights out of the airport. Qantas currently operates a Brisbane to Los Angeles flight. The airline also operated flights to San Francisco pre-pandemic, and I imagine those will resume at some point. Furthermore, Qantas had announced a Brisbane to Chicago flight pre-pandemic, but that never actually launched.

United’s Boeing 787-9 Polaris business class

This is possible thanks to a new Virgin Australia partnership

We haven’t seen US airlines announce many new transpacific destinations since the start of the pandemic, so what’s United’s logic for launching this route now? United and Virgin Australia have launched a new partnership, as Virgin Australia ditched Delta in favor of United.

While I imagine United couldn’t make the economics work on Brisbane service without having a partner on the ground in Australia, Virgin Australia has a hub in Brisbane, and should provide United lots of feed for its transpacific service.

Keep in mind that back in the day Virgin Australia flew Boeing 777s from Brisbane to Los Angeles, but the airline discontinued long haul flights. This new partnership should be a win-win, and I imagine United is a much better fit for Virgin Australia than Delta was, given how conservative Delta is with long haul expansion.

United & Virgin Australia have a partnership

Bottom line

United Airlines will be adding a 3x weekly year-round flight between San Francisco and Brisbane, using a Boeing 787-9. This route is possible thanks to a new partnership between United and Virgin Australia — how cool to see this route added!

What do you make of United’s new Brisbane service?

Conversations (58)
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  1. Dan Guest

    Ben, you've forgot to mention it was also made possible through the subsidies by the Queensland Government's Attracting Aviation Interest Fund, where the State Government and Brisbane Airport Corporation will put 50/50 towards covering the partial costs of setting up and operating the new BNE-SFO flights for a set contracted period by the Queensland Government.

  2. Electricwireles Guest

    Brisbane resident here. I’m looking forwards to UA (!) I’ll be interested to see how the fares compare with the usual AKL two-stop route.

    I’m assuming those timings are optimised for onwards connections from SFO? That 10:30 am out of BNE looks a little early for local connections. I’m not sure what the min connecting time is here given the less-than-stellar 2 terminal setup.

    1. Watson Gold

      Yeah, and probably also for onward connections from BNE.

  3. Bill n DC Guest

    Nice shot of Row 5 without a window.
    I just double checked my seat 3K on LAX SYD next month.
    Commemorate First Long Haul award flight United B747 SP LAX SYD in 1989
    Then switching in SYD to Qatar A380 First
    I arrive LAX from DCA midday plan on TBT Star Alliance lounge (SQ Gold from transferring points for award tickets) then shower and dinner at Polaris Lounge before flight. Should be fine :-)

  4. Leigh Gold

    In previous life, before interrupted by COVID, I had semi-regular meetings with network planners at several airlines. There were some distinct differences in their approaches, but as you'd expect in a competitive and dynamic market.

    UA was definitely more inclined to routes where they could get a balanced point-of-sale on both sides of the international markets they were serving. Given this perspective, BNE makes perfect sense and will do well, as there is demand...

    In previous life, before interrupted by COVID, I had semi-regular meetings with network planners at several airlines. There were some distinct differences in their approaches, but as you'd expect in a competitive and dynamic market.

    UA was definitely more inclined to routes where they could get a balanced point-of-sale on both sides of the international markets they were serving. Given this perspective, BNE makes perfect sense and will do well, as there is demand and growth opportunity from both ex-USA and ex-AU markets.

    Not to be nit-picky, but the only challenge will be the Sunday Brisbane departures, as the VA weekend schedule doesn't seem to have much connectivity, at least that can be seen on the current schedule.

    Re BNE in general, it's a fast growing market from business and tourism angles, and has a catchment area larger than most understand (have to include the neighboring Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast). QF will come back with more services, and likely BNE-ORD as well, as already stated by their CEO Alan Joyce, and the advance bookings on the route were ahead of forecast prior to being scuttled due to COVID.

    @Tim Dunn - by comparison, DL predominantly focuses(d) on US point-of-sale, and were wary about substantially relying on a heavy POS mix, at least on the Pacific...but I assume that must have been the same mindset any market not named Europe, given the heavy VS/KL/AF connectivity.

  5. Jana Guest

    I flew the Sydney to San Francisco flight yesterday and business class was full. Looking at the seat map for economy showed nearly full with less than a dozen open seats. So United's move may prove fruitful based on what I observed.

  6. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Regarding the comment about adding flights during the pandemic and UA having more "interesting" destinations, this would be a good time to remind Ben and the readers that ALL large jet US airlines are for-profit, publicly traded corporations which means their first priority is to generate the maximum return for their stockholders.

    United has not been profitable flying the Pacific since 2016 according to data it (UA) provided to the DOT. It is stunning that...

    Regarding the comment about adding flights during the pandemic and UA having more "interesting" destinations, this would be a good time to remind Ben and the readers that ALL large jet US airlines are for-profit, publicly traded corporations which means their first priority is to generate the maximum return for their stockholders.

    United has not been profitable flying the Pacific since 2016 according to data it (UA) provided to the DOT. It is stunning that the largest airline flying the Pacific has not been able to make a profit in the region where it dominates even in the best years of the industry in 40 years.

    United's most profitable global region has been the Atlantic but it is more notable that Delta was profitable not just flying the Atlantic but was profitable across its entire international system; its transatlantic profits were large enough to offset small losses across the Pacific and to Latin America.
    Delta is the only airline that operated every global region at a profit for the 6 years before covid; no US other airline has ever been as profitable in every global region for as long as Delta did pre-covid.

    American clearly recognizes that its massive international losses were due to flying where it could not make money. Its Latin system still consistently delivers the majority of its international profits although none of its global regions delivered profits for the last 2 years.

    We don't live in an era of Pan Am anymore even if some airlines continue to make route decisions based on factors other than making money for their owners.

    1. Big AL Guest

      Calm down Tim, take a pill and relax a bit.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Does it bother you to have factual data included in the discussion?
      None of us know how well this flight will do but it is clear that United has treated its Pacific network more as a market share strategy than for profit maximizing.
      When the largest company in any industry or segment produces lower profits and margins than smaller companies in that segment, the goal is not profit maximization. Airlines just happen to...

      Does it bother you to have factual data included in the discussion?
      None of us know how well this flight will do but it is clear that United has treated its Pacific network more as a market share strategy than for profit maximizing.
      When the largest company in any industry or segment produces lower profits and margins than smaller companies in that segment, the goal is not profit maximization. Airlines just happen to produce lots of data so we can see that.
      If Australia works and will work for United, then there are clearly alot of other routes that don't produce profits.
      DOT data also shows that UA's load factors are on par with AA and DL so full flights aren't the issue. UA also gets comparable average fares to DL across most of their international route systems and the two are above AA to most global destinations. The issue is costs and also that Delta uses more cost efficient and larger aircraft; DL's A350s and A330-900s which operate most of DL's transpacific flights are larger than UA's 787-9s which are UA's most fuel efficient TPAC aircraft and much more fuel efficient than UA's 777s.
      Maybe the economics for BNE will work but it will come at the cost of other routes where UA will use smaller and less fuel efficient aircraft than DL which has produced higher margins over the Pacific than United for years.

    3. loungeaccess Guest

      Pure bias. DL bias. And plenty of B/S.

    4. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      "Pure bias. DL bias. And plenty of B/S."

      Such as? ...I mean, if you're going to make these claims, at least back them up.

      Much of what he said was a bit of a downer, but none of it was false.

    5. Gravelly Point Guy Guest

      As always, you are a sore LOSER!!

    6. Jason Guest

      You’re basically saying that Ua won’t do well here because dl did better over the pacific 6 years ago. Times have changed, there’s barely any demand for Asia but Australia is doing well, and there’s demand for Australia traffic. You have no insight into how Delta did to Australia versus United. And things have changed. United has a partner in Australia now. It’s also winter, United will cease several seasonal European markets, and it has...

      You’re basically saying that Ua won’t do well here because dl did better over the pacific 6 years ago. Times have changed, there’s barely any demand for Asia but Australia is doing well, and there’s demand for Australia traffic. You have no insight into how Delta did to Australia versus United. And things have changed. United has a partner in Australia now. It’s also winter, United will cease several seasonal European markets, and it has assets to put where there is demand. Why you’re making huge conclusions about a market tidsy based on incomplete market information from years ago is weird to me. And of no relevance here.

    7. Tim Dunn Diamond

      No, I said absolutely nothing about whether this flight would make money or not.

      My statement was a direct response to OMAAT's statement that UA has been more aggressive in expanding its international route system and also has a more "sexy" route system.

      It is not bias to cite public data. It is fact whether some people want to hear it or not.

      Australia is part of the Pacific route system for all US airlines....

      No, I said absolutely nothing about whether this flight would make money or not.

      My statement was a direct response to OMAAT's statement that UA has been more aggressive in expanding its international route system and also has a more "sexy" route system.

      It is not bias to cite public data. It is fact whether some people want to hear it or not.

      Australia is part of the Pacific route system for all US airlines. United, despite being the largest airline - among all carriers - has not been profitable flying the Pacific in over 5 years. That is simply a stunning reality given how much touts its Pacific size.

      Let's also not forget that United added a number of routes including regional cities in China which did not survive even before covid. Adding routes is far less significant than maintaining them.

      I get the difference between what customers want and what companies provide. If airlines can't generate profits on par with their peers, investors go elsewhere - which is partly why investors value UAL at less than 60% of how they value DAL.

      If you or anyone else can get someone else to subsidize what you enjoy, go for it but don't be surprised if alot of other routes or services get pulled back because that is what for-profit companies that don't wish to end up like Pan Am have to do.

    8. Jason Guest

      as I said below and will say again, way to ruin the moment.

      Whether you like it or not, it is "sexy".

      The main bulk of UA's route network beforehand in Asia was in China, and China was seeing extreme saturation and very low fares in the years leading up to Covid, mostly thanks to the extensive expansion of Chinese airlines in the China-US market. It's no wonder that Asia might have been a...

      as I said below and will say again, way to ruin the moment.

      Whether you like it or not, it is "sexy".

      The main bulk of UA's route network beforehand in Asia was in China, and China was seeing extreme saturation and very low fares in the years leading up to Covid, mostly thanks to the extensive expansion of Chinese airlines in the China-US market. It's no wonder that Asia might have been a struggle for them during that time.

      All of that has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not this will be successful now. That's great that Delta did well before. They dont have the Australia network that United does, and dont have the partnerships to support it in the way that United now does. Focus on the now and the future, not on a different environment. Sure you can say all sorts of things about the past, but that has nothing to do with now or what will come. What we know NOW is that NOW Delta has a semi weekly flight to China and is taking baby steps back in Japan and Korea, and has no plans to return to Australia.

      United has been aggressive in expanding its route system,and I do objectively think it's "sexy". It'll be interesting to see if it works out. They obviously have determined that this is a good place to put their assets during a period of high demand to the Southern hemisphere, and that's what they are doing. Thanks for raining on everybody's parade. You sound like a really happy person.

    9. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Jason,
      I clearly rained on you and a whole lot of other people. I am sorry if knowing facts creates such difficulty.
      your theory about China flights doesn't fly, though. Delta and United have operated identical numbers of flights to China during the pandemic because the Chinese government capped the number of flights at such a low level that the previous treaty is not being honored - in which UA previously had a...

      Jason,
      I clearly rained on you and a whole lot of other people. I am sorry if knowing facts creates such difficulty.
      your theory about China flights doesn't fly, though. Delta and United have operated identical numbers of flights to China during the pandemic because the Chinese government capped the number of flights at such a low level that the previous treaty is not being honored - in which UA previously had a lot more flights. Yet, United still lost 20 times more money flying the Pacific in 2021 than Delta.
      Second, the value of Virgin Australia might help United but Delta is actually increasing its flights to Australia this winter even though it lost the partnership.
      Third, the real differentiator between DL and UA is not volume but the ability to manage costs including on international flights - which is a function of fleet
      While it was less true last year than it is now, Delta will spend 37 cents/gallon less for fuel than United across its system in the 2nd quarter and the gap will continue if not grow. Add in that UA is determined to put its PW 777-200s back in the air despite the fact that they get lower fuel efficiency than every plane in DLs fleet and every other type in UA's fleet, and the choice to put a 787-9 on BNE is forcing up UA's costs somewhere else on its system where it could use a 787 to replace a 777.

      Again, I am sorry if this information bothers you but it is important to know that United hasn't operated its international system at the same level of profitability for years and no company can consistently generate lower profit margins than its direct competitors and maintain service of all types across its system.

    10. Jason Guest

      You're really talking about losses in 2021 over the Pacific? Okay.

      All I can say is good luck to Delta in Australia this winter when they have no partner and no solid point of sale down there.

      Why cant you just enjoy the moment?

      Nobody is saying that United is going to be the most profitably airline on the planet. They clearly have cost and other issues that prevent that. But they are...

      You're really talking about losses in 2021 over the Pacific? Okay.

      All I can say is good luck to Delta in Australia this winter when they have no partner and no solid point of sale down there.

      Why cant you just enjoy the moment?

      Nobody is saying that United is going to be the most profitably airline on the planet. They clearly have cost and other issues that prevent that. But they are deploying their resources in a way that they think will work for them, and here you are coming in and ruining it. It's very apparent that nobody but Delta can do anything to impress you. How boring.

      And FYI - even though United had some profitability issues in the Pacific, it still overall was profitable over the years you mention.

      What a way to ruin people's fun.

    11. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      The sad truth is that EVERY airline operates some aspect of their operation (be it a single route, or an entire regional segment) at a loss, and will continue to do so as it has a net positive impact on their overall network, route structure, or ability to offer contractual packages to corporate customers.

      Take pre-covid for example: you could get a roundtrip LAX-PVG for $600 on the week of departure; and all three US...

      The sad truth is that EVERY airline operates some aspect of their operation (be it a single route, or an entire regional segment) at a loss, and will continue to do so as it has a net positive impact on their overall network, route structure, or ability to offer contractual packages to corporate customers.

      Take pre-covid for example: you could get a roundtrip LAX-PVG for $600 on the week of departure; and all three US carriers + MU were offering it. There's no way in hell that anyone was making money on that, but the market clearly demanded that offering in order to have any shot at corporate SoCal TPAC traffic.

    12. Mark Guest

      Tim, there are different ways of accounting profit/loss across the system (i.e. how is revenue on NRT-SFO-CMH allocated between Pacific and domestic). UA has shown they won’t keep loss-making routes, and the remaining routes do compromise a “sexier” map than the ones of other airlines.

      DL has more fortress hubs with less completion, allowing them to charge higher fares and make higher yields. Great for them, but it doesn’t always translate into the ability...

      Tim, there are different ways of accounting profit/loss across the system (i.e. how is revenue on NRT-SFO-CMH allocated between Pacific and domestic). UA has shown they won’t keep loss-making routes, and the remaining routes do compromise a “sexier” map than the ones of other airlines.

      DL has more fortress hubs with less completion, allowing them to charge higher fares and make higher yields. Great for them, but it doesn’t always translate into the ability to push out competition in areas with other carriers (closing SIN and the DFW hub).

      Look inward and ask yourself why you are known as one of the most biased posters across multiple sites. You’re quick to blame others but, when so many feel this way, it is something in your style that makes people view you as biased and diminishes their enjoyment of these stories. I know you’ll have an answer pointing out the fault lies elsewhere, but, again, why do so many feel this way about you, including many who are clearly unbiased and just want to enjoy the discussion.

      Other airlines are taking steps to strengthen their own positions. Just enjoy the show and this fascinating industry. Not everything needs to be a battle. It’s exhausting.

    13. Tim Dunn Diamond

      first, Mark, the data comes from each airline. The DOT doesn't prorate costs or revenue.
      Second, United has been in business just about as long as Delta. If Delta has figured out that having hubs in markets where it faces less competition results in higher profits, why hasn't other carriers been able to duplicate their strategy.

      The data speaks for itself and it has nothing to do with how it is presented. And I...

      first, Mark, the data comes from each airline. The DOT doesn't prorate costs or revenue.
      Second, United has been in business just about as long as Delta. If Delta has figured out that having hubs in markets where it faces less competition results in higher profits, why hasn't other carriers been able to duplicate their strategy.

      The data speaks for itself and it has nothing to do with how it is presented. And I don't see any battle in having a discussion about difficult subjects.

    14. Jason Guest

      I mean, where else do you propose that other airlines put hubs with no competition? Delta has Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Detroit and Salt Lake City which are cities that are large and have good solid corporate demand and very little competition. Delta owns those cities and charges accordingly. Are there other large cities out there that other airlines could own, that ALSO generate lots of local traffic? No, they're taken. Delta most dilutes its profits...

      I mean, where else do you propose that other airlines put hubs with no competition? Delta has Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Detroit and Salt Lake City which are cities that are large and have good solid corporate demand and very little competition. Delta owns those cities and charges accordingly. Are there other large cities out there that other airlines could own, that ALSO generate lots of local traffic? No, they're taken. Delta most dilutes its profits from those cities by having larges operations in NYC and Seattle where there's TONS of competition and Delta has to price competitively to stay relevant. See? Delta does it too - they're probably not very profitable in those cities, but they have to be there to maintain their overall network and stay relevant to people everywhere. Just like other airlines.
      There really are no other Atlantas out there for United and American to go to to be shielded from competition and have access to a large local travel base that generates volume and high fares. Not sure why this is such a difficult concept. They cant "duplicate" Delta's strategy simply because there arent markets like that.
      Your adoration of Delta blinds you to the realities of the market at large, which undermines any credibility you bring to any discussion in any forum.

    15. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Jason,
      I am not blinded to anything. I analyze data.
      My question is simply how Delta managed to figure out that ATL, DTW MSP and SLC generate higher margins than ORD, EWR, DEN, SFO etc and yet DL and UA have been in business about the same length of time - and exactly the same amount of time since deregulation.

      but this discussion isn't about domestic hubs but about international flights because AA,...

      Jason,
      I am not blinded to anything. I analyze data.
      My question is simply how Delta managed to figure out that ATL, DTW MSP and SLC generate higher margins than ORD, EWR, DEN, SFO etc and yet DL and UA have been in business about the same length of time - and exactly the same amount of time since deregulation.

      but this discussion isn't about domestic hubs but about international flights because AA, DL UA and every other US carrier that operates beyond the US provide data for each global region.
      UA's profit margins across the Atlantic are in line with its system which is not as high as DL but UA certainly has a stronger history of profitability over the Atlantic.
      But their Atlantic track record makes their Pacific financial performance all the more interesting = which raises the question of why UA needs so many more routes without showing profits.
      And DL has said that its strongest profits come from its "core 4" hubs but that SEA, LAX, LGA/JFK, and BOS are profitable. That is very different than not being able to report profitability across an entire global region which is reported publicly; hub profitability is not reported so what any airline says about their own or other's hub profitability has to be viewed with caution.

      My comments have clearly upset some people so I will give it a rest. It is my intent to provide information and have dialogue and not to create dissension. I appreciate the dialogue with you and your willingness to help explore the root issues - as much as any of us outside of an airline C suite can do.

    16. Jason Guest

      Delta started in Atlanta, then years ago bought Western, which gave them SLC, and then merged with Northwest, which gave them DTW and MSP.
      They've shut down the hubs where they grew organically but didnt do well in. Which was CVG and DFW.
      They've taken what they've gotten over time and produced something.
      the other airlines started with what they had.
      Great that Delta does well. They are in markets where...

      Delta started in Atlanta, then years ago bought Western, which gave them SLC, and then merged with Northwest, which gave them DTW and MSP.
      They've shut down the hubs where they grew organically but didnt do well in. Which was CVG and DFW.
      They've taken what they've gotten over time and produced something.
      the other airlines started with what they had.
      Great that Delta does well. They are in markets where they mostly have little competition and they are disciplined cost managers so they do profit.
      Fact is, we dont know the profitablity of australia for any airline.
      It will be interesting to see how this works out.

    17. Big AL Guest

      Calm down Tim, take a pill and relax a bit.

      Tomorrow will be a better day for you.

    18. Mark Guest

      Tim, you said this is a difficult subject, and I think you hit the nail on the head since you turn so many topics into “difficult subjects”. This is a route announcement from SFO to BNE. As fans of the industry we should all be happy to see it recover and to see new routes.

      You came out of nowhere to turn it into a difficult subject, as you do so often. Again, why...

      Tim, you said this is a difficult subject, and I think you hit the nail on the head since you turn so many topics into “difficult subjects”. This is a route announcement from SFO to BNE. As fans of the industry we should all be happy to see it recover and to see new routes.

      You came out of nowhere to turn it into a difficult subject, as you do so often. Again, why do so many people perceive you this way? Look inward. There are plenty of people who post data but are not seen as biased and as the person who will derail an otherwise enjoyable discussion.

      Your constant inclusion of DL in non-DL topics and the almost blind adoration while ignoring accomplishments of other carriers seems to stem from some kind of insecurity, as if you’re trying to convince yourself more than anyone else that no other carrier has successes and that DL has never had a failure.

      Again, look inward and try to ascertain why you have this level of infamy across so many sites, when so many other posters are not seen this way.

    19. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Jason,
      Delta started in Louisiana; Delta is derived from its presence in the Mississippi Delta.
      Airlines all have strategies and some of them produce different results.
      Pan Am essentially is split between Delta and United: United operated round the world flights but Delta didn't.
      Delta has closed alot more underperforming assets - and then managed to rebuild it elsewhere.
      Let's not forget that Northwest's Pacific swung from profitability to DEEP...

      Jason,
      Delta started in Louisiana; Delta is derived from its presence in the Mississippi Delta.
      Airlines all have strategies and some of them produce different results.
      Pan Am essentially is split between Delta and United: United operated round the world flights but Delta didn't.
      Delta has closed alot more underperforming assets - and then managed to rebuild it elsewhere.
      Let's not forget that Northwest's Pacific swung from profitability to DEEP unprofitability. It took years for Delta to decide it wasn't going to subsidize people's travel to/from Asia.

      Mark,
      I have data which other people don't have and data is power. No one at least on this forum that I can recall has talked about fuel efficiency or global region profitability.

      and, Ben made the comparison between UA and DL and AA in his article. I explained why and the rest is documented.

      And it still remains true that no for-profit company can offer products or services for a sustained period of time when they are much less profitable than their peers.
      I get the excitement of a new route but context regarding UA's financial performance on its Pacific route system is just as necessary as it is to note that AA made the tough decision to dramatically cut back its Pacific network, is far less sexy, but has alot better chance of making money than they did.

      I am hoping UA can make BNE work but I hope you aren't surprised when we find out that UA's actual Asia route system is a whole lot smaller because China including HKG isn't coming back to anything like it was before. and then it comes down to routes that do work - and I'm not sure that any carrier has a slam dunk on that.

    20. platy Guest

      @ Tim Dunn

      Have you factored freight into your analysis (you merrily compare passengers loads, so what about freight?).

      Have you considered that these airlines are basing these decisions on forward projections, such much of your data and argument on past performance is moot?

      Have you considered that AA has given up on their LAX-SYD flights (supposedly because of lack of aircraft) until later in the year?

      Have you considered that the traditional airline of...

      @ Tim Dunn

      Have you factored freight into your analysis (you merrily compare passengers loads, so what about freight?).

      Have you considered that these airlines are basing these decisions on forward projections, such much of your data and argument on past performance is moot?

      Have you considered that AA has given up on their LAX-SYD flights (supposedly because of lack of aircraft) until later in the year?

      Have you considered that the traditional airline of choice for Australians, namely QF, has greatly tarnished its own brand during COVID through long delayed refunds and appalling. call wait times?

      Have you considered that UA now has a business class product in Polaris that will be looked at favourably rather than frowned upon?

      Have you considered that Virgin Australia has access to over 10 million members through its Velocity frequent flyer program, very roughly 50% of the adult population of Australia, and UA gets to market to those potential customers locally?

      Now just how is Delta going to manage promoting itself in Australia?!

      Have you considered that the Australian population is shifting out of the big cities of Sydney and Melbourne - Brisbane has grown and developed stunningly over the last decade, basically it is now the most desirable city in the country. It also offers the catchment of the Gold Coast (which itself offers international flights to SIN) to the south and Sunshine Coast to the north - a total area of greatly expanding population and wealth.

      Brisbane is closer to Byron Bay, Gold Coast, tropical north (Cairns and the Barrier Reef etc), and only short flights away from the other Australian cities of Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide.

      Have you considered that not everybody wants to go to LA. They'd rather go to SF? And people live in SF as well.

      There is an enormous pent up demand to travel among Australians.

      Eventually Americans will "stop living in fear and hiding from COVID" and allow international arrivals without day-before COVID tests.

      Eventually, the country will catch up with its back log of visa and Truster Partner Program applications.

      Perhaps more Americans will bother to get their COVID vaccinations and make travelling to the USA a less risky choice.

      Perhaps the cost of travelling within the US for overseas tourists will subside making the country more attractive - with Americans too scared to leave their own country the demand on American hotels, flights and accommodation has driven costs for Australians to visit Hawaii and the big cities of LA and SF, etc. It's become very expensive. Hopefully, that will change too as Americans overcome their fear and prejudice of other countries that handled COVID better than them and start to travel overseas themselves reducing local demand.

      Tim, you have indeed offered some facts, but maybe the analysis is rather superficial and preordained?

    21. Leigh Gold

      That reply was intended for Platy...

    22. platy Guest

      @ Leigh

      Gratitude!

      And thanks for sharing your insights from the coalface.

    23. Mark Guest

      Tim, again, this is not about your information but about you turning a UA route announcement to BNE, the first new Pacific route announced by any airlines since COVID, into a discussion about Delta. Even if you say it’s because Ben brought up his admiration for UA’s route map, that still has nothing to do with DL.

      It is your obsession with DL that makes you lose credibility. Choose your battles and focus on...

      Tim, again, this is not about your information but about you turning a UA route announcement to BNE, the first new Pacific route announced by any airlines since COVID, into a discussion about Delta. Even if you say it’s because Ben brought up his admiration for UA’s route map, that still has nothing to do with DL.

      It is your obsession with DL that makes you lose credibility. Choose your battles and focus on DL when the discussion is about them.

      You come off as having a sense of sour grapes when you start defending an airline nobody is talking about. Over and over and over.

      This is about how you are perceived and how you lose credibility when you come off sounding as sensitive, insecure, and emotional as you do.

    24. Jason Guest

      ah yes, Delta started in Monroe, but quickly centered and has nurtured Atlanta as its main base for most of its existence. Delta is a well run carrier and I wish them the best.

      NOt sure why you keep talking about Asia. The fact that UA might not be big in China for a long while, if ever, does not mean it wont grow and be profitable in Australia and New Zealand.

      Again, I...

      ah yes, Delta started in Monroe, but quickly centered and has nurtured Atlanta as its main base for most of its existence. Delta is a well run carrier and I wish them the best.

      NOt sure why you keep talking about Asia. The fact that UA might not be big in China for a long while, if ever, does not mean it wont grow and be profitable in Australia and New Zealand.

      Again, I have worked in profitability reporting for both US and international carriers. Just because a region as a whole loses money doesnt mean there arent parts that make money. Or, a region could lose money but have some individual parts that are profitable. While I guess you could lump Australia in with Asia, that's fine, but the fact is that Australia could have been making money while China lost money, etc. You really dont know one way or the other.

      But that's all in the past. I dont know how you can go from saying you hope Brisbane makes money but dont be surpirsed if United's route network in Asia is smaller since China and HKG might not come back. The two are unrelated.

    25. platy Guest

      @ Mark

      "you are known as one of the most biased posters across multiple sites...many who are clearly unbiased and just want to enjoy the discussion"

      IMHO Tim deserves credit for offering some sort of factual basis for his position (whether I, or any of the rest of you, agrees with his conclusions).

      Several posters in this thread have mounted personal attacks whilst offering no facts, contextual information, argued opinion or willingness to enter...

      @ Mark

      "you are known as one of the most biased posters across multiple sites...many who are clearly unbiased and just want to enjoy the discussion"

      IMHO Tim deserves credit for offering some sort of factual basis for his position (whether I, or any of the rest of you, agrees with his conclusions).

      Several posters in this thread have mounted personal attacks whilst offering no facts, contextual information, argued opinion or willingness to enter a rational debate.

      Is is very rare on this (or most travel blogs) for posters to attempt any data mining, analysis, position.

      Invariably, when somebody steps out of the bell curve of suppliant mediocrity and lightweight commentary, they are met with those all too keen to shoot the messenger.

    26. MaxPower Guest

      Always so entertaining to hear Tim talk about DOT as the defining way to say pacific was or was not profitable. Take an accounting class about how costs are spread for the type of dot data you’re talking about or how the revenue is spread in a network hub airline. Your constant nonsense is always amusing though :)
      You betray your ignorance so publicly.

    27. Tim Dunn Diamond

      MAX
      once again, the DOT does not determine how costs or revenues are determined.
      They simply publish the information that all carriers provide.
      And, profitability by region sums to one. If United makes more on the Pacific than you think they do, then it has to come from someplace else - presumably their domestic system.
      Going back to 2019 - let's just forget the last two years from a business standpoint,...

      MAX
      once again, the DOT does not determine how costs or revenues are determined.
      They simply publish the information that all carriers provide.
      And, profitability by region sums to one. If United makes more on the Pacific than you think they do, then it has to come from someplace else - presumably their domestic system.
      Going back to 2019 - let's just forget the last two years from a business standpoint, right? - Delta and Southwest had higher domestic profits than United, but United earned more domestically than American - which certainly lines up with their reported system profitability to the SEC. DL, UA and WN all had $2 billion plus domestic profits.
      and United earned an $800 million profit flying the Atlantic while Delta was at $1.17 billion, both numbers largely in line with their system profitability. So is the Atlantic number also invalid?
      On the same basis, Delta earned a $300 million profit flying the Pacific in 2019 as the 2nd largest airline (of all nationalities) while United lost $84 million as the largest.

      Help me understand what numbers you think are wrong.

    28. Jason Guest

      Everything you say about prior results can be all factual and good. As others have mentioned, what’s it’s relevance here? This is United coming out with an announcement about a new route that they’re launching. Who cares how delta did 3-6 years ago? No relation to this. And fyi, I’ve worked in profitability reporting at airlines both domestically and internationally. Many times even though a whole region could be profitable or unprofitable, it was entirely...

      Everything you say about prior results can be all factual and good. As others have mentioned, what’s it’s relevance here? This is United coming out with an announcement about a new route that they’re launching. Who cares how delta did 3-6 years ago? No relation to this. And fyi, I’ve worked in profitability reporting at airlines both domestically and internationally. Many times even though a whole region could be profitable or unprofitable, it was entirely common for certain entities with the greater region to be profitable or unprofitable. It’s not uncommon. So again, no clue why, even if what you’re saying about stuff 3-6 years ago, it’s relevant in this context. You’re simply raining on peoples parades for no good reason

    29. MaxPower Guest

      There's little point trying to explain basic accounting to you. The point is DOT, as even you seem to point but ignore, has no standard for how to parse out costs and revenue by geographic entity. If there was a standard for "how" DOT wants the data sent to them, maybe the comparisons would be interesting between airlines, but they don't. Therefore, since basic network revenue seems to escape you... If UA sold a PDX-SFO-SYD...

      There's little point trying to explain basic accounting to you. The point is DOT, as even you seem to point but ignore, has no standard for how to parse out costs and revenue by geographic entity. If there was a standard for "how" DOT wants the data sent to them, maybe the comparisons would be interesting between airlines, but they don't. Therefore, since basic network revenue seems to escape you... If UA sold a PDX-SFO-SYD ticket for $800 in Y, it's up to UA to decide how much of the $800 they allocate to SFO-SYD. It's also up to United to allocate their overall company fixed costs and their SFO Fixed costs to the cost of flying that passenger.
      The point you constantly ignore with your misuse of DOT data is that the data itself is useless for geographic comparison between airlines and frankly inaccurate to say "UA is unprofitable across the Pacific in 2019" based off DOT data. Because there's no true standard as a basis of comparison and the allocation of cost & Revenue.

      Tim, UA beat Delta and got Virgin Oz. UA is also starting a cool new route. Just chill for once in your life. Your wild ignorance about DOT data but constant usage of it to make misleading statements is just old.

    30. Leigh Gold

      Tim, I like your info...but you have "lost the plot". Many are tired of your relentless DL cheerleading. You're actually giving bad PR to DL by your hyperventilating cheerleading...it's actually bad for the brand that you so deeply love. I get the sense that you are a smart guy, but not smart enough to realize that you've lost credibility.

    31. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Leigh,
      I don't represent DL or anyone; I analyze data.
      If my information is so off-putting, why has this become one of the longest subthreads that OMAAT has seen? People clearly want to interact on it including platy, who LOGICALLY crafted a reply.

      And yes, platy, I absolutely did consider all of these factors. But a number of people are missing the WHOLE REASON of why I replied to this article in the...

      Leigh,
      I don't represent DL or anyone; I analyze data.
      If my information is so off-putting, why has this become one of the longest subthreads that OMAAT has seen? People clearly want to interact on it including platy, who LOGICALLY crafted a reply.

      And yes, platy, I absolutely did consider all of these factors. But a number of people are missing the WHOLE REASON of why I replied to this article in the first place.
      Ben said that UA has added more markets and has more interesting/sexy markets in its network - which is precisely why I said that UA's profitability trails Delta's esp. in the Pacific where the BNE market will operate.

      There have been responses of all kinds but only one person has come close to admitting that, yes, United's Pacific margins are lower. That is objectively true.

      The DOT simply publishes the data that airlines provide and their profitability data includes cargo and general and administrative expenses as they are allocated across the airline's network (by the airline itself).

      And the whole point of even discussing UA's profitability by region including over the Pacific is not to forecast or predict how UA will do with BNE but that there are a significant number of routes that clearly are VERY unprofitable in order for UA's Pacific system to not be profitable.

      And this isn't about Delta. As I have noted, American has made the decision to exit a number of Asia markets because they know they can't be profitable - and they are cutting their losses ALONG WITH the size of their Pacific network. They are doing the same domestically while adding elsewhere.

      And the biggest threat to SFO-BNE is that UA will be forced to cut alot of international routes or see its transatlantic profitability fall dramatically. Crude oil is back above $120/bbl while UA is very likely paying over $5/gal for jet fuel from EWR; it is impossible for them to be profitable when their fuel costs for a flight from EWR to Europe on a 777-200/ER are 40% more than other airlines - not just Delta. Foreign airlines also have more fuel efficient fleets than United, esp. over the Pacific.

      I have nothing against BNE or UA but UA has told investors it will pay the highest fuel prices per gallon of the big 4 for this quarter and that will persist. Given that other airlines can operate flights with lower costs, United will either have to start scaling back flights or be willing to tell its investors that it is willing to use their money to maintain unprofitable flights.

    32. Leigh Guest

      Oh Tim…I actually admire some of your posts. But you just made a logical error…you state that your post has inspired so many posts…but the vast majority are NEGATIVE about you. You gloat about derisive comments about you????? That’s some twisted logic, unfortunately for a person that I actually think has other smart comments to offer…if always about DL.

      Let’s try a new exercise for you (and all), let’s think about alliances.

      This is...

      Oh Tim…I actually admire some of your posts. But you just made a logical error…you state that your post has inspired so many posts…but the vast majority are NEGATIVE about you. You gloat about derisive comments about you????? That’s some twisted logic, unfortunately for a person that I actually think has other smart comments to offer…if always about DL.

      Let’s try a new exercise for you (and all), let’s think about alliances.

      This is relates to AA pulling down the Pacific. They’re pulling down where their alliance partners already have heavy services…this would be a by far more complex and fun evaluation/analysis.

      The same analysis would also be intellectual fun to consider how it affects UA/DL/AA network planning.

    33. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Leigh,
      I will simply respond that American and Delta own stakes in Chinese airlines - which means nothing right now - and no US airline has a joint venture with any Chinese (or HKG) airline.
      The greatest amount of capacity that has been cut by US airlines has come from China.
      and tell me how American employees feel knowing that their joint venture partners can manage to operate flights but American cannot....

      Leigh,
      I will simply respond that American and Delta own stakes in Chinese airlines - which means nothing right now - and no US airline has a joint venture with any Chinese (or HKG) airline.
      The greatest amount of capacity that has been cut by US airlines has come from China.
      and tell me how American employees feel knowing that their joint venture partners can manage to operate flights but American cannot. Delta's pilots legitimately argue that point. American significantly cut its international fleet during the pandemic and is not replacing it at anywhere near the same pace while Delta has already acquired enough A330-900s and A350s to replace its 777 fleet which is why DL's operating costs have fallen as much as they have.

      And, specific to Australia, Delta and United are operating to and increasing their service to Australia with Delta doing it wihtout a partner. Any objective assessment would say that having a partner doesn't really seem to matter if Delta is expanding without a partner and American is dropping out even with one.

      btw, you do realize that you made a comparison of the 3 carriers in your last sentence - just as started this conversation.

    34. platy Guest

      @ Tim Dunn

      Here is a great example of your bad logic and mismatch of context:

      "And, specific to Australia, Delta and United are operating to and increasing their service to Australia with Delta doing it wihtout a partner. Any objective assessment would say that having a partner doesn't really seem to matter if Delta is expanding without a partner and American is dropping out even with one."

      (1) AA is coming back to Australia!...

      @ Tim Dunn

      Here is a great example of your bad logic and mismatch of context:

      "And, specific to Australia, Delta and United are operating to and increasing their service to Australia with Delta doing it wihtout a partner. Any objective assessment would say that having a partner doesn't really seem to matter if Delta is expanding without a partner and American is dropping out even with one."

      (1) AA is coming back to Australia! So your argument is deflated according to exactly when you attempt to apply it - in a few months time your reasoning is turned on its head! AA claims fleet issues for suspend LAX-SYD flights and is already supported through its partnership (JV?) with QF.

      (2) Delta is in the process of disengaging with Virgin Australia. That does not necessarily infer that it is their preferred or most profitable position. They may make a deal with Rex. Who knows. The new partnership between Virgin Australia and United took us all by surprise. The codeshare deal between Air NZ and Qantas also surprised many upon its inception. You cannot always know future airline strategy based on past data or prevailing assumption.

      (3) your "objective assessment" (having a partner doesn't really seem to matter) is most certainly not an objective assessment! It is highly presumptive.

      I have no reason to doubt your sincerity in extracting interesting data, but I find your logical process to be unconvincing. Your concept of "objective assessment" certainly ain't objective in the above example since it relies on a weak standard of inference.

      That said, FWIW, I find your posts most welcome and challenging , it is refreshing to have folk herein argue from the viewpoint of some data, and to have opinions they have derived by assembling some interesting background (even if I and others may disagree with some such opinions or their derivation).

      Please keep up the great contribution!

    35. Mark Guest

      Tim, why are you happy this is the largest sub-thread? It has nothing to do with the topic and is almost 100% against you and your obsession that takes away from others’ enjoyment of the post.

      It is not up to everyone to point out the insecurities that come through in your posts. We can only do so much, but, if you don’t have the self-awareness to understand the obsessive-compulsive tendencies that come through...

      Tim, why are you happy this is the largest sub-thread? It has nothing to do with the topic and is almost 100% against you and your obsession that takes away from others’ enjoyment of the post.

      It is not up to everyone to point out the insecurities that come through in your posts. We can only do so much, but, if you don’t have the self-awareness to understand the obsessive-compulsive tendencies that come through in your repetitive posts that don’t even relate to the initial topic, then I don’t know what else we can do.

      It does become frustrating for so many of us, and I don’t know why you seem to enjoy it. As mentioned above, it’s a bad look for DL to have this irrational and obsessive person promoting them, even after you said you’d take a break from posting.

      When even Cranky Flier, one of the most fair and balanced industry experts, points this out, introspection is needed. I mean this respectfully.

    36. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Mark,
      you have to open this long subthread. If it bothers you, why do you keep responding.
      There are people that are having an honest conversation. Because you don't like the facts I presented doesn't mean that other people's interest in the discussion should be cut off.

      I'm not promoting anyone or anything.

      I analyze data. Why is it so hard for you and others to acknowledge that United clearly has chosen a...

      Mark,
      you have to open this long subthread. If it bothers you, why do you keep responding.
      There are people that are having an honest conversation. Because you don't like the facts I presented doesn't mean that other people's interest in the discussion should be cut off.

      I'm not promoting anyone or anything.

      I analyze data. Why is it so hard for you and others to acknowledge that United clearly has chosen a very different strategy in the Pacific than it has in other regions.
      That observation is absolutely relevant to the comment that United has expanded more and flies to more cities than American or Delta - which IS a comparative statement.

      Given that United is using one of its most fuel efficient and modern aircraft on its new BNE route, all I have asked is if you will be as disappointed when United has to start cancelling a bunch of the routes it has announced or started as you are that someone points out that even pre-covid and super high fuel prices, United was much less profitable than its peers in THE region which it dominates.

      Others have repeatedly compared United to other carriers; I am not sure why you or others are upset when there is a response to that comparison.

    37. Jason Guest

      You do not in any way prove that UA will have to pull down flying in other regions to support BNE. It’s starting BNE thrice weekly during a time of year that it pulls down seasonal flying in Europe anyway and given that most of Asia isn’t flying, they have lots of spare capacity. They are expanding in an area where they see demand, just as is Delta. Whether they keep the flights flying to...

      You do not in any way prove that UA will have to pull down flying in other regions to support BNE. It’s starting BNE thrice weekly during a time of year that it pulls down seasonal flying in Europe anyway and given that most of Asia isn’t flying, they have lots of spare capacity. They are expanding in an area where they see demand, just as is Delta. Whether they keep the flights flying to Brisbane next summer is a different story. They say they are doing so niw. TBD. But either way, nothing indicates that they’d have to cut tons of flying in Europe or elsewhere to keep Brisbane. In addition, you have not anywhere proven one way or another that United wasn’t profitable in Australia. It’s very plausible they were profitable in Australia but over pacific profitability wasn’t there due to weaknesses in other regions in the Pacific. You’re really not making any logical arguments here, just being annoying. And simply not addressing the valid points others have made when they contradict your narratjve

    38. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Jason,
      I have not ONCE said that Brisbane wouldn't be profitable. NOT ONCE.
      I have said that UA's Pacific network - which is where BNE will be reported - is much less profitable than other carriers AND MOST IMPORANTLY than what UA reports in other reasons.
      I have yet to hear anyone address why that is true.

      I have said that UA's international system costs are high and are getting higher both...

      Jason,
      I have not ONCE said that Brisbane wouldn't be profitable. NOT ONCE.
      I have said that UA's Pacific network - which is where BNE will be reported - is much less profitable than other carriers AND MOST IMPORANTLY than what UA reports in other reasons.
      I have yet to hear anyone address why that is true.

      I have said that UA's international system costs are high and are getting higher both because of their fleet choices and also because of the cost of fuel. Given that UA is reporting the highest fuel costs of the big 4 - including WN - UA is vulnerable to factors that do not affect other airlines to the same degree.

      It is very possible for me to hope BNE succeed and also observe that BNE is part of UA's overall system and more specifically its Pacific system.

      If the conversation is annoying, why do you and others keep coming back?

    39. Leigh Guest

      Tim, I encourage and appreciate your comments. In between the hyperbole…please try to be more open-minded.

      You have great knowledge…expand it…you can be a huge asset if you open your mind.

    40. platy Guest

      @ Tim Dunn

      Have you factored in the government subsidy in your analysis?

      To quote BNE Airport Corporation media release:

      "...A partnership between the Queensland Government and Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has landed its first target, securing new direct flights between San Francisco and Brisbane via the $200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund..."

      It's not clear from the wording how much of that fund goes to UA.

      Also to note relatively high airfares and high...

      @ Tim Dunn

      Have you factored in the government subsidy in your analysis?

      To quote BNE Airport Corporation media release:

      "...A partnership between the Queensland Government and Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has landed its first target, securing new direct flights between San Francisco and Brisbane via the $200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund..."

      It's not clear from the wording how much of that fund goes to UA.

      Also to note relatively high airfares and high demand currently on trans-Pacific routes.

      Furthermore, and FWIW, I often find benefit in looking at a scenario via a systems analysis. It surprises me that airlines would be tempted into a route by route justification, rather than evolving a holistic approach. Embedded co-dependent variables can have counter intuitive impacts on the performance of the system.

      In lieu of direct personal experience, I can only trust that the financial models used by leading airlines are smart enough to account for such interdependencies and system trajectory are well understood.

      Bottom line - route by route analysis alone may not deliver the most profitable outcome for the airline as a whole. Basically, simple logic based on presumed linear non dependent relationships can be a big trap!

    41. Tim Dunn Diamond

      iow, and in layman's terms,
      this route is being subsidized by the locals and UA is adding it based on incentives that might or might not justify keeping it long term.

  7. Hans Guest

    Anything on Star Alliance award availability? Couldnt find a seat at first look

  8. Alonzo Diamond

    Hell no. Bring back Qantas first class. You couldn't pay me to fly United on an international route of 10+ hours. Hecky naw.

    1. Watson Gold

      UA's service is mediocre, but their Polaris seats are pretty good, and perfectly fine for long haul flights.

  9. AJ Guest

    Good news for competition. Qantas is not match fit. Flying old 330 where crew have to sleep in economy class and don’t have crew rest for 15 hours.

  10. vlcnc Guest

    You've put Melbourne on the timings rather than Brisbane ;)

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ vlcnc -- My mistake! Fixed, thank you.

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Big AL Guest

Calm down Tim, take a pill and relax a bit.

6
Alonzo Diamond

Hell no. Bring back Qantas first class. You couldn't pay me to fly United on an international route of 10+ hours. Hecky naw.

2
Mark Guest

Tim, again, this is not about your information but about you turning a UA route announcement to BNE, the first new Pacific route announced by any airlines since COVID, into a discussion about Delta. Even if you say it’s because Ben brought up his admiration for UA’s route map, that still has nothing to do with DL. It is your obsession with DL that makes you lose credibility. Choose your battles and focus on DL when the discussion is about them. You come off as having a sense of sour grapes when you start defending an airline nobody is talking about. Over and over and over. This is about how you are perceived and how you lose credibility when you come off sounding as sensitive, insecure, and emotional as you do.

1
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