Details Of United Airlines’ Big International Expansion

Filed Under: United

Following American Airlines announcing some significant international expansion a couple of weeks ago, United Airlines has now announced some international expansion as well, including some pretty cool and creative routes.

United Airlines’ New Route Announcement

United has experienced an incredible amount of growth lately, including lots of new ultra long haul flights.

Today they’re announcing their latest international growth, which includes new year-round flights, new seasonal flights, and some seasonal flights becoming year-round. While the primary focus here is on transatlantic flights, there are some other additions as well.

Impressively this complements all of the 2019 summer seasonal flying that United already offered — they’re not cutting any routes (unrelated to this, United is suspending Chicago to Hong Kong and Newark to Buenos Aires), so these are all additions that will be made possible by the new wide body planes they’re taking delivery of. United’s route planning people are clearly pretty sharp.

So let’s take a look at the details.

Chicago To Zurich Year-Round Flight

As of March 28, 2020, United will offer year-round daily service between Chicago and Zurich. This will be operated by one of their premium configured 767-300s, featuring 46 Polaris seats.

United says they offer the most flights of any US airline to Switzerland, and that from Chicago United operates to more year-round international destinations in Europe, Asia, and South America, than any airline.

This will complement United’s existing flights from Newark, San Francisco, and Washington. Furthermore, Swiss also flies from Chicago to Zurich, and they’re part of the same joint venture as United.

Seasonal Newark To Nice Flight

As of May 2, 2020, United will be launching daily seasonal flights between Newark and Nice. This flight will be operated using a premium configured Boeing 767-300, featuring 46 Polaris seats. This makes sense, given that this is a premium leisure market.

United will be going head-to-head with both Delta and La Compagnie here. Delta operates this flight seasonally with a Boeing 767-400, while La Compagnie operated the route seasonally this year for the first time with a 757-200 in an all business class configuration.

Seasonal Newark To Palermo Flight

As of May 20, 2020, United will offer seasonal flights between Newark and Palermo. They’ll be the only US airline flying to Sicily, so that’s a pretty cool addition. Meridiana used to fly between Palermo and New York before they rebranded as Air Italy.

Seasonal Newark To Curacao Flight

As of December 7, 2019, United will offer winter seasonal Saturday-only flights between Newark and Curacao. The route will be operated by a Boeing 737-700 aircraft, and will be United’s 21st island destination in the Caribbean.

Denver To London Flight Becomes Year-Round

United launched seasonal flights between Denver and London as of 2018. However, as of November 1, 2019, United will offer year-round flights between Denver and London using a Boeing 787-8.

This will complement United’s existing year-round service from Denver to both Frankfurt and Tokyo.

San Francisco To New Delhi Flight Becomes Year-Round

United already announced that they’d offer seasonal flights between San Francisco and New Delhi as of December 5, 2019. Well, United’s new San Francisco to New Delhi route will operate year-round with a Boeing 787-9.

Increased Frequencies To Amsterdam & Frankfurt

As of March 28, 2020, United will be offering a second daily flight from Newark to both Amsterdam and Frankfurt:

  • The second daily Newark to Amsterdam flight will be operated by a 767-300 with 30 Polaris seats
  • The second daily Newark to Frankfurt flight will be operated by a 767-300 with 46 Polaris seats

Status Of United’s New Polaris Business Class Seats

Speaking of international routes, I figured it made sense to check in on the progress of new Polaris seats. United first announced their new Polaris business class concept in December 2016, so what’s the status of United planes featuring these new seats?

  • As it stands, about a third of United’s wide body aircraft have been reconfigured with the new seats
  • By the end of the year, roughly 50% of all United wide bodies will have new Polaris business class seats, though that number includes newly delivered planes (which United received with these new seats)
  • The first 787-8s and 787-9s should be reconfigured with the new Polaris cabins as of later this year

Polaris business class seats on new 787-10

Reconfiguring a third of planes in nearly three years isn’t exactly impressive, if you ask me.

Want to redeem miles for United Polaris? See here for the best credit cards for earning United miles.

United New Route Summary

United’s route planning people really impress me. Not only have they tried some really creative new routes (including ultra long haul flights, which are notoriously difficult to turn profits on), but they are succeeding by all accounts.

They’re not cutting a single one of the routes they’ve already added and they just keep expanding their international network. Ultimately there’s nothing too shocking here, in my opinion, though there are still some really creative routes.

It’s also cool to see United’s super-premium 767s operate premium summer seasonal flights, rather than just business markets like Newark to London.

What do you make of United’s latest expansion?

Comments
  1. “San Francisco To Mumbai Flight Becomes Year-Round” or Delhi?

    Were you also the one that edited DFW’s wiki page for DFW-BOM service? 😉

  2. @ DB — Despite negative changes to MileagePlus, I find that United is still the best of the “big three” US carriers when it comes to saver award space on their own metal. I wouldn’t expect much in advance, but at least last minute I expect we’ll see a good amount of space, assuming they don’t radically adjust how they do award tickets between now and then.

  3. Waiting for DCS to follow up on calling out my “IAH is second tier for UA” point with utter nonsense in return, given no expansion there.

  4. The math is a little off. United stands at 56 reconfigured widebodies (in service or in mod) and 27 new deliveries, for a total of 83 frames with Polaris seats. The 767/777/787 fleet is a total of 191 airplanes (22 to be delivered in the remainder of 2019 and 2020). 19 777-200 are substantially domestic-only, with the exception of EWR-MAD, and 4 777-200ER currently fly international but won’t receive new Polaris interiors. Reportedly, 4 767-300ER will be retired and won’t get Polaris, either.

    So, if we just back out the airplanes United isn’t going to reconfigure, it’s more like 50% of the fleet already, and around 45% if we add those 9 767/777 in international service, but not receiving Polaris.

    United’s widebody fleet is positively massive. It’s not the blink-of-an-eye fast that people seem to demand, but looks pretty good compared to Delta’s absolutely languid pace of D1 suite retrofits…

  5. Have a few trips annually to India for work. Will avoid SFO-DEL until the 787 gets upgraded with Polaris. Having an easy one stop option to PNQ is nice, but not if I have to long-haul with Air India or fake Polaris.

  6. LX already operates a second daily ZRH-ORD 5x/week (not sure if seasonal or not), but there is demand for another daily flight?

  7. So if BA taking “3-4 years” to fit its whole longhaul fleet with the new Club Suite is “very slow”, what does that make United achieving, being generous, 50% of its fleet in 3 years?

    What, in your opinion, *is* an appropriate rate for refitting all business class in an entire longhaul fleet…?

    And which airline is doing it better? 😉

  8. Very disappointed that we didn’t get a single new route from LAX. We’ve lost international routes already (like HKG). Bring back LAX-HKG (hopefully the political unrest will settle down). Add LAX-BKK. And LAX-PEK, TPE, and ICN to link up with *A partners CA, BR, and OZ would be ideal, given the large Asian and Asian-American population in SoCal and the amount of commerce between the SoCal and Asia.

  9. Nice to see United add some international routes out of Newark. Contrast that to American, which ignores the NYC market.

  10. Eh. None of these are terribly exciting. Nice and Palermo perhaps. But Zurich – boring. Curacao – even more boring.

    I was expecting something more like HNL-LHR or HNL-TLV.

  11. Excited for Newark to Palermo. Sicily is one of the most underrated destinations in Italy.

    United are really setting the bar for the US-Italy market. Having Naples and Palermo as options in addition to the usual FCO/MXP/VCE flights is great for Italian-Americans and those going on vacation.

  12. My thoughts:

    – EWR to CUR – not a surprise; I honestly thought that they already flew to Curacao
    – EWR to FRA/AMS expansion – I am a bit surprised that they are going 2x daily to AMS instead of just doing it 1x daily with a 787-10. The new Frankfurt route will total for 5 daily flights from the New York Area to Frankfurt on Star Alliance carriers – will add extra capacity to connect on LH to other destinations in Europe.
    – EWR to Nice/Palermo – the NYC to Nice will increase competition (with DL and La Compagnie) and hopefully will drive prices down. We are seeing a trend of AA/DL/UA (shown with the Palermo) starting flights to smaller leisure destinations in Europe, including AA’s flight to Dubrovnik and Bologna, Delta’s flight to Malaga, or United’s flight to Naples.
    – Nothing surprising about the SFO-DEL, ORD-ZRH, DEN-LHR flights
    – Overall, I am a bit disappointed that there are no new flights to Asia or Australia with this announcement like many of us had predicted. My guess (hope) is that in a couple of months they will have another announcement where they will announce service to new cities (or just increase service to airports already flown to) in Asia, such as Bangkok or Manila.

  13. On the IAH point, I’m in Houston and disappointed as well, but not surprised. IAH got a lot of great new service during the recession years when oil was booming, and now that’s reversed so other hubs are getting the love. I’m guessing UA has a recession fallback plan where some of this service gets canceled and the planes shift to Houston, which tends to do better than the national average during recessions.

    At this point, I’m not sure I see many obvious new long-haul UA routes from IAH. The more straightforward opportunities are with Star Alliance partners: ANA to Haneda, Asiana to Seoul, TAP to Lisbon, maybe Swiss to Zurich. Not sure about the status of Ethiopian to Africa.

  14. Very happy to see the additional routes system wide but suddenly IAH get only regional now. Do you have any insight on why that may be. We lost out CDG a few years back and really haven’t added anything “noteworthy” since.

  15. The EWR-NCE route is a great strategic move.
    1. For direct economy service from the US to NCE, Delta had a monopoly (also, a correction: JFK-NCE is not the “same route”).
    2. There are plenty of people around here with deep pockets and high MileagePlus balances. The only alternative for Business from EWR is unaffiliated/non-alliance.
    3. Many large airports in the US only have a single *A 1-stop itinerary from the US to Nice (via FRA on LH or YUL on AC). Once you get further down the list to e.g. SLC, PDX, or CHS, it’s only 2-stop itineraries. So this opens up the Cote d’Azur to a whole bunch of people across the US.
    4. Driving to Nice from many of the closest airports is not unpleasant, but still long. I would know, I drove from MXP to NCE earlier this month. I’m sure the train ride is better, though. Driving to a bigger airport in the US to save a connection is often very unpleasant.

  16. Great job United!! Leading the pack and some great additions out of EWR.

    so is Amsterdam going to be 2x year round or just seasonal. Surprised they didn’t add the 787-10 to that route instead of Brussels or Dublin

  17. Ben,

    I hope you’re are with regard to United’s Mileage Plus future but judging what Delta did with their loyalty program when it introduced so called “dynamic system of awards” a few years ago, nothing good is going to come out of it, except surreptitiously raising award requirements for flying to Europe, particularly in business class.

    I hope I’m wrong, and United would be more conscientious than Delta but frankly, I’m quite pessimistic. Well, we’ll see.

  18. @George

    I get your point if you are based in New Jersey or Long Island, but for people from Manhattan/ Brooklyn/Westchester/Connecticut etc. it is roughly the same distance to JFK and Newark. And any Sicilians/Italians looking to fly to NYC there is no real difference between JFK and EWR.

  19. @The nice Paul – Clearly UA wins the prize for the worst and slowest rollout ever. Until they finish their entire fleet, I will not risk a premium fare on the 50-50 chance that I will get a real Polaris seat. As for BA, it’s not so much the rate of their changeover (which seems reasonable) but that they started so late. I’m sure when it’s complete, it will be a game changer, at least for my flying needs.

  20. We live in Westchester are are happy to go to EWR or JFK for international travel. They are roughly the same distance time-wise

    And the Naples service is definitely doing well. I checked and it was hard to find a day with fares below $2,000. It’s the Capri express

  21. @UADrew I have to dispute IAH not getting anything “noteworthy” from UA since losing CDG in 2012. UA has added Santiago, Punta Cana, a second Tokyo flight, Munich, and the real biggie – Sydney. The problem with Paris is it’s all leisure/points traffic except Total and Schlumberger, and they both fly Air France.

  22. @Lucky, I would have agreed with you on saver award on United metal until the current devaluation. I have already some anecdotal evidence. Looking for coach award availability between IAD and Sao Paulo-GRU. There is not a single sit on the direct flight from December 1st till March 23 at the 30,000 one way level. It looks very much like a Delta award chart at a minimum of 66,000 miles, more than the regular one-way in business. You can get there connecting with Air Canada, Avianca, COPA, on some days for that mileage level. The question is whether they are restricting inventory on Star Alliance partners because I cannot find anything on Lifemiles, Krisflyer, or Aeroplan so no work around as you were suggesting when you first wrote about the devaluation. Do you have any insight on what is going on?

  23. I am hoping that more seats to sell will mean prices will be more competitive, and perhaps we will see some more upgrade space.

  24. Super strange that they are offering DEN-LHR for November, considering it’s already end of August!

    I booked DEN-LHR for November a few months ago, and only options were through EWR/ORD.

    How are they going to be turning profit only on tix booked <60 days out? I am guessing these planes will be totally empty, as everyone that has a planned trip booked their tix months ago too. What a shame!

  25. Between BA, Lufthansa, United and Norwegian DEN-LHR/LGW and DEN-FRA are well covered. As of now DEN only has 1 direct flight to Asia, DEN-NRT on United, would love to see other direct to Asia flights. ICN to connect with *A partner Asiana, BKK to connect with Thai, or PEK to connect with Air China would all seem logical options.
    Interestingly a China Airlines A350 visited DEN July 19th this year, but not sure that a route to TPE would warrant enough traffic on its own given they’re not a *A partner.

  26. So what happened to all the talk of new Pacific services? None of these new routes apart from San Francisco to Delhi goes anywhere near Pacific Ocean.

  27. @UA-NYC — “Waiting for DCS to follow up on calling out my ‘IAH is second tier for UA’ point with utter nonsense in return, given no expansion there.”

    LAX and IAD did *not* get any expansion routes, either, so I guess you also consider them to be 2nd tier? And since *when* does a 2nd tier hub get its own Polaris (VIP) Lounge (IAH as well as LAX and IAD have these)?

  28. They are still a shit airline and expansion won’t change that………..so now when they drag you off they can throw you in the ocean………..as my Lifetime Red Carpet Club card sits unused in my office………..

  29. Was hoping for some new routes out of DUB (IAH/SFO/DEN) or at least making either ORD and/or IAD year round :((

  30. My wishful thinking that UA would add routes to the Middle East, Eastern Europe or Africa will remain a wish!

    @UA-NYC sez: “Waiting for DCS to follow up on calling out my “IAH is second tier for UA” point with utter nonsense in return, given no expansion there.”

    I obliged with a new TravelRealityCheck post titled:

    “United Has No “Second Tier” Hubs on Continental USA”

    which you can find at: http://bit.ly/2P7N1z3

    Check it out and then stop saying silly stuff like “IAH is a second tier hub.” In fact, I passed through IAH yesterday on my way from EZE, and I am sure that UA would consider utterly ignorant anyone who calls IAH a “second tier” hub… really.

  31. @BillC – congrats IAH has a Polaris lounge. Even IAD the armpit of UA is building one. Doesn’t make it core to UA strategy going forward.

    IAH is still second tier as is LAX. ORD getting a bit more love with AA retreating.

  32. @UA-NYC — “Doesn’t make it core to UA strategy going forward.”

    So *why* would United bother to spend such large amounts of money to build Polaris (VIP) Lounges [rated #1 Worldwide for Business Class Lounges in 2019 by SkyTrax] at hubs that are *not* 1st tier?

  33. @BillC asks: “So *why* would United bother to spend such large amounts of money to build Polaris (VIP) Lounges [rated #1 Worldwide for Business Class Lounges in 2019 by SkyTrax] at hubs that are *not* 1st tier?”

    That question goes to just how silly it is to claim that UA has 1st- or 2nd-tier hubs. I bet you that it would be (hilarious) news if anyone approached a UA official and referred to IAH as a ‘2nd-tier hub’.

    I posted a response that is being held in moderation (30 min now) in which I demonstrated why the raking of hubs is ridiculous and ignorant.

  34. @BillC – don’t get your panties in a bunch. It’s still a captive hub audience so y’all will pay through the nose and get thrown a bone here and there. Congrats. But UA isn’t putting its smart money there…that is going to SFO & EWR. Where the money is.

  35. @UA-NYC @BillC This is silliness. UA’s operation at IAH is their 2nd largets hub (just barely behind ORD and likely to pass it in coming years as Kirby sees 20 new cities and 700 flights/day in a few years) and the 5th largest hubbing operation in the country (behind ATL, DFW, CLT, and ORD). It is the 2nd largest Latin America hub in the country behind AA at Miami. And UA has premium long-haul nonstops to Japan, Europe, Australia, and South America from it.

    503 flights/day
    91 daily international nonstops to 90 destinations
    413 daily flights to 116 US airports

  36. @DCS — “That question goes to just how silly it is to claim that UA has 1st- or 2nd-tier hubs.”

    Yes … I understand your points … it *is* possible that airlines, of course, *can* rank their hubs based on some internal performance criteria (eg, passenger flows, $revenues, #flights, #destinations, #complaints, etc). What I’m *not* getting from @UA-NYC’s posts is what his different “Tiers” of hubs mean — that is … upon what criteria is he basing his tagging of Tier-levels at various hubs?

  37. @UA-NYC — “don’t get your panties in a bunch”

    OK … and you similarly watch out about your G-strings! 😛

    @UA-NYC — “But UA isn’t putting its smart money there…that is going to SFO & EWR. Where the money is.”

    No doubt that SFO (Asia-Pacific, etc) and EWR (EU, etc) *are* top focus hubs, to the west and to the east, but United is a “Big Boy” who can “walk and chew gum” at the same time! This expansion cycle happened to focus on India, EU, and Caribbean … the prior one focused a lot on Asia-Pacific … how do you know that the next focus area won’t be towards South America (for which IAH is an ideal hub)? Every hub has its turn at hosting expansion routes!

  38. @BillC: “it *is* possible that airlines, of course, *can* rank their hubs”.

    Anything is *possible*, but the question is: does UA rank theirs? And, even if they do, what is the likelihood that they would put IAH, one of their largest and busiest hubs, in the 2nd tier? Zero likelihood.

    The more relevant question that you asked is this one for which I suspect there is no answer:
    “What I’m *not* getting from @UA-NYC’s posts is what his different “Tiers” of hubs mean — that is … upon what criteria is he basing his tagging of Tier-levels at various hubs?”

    Dear OMAAT: would you release my comment from moderation so that the excellent point that @Tory-IAH just made about the size of UA’s operation at IHA can be **visualized** on maps that compare nonstop destinations out each of UAs 7 continental-UA hubs?

  39. @Julian — No new flights to Asia?? Well, the SFO-DEL flight is one. Just a few days ago United announced 4 new daily routes to Tokyo Haneda from EWR, LAX, ORD and IAD.

  40. @Tory-IAH — “This is silliness.”

    Yes! Totally agree … just to compare some actual enplanement statistics from United.com —

    ORD — 17.9 Million passengers [47 daily non-stops to 41 international destinations]
    IAH — 16.7 Million passengers [91 daily non-stops to 90 international destinations]
    EWR — 15 Million passengers [75 daily non-stops to 71 international destinations]
    DEN — 13.7 Million passengers [16 daily non-stops to 13 international destinations]
    SFO — 12.5 Million passengers (33 daily non-stops to 28 international destinations]

    So … IAH appears to be #1 in terms of #daily non-stops to international destinations! Go figure!

    Thanks for setting the factual record straight about this! 🙂

  41. @DCS — “what is the likelihood that they would put IAH, one of their largest and busiest hubs, in the 2nd tier? Zero likelihood.”

    I totally agree with you! [See statistics from my reply post to @Tory-IAH above]! 🙂

  42. I don’t understand why United refuses to schedule a year-round flight between Washington Dulles and Madrid or Barcelona. United has had summer seasonal service from Dulles to Madrid and Barcelona for several years. But for seven months of the year there are no nonstops from Washington to Madrid or Barcelona on United or any other airline. (It’s equally shameful that Iberia doesn’t add a non-stop from Madrid or Barcelona to Dulles.)

  43. Half of the IAH int’l destinations are Mexico or adjacent. Nice try though.

    It’s big from the CO days and it’s a monopoly with overpriced seats so it will stay big. But it’s clearly not a future growth play for UA.

    May think it’s important but not really so much. Just like DCS. Lol!

  44. @UA-NYC — “Half of the IAH int’l destinations are Mexico or adjacent. Nice try though.”

    Wait! Are you saying that Mexico and Caribbean destinations are *not* international flights? Are you being a teeny weeny bit “racist” with this labeling? How about you define what “distance” a non-stop needs to fly in order to be considered “international,” in your eyes?

    But … let’s just pretend that *half* of those 90 listed IAH international non-stops get removed to leave just 45 non-stops … that still leaves *only* EWR with more international non-stops than IAH!

    @UA-NYC — “But it’s clearly not a future growth play for UA.”

    … and you “clearly” know this *how*? Are you clairvoyant and able to read the mind of CEO Oscar? That will be fascinating, indeed! 😛

  45. @UA-NYC: “Half of the IAH int’l destinations are Mexico or adjacent. Nice try though.”

    LOL – How Trumpian!

    I guess UA’s flights to other places that serve dark/brown-skinned people in latam (Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru) also do not count…

    Very sad!

  46. Disappointed to see no other new Asian flight in this announcement, though I guess it’s to be expected. I’m no planning expert but I suppose any other Asian gateway may seem like leisure destinations to United… and if that’s the case it was safer for them to consider European destinations first.

  47. @UA-NYC says on August 22, 2019 at 11:20 am:
    “Waiting for DCS to follow up on calling out my “IAH is second tier for UA” point with utter nonsense in return, given no expansion there.”

    I did oblige this poster’s request in a comment that contained a link to an extended response, but the comment appears to have been swallowed in moderation. Here, I am just providing a link to that response without any commentary that might be deemed ‘offensive’:

    http://bit.ly/2P7N1z3

    In short, an explanation on a subject that has generated the most ‘traffic’ here was requested. That explanation has been provided in a linked post that unquestionably adds to the discussion…really.

  48. Oops, sorry! I just noticed after re-posting a link that my earlier, ‘moderated’, comment on “August 22, 2019 at 7:52 pm” has just been released!

  49. Hi Ben,

    Is there a place where we can view which routes have the new Polaris seats that’s kept up to date?

  50. @UA-NYC: “Nobody cares about DCS’ terrible pointless blog. Literally nobody save one.”

    LOL. You clearly would be the last person I would expect to care because it is, yet again, an embarrassment for you. Just stop the false claims and the “punishment” will stop!

    BTW, you are wrong that nobody cares about my ‘terrible’ blog because, as anyone who runs a blog knows since s/he sees the site’s ‘traffic analytics’, the number of comments does not even come close to reflecting the number of reads.

    Main point’s been made, as promised. Case closed!

    G’day!

  51. Please DCS tell us about the tens or maybe even just ones of viewers to your terrible blog.

    Nevermind – Nobody cares, I forgot.

  52. @UA-NYC — Do you ever stop spewing garbage?

    FWI – I did so well traffic-wise with just my first three blogposts that WordPress, which powers the site, contacted me to ask if, considering the good traffic, I would be interested in “monetizing” the site. They contacted me by phone too, but I declined. That should tell you a lot, but especially how much I really give damn whether or not anyone cares. I gave my self a forum where I can skewer buffoons like you when you try to tell tall tales and am doing so not only successfully but also joyfully.

    What I detect is envy, so eat your heat out!

    G’day.

  53. @UA-NYC — “Please DCS tell us about the tens or maybe even just ones of viewers to your terrible blog. Nevermind – Nobody cares, I forgot.”

    I have a great idea — how about stopping any further ad hominem attacks, so that this forum can get back to its primary function of informing/discussing airline topics and issues!

  54. @BillC – you haven’t been reading this blog long enough then, DCS is quite infamous around here for his attacks and lies. He already has been banned from one other blog.

  55. @UA-NYC — “you haven’t been reading this blog long enough then, DCS is quite infamous around here for his attacks and lies. He already has been banned from one other blog.”

    You might be right about my length of time reading this blog … but, be that as it may, how/when do these back-and-forth punches/counter-punches conclude (hopefully gracefully)?

  56. Just say something bad about Hilton (or halfway positive about Starwood) and feel the wrath BillC. Stick around and you will see.

  57. @UA-NYC — “Just say something bad about Hilton (or halfway positive about Starwood) and feel the wrath BillC. Stick around and you will see.”

    OK … I’m not into hotels, but I’ll keep aware! 😛

  58. The SFO-DEL year round doesn’t surprise me, but I thought they would add SFO-BOM. Hopefully we’ll see that in the not too distant future. Would love to see SFO-FCO as well.

  59. Let’s put an end to this:

    @UA-NYC sez: “Just say something bad about Hilton (or halfway positive about Starwood) and feel the wrath BillC. Stick around and you will see.”

    That, in a nutshell, explains this buffoon’s *psychopathological* obsession with me: he subconsciously blames me for the demise of his beloved SPG because long before the program’s collapse I’d pointed “structural weaknesses” that led to its eventual demise. To this day he still speaks of SPG as if it still exists, and gets unhinged whenever anyone says the slightest negative thing about the program. His statement above is a classical case of “inverted projection”; it can thus be best understood by inverting it:

    “Just say something bad about SPG (or halfway positive about Hilton) and feel the wrath BillC. Stick around and you will see.”

    Got it now? That is why he is obsessed with me and constantly resorts to this sort ad populum fallacy:

    “DCS is quite infamous around here for his attacks and lies. He already has been banned from one other blog”

    The reality is he is actually the only person (or maybe one of only two) out of several dozens of my original “detractors” (because I thought differently and still do) I still lock horns with on a semi regular basis, like we just did here. He always loses, as he just did here, but a glutton for punishment and ridicule, he keeps coming for more

    A for those “lies” that he keeps claiming I tell? Well, they are similar to what just happened here. He makes a claim like “IAH is a second-tie hub”. I debunk it, as I just did here. Then he goes on a tirade claiming that all my evidence is nothing but a bunch of lies…without offering a single shred of proof. It is part of the reason he is pissed that I now have a bigger forum of my own, where I can write uncensored pieces that set the record straight, as I just did his claim about IAH.

    And now, “pièce de résistance” for last, he made this claim:

    “He already has been banned from one other blog.”

    The “other blog” that he referred to is “View From the Wing” and the fact that this buffoon repeated that **lie** here, even though he had been told point by the forum host there that the claim was bogus, is quite telling. Here’s the exchange, immortalized in cyberspace:

    UA-NYC says: January 26, 2019 at 6:02 am
    @THF – **sadly DCS is coughbannedcough from this site**, so we won’t get any comment from him

    Gary Leff says: January 26, 2019 at 6:42 am
    **@UA-NYC DCS is not banned from this site.** DCS has chosen not to comment here any longer. That is entirely his decision, and he could reverse it at any time.**

    That’s all you need to know to ever believe anything that the buffoon says. When he calls me a “liar”, it is also a “projection.

    G’day

  60. @YayArea: I think UA is closely watching for Air India to start a non-stop SFO-BOM. AI plans to fly their debut SFO-DEL, so that will tell.

  61. “Overall, I am a bit disappointed that there are no new flights to Asia or Australia with this announcement like many of us had predicted. My guess (hope) is that in a couple of months they will have another announcement where they will announce service to new cities (or just increase service to airports already flown to) in Asia, such as Bangkok or Manila.”

    Bangkok and Manila are low yield VFR (Visiting Family Relatives) with relatively very little business demand to make a ULR flight viable. If there was an aircraft that can support a Y heavy LCC configuration to support the low yield/tourist nature of BKK/Thailand and MNL/Philippines, UA would’ve been on the route by now through a Low Cost Carrier subsidiary.

    In addition, Manila’s limited base high yield travellers have mostly been absorbed by PR, and wouldn’t be able to support 2 Full Service Carriers on the route.

  62. @Charlie. I could not agree more on the direct flights to BCN and MAD from IAD. I have taken that route multiple times when it was available and have a hard time believing they will not be able to get enough traffic with, let’s say, a 757. Overall I think United is unclear on what they want to do about IAD. Their terminal is just the worse and to bring it up to the level of the other terminals they would have to make a significant investment and we are very close to EWR…

    On Iberia, don’t get me started. I am from Barcelona: they gave up on us a long time ago. They use low cost carriers from there: Vueling domestically and Level internationally. As much as I love Iberia Plus arbitrage opportunities using Avios, I loathe Iberia as an airline.

  63. @Jordan:

    It isn’t “official” (i.e., this isn’t published by United), but the best and almost daily updated source of Polaris update information (by type and individual aircraft number) is available at https://sites.google.com/site/unitedfleetsite/polaris-update. The rest of that website also has some very interesting information vis-à-vis status of every plane in the fleet.

    —————————————————————————————–

    @All:

    With regards to how long and the priorities of retrofitting United’s wide body fleet to the “Polaris” configurations, I am not a United Fan Boy, but given the size of the fleet and the varying ages and conditions of the previous business class seating, I do think that United has done a reasonable job of prioritizing and getting the job done, albeit slower than most of us would like.

    (1) The Polaris conversions are not a matter of simply unscrewing the old seats and putting new ones in. This is a very intensive cabin remodeling that requires extensive rewiring, replacement of the overhead panels with lights, air vents, oxygen masks, etc. that can take multiple weeks to complete. It is usually done in conjunction with a particular aircraft’s heavy maintenance cycle. And everything has to be tested out intensively before putting the renovated aircraft back into service.

    (2) There is a limit to how many of the widebody aircraft can be taken out of service simultaneously without causing impacting operations and schedules. Currently 2 767-300, 1 pmUA 777-200ER, and 2 pmCO 777-200ER aircraft are simultaneously being updated for Polaris.

    (3) FWIW, only 5 of the pmUA 777-200ER and 7 of the pmUA 767-300ER aircraft have yet to enter the shop for Polaris.

    (4) The order in which the aircraft are being fitted with Polaris does in fact make quite a bit of sense. Once the Polaris program was started, all newly ordered aircraft came with that seating installed at the factory. That included the entire 777-300ER and 787-10 fleets. (The 787-8 and 787-9 fleets were already delivered or in process; the next batch of 787-9 aircraft will come with Polaris already installed!) The first aircraft to be actually retrofitted were the pmUA 777-200ER aircraft that had the oldest, narrowest, uncomfortable, and increasingly decrepit business class seats. That was followed by the pmUA 767-300ER aircraft. The last of the aircraft to get the new seats are the pmCO 777-200ER and the pmCO 767-400ER as well as the 787-8 and 787-9 aircraft, all of which had the Continental Business First seats which were multiple levels of quality and comfort beyond those old pmUA seats. Quite frankly, the 787-8 and 787-9 business class seats, although not nearly as new and spiffy as the Polaris seats, are quite comfortable (I’ve flown on them for some very long flights).

    (5) It should also be remembered that when United started rolling out Polaris, they were having some severe “supplier problems” and that quite frankly, United was lucky that they didn’t need to switch vendors and designs shortly into the initial phase of implementation.

    Bottom line is that upgrading the business class seating of over 200 widebody aircraft in a multitude of different aircraft types and models is no easy task. You cannot simply throw out some money, click your heels, and expect the retrofit to be done overnight.

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