United fly most frequently USA <--> Australia

RooFlyer

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Story in the AFR on-line

United Airlines just overtook Qantas in flights to the US (paywalled, sorry)


United Airlines is adding more services from Los Angeles and swapping to larger planes as it surpasses Qantas as the most frequent flier between Australia and the United States.

The airline, one of the largest in the US, will now fly three times a week to Brisbane from Los Angeles. It says this – and flights to Sydney and Melbourne added earlier this year – is the biggest expansion for a US carrier in Australia. United will operate 66 weekly flights, up 50 per cent on 2023.

An expanded strategic partnership between United and Virgin had also helped to bring more US tourists to Australia, he said, and travellers were able to easily connect to Cairns and Townsville.

“It’s allowed us to unlock not just Sydney and Melbourne but being able to launch a new service to Brisbane and then fully cover all of Australia with that great partnership with Virgin allows us to add ... more capacity in the northern summer period too,” he said.

and made the obvious, if politely put comment:

Business travel is roughly flat on pre-pandemic levels, but Mr Stevens said United was capitalising on traveller discontent.

“I won’t speak for the other US carriers, but I think that they’re choosing United where they may have picked an Australian carrier in the past,” he said.

“If we can give them a great experience on that first trip, I think we feel very confident they’re going to stay. They’re going to continue to choose United in the future.”
 
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<quote>

“I won’t speak for the other US carriers, but I think that they’re choosing United where they may have picked an Australian carrier in the past,” he said.

“If we can give them a great experience on that first trip, I think we feel very confident they’re going to stay. They’re going to continue to choose United in the future.”

</quote>


Uh.. oh ... 🙄🙄🙄
 
Trying to understand the 66 flights a week.

Daily: MEL-SFO/LAX, SYD-LAX/IAH, BNE-SFO
Double Daily: SYD-SFO
3x week : BNE-LAX

That’s only 52 /week. Where’s the other 14? Must be the “East Islands” of “Australia” ;) which includes daily SFO-AKL, 4x weekly LAX-AKL and 3x weekly SFO-CHC :rolleyes:
 
Trying to understand the 66 flights a week.

Daily: MEL-SFO/LAX, SYD-LAX/IAH, BNE-SFO
Double Daily: SYD-SFO
3x week : BNE-LAX

That’s only 52 /week. Where’s the other 14? Must be the “East Islands” of “Australia” ;) which includes daily SFO-AKL, 4x weekly LAX-AKL and 3x weekly SFO-CHC :rolleyes:

We had this discussion months ago. I think they also excluded HNL from QF's count, and the AA JV flights.

In any case now they've confirmed BNE-LAX is only seasonal, this is a short lived title. It seems US carriers are happy to put capacity in our region during their winter when they don't need it, but quick to pull it out in their summer when they can make a buck elsewhere. Probably makes sense for ex-US travellers wanting to go somewhere warm, but I would have thought the bulk of ex-AU travellers go in the NH summer.
 
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It seems US carriers are happy to put capacity in our region during their winter when they don't need it, but quick to pull it out in their summer when they can make a buck elsewhere
QF also do seasonal flights and are happy to pull aircraft off the line when demand drops.

ex-AU travellers go in the NH summer.
NH winter sees a massive influx of ex AU passengers to the NH. I don't know which is more - winter or summer - I but would not be surprised that Dec/Jan/feb is are still the busiest travel for transpacific and for that matter international to anywhere ex AU. (The blue drop off is the Covid lockdown)

Screen Shot 2023-12-04 at 12.09.20 pm.png
 
And in comparison to QF, UA are very generous with their award availability, so long may they continue to serve Australia well!

I only wish they'd start flying MEL-IAH. That would be a dream for me!
 
QF also do seasonal flights and are happy to pull aircraft off the line when demand drops.

It's not that demand drops, it's that they (US carriers) can make more money on other routes when more people travel in the summer. That was the exact reason HA gave for pulling out of AKL, specifically saying demand was healthy. I'm not aware that QF flies any seasonal routes in North America.

And to clarify my statement, I'm sure there is a huge spike in Dec/Jan but that's not sustained over the whole NH winter schedule period - where as the increase in the NH summer schedule would be more consistent. Although your graph seems to indicate the demand is steady throughout the year.

The more the merrier I say, bring down prices.
 
Although your graph seems to indicate the demand is steady throughout the year.
Bitre. steady through the year but a peak in Dec/Jan and a slight reduction between Feb and May. Smaller spike/peak in Jun/Jul
Thats old data though. Will be interesting to see annual figures for 2023

it's that they (US carriers) can make more money on other routes
Agree, though demand has a lot to do with prices that an airline can command.

I'm not aware that QF flies any seasonal routes in North America.
Not sure if it is still the case now but YVR used to be seasonal. and SFO used to be off and on. IIRC there were a few SYD-LAX flights that were seasonal - cant recall exactly (some evening arrivals? - maybe that was "part time" rather than "seasonal")
 
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Bitre. steady through the year but a peak in Dec/Jan and a slight reduction between Feb and May


Agree, though demand has a lot to do with prices that an airline can command.


Not sure if it is the case now but YVR used to be seasonal. and SFO used to be off and on.

Yes, YVR was seasonal back when A380/747s were the only available aircraft QF had that was able to fly to the continent. Once covid was over and they had more 787s it became year round.

SFO isn't seasonal, but certainly has had its share of difficulties - no doubt all the UA capacity being launched out of SFO and lack of widebodies at QF are factors. I also don't think SFO is the destination it once was, the reputation of the city has plummeted (just ask anyone in Austin who has probably moved from there in the last 5 years) - local media there say the city is stuck in a 'doom loop'.
 
Bitre. steady through the year but a peak in Dec/Jan and a slight reduction between Feb and May.
Don’t forget (at least pre COVID) significant demand during Dec from international students travelling home after the university/school year finishes. Seemed to be most noticeable on Asia bound routes.
 
Don’t forget (at least pre COVID) significant demand during Dec from international students travelling home after the university/school year finishes. Seemed to be most noticeable on Asia bound routes.

We've been speaking specifically about Aus-US travel. I know there are some but I don't think there's many international students on these routes.
 
Is QF contemplating more non stops to other parts of the US?

SEA and ORD have been floated (well, the latter was even on sale pre-covid).

Other than those, there's really no other destinations they can reach from Australia with a non-sunrise jet, that's also a AA/AS hub (I think SAN and PDX are mini AS hubs but probably not above the threshold for QF). PHX is an AA (ex US) hub but has been whittled down since the merger and really doesn't offer any connections that LAX/DFW doesn't.

With the AS/HA merge seems like adding capacity to HNL would be a good move.
 
We've been speaking specifically about Aus-US travel. I know there are some but I don't think there's many international students on these routes.

I was actually responding specifically to @Quickstatus post, which showed the graph of Total International Passengers. International student traffic probably makes a significant contribution to the bump in Dec, But as you point out probably doesn't change much with regards to US traffic.

BITRE do have monthly statistics by port though and it looks like Dec and Jan have the highest total traffic between Aus & US, with July next.
 
And in comparison to QF, UA are very generous with their award availability, so long may they continue to serve Australia well!

I only wish they'd start flying MEL-IAH. That would be a dream for me!
We had this discussion months ago. I think they also excluded HNL from QF's count, and the AA JV flights.

In any case now they've confirmed BNE-LAX is only seasonal, this is a short lived title. It seems US carriers are happy to put capacity in our region during their winter when they don't need it, but quick to pull it out in their summer when they can make a buck elsewhere.

SYD-IAH was NW seasonal pre-COVID and was returned as a NW seasonal service post-COVID, and it's now confirmed that BNE-LAX will be seasonal between December and Early February (the whole duration of the Queensland State Schools Holidays). MEL-IAH would be very slim if not close to no chance of launching.

On the topic of BNE-LAX, There is forward scheduling in the GDS of UA283/284 (LAX-BNE-LAX) for NW24/25, although currently not bookable with the same date of December to Early February, in line with the School Holidays in Queensland.

So yes, UA would be the largest "seasonally" during the NW/Australian Summer, it's a different story for NS/Australian Winter.

I would be assuming UA are after the Queensland based "Australia Summer" Disneyland/Theme Park traffic for their seasonal BNE-LAX, which I would 'guess' they are probably medium yield (i.e not low yield, but not high yield either).
 
So yes, UA would be the largest "seasonally" during the NW/Australian Summer, it's a different story for NS/Australian Winter.

But not even the full timetable season (5 months for NW), just for the 3 months over Christmas / NY.

I wonder if UA would ever consider a fifth freedom like IAH-AKL-MEL or ORD-AKL-SYD. Is the UA/NZ JV signed off by the ACCC or just NZ?
 
But not even the full timetable season (5 months for NW), just for the 3 months over Christmas / NY.

I wonder if UA would ever consider a fifth freedom like IAH-AKL-MEL or ORD-AKL-SYD. Is the UA/NZ JV signed off by the ACCC or just NZ?
Per those at a.net, the NZ/UA JV only covers New Zealand/USA. It doesn't cover Australia as the ACCC wasn't involved in the submission process. i.e NZ and UA are 'technically rivals' for Australia-USA traffic alongside the non-stop and the other one-stop carriers (Fiji Airways, Air Canada, Hawaiian (SYD only), etc.
 
UA has had sharp pricing for decades across the transpacific and I have flown them plenty of times without issue.

So I can see tourist passengers would consider the book UA.
 
I flew the new BNE-LAX routes return on the UA283/284 service in the past fortnight with my partner, in economy on a Virgin redemption booking.

Both flights were relatively empty (approx 70 pax on the Dreamliner) and we each had a row to ourselves.

Service could not be faulted. Check in experience was faultless. United however wouldn’t honour Virgin gold status extra bag for check-in (Which the Virgin website claims is a benefit for gold members travelling on United flights).

Seats included USB charging and wifi. Free wifi was limited to iMessage/Whatsapp texting.

Far superior to my Qantas experience. Will definitely give them a try again.
 
I flew the new BNE-LAX routes return on the UA283/284 service in the past fortnight with my partner, in economy on a Virgin redemption booking.

Both flights were relatively empty (approx 70 pax on the Dreamliner) and we each had a row to ourselves.

Service could not be faulted. Check in experience was faultless. United however wouldn’t honour Virgin gold status extra bag for check-in (Which the Virgin website claims is a benefit for gold members travelling on United flights).

Seats included USB charging and wifi. Free wifi was limited to iMessage/Whatsapp texting.

Far superior to my Qantas experience. Will definitely give them a try again.
VA put their code on UA's flight very late for it to matter (assuming the code gets loaded next season NS24/25), assuming the next season actually operates. Next seasons schedule (x3 per week December to Early February) is already pre-loaded but not open for booking yet.
 

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