FlightAware Discussions

UAL, the "friendly skies"

Maybe I don’t fly enough, I don’t know, but I just came back from a six day trip to Chicago, doing KNSA to KORD and back on United. The flights were quite the eye opener for us.

I had this big rant ready to go here, but I got halfway through it and thought the hell with it. I’ll just say this- normally we try and fly Virgin America and Jet Blue whenever we fly. I guess we’re spoiled now. We tried United out of Santa Ana to avoid all the hassles LAX offers. Until Virgin or Jet Blue adds KSNA, or Jet Blue sees the light and reinstates a Chicago run to Long Beach, we’ll tolerate the hassles and go back to LAX and Virgin to Chicago. If they ever stop flying there we’ll walk it.

United was horrible. Yeah, we got there and back in one piece, even mostly on time, but there’s more to flying than that. The 737s we flew on were old, tired and dirty. To me, they seem like an accident waiting to happen with as much air time as they get. When we got off our plane last night in Santa Ana (#1184) the pilot was already in consultation with a grounds crew guy hurriedly flipping through a manual saying “I had to use the back up twice today”. No idea what he was talking about. All I know is within an hour and a half, that same plane was turned around heading back to Newark. It had come from Newark to Chicago when we got on it and it was one quick turn around time there, too. Less than an hour, maybe even 45 minutes. Fuel and go.

I could go into chapter and verse about having to pay for things that are free on other airlines, but that’s where I got bogged down before. Suffice to say if you want to watch even the Flight Map it costs $7.99 to do that. Yep. If you want to know where you are at any given point it will cost you.

I know I’m way late to this party and this likely is the state of air travel anymore. Doesn’t mean we have to like it.

It’s the state of air traveled based on the traveling public buying on price not on service. You want more room? You want food? You want unlimited checked bags?

As to age of airframes, JetBlue, Virgin America and United all go through the same A, B, C and D checks. An airframe’s useful age can be well over 20 years. Want to pay for newer aircraft? You’ll pay for it in the tickets and fees. FWIW, United’s average fleet age is a little over 14 years. JetBlue and Virgin are 7 and 5 respectively.

As to what you overheard, there is a MEL for an aircraft. That stands for Minimum Equipment List. If you don’t meet it, you don’t go. If what ever they were using as a “backup” met the MEL, it was safe to go.

As to ORD-SNA-EWR for a plane, so what? Ever follow a Southwest airframe for a single day? It can do upwards of 6-8 hops.

In the end, we, yes we, get what we pay for. If we wanted to pay more, we’d get more. Airfares have dropped significantly. Hell, in 1978 it was ILLEGAL to charge less than $1400 for JFK-LAX (that is inflation adjusted, btw). Deregulation changed it all. UA lost 400M last q. AA made $500. Go figure. what’s it mean? It’s a bus with wings.

Just enter random Southwest flight numbers. Many flights show the entire routing of the aircraft for the day.

Here’s 2 randomly picked flights:

flightaware.com/live/flight/SWA1946 on 25 April flew PHX-ELP-DAL-AMA-LAS

flightaware.com/live/flight/SWA3 on 28 April is scheduled to fly DAL-HOU-TPA-IND-DEN-LAX-LAS

Also, none of United 737’s are “Old and tired” - they are roughly the same age as all of JetBlue’s A320’s, often newer.

Never ceases to amaze me about the amount of arrogance of people on here.
Having said that if you really want to be afraid I wouldn’t fly Delta. Those idiots are rolling the dice that none of their planes will go down. Thier fleet is so old I think the wright brothers still fly for them . They go out to the plane graveyards and dig up old planes to put back in service. Got a plane you want to retire ? Why do that ? Just lease it to Delta. They will take it. It seems most other airlines are placing orders for new aircraft. Not Delta. They say they want to get rid of all the RJ’s . Not Fuel efficent . Sure they do. They use then more then ever. They say they want to retire the MD80’s and 90’s. Sure they do. They still have a ton of them and get more from the scrapheap. They are even taking Airtran’s old 717’s . Cleaning them up and using them . So sure go ahead and fly them for the cookies. You can eat them while you are playing your harp.

DL’s average fleet age is only 16 years…

According to Aviation Weekly :
Delta still flies a handful of DC-9s (average age: 34.6 years old) and a sizable fleet of MD-88s (average age: 23). The 747s acquired in its purchase of Northwest Airlines are approaching their 20-year birthdays. Amid this abundance of aging aircraft, Delta has scoured the used market for more. The Atlanta-based carrier sought as many as 50 MD-90s in 2010, praised as “very capital-efficient aircraft” by Delta President Ed Bastian at the time, and this year will begin receiving the first of 88 717 planes leased as cheap replacements for regional jets. Boeing stopped building the 717 seven years ago.

Does that sound like a youg fleet to you ?

If you google the average age of Delat’s fleet is a little over 17 years.

I would argue MR Bastian’s statement about those aircraft . They may be CAPITAL-EFFIECENT AIRCRAFT but his ass isn’t in one of them . That’s Delat’s Montra. Money over their customers safety .

17 years as an average, given the average life of an airframe and how they are required to be maintained does sound young to me. Yes, the oldest MD-88 was delivered in '87.

I’ve picked up on your general “distaste” for DL before. Whatever that is, that’s your deal. I was just providing data. Would I fly DL? No. But not because of fleet age or who runs them.

What, are the flight attendants ugly? :wink:

You know, it’s been a while now and I was going to let this one go, but naw, I can’t. Unless you flew with me on my round trip from OC to Chicago and back, you didn’t see the planes I was on. They were old and tired. I really don’t care what stat people throw out there. The flight attendant duct taped shut a couple of overhead bins that wouldn’t latch, and we all had to help push the seat in front of us so they would return to its fully upright position before landing. There was bits of trash under seats, and much of the plastic in the cabin, such as tray tables, had scratches. The cloth seats looked like it was years since they were dry cleaned. Yes, I know how many times a day those planes get used, but that shouldn’t matter. There used to be a time when each time you got on a plane it looked like someone cared.

Another thing to realize.

By car, it is no more than 20 miles between KLGB and KSNA, and KLGB is JBU’s main west coast base. Regardless of service, you could fly directly into KLGB, not have to deal with LAX at all, and still be in the area you need to be in on this side of the country. You won’t have to worry about UAL or VRD if you fly straight into KLGB.


Well, no. I live two miles from KLGB. No airline flies from there to Chicago.

From Chicago… Fair enough. You’re right there, at least nonstop. Your only option would be SWA from MDW to KSNA. I missed the part about Chicago. Apologies.


Can we please get back to ripping Delta a new one ? :smiley:

You’ve started asking for permission? Wow… are cats and dogs sleeping together next???

That would never ever be delta and myself not as long as Richard the Idiot is the CEO of delta