UA's Equipment IAD to SFO and Return--So Many Small Planes


Speaking of hubs…

I remember back when CO begian flying 737’s non-stop from IAD to SFO. Couldn’t believe using such small aircraft on hub routes would endure. Wrong!

Looking at UA’s current IAD-SFO hub service, I see they are running 9 non-stops each way, 2/3 of which are the little jets. WB: 4 319s, 2 320s, 2 752s, and 1 777. EB: 2-319s, 1 733, 3 320s, 1 752, 1 763, and 1 777.

The 777s end or begin an international flight, and 1 319, 733, 320, each return as red-eyes. The WB departure times are 710a-320, 830a-752, 922a-752, 1225p-320, 240p-319, 449p-319, 519p-777, 738p-319, 935p-319.

I just don’t understand, in today’s air travel business, why all the small jets in this major, major UA hub route. Is this what the 319 and 320 were really built for? If 9 flights make sense, wouldn’t 752s, 763s, and 777s be the aircraft of choice? Is it all related to fuel prices?


It’s frequency and not aircraft size that is a primary attraction to the business travel - the traveler the airlines are trying to cater to. For them, it’s better to have several flights a day with smaller aircraft rather than two or three flights with larger aircraft.

You may be too young to remember when jets first came out. The 737-800/900, A320, 757 all have just about (within a few seats) the same capacity as the great DC-8 and 707 of the 1960s.


UA’s 319s and 733 both seat 112 economy. Its 320s, 126, its 752s, 158, its 763s, 210, and its 777s, 312 in domestic config, but only 197 in international config. which my guess is what most of the transcons are.

Given a choice, would the 319s, 733s, 320s be a transcon businessman’s aircraft of choice? Not much chance of upgrade. And currently, not a lot of empty seats on these planes.

I don’t think UA really gives a darn about what its customers want. It runs 3 red-eyes from SFO…leaving 1000p, 1035p, and 1115p…a 319, a 733, and a 320. Make sense? Won’t be long until it starts half-hourly 1-stop CRJs, I guess.


so would you rather they fly half-empty 757’s all day? That would sure be good for business.

The market is only there for smaller aircraft and I personally would rather fly on an airbus or 737 than a widebody (I hate the possibility of being seated in the middle section)


Given my druthers between a full 737 or a single aisle jet or a half empty multi aisle jet, I would be more then happy to be on the half empty flight on a wide body.

With eveybody most likely looking to sit on the outside sections, the middle section actually would have more “elbow room”.



So you’re blaming the airline for wanting to make money?

Also, if you want to fly an empty plane, fly Virgin America, they have plenty of empty seats.


Heck no, never said such or even implied a statement that you say above, all I did was just give you my preference on seating.

I appreciate leaving the ground no matter what the equipment is, but given my druthers, I’d rather be sitting in the middle section of a 1/2 empty wide body plane gving me a better chance at more elbow room then a full 737.



It’s the yield factor and the price per seat. We were carrying a CR7 out of here from FNT-DFW, but we recently changed that to a ERD, and it’s been full ever sense.


United used to fly bigger planes with some frequency on this route, because that is what business travelers prefer. However, they have started using smaller planes in order to get their load factors up as that is a primary driver of profitability. United and the other majors have taken a significant amount of capacity out of their systems in the past couple of years - about the equivalent of a major carrier is gone.

[Dami, I know this is your opinion and that you are going to start whining that you could say the sun rises in the east and I would say you are wrong, but when you just make this stuff up (as you so often do) and are wrong, someone will likely set the record straight. ]


That’s your opinion when you say I make this stuff up. I know more about the airline industry then you will ever know.

Frequency of flights is one of the top three things that business travelers look at.

A good case is the original Braniff International. They found that by placing larger aircraft on routes and reducing the frequency, they actually lost passengers. They also extended their route system by about 16 cities in the months following deregulation. Many, if not most, of these cities were served with one flight a day. Guess what? No passengers because the flight frequency sucked.

Because you are such a negative gus, here’s some more examples. Are you going to say I made up these pages just to prove my point?

ASBTA: Small Business Travelers: Airline Schedules Nearly As Important as Ticket Prices; ASBTA Survey Indicates Inexpensive Airfares Mean Little without Flexible Flight Options
Now Boarding Business Class
Southwest hopes changes add up to ch-cha-ching
Ten Insights about Airline Relationships

Price, frequency, and frequent flier programs are the top three things that attract business travelers.


Purty bold statement considering you don’t know any one of us whom post to these forums other then the little tidbits WE elect to divulge about our backgrounds nor do know the credentials of any one of us.



Statement wasn’t directed to you but caflier. If he gives me his background regarding the airline industry then I will retract my statement.


If he gives me his background regarding the airline industry then I will retract my statement.

Well what background do you have in it besides sitting at your computer and looking up information? I certainly don’t think you can say you know more about it than he ever will. Work together and spread the information to each other and stop trying (this goes for everyone) to make yourself look better than everyone else. Instead of trying to tear each other down about every wrong thing that someone says try to just learn and teach everyone from what you know. Relize the fact that there will always be something that someone is better than you at or knows more. If this is done this will be a much better place for people interested in aviation to get together and talk.


Dami, the reason that we use words in writing is because each of them has a meaning that contributes to the overall meaning of the sentence and paragraph. If you read what I wrote, I did not say that frequency does not matter:

[quote=“CA Flier”]United used to fly bigger planes with some frequency on this route, because that is what business travelers prefer.

So the meaning of the words “some frequency” is important here and you can’t just skip those words and correctly understand the meaning of what was written. The point of what I wrote is that they went from frequent big planes to frequent small planes and business travelers are not happy about it. I know because I fly from the west coast to DC on those smaller plane often and hear the other business travelers complaining about the smaller plane on every flight.

I have no hard data, and neither do you based on the weak links that you posted, but would say from my own experience that the typical frequent business traveler would trade 1, maybe 2, fewer less flights per day for bigger planes on the coast to coast routes.

Once again you speak without any knowledge. You have no idea what I do or don’t know about the industry. I guess chest pounding is still respected in your Neanderthal village.


Doesn’t matter who you directed it to, you posted in a public forum. Otherwise, you should have PM’d caflier if you ddin’t want anybody’s opinions.

Correct me if I am wrong but you are a hobbyist, correct???

If so, then your credibility would be no better then mine as a source since I have no experience in the airline bis myself, but do look up what I do know and provide credible sources.

If I am wrong, why not reveal your expertism in the airline business if you indeed do work within the airline business (verifiable, as proven in the past, unfortunately your word is not quite up to snuff).

Otherwise, you are in no position to say you know more then somebody else without concrete knowledge which you really don’t have. It’s an opinion of yours that is subject to scrutiny by anybody who reads…

Again, you have no clue what my background is or anybody else in this forum (to my knowledge) other then what we elect to divulge.

To give you something parallel that I can directly relate to.

I do recognize there is a difference between simulation of flying and flying an airplane in a 3D environment.

The knowledge of the foundation of flying may be the same, but doing it in the real world t’waint the same.

Another example may be knowledge of bernouli’s principle gives me the foundation of flying, but when I am flying, do I think of Bernouli’s concept. Nope.

Flying IMC on a desktop sim isn’t the same as flying IMC but you probably wouldn’t understand the difference, but others reading my post hopefully will see the direction I am heading.

Bottom line, I would call my knowledge of airline business the same as a hobbyist, and that’s a simulated world. I don’t work in the airline biz, but that doesn’t stop me from looking up what I post, question what you post on my hobbyiest knowledge, and provide references on my thoughts.

And NOWHERE will you see that I say I know more then you.

Again, I do know and recognize my very own limits. Your statement that you say about yourself kinda makes me wonder if you know your own limits.



I was the CEO and Chairman of the board of an airline. Does that make you feel better?


United used to fly bigger planes with some frequency on this route, because that is what business travelers prefer

I disagree. Business travelers perfer more flights, not bigger planes. If you ask a business traveler for 3 100 seat flights or 6 50 seat flights, he will say the latter.


Since I am “a business traveler” and you ask me, on coast to coast flights I would trade 4 767 or 777 for 6 737 or A320 flights every day of the week. So would the people that I sit next to, because they complain about those smaller planes on every trip. One of the reasons is that there are fewer business + first class seats, so even the frequent fliers end up stuck in coach.


Airlines are left with little choice but to maximize, and if that means smaller planes to fill them up, then thats the way it will be. Like it or not.


Real or virtual airline?

As for my qualifications, I am not a “hobbyist,” as al says, of the airline industry. I am a student of the airline industry. The difference is that a hobbyist just looks at the surface and I dive deep in to see the “why” of things.

I have an extensive collection of books and other materials (timetables, ipostcards, brochures, annual reports, operational manuals, etc.) on the airline industry.

I have studied the airline industry for nearly 40 years.

I subscribe to several online and hard copy industry-specific publications.

You and your fellow travelers complain about the aircraft size. I bet you anything that if, say, American decided to reduce the number of flights between LA and New York to two flights a day, you would bitch even more.

If the airline industry truly believed it could serve a given route with a larger aircraft with high frequency, it would do it.

I give sources then, because it goes against peoples notions, I get shot down for them. Look at what caflier said when I gave my sources:

I’m perfectly willing to do this but if someone is going to call me an idiot (directly or indirectly) every time I post something, I’m going to fight back. I make a statement, they call it wrong. I make a statement with facts to back it up, they call me wrong. If they insist on playing that game, then I’m going to defend myself.