UA new F/C progress?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by seaflyguy, Aug 9, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    I went to UA's Suite Dreams site (which now points here) to see if the 777 serving my upcoming trip's route (SEA-NRT-TPE) had been upgraded. As far as I can tell, in redoing this area of the site, they have left up the charts of progress by aircraft type, but removed the charts of progress by specific route. Does that information exist anywhere?
     
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  2. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    What Champagne is United serving in International F these days...?
     
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  3. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    check your seatmap and you'll see if it's the new config or not.
     
  4. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    I saw that, but at a high level, it would be much more convenient to see which routes have been converted. My assumption is that UA has decided they want flexibility in how they deploy their 777s and so are no longer committing to have the new configuration available on certain routes. The only other possibility I can think of is that they don't want to update the route list, and that would be so lazy I can't imagine it to be true.
     
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  5. lhrsfo
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    lhrsfo Silver Member

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    I had to laugh at seaflyguy's assertion that he/she cannot imagine UA to be that lazy - great humor!

    Having had some consistency originally with the new 777s focusing on LHR, that's now out of the window and the LHR runs are as unreliable as any others. For example, when booking 955 is shown as old config and 931 as new, but as often as not it's the other way around when it comes time to fly. Multiple changes of configuration are commonplace in the week leading up to the flight and seat allocations are all over the place with seemingly no pattern as to how people are re-allocated, especially in Y.

    I do believe that one route was promised the new configuration (SFO-ICN, IIRC) but within days it became as unreliable as all the others.

    I'm really not sure what's going on as by now UA must have enough new configurations to produce some reliability on targeted routes but it's not happening.
     
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  6. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    I think the situation is that UA would like to indicate the new 777 on more routes than they have planes for. That way they can bring in customers who don't want the old format, almost all of whom will be buying non-refundable, non-changeable tickets. Then a few days before departure they swap in an old 777 instead, something they had planned to do all along.

    In this situation, there is no compensation, nothing.

    Because I believe that is UA's current tactic, I won't buy a business ticket on a 777 unless an upgrade to F is immediately available and I expect to take it. Even then, the IFE on the old 777 is grim and usually unmaintained in F, but I can live with that.

    I now expect the UA sycophants to jump in and defend UA or tell me I should go to another airline.
     
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  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    When CO promised lie-flat to LHR and couldn't deliver they at least offered a minimal miles/cash comp for the service failure.

    AFAIK UA is not promising the new seats on any 772 routes and until you are in the seat and in the air you cannot really bet on it.
     
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  8. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    Pretty much.

    I had a 744 turn into an old-C 772 ex-ORD not too long ago. Didn't for a minute imagine that the guys at UA fleet ops were sitting in their darkened office cackling over their glowing green computer screens thinking how they had suckered me into believing I'd actually get a new C seat.

    I think it's a bit silly to think that UA is engaged in some sort of grand conspiracy to trap you in old C.

    It's more likely that they want to maximize fleet planning flexibility (always a big thing with UA) and so are unwilling to commit to having certain airframes on certain routes. For a while they could because they probably had specific routes set aside for the "shake-down" trips of each airframe due to maintenance availability, down time at each end, or some other similar factors. But now that the pace of new conversions has slowed, they are mixing everything back in as they see fit to optimize fleet management.
     
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  9. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    The net effect of all this is that until the fleet conversion is complete, I'm going to assume that any 777 route will be old F/C and make my buying decisions accordingly.
     
  10. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    That's a safe assumption.

    I don't think there's any big conspiracy going on, neither to trick you into booking nor anything else. They may even have an advance plan to keep the new config's on certain routes. But then when push comes to shove they are prioritizing schedule integrity ahead of anything else. So if an aircraft is late or needs extra maintenance or one flight has onward connections and the other doesn't - they swap them in a way that maximizes schedule integrity regardless of seat configuration - and I'd do the same if I were them. The only alternative would be to operate them as separate subfleets, and I suspect that would make the subfleets too small for the number of missions to be flown. I don't think they have the needed aircraft to operate them as separate subfleets (new vs. old seating).
     
  11. RichardInSF
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    RichardInSF Silver Member

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    I'm not suggesting it's a massive conspiracy, I am suggesting that they are very generous in "declaring" a flight to be the new 777 at time of booking. Conspiracy implies a whole bunch of people decided to do this together, whereas I think this particular decision was made by a single officer (not even necessarily the CEO).
     
  12. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    They have to display something when you book. So they load the flights into the system based on what their ideal operations would have. And then they operate based on reality.

    I doubt that a single person (and CERTAINLY not the CEO) simply chose a bunch of flights to list one way and the rest to list the other way with no particular rhyme or reason.
     
  13. joejones
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    joejones Silver Member

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    Things to keep in mind:

    (1) Airline employees never use the airline's public reservations website. They usually have a separate interface which they use to put themselves on the standby list when they need to travel. This interface will show loads but won't show the seat map, since employees basically get the "dregs" left over after paying passengers have been seated. So employees aren't going to notice the kind of usability issues that paying passengers notice.

    (2) Airline websites are very bureaucratic affairs, and any form or functionality decision has to be approved by a bunch of different people who are each masters of their domain but also, in some critical respect, total morons. Best explanation from the horse's mouth here.

    (3) In almost any company with more than (say) 200 employees, the CEO is basically Plato's allegorical man stuck in a cave, only seeing what his vice presidents choose to show him. While he is ultimately responsible for everything, most of his job involves implementing strategies, making fiefdoms get along, and schmoozing important counterparties. There are a handful of executives (e.g. Steve Jobs) who are capable of micromanaging on a large scale, but they are very few and far between.
     
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  14. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    You're very spot on...on UA's SkyNet we do not see what config will be used but it does show the "proposed" config at the time we check the loads.
     
  15. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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    Slowed?!? It's taken about 4 years to get the new config on 15 777's (which is only a third of the int. 777 fleet!) I hate to think what "slowed" from that rate is!!

    The only thing slower than UA's 777 cabin conversion was their repainting of aircraft from the gray livery to the white (pre-merger) one...I feel like that's been going on for more like 8 years, and there were still a bunch of old gray planes at the time of the merger!
     
  16. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    I agree that the conversion has taken an awfully long time, but wasn't the original reason that they were redoing the Y seats with a new VOD system and a new seat, and getting that debugged?

    Generally airlines do very little heavy fleet work during the summer months as the fleet is all in service then. I think they were converting two aircraft at a time during the winter, so the conversions may have gone on hiatus for the summer. Or could it be that they are rethinking whether additional aircraft are going to be emerging with any F at all and perhaps future conversions will come out as C/Y+/Y- only? That would be a subfleet for sure.
     
  17. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    They started slowly. Sure, that can be written off as needing to debug the system or whatever, but it was SLOW. Then they slowed further. Then the merger happened and they basically put the whole thing on hold until they figured out what was going on there.

    People (self included, at times) were on CO's case for taking so long to get the 752 and 772s into lie-flat but they did it lightning fast compared to what UA was doing.
     
  18. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    UA did get the 767's and 747's done promptly. The 777's are another story altogether
     
  19. adambadam
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    adambadam Silver Member

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    A lot more seats on the 777 have to be changed because of the updates in Y. Not really a good excuse in my mind though something to consider.
     
  20. FortFun
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    FortFun Gold Member

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    IIRC the deal with the 777 was that the seatback screens in Y were so ancient that the manufacturer no longer supported them, forcing them to convert to a brand new type of screen. This in turn required not only changing all the seats in Y, but also getting the new config recertified, etc. So a much bigger hassle than the 767 or 747 conversions.

    And as has been pointed out, the merger, etc. didn't help. Having said all of that, the pace was not fast. :)
     
  21. lhrsfo
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    lhrsfo Silver Member

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    As CO already has 777s, there is already a sub-fleet of PMCO 777s, which presumably will be adapted to add E+ but will not be adapted to add F and which will retain CO's BF seat. I suppose the real question will be whether some of UA's conversions turn them into CO style 777s and what the optimum split between F planes and non-F planes should be.
     
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  22. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I don't think it is a question of if but of how many. There's no way they need all the 777s converted to 3-cabin, especially with the 763s and 744s already converted. The ones that do not go 3--cabin will get CO BF seats, I'd bet.
     
  23. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    I would bet the opposite, since this means UA has to go get FAA certification for their conversions AGAIN (since this materially changes what PMUA was approved for and a PMCO plane is not the same as a PMUA plane, so this means they can't just use what they were approved to do for PMCO- they have to start FAA certification all over again), cancel seat orders and make different seat orders (since the PMCO 777 fleet is already converted), plan out a somewhat different conversion ... all of which will make things even more glacial.

    Probably faster/cheaper just to finish what they started.
     
  24. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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    I don't remember which merger announcement it was in, but I could swear they already said what their intentions are...I don't remember it exactly, but it sounded like whatever remaining 777's don't get 3-cabin will get CO's BF product. I thought they gave a total number of planes that would have F (I remember it being 60-something, which would make it close to what they have now), but again, I'm fuzzy on remembering the details. I might be totally off base here too...
     
  25. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    No way. Especially not to put the F seats in when they've already announced that there will be many routes which do not continue to receive F service. And if they aren't going to configure them with the F seats then they have to go through the paperwork of getting the layout approved again anyways so no harm in putting the CO BF seats in there.

    I'm also willing to bet that they won't have so much trouble with killing the prior seat orders. Given the time line for the delivery of them I doubt the initial order was 100% firm initially anyways.
     

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