UA vs. CO Scope Clause: Passenger's Perspective

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Minnesota Bruin, Feb 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Minnesota Bruin
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    I curious what others think the effect of UACO adopting the CO scope clause would be from the passenger's prospective. For those who don’t know, currently CO mainline pilots fly aircraft > 50 seats while UA pilots fly aircraft > 70 seats.

    Obviously, getting more extremely well trained UA pilots into the cockpits is a good thing from the public safely perspective (no offense intended to the vast majority of regional pilots who are also well trained). But what else do we get. I'm guessing the planes stay the same so no IFE (including ch 9) and no ovens in most of the RJs. It's also unclear to me if FAs would be contracts or mainline.

    However, it is likely that ticket prices would increase to cover the higher crew costs.

    I've never flown CO 70 seat aircraft so maybe someone with experience can tell us what would be different?
     
  2. EWR764
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    As fuel prices continue to rise, even 70-seat jets will find their way to the chopping block. With Jet-A threatening $3/gallon and higher, the economics of any RJ less than 90 seats become very questionable.

    In my opinion, both sides will ultimately come to the table and agree on a competitive payscale (read: lower than CO's SN/737-500) for 90-110 seat jets to be flown by mainline pilots, coupled with minimum fleet counts for larger jets and givebacks elsewhere. Mainline crews on current-generation 70 seaters are an unsustainable proposition in this cost environment.
     
  3. Rob
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    If the legacy CO scope clause wins, I doubt UA will buy a bunch of CR7s or E170s as much as I would love to see those aircraft as mainline with proper IFE and ovens. This would mean no CR7s or E170s, and back to CRJ-200s or E145s, which I think would suck from a passenger perspective and from an elite perspective. If UA did buy a bunch of larger new regional jets, in addition to higher crew costs, you've got higher financing costs. CO doesn't have a 70 seat jet in the fleet right now (the Q400 seats 70, but is a prop aircraft); their largest regional jet is 50 seats and their smallest mainline jet has 114 seats - quite a gap.
     
  4. Minnesota Bruin
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    But Skywest et al. would have a large surplus of unused 70 seaters. Maybe a wet lease?

    I know it's unrealisitc but so is United switching all of their regional flying to CR2s and E145s...
     
  5. EWR764
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    Should the pilots reach an agreement that adopts a more restrictive scope (e.g., CO's), I would expect to see a large order for the next-generation 90-110 seat jets from UA, perhaps the Bombardier CSeries, CRJ-1000, or the production model of Boeing's proposed Y1 concept. Again, the economics of the 70 seaters at mainline wages are quite unfavorable.
     
  6. Renard
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    Well I certainly find the 70 seat jet far better than the 45 seat jet. I won't do the Q400....maybe that's irrational but I would go out of my way to avoid it. Certainly any plane with a F cabin that one can upgrade too is better than one without it.
     
  7. Wandering Aramean
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    I would be quite surprised to see the 70-seaters remain around if the cost to operate them doubled.
     
  8. Geoff Slater

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    I fly out of Burlington, VT, where most of the flights are commuter jets. As 1K on United, I usually get upgraded on their 70 seat ExPlus planes and chose them whenever possible. To get United miles, my other choices are Continental and US Airways. Continental flies 50 seat commuter jets and some prop planes, and US Airways flies mostly E170s. If I can't get on a United ExPlus flight, US Airways E170s are my second choice and Continental's 50 seaters are my last choice (even though I don't really like US Airways that much). So I expect that if United adopts Continental's scope clause I'll find myself flying US Airways more and United/Continental less.
     
  9. Xyzzy
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    I like the Q400 -- I find it much more roomy than the ERJ series aircraft.

    Personally, I think the sc:)pe clause is going to go to 70 or perhaps a little higher after the merge. There are a lot of reasons I think we'll see the RJ fleets shrink. The rising fuel prices ruin the economics of flying these aircraft. Also, an RJ takes half or one third as many passengers as, say, a 737 -- but it uses the same amount of runway time. Airlines want to reduce congestion and handle more passengers. As the runways are already backed up, they will be forced to put more passengers onto each aircraft. Mr. RJ -- meet Mr. Dodo...
     
  10. mowogo
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    I agree that the CO scope clause would see the growth of the 90-110 passenger jets. The union would also be more suspicious of any attempts to circumvent it, so that the Q-400 would not be allowed. The 70 seat jet can work for mainline, and AC does it very well. The thing to watch would be the reaction of other airlines unions to any success that the UACO pilots win
     
  11. Misplaced Texan
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    To refocus on the OP's question, I would imagine that mainline or 90-110 seat aircraft would have IFE and ovens like other mainline aircraft. Other airlines such as AC are able to do this, so it's not a technological impossibility by any means.

    What switching to the CO scope clause would mean would be no more F (or E+, most likely) on short/thin routes. There are a lot of routes right now like ORD-OKC that are flown with a mix of CR7 and CRJ airfcraft. If the smallest mainline is 90+, they probably don't support mainline and would be entirely CRJ/E45 routes. Or they would go to once-daily mainline each way with 50 seaters for the rest (the way CO handles OKC out of IAH now).
     
  12. Art234
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    I have no issue with the Q400-the noise canceling feature makes them quite quiet actually...and they are fast enough to be competitive with lawn darts on short runs under 400 miles.

    That said, I hope they come to an agreement regarding scope which works for everyone...I think 70 is the fair number, but as stated, the economics of smaller aircraft is becoming questionable as fuel rises again. The Q400's efficiency, however, mitigates much of that for that aircraft.
     
  13. Xyzzy
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    What d:) you expect them to cook/heat in the ovens? If they have F then I guess they may have a use for that. If they're just doing BOB there isn't much to heat except cheeseburgers.
     
  14. Sean
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    I think it would be very nice to see UA/CO bring explus fleetwide to all of the >50 seat aircraft. From my perspective the most important thing to me is continuity of product. As the lines between regional and mainline flights start to blur, (I'm thinking of the IAD-COS on a CRJ700) its more important than ever to deliver a consistent product to customers.

    Whichever way UA/CO go on their scope clause there could be some serious gains for customers.

    If UA "wins" with a less restrictive scope clause, then UA might finally have the stability in its regional offerings to standardize flights between mainline and regional. Additionally the CRJ700 could open up some new markets which are either unprofitable or unable to be run with other aircraft, like Houston to Aspen.

    If CO pilots "win" then we'd probably see the elimination of some routes, however we might see some additional mainline aircraft on routes that did have the CRJ700 or the E-170. These routes might be profitable with an A319, just more profitable with regional aircraft. Plus we'd probably see an expansion of Q400 flying across the United network. In my opinion the Q400 is a great aircraft, and if equipped with CRJ700-style explus seating, very comfortable.

    Either way we could see some progress in both product consistency and passenger comfort.
     
  15. Xyzzy
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    Whatever happens, I think the days :eek:f the 50 seat aircraft are numbered.
     
  16. EWR764
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    Without a doubt. They were delivered at a time when $1/gal Jet A was considered high. Now that we are approaching $3/gal, they are extremely difficult to make money with.

    There will be a place for 70 seaters going forward, no doubt, but their utility as a mainline replacement is becoming more limited. UA/CO, post-merger, will likely look to the upcoming 90-110 seat developments as both a new category to bridge the mainline-regional gap and ultimately replace the high-CASM 737-500s.
     
  17. Misplaced Texan
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    Good point. I guess I would expect new UA to have F on any mainline jets they fly. I'm pretty sure that other than the Ted experiment is has been a while since either CO or UA had mainline service without an F cabin. UA even has F on its 70 seat express flights, a move which at least one other AAirline is now following.
     
  18. Sean
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    Agreed! But the question now is will the regionals of the future be Jet or Turboprop powered? The higher fuel prices go, the better the larger turboprops look.
     
  19. Xyzzy
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    If I had to guess I'd say turb:)prop.
     
  20. Minnesota Bruin
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    I love turboprops. It's like a free massage chair from gate to gate!
     
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  21. tommy777
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    Who says the cost is double? The new generation E170/175/190 and even the CRJ700/900s are not as inefficient as the aging ERJ145s & CRJ200s CO uses.

    From a business perspective, the classic 737-500s are not cheaper to operate than these newer RJs, especially when you know that the drivers of CO mainline make up to over 200K a year compared to starting salary at SkyWest at 22K for a pilot
     
  22. tommy777
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    So you are going to feed long haul flights out of ORD with 737s from Madison, Green Bay, Peoria and Grand Rapids?

    CO are retiring all the small 737s and an aircraft needs to fill this space. That means that it will always be regional jets in the fleet in the future no matter how much fuel is
     
  23. Sean
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    Maybe not regional jets but definitely regionals. Any reason the Q400 can't do Green Bay-Ord, Peoria-Ord or Grand Rapids-Ord?
     
  24. adexpert
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    The turboprops pretty much disappeared from ORD after some incidents involving American ATRs and cold weather. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the Q400s but ORD has been more or less an all jet service airport for a long time now.

    That said I've seen a couple CO Express turboprops floating around ORD in recent weeks and it's been a strange sight.
     
  25. Xyzzy
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    As s:)meone else pointed out, the key word in your question is "jet."
     

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