GatorClark
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Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:20 pm

I'm sure there are other threads on this, but when did US airlines start to move away from using large widebodies and jumbos on domestic routes? Its not hard to find photos and information on airlines like United, Delta, TWA & American using aircraft such as the DC-10 & 747 on domestic routes through the 70's (and 80's?). Delta used their 747's on the LAX-DFW-ATL run, United & AA used the DC-10 on several domestic routes, and I seem to recall that TWA ran a 747 from STL to LAX & JFK. I know fuel consumption was probably a big factor in the move from this practice, but the question I have is not only WHY did US airlines get away from it, but when? When did airline management start to shift from high capacity-low frequency, to low capacity-high frequency? Being born at the beginning of the 90's and not really paying attention to aviation until post 9/11, its strange to me to hear of TWA running a 747 STL-JFK, or Eastern running a 747 MIA-JFK. I admit that Delta's LAX-DFW-ATL 747 is a bad example because Delta told Boeing from day one that the 747 was too much airplane for them and was only a stopgap until the L-1011 arrived (which itself is not a small airplane). These days I only hear of 763's on domestic routes and the occasional 787 or 777 running domestic just to ferry it to another hub. I hope I worded what I was asking correctly.
 
SpaceshipDC10
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:33 pm

How about after deregulation 40 years ago and the frenzy of new operators or current ones launching routes? For instance, Braniff, admitedly not a large widebodies operator, had many 727-200s on order just for that.
 
drdisque
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:44 pm

It was waves.

First was in the mid 80's when the 757 came online which was the first narrowbody since the DC-8 that could operate true transcon routes and had not that much smaller capacity than the DC-10-10 and early L1011's.

The main deathknell was the recession in 2001 and 2002. All L1011's and DC-10's were retired over this time period as well as pretty much all 747 classics. MD-11's were sold off as well. Carriers wanted to keep frequency, and the 777 non-ER was capable of operating TATL and Hawaii so UA moved those there. 757's that were flying short-haul were replaced with smaller narrowbodies (that were replaced by RJ's) - everything downgauged, this made a glut of 757's available for any transcon that was still operating with a widebody. Additionally, airlines rationalized their schedules and fleets, reducing the need for widebody positioning flights between hubs.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:45 pm

You'll probably correlate the change from widebody/infrequent to narrowbody/frequent with the growth of the superhubs. More non-stop destinations, more use for more connectivity, flights in banks trying to minimize connection times. Try to match when ATL/DFW/IAH/EWR got more than 300-400 flights a day. Route fragmentation is a cause: ATL-SMF vs. ATL-SFO-SMF, and the like. That's a function of small aircraft with greater range (the first 737s certainly couldn't do transcons) but it's also a function of deregulation, letting carriers fly where they want instead of limiting competition and forcing milk runs.
 
codc10
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:55 pm

For the most part, the domestic airlines in the 1970s (United, Delta, Continental, American, National) obtained 747s out of perceived competitive necessity, not because their route structures contained a great deal of long-haul flying or extremely high-volume routes. "Wide-body comfort" was an important marketing ploy in the early 1970s and the smaller, more economical WBs (DC-10, L-1011) weren't available right away. The 747s had to fit into their respective (regulated) networks somehow.

Obviously, that flying, even with prices fixed by the CAB, was largely unprofitable, and by the 1973 oil crisis, most domestic carriers started unloading their 747 fleets in favor of the D10/L10.

I'd argue that the 747 was one of the contributing factors to Pan Am's decline and ultimate demise, given the massive debt undertaken to acquire the fleet and the difficulty of operating the fleet profitably year-round.
 
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N62NA
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:01 pm

GatorClark (the OP), you will love this website:

http://www.departedflights.com
How come I can't upload an avatar photo to my profile?
 
spacecadet
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:08 pm

United was still flying 747's on transcon routes into the mid-80's. When I first started flying them, the primary long range domestic mix was DC-8, DC-10 and 747. Within a few years after that, it was 757's and 767's.

Northwest was also still flying 747's domestically into the 1980's, though I didn't fly them as frequently so I don't know exactly when they stopped. But I think most, if not all, domestic 747 usage was done by the late 80's. I certainly don't remember any regular domestic 747 service any time in the 90's, although I suppose there could have been an individual route or two somewhere.
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knope2001
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:15 pm

You're likely to get a lot of subjective opinions on a subjective question like this, and the transition away from domestic widebodies was (of course) a slow and steady transition. But here's how I'd characterize it in an over-simplified way.

Prior to the early-mid 80's airlines were still following the historic march toward newer, larger and faster. The newer, larger, faster aircraft were always the premier aircraft to put on high-profile routes. You ordered the premier aircraft and when they came you put them on your premier routes. Of course by the early 80's aircraft were not getting faster or much bigger, but the inertia was still there. And in the regulated environment, well, it's what everybody did.

From the early-mid 80's through the early 90's the effects of deregulation, competition and recessions started to chip away at domestic widebodies. Airlines still flew them widely on the heaviest routes, but the days of a 55% load factor being acceptable and profitable were long since over. Airlines still had them in their fleet so it's not like this disappeared overnight, of course.

By the 90's airlines were moving squarely into retiring D10 and L10 and even the newer 767's and Airbus widebodies were growing shorter. Newer narrowbodies were increasingly efficient and you couldn't beat the flexibility of two 150-seaters versus one 300-seater, especially when that 150-seater was the newest, most efficient technology. Widebodies in the US were mostly transcon and some select high-volume routes. Delta back in those days was more of a traditionalist than a trend setter and one could find a lot more domestic widebodies in the later 90's and into the 00's than United, Delta, Continental, Northwest, etc. where they were pretty rare by 2000.

The travel dive 9/11 and recessions of the 00's caused only further heightened the trend. These days airlines seem to be moving the lower costs of the largest narrowbodies they can get, and situations have matured / changed enough that airlines regularly board, say, 165-200 people on far more city pairs than they did back in the 70's and 80's when routinely widebodies were much more common.
 
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hOMSaR
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:18 pm

The main reason, as noted above, was deregulation, combined with improved narrowbody efficiency and capabilities.

Airlines ordered domestic widebodies for delivery in the 1970s when routes and fares were still regulated (also, even when deregulation occurred, my understanding is that a lot of carriers didn't believe it would last). Airlines couldn't really compete on routes/frequencies or fares, so they had to compete on image. That meant putting things like lounges on the widebody planes (which were quickly replaced with seats). They were also ordered when narrowbody planes didn't have the range to make transcontinental flights (mentioned above), unless you were operating the first gen gets (707s/DC-8s). Further, as these were the first widebodies in the industry, and not that far removed (a decade and a half) from the start of the jet age, carriers didn't quite have a sense of how big of a plane they would actually need for some markets, and they were all racing to get the biggest planes, thinking that this was the best way to impress passengers. Lots of carriers bought too many widebodies during that period.

Once deregulation hit, competition increased significantly, combined with the introduction of more efficient narrowbodies (757 with transcontinental range, 737-300 with pretty good regional range), the economics of running the widebodies was no longer appealing. However, when you already have planes good for a 20-30 year life, you might as well keep them (which is why they lasted into the 90s/early 2000s).

Flight scheduling and equipment rotation also explains a lot of the routings that used to exist as well. For example, Northwest used to fly a handful of DC-10s DTW-MKE and MSP-MKE, not because the route had any need for DC-10s, but because those rotations where short enough to fit in between west coast flight banks out of MSP and DTW.

With the introduction of A320 and 737NG fleets, it was now possible to fly transcontinental on a 150-seat plane much more efficiently, enabling a lot more hub-bypass flights. So you could operate a lot more nonstop flights rather than funneling passengers through hubs on each end of the country (or through a mid-continent hub). This decreased the required capacity on those hub-hub flights (similar to what you now see on long-haul routes with efficient 250-seaters flying more nonstops, replacing the need for a 400 or 500-seat hub-hub widebody with connections on each end). Additionally, by having 737s and A320s, you can also fly those short hops with the same type without it being overkill.

Large planes, of course, have lots of seats, and it's only efficient to fly a lot of seats when you can fill them at reasonable fares. Load factors have steadily risen over the years because airlines have learned that empty seats don't make money, and by using smaller planes, they can reduce the number of empty seats while not having to steeply discount fares to keep them full. In an industry where a fraction of a percent can translate to millions of dollars over the course of a year, they can't afford to be inefficient. Keeping revenues up and costs down is how the industry has managed to sustain profitability (I don't know the official number today, but I recall reading years ago, even pre 9/11, that the combined financial results of all US airlines since the beginning of the industry was a net negative number; so for all the widebodies and luxury they were providing, they were losing their shirts doing so). That means providing what the market demands (i.e. lower fares and better schedule frequency), which is better attained through the use of smaller planes rather than larger ones.
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afcjets
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:25 pm

spacecadet wrote:
United was still flying 747's on transcon routes into the mid-80's. When I first started flying them, the primary long range domestic mix was DC-8, DC-10 and 747. Within a few years after that, it was 757's and 767's.


United still had a few domestic 747 flights at least through the early 2000s, including transcon. Here is one LAX-IAD in June, 1999.


http://www.departedflights.com/IAD99p2.html

They also flew one DEN-IAD.
 
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:31 pm

GatorClark wrote:
I'm sure there are other threads on this, but when did US airlines start to move away from using large widebodies and jumbos on domestic routes?


When Boeing and to some extent Airbus started only developing widebody jets with increased wingspan to increase the range and therefore takeoff weight, which produced a dis-economy of scale on shorter flights.
Last edited by afcjets on Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
smallmj
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:31 pm

I know it is not US Domestic, but Air Canada will often use wide-bodies for afternoon turns for high volume routes in Eastern Canada (eg YUL-YYZ). These will by timed for frames that would otherwise sit idle between TATL flights. They'll also use them for some transcon flights. It is all about increasing aircraft utilization.
 
spacecadet
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:44 pm

Just to clarify my earlier reply a little, "jumbo" has kind of a specific meaning to me, and that's 747. But it sounds like what you're really asking about is just widebody flights, since you also mention the DC-10, 767 and 777.

*That* change really started happening in the 2000's. I remember flying JFK-SFO on TWA in 2000 or 2001 and it being a 757 and thinking "well, this sucks". That was my first transcon in a narrowbody, and I had been doing either JFK-SFO, EWR-SFO or EWR-OAK a few times per year every year for about the past 15 leading up to that point.

In fact I'm quite sure you could search through the forum here around that time and find people complaining about it. I've been here a long time and remember threads like that from around when I first joined (which was post-9/11). In fact, you can look at the 9/11 flights and see that two were widebody and two were narrowbody. So that is around the time the changeover to narrowbodies was actually happening. I've seen people say elsewhere that it was because of 9/11, but it was happening before that. It may have accelerated after 9/11 because of the revenue declines that resulted, though.
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afcjets
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:50 pm

spacecadet wrote:
Northwest was also still flying 747's domestically into the 1980's, though I didn't fly them as frequently so I don't know exactly when they stopped. But I think most, if not all, domestic 747 usage was done by the late 80's. I certainly don't remember any regular domestic 747 service any time in the 90's, although I suppose there could have been an individual route or two somewhere.


I remember NW flying 747s hub to hub in the 1990s such as SEA-MSP in 1995. IIRC too they were sometimes flown DTW-MSP and even MEM-DTW or MSP.

http://www.departedflights.com/MSP95p5.html
 
910A
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:52 pm

As late as 2006 - SFO saw a number of wide bodies to various destinations like ORD, ATL, DFW, DEN, IAD and JFK to name a few using 777's and 763, 764..on UA, DL and AA.
 
afcjets
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:14 pm

delete
Last edited by afcjets on Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
afcjets
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:18 pm

910A wrote:
As late as 2006 - SFO saw a number of wide bodies to various destinations like ORD, ATL, DFW, DEN, IAD and JFK to name a few using 777's and 763, 764..on UA, DL and AA.


AA, DL, and UA are all flying domestic widebodies into SFO today.

AA SFO-PHL 332
DL SFO-JFK 764
UA SFO-DEN 772
UA SFO-IAD 772
UA SFO-EWR 772
UA SFO-ORD 772
 
TWFlyGuy
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:30 pm

Keep in mind that even when the 757 was introduced it was meant to replace the 727. Nobody was even thinking about it being for transcons as there was still the stigma of long flights on a narrow body. I think if you look back at schedules, you can really credit Continental who from their EWR hub began not only 737 transcons and 757 TATL flights, but also Aloha who began 737 Hawaii flights. There were some limited uses prior (AA had EWR-LAX on a 757 in the 90's for example) but I think I would really attribute it mostly to those carriers exploiting (positively) the full use of the aircraft and opening routes that might not otherwise exist if not for a lower capacity aircraft.
 
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tjwgrr
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:36 pm

afcjets wrote:
910A wrote:
As late as 2006 - SFO saw a number of wide bodies to various destinations like ORD, ATL, DFW, DEN, IAD and JFK to name a few using 777's and 763, 764..on UA, DL and AA.


AA, DL, and UA are all flying domestic widebodies into SFO today.

AA SFO-PHL 332
DL SFO-JFK 764
UA SFO-DEN 772
UA SFO-IAD 772
UA SFO-EWR 772
UA SFO-ORD 772


UA LAX-EWR 772 and 78X (at least for a little while.....)

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL2418
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TWA1985
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:04 pm

I just glanced at a January 1985 Northwest Orient Timetable and a good example of this would be the ORD-MSP route ... with several of the flights using the 747 and DC-10. And get thus ... they served a full breakfast in coach on the morning 747 run ... that’s an hour or less in the air!
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TWA1985
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:05 pm

tjwgrr wrote:
afcjets wrote:
910A wrote:
As late as 2006 - SFO saw a number of wide bodies to various destinations like ORD, ATL, DFW, DEN, IAD and JFK to name a few using 777's and 763, 764..on UA, DL and AA.


AA, DL, and UA are all flying domestic widebodies into SFO today.

AA SFO-PHL 332
DL SFO-JFK 764
UA SFO-DEN 772
UA SFO-IAD 772
UA SFO-EWR 772
UA SFO-ORD 772


UA LAX-EWR 772 and 78X (at least for a little while.....)

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL2418


AA is also running ORD-LAS, ORD-PHX, ORD-SFO, ORD-DFW with the 787 currently.
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hOMSaR
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:14 pm

Nobody said there were zero widebodies on domestic flights, so pointing out individual flights (which the OP already acknowledged still exist in the first post) is irrelevant to the actual question.
The plural of Airbus is Airbuses. Airbii is not a word.
There is no 787-800, nor 787-900 or 747-800. It's 787-8, 787-9, and 747-8.
A321neoLR is also unnecessary. It's simply A321LR.
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MIflyer12
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:14 pm

TWA1985 wrote:
tjwgrr wrote:
afcjets wrote:

AA, DL, and UA are all flying domestic widebodies into SFO today.

AA SFO-PHL 332
DL SFO-JFK 764
UA SFO-DEN 772
UA SFO-IAD 772
UA SFO-EWR 772
UA SFO-ORD 772


UA LAX-EWR 772 and 78X (at least for a little while.....)

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL2418


AA is also running ORD-LAS, ORD-PHX, ORD-SFO, ORD-DFW with the 787 currently.


You and afcjets mention those routes as it it's some significant number. It isn't. The short length of the list shows what an outlier widebodies are on US-49 flights. How many unique routes do AA+DL+UA operate in the continental US? How many get widebodies on a year-round, daily basis? It's not quite just fingers & toes of one person but it's darn few.
 
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Mortyman
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:18 pm

1988:

MCO-DFW AA B767
DFW-ORD AA Dc-10

1990:

JFK-SJU AA Airbus 300-600
SJU-MIA AA Airbus 300-600
 
sonicruiser
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:33 pm

N62NA wrote:
GatorClark (the OP), you will love this website:

http://www.departedflights.com


Wow, this is amazing.
 
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:04 pm

When frequency became the buzzword, regional jets replaced small mainlines first. The small mainline jets "furloughed" from the routes now taken by rj's began flying larger routes to increase frequency. International routes became the new home of the widebodies, They are few and far between, however, if one knows how to look, one can still find that elusive double-aisled planed in the big three's routes.

A personal story to this:

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Okay, seriously, I do have memories of United being one of the last of the majors to cycle its widebodies for domestic runs. Between November, 2002, and May, 2004, I traveled to Chicago three times from San Diego, and each time flying United, taking a connecting flight to fly a widebody: the first was SAN-DEN-ORD (A320 to a 772), returning on a non-stop 757 as my ORD-LAX 744 went tech. SO disappointed, but the 757 is my favorite narrowbody of all time. The second was SAN-DEN-ORD (A320 to a 772 again!), returning on my first 767-300 to SFO and a 757 to San Diego. The last time I was actually asked by the lovely woman at United Express at the old Commuter Terminal if I was aware there were non-stops. "Oh, yes" I replied, "but I'm connecting to a 747-400, and those are virtually gone in domestic skies. I'm getting on one while I still can!!" She laughed and understood. I also made mention of it to the lovely flight crew, and got a tour of a lot of the plane, including the cockpit after we docked.

All just to fly on widebodies. Ironically, my friends in Chicago moved back to San Diego, and I haven't been back since...
 
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knope2001
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:18 pm

When looking back at how common widebodies used to be in the US domestic market it's important to remember how much emptier planes used to be. Check out this fact sheet from the 1970's for Northwest Orient's 1979 annual report.

http://www.departedflights.com/NW79reportp28.html

Annual load factors ranged between the mid 30's and the high 40's until 1979, the first year of deregulation, when they posted an average load factor of 55.3%. And...they made money every year. Then remember that flights tended to be more multi-hop linear routes. You may have had a DC-10 board 50 people at a given stop and nobody bat an eye because 50 were already onboard and that's all the fuller it ran. A 268-seat DC-10 at 35-36% (as Northwest posted in '71 and '72) is only about 95 passengers -- a marginal load for today's typical 737. So when you wonder how places like Syracuse and Billings and Columbia and Dayton got widebodies back in those days when it's so many RJ's today -- it was low load factors and multi-hop flights. And both are long, long gone.
 
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:23 am

There's still a few domestic routes that come and go. I just flew ATL-LAX with DL on the 777-200LR last month. Flight continued onto SYD.

Right through the 1990s there were plenty of widebody domestics. I flew NW MSP-SEA on the the 747-200 in 1995. (Continuing tom NRT) As well as SEA-MSP on th DC-10-40. And more DL L-1011s and 767-200 and -300s from BOS-ATL and LGA-ATL than I can remember, right up until 1999. I did a DTW-BOS on NW DC-10, too, about twenty-five years ago.
 
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:52 am

MIflyer12 wrote:
TWA1985 wrote:
tjwgrr wrote:

UA LAX-EWR 772 and 78X (at least for a little while.....)

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL2418


AA is also running ORD-LAS, ORD-PHX, ORD-SFO, ORD-DFW with the 787 currently.


You and afcjets mention those routes as it it's some significant number. It isn't. The short length of the list shows what an outlier widebodies are on US-49 flights. How many unique routes do AA+DL+UA operate in the continental US? How many get widebodies on a year-round, daily basis? It's not quite just fingers & toes of one person but it's darn few.


It is a small percentage of flights but it's not all that unusual at UA either:
DEN-IAD 787 (4 days a week)
DEN-LAX 777
DEN-SFO 777
DEN-SFO 787 (1 day a week)
EWR-IAH 764 (6 days a week)
EWR-IAH 777
EWR-LAX 777
EWR-LAX 787
EWR-ORD 777
EWR-SFO 777
IAD-DEN 787 (4 days a week)
IAD-IAH 764
IAD-SFO 777
IAH-EWR 777
IAH-EWR 764
IAH-IAD 764
IAH-LAX 777
IAH-LAX 777
IAH-SFO 787
LAX-DEN 777
LAX-EWR 787
LAX-EWR 777
LAX-IAH 777
LAX-IAH 777
ORD-EWR 777
ORD-SFO 777
ORD-SFO 777 (2 days a week)
SFO-DEN 777
SFO-DEN 787 (1 day a week)
SFO-EWR 777
SFO-IAD 777
SFO-IAH 787
SFO-ORD 777
SFO-ORD 777 (1 day a week)

Obviously you can find them to SJU, Hawaii and GUM as well.
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afcjets
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:01 am

hOMSaR wrote:
Nobody said there were zero widebodies on domestic flights, so pointing out individual flights (which the OP already acknowledged still exist in the first post) is irrelevant to the actual question.


I am not answering the TA’s question in those posts. (See post 11 where I do that).

In post 14 I am quoting and responding to “I certainly don't remember any regular domestic 747 service any time in the 90's, although I suppose there could have been an individual route or two somewhere“ by pointing out specific examples of where there was indeed domestic 747 service on NW in the 90’s. That is totally relevant to the post I was responding to.

In post 17 I am quoting and responding to “As late as 2006 - SFO saw a number of wide bodies to various destinations like ORD, ATL, DFW, DEN, IAD and JFK to name a few using 777's and 763, 764..on UA, DL and AA“ by pointing out all three of those airlines fly those widebody aircraft types and more from SFO to all of those airports today except for DFW and ATL. That is totally relevant to the post I was responding to.
 
afcjets
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:14 am

MIflyer12 wrote:
You and afcjets mention those routes as it it's some significant number. It isn't. The short length of the list shows what an outlier widebodies are on US-49 flights.


No I don’t (see post above) and I agree the short list shows what an outlier domestic widebodies are today compared to what they once were.
 
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aemoreira1981
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Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:16 am

The desire to be more profitable after mergers following de-regulation, and also the desire of people to travel when they want. But I'll say that the 737-800 and the A320 (early on when it competed with the 757 and 737-300/400) hastened it, as there is a desire to keep load factors pretty high. The only routes with wide-bodies domestically anymore are almost always in one of these categories:

1. Where the cargo lift is needed (i.e., Hawaiian to/from the West Coast)
2. Where there is high premium demand (i.e., NYC-LAX/SFO) and the long-haul product is needed for that
3. Where only a wide-body has the range (i.e., NYC or ATL-HNL)
4. Repositioning flights (i.e., ATL-LAX or MIA-another AA hub)
5. Vacation flying from a fortress hub (i.e., sun destinations from MSP or DFW, EWR-SJU)
6. Recovery from IRROPS
 
blacksoviet
Posts: 912
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:50 am

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:25 am

In 2006, Northwest was still flying 747-200s from SEA to MSP. Northwest held on to their 747-200s much longer than United did. It was a shame that Delta retired the freighters.
 
afcjets
Posts: 2440
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:13 am

TWFlyGuy wrote:
Keep in mind that even when the 757 was introduced it was meant to replace the 727. Nobody was even thinking about it being for transcons as there was still the stigma of long flights on a narrow body. I think if you look back at schedules, you can really credit Continental who from their EWR hub began not only 737 transcons and 757 TATL flights, but also Aloha who began 737 Hawaii flights. There were some limited uses prior (AA had EWR-LAX on a 757 in the 90's for example) but I think I would really attribute it mostly to those carriers exploiting (positively) the full use of the aircraft and opening routes that might not otherwise exist if not for a lower capacity aircraft.


Eastern who was the launch customer for the 757 flew it LAX-MIA as early as the mid to late 1980s when it was only a few years old. Even though technically not transcontinental but almost they also flew it ATL-SFO and ATL-SEA back then too. As for the 737, Piedmont was the first transcon with the 733 back in the late 1980s if you include LAX-TPA.
 
TW870
Posts: 889
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:01 am

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:39 am

The point about deregulation that others have made is spot on, as the transition from capacity competition to competition on schedule and price worked against the use of large airplanes with lots of bells and whistles.

I think the more interesting thing, though, is the acceleration of this trend in this century. Today, it seems like the U.S. majors would rather have an airplane sit as an operational spare at a hub rather than do a domestic utilization turn. Part of this is, as others have said above, that widebodies are optimized for very long haul operations today and thus not efficient on short segments. Airlines are very cost disciplined today, and Delta has actually mothballed some 764s and 330s in recent winters rather than doing utilization runs with them. There are two 764s mothballed right now, and during the 777 cabin refurb process 863DA was an operational spare for months rather than assigned to any domestic trip. It seems that protecting the international operation with reserve crew coverage and operational spare airplanes is worth more money in many cases than the revenue that would come in from domestic flying.
 
OB1504
Posts: 3456
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:10 am

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:05 am

spacecadet wrote:
I certainly don't remember any regular domestic 747 service any time in the 90's, although I suppose there could have been an individual route or two somewhere.


Well, there was Tower Air and their all-747 fleet:

 
Kno
Posts: 264
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:08 pm

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:07 am

afcjets wrote:
910A wrote:
As late as 2006 - SFO saw a number of wide bodies to various destinations like ORD, ATL, DFW, DEN, IAD and JFK to name a few using 777's and 763, 764..on UA, DL and AA.


AA, DL, and UA are all flying domestic widebodies into SFO today.

AA SFO-PHL 332
DL SFO-JFK 764
UA SFO-DEN 772
UA SFO-IAD 772
UA SFO-EWR 772
UA SFO-ORD 772


UA SFO-BOS 772

and I'd imagine hawaii as well?
 
afcjets
Posts: 2440
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:10 am

OB1504 wrote:
spacecadet wrote:
I certainly don't remember any regular domestic 747 service any time in the 90's, although I suppose there could have been an individual route or two somewhere.


Well, there was Tower Air and their all-747 fleet:



He was only referring to NW.
 
TWFlyGuy
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:10 pm

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:30 pm

afcjets wrote:
TWFlyGuy wrote:
Keep in mind that even when the 757 was introduced it was meant to replace the 727. Nobody was even thinking about it being for transcons as there was still the stigma of long flights on a narrow body. I think if you look back at schedules, you can really credit Continental who from their EWR hub began not only 737 transcons and 757 TATL flights, but also Aloha who began 737 Hawaii flights. There were some limited uses prior (AA had EWR-LAX on a 757 in the 90's for example) but I think I would really attribute it mostly to those carriers exploiting (positively) the full use of the aircraft and opening routes that might not otherwise exist if not for a lower capacity aircraft.


Eastern who was the launch customer for the 757 flew it LAX-MIA as early as the mid to late 1980s when it was only a few years old. Even though technically not transcontinental but almost they also flew it ATL-SFO and ATL-SEA back then too. As for the 737, Piedmont was the first transcon with the 733 back in the late 1980s if you include LAX-TPA.


Good point. I would say that there was a mindset during that period that suggested that if you can't serve major routes with a widebody maybe you shouldn't be on the route. Was it right...no. The MBA's hadn't taken over yet though.
 
trav777
Posts: 163
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:17 pm

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:41 pm

GatorClark wrote:
I'm sure there are other threads on this, but when did US airlines start to move away from using large widebodies and jumbos on domestic routes? Its not hard to find photos and information on airlines like United, Delta, TWA & American using aircraft such as the DC-10 & 747 on domestic routes through the 70's (and 80's?). Delta used their 747's on the LAX-DFW-ATL run, United & AA used the DC-10 on several domestic routes, and I seem to recall that TWA ran a 747 from STL to LAX & JFK. I know fuel consumption was probably a big factor in the move from this practice, but the question I have is not only WHY did US airlines get away from it, but when? When did airline management start to shift from high capacity-low frequency, to low capacity-high frequency? Being born at the beginning of the 90's and not really paying attention to aviation until post 9/11, its strange to me to hear of TWA running a 747 STL-JFK, or Eastern running a 747 MIA-JFK. I admit that Delta's LAX-DFW-ATL 747 is a bad example because Delta told Boeing from day one that the 747 was too much airplane for them and was only a stopgap until the L-1011 arrived (which itself is not a small airplane). These days I only hear of 763's on domestic routes and the occasional 787 or 777 running domestic just to ferry it to another hub. I hope I worded what I was asking correctly.


from personal experience, started flying late 80s, widebodies were the norm transcon. I used to select particular routings to get on a DC10 or 767 between EWR-SFO because of the abundance of empty seats. First flight I took from stapleton to Newark was on a DC8 lol...last 4 engine plane I've been on actually.

Started noticing in the mid 90s that there were almost no more of them flying, it was all 737s and an occasional A320, which I preferred to the 737. And that regional jets were starting to fly the routes that used to be 737s. Haven't been on a WB since on a domestic route other than HNL-SFO on UA's high density 777.
 
User avatar
FCOTSTW
Posts: 109
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:14 pm

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:55 pm

TWA' s historic 747 domestic routes were:

TW841 JFKLAX
TW840 LAXJFK
TW843 JFKSFO
TW842 SFOJFK

and sometimes

TW5 JFKMIA

I am sure, however, that there were few others.
 
SESGDL
Posts: 2791
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 6:25 am

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:11 pm

blacksoviet wrote:
In 2006, Northwest was still flying 747-200s from SEA to MSP. Northwest held on to their 747-200s much longer than United did. It was a shame that Delta retired the freighters.


This is not at all accurate, NW didn’t have scheduled service between MSP and SEA after the 1980s. Domestic 747 service on NW ended in the 1990s.

Jeremy
 
User avatar
pwm2txlhopper
Posts: 1356
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2004 10:40 am

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:28 am

SESGDL wrote:
blacksoviet wrote:
In 2006, Northwest was still flying 747-200s from SEA to MSP. Northwest held on to their 747-200s much longer than United did. It was a shame that Delta retired the freighters.


This is not at all accurate, NW didn’t have scheduled service between MSP and SEA after the 1980s. Domestic 747 service on NW ended in the 1990s.

Jeremy


Most definitely did. NW flight 7 was flying MSP-SEA-NRT when I flew the domestic sector on a 747-200 in August 1995. My uncle booked the flight specially so I could fly in my first 747 instead of flying Non-stop to SEA from DTW. (And our flight we were connect from DTW from was a NW MD-80. I think there were only nine?)

From 1992, note Flt 7 MSP-SEA

http://www.departedflights.com/NW121592p17.html
 
afcjets
Posts: 2440
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:41 am

pwm2txlhopper wrote:
SESGDL wrote:
blacksoviet wrote:
In 2006, Northwest was still flying 747-200s from SEA to MSP. Northwest held on to their 747-200s much longer than United did. It was a shame that Delta retired the freighters.

This is not at all accurate, NW didn’t have scheduled service between MSP and SEA after the 1980s. Domestic 747 service on NW ended in the 1990s.


Most definitely did. NW flight 7 was flying MSP-SEA-NRT when I flew the domestic sector on a 747-200 in August 1995. My uncle booked the flight specially so I could fly in my first 747 instead of flying Non-stop to SEA from DTW. (And our flight we were connect from DTW from was a NW MD-80. I think there were only nine?)

From 1992, note Flt 7 MSP-SEA

http://www.departedflights.com/NW121592p17.html


Here it is four months before your actual trip...

http://www.departedflights.com/SEA95p3.html

Had you flown it in April instead of August, the flight connecting to your 747 would have been a DC-10 instead of a MD-80...

http://www.departedflights.com/MSP95p2.html
 
blacksoviet
Posts: 912
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:50 am

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:01 am

The San Diego Chargers chartered a Northwest 747-200B as the team airliner for the 2008 and 2009 season.
 
trav777
Posts: 163
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:17 pm

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:35 am

knope2001 wrote:
When looking back at how common widebodies used to be in the US domestic market it's important to remember how much emptier planes used to be. Check out this fact sheet from the 1970's for Northwest Orient's 1979 annual report.

http://www.departedflights.com/NW79reportp28.html

Annual load factors ranged between the mid 30's and the high 40's until 1979, the first year of deregulation, when they posted an average load factor of 55.3%. And...they made money every year. Then remember that flights tended to be more multi-hop linear routes. You may have had a DC-10 board 50 people at a given stop and nobody bat an eye because 50 were already onboard and that's all the fuller it ran. A 268-seat DC-10 at 35-36% (as Northwest posted in '71 and '72) is only about 95 passengers -- a marginal load for today's typical 737. So when you wonder how places like Syracuse and Billings and Columbia and Dayton got widebodies back in those days when it's so many RJ's today -- it was low load factors and multi-hop flights. And both are long, long gone.


I remember paying more in 1990 dollars for transcons than they cost now in 2018 dollars. This trend is the way things are going, and what you point out is important to remember for anyone when the issue of VLAs and replacements for large aircraft are being had. The trend everywhere is to smaller jets; nobody should be surprised when NBs are ubiquitous TATL. AB is gearing up their XLR specifically for this type of mission...all those 763s and 332s out there may get replaced by single-aisles just so they can always fly full
 
rgustafson
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:26 pm

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:59 am

The last time I flew a 747 domestically was in the early to mid 90's. It was TWA from JFK to STL. I believe it was an extension of a TATL flight from somewhere in Europe. I remember seeing United 747's in Las Vegas in the late 90's.
RGTWA
 
rbavfan
Posts: 2899
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 5:53 am

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:01 am

afcjets wrote:
TWFlyGuy wrote:
Keep in mind that even when the 757 was introduced it was meant to replace the 727. Nobody was even thinking about it being for transcons as there was still the stigma of long flights on a narrow body. I think if you look back at schedules, you can really credit Continental who from their EWR hub began not only 737 transcons and 757 TATL flights, but also Aloha who began 737 Hawaii flights. There were some limited uses prior (AA had EWR-LAX on a 757 in the 90's for example) but I think I would really attribute it mostly to those carriers exploiting (positively) the full use of the aircraft and opening routes that might not otherwise exist if not for a lower capacity aircraft.


Eastern who was the launch customer for the 757 flew it LAX-MIA as early as the mid to late 1980s when it was only a few years old. Even though technically not transcontinental but almost they also flew it ATL-SFO and ATL-SEA back then too. As for the 737, Piedmont was the first transcon with the 733 back in the late 1980s if you include LAX-TPA.



LAX-MIA in not technically Transcon, it IS Transcon. Ie MIA is on the east coast & Lax is on the west coast. Thats trans contenental by fact.
 
rbavfan
Posts: 2899
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 5:53 am

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:11 am

TWA had PHX-STL L1011 redeye for years.
 
afcjets
Posts: 2440
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: Domestic jumbo usage question

Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:29 pm

rbavfan wrote:
afcjets wrote:
TWFlyGuy wrote:
Keep in mind that even when the 757 was introduced it was meant to replace the 727. Nobody was even thinking about it being for transcons as there was still the stigma of long flights on a narrow body. I think if you look back at schedules, you can really credit Continental who from their EWR hub began not only 737 transcons and 757 TATL flights, but also Aloha who began 737 Hawaii flights.

Eastern who was the launch customer for the 757 flew it LAX-MIA as early as the mid to late 1980s when it was only a few years old. Even though technically not transcontinental but almost they also flew it ATL-SFO and ATL-SEA back then too. As for the 737, Piedmont was the first transcon with the 733 back in the late 1980s if you include LAX-TPA.

LAX-MIA in not technically Transcon, it IS Transcon. Ie MIA is on the east coast & Lax is on the west coast. Thats trans contenental by fact.

Which is why I stated it exactly the way I did lol

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