trpmb6 wrote:I'm certain this has been hashed out before.. What are the economics of flying widebodies on short routes. Are they doing this simply because they have the aircraft and need to put it to use? Pilot shortages? Surely the turnaround times kill these routes right?
Most of the routes mentioned here so far are long in the past. They either no longer exist at all or are no longer served by widebodies. When they were, it was because frequency was not important. The thought was, if you wanted to fly from San Francisco to Los Angeles (or whatever), you'd do it on the one daily flight. Nobody really thought about having a choice of *times* in those days.
The few modern short routes still flown with widebodies are usually down to either slot restrictions or positioning. In Japan, for example, there are just a lot of people going between cities like Tokyo and Osaka, and even with flights every 15 minutes in some cases, they need widebodies to meet demand because there's just no more runway, gate or airspace capacity (one or more of those; not sure which is the most constrained right now, though I'd guess airspace).
But, for example, there was or maybe still is a scheduled JAL flight that I had to prove to certain people actually existed that was a 777-300ER flying NRT-ITM. (It was actually in their timetable, and I flew it.) At first glance, this is a really weird route for that plane - it was a very late night flight, it's only about 250 miles, and it's not just a widebody (which was pretty common in Japan at the time), it's an ER. Well, it was for positioning. Every day or couple of days that plane would end up at Narita from an overseas flight, and they needed it for another long-haul from Itami. So they'd take whatever connecting passengers were at Narita from their other overseas flights and put them on that 777-300ER to go 250 miles.
I'm sure many other flights listed here are similar to that, especially if they're still served by widebodies today. May as well make whatever money you can from those positioning flights.