Daniel McKenzie, a Buckingham Research Group analyst, posted in a report today that UNITED AIRLINES (IATA Airline Code: UA) is scheduled to trim its Winter 2014/15 schedule by 6.3%.
The shift is part of United’s strategy to match capacity to travel demand and strengthen financial performance, Chief Revenue Officer Jim Compton said. Chicago-based United plans to offer 25 percent more capacity during July, its busiest travel month, than in February, when demand is weakest.
The 25 percent difference between winter and summer operations is about twice as much as United’s historical average and reflects its decision to ground the smallest aircraft flown by its regional affiliates.
“If we can find ways to grow our capacity in the summer at the expense of the winter, we think that overall that is just the right thing to do,” Compton said yesterday in an interview at the World Routes Strategy Summit in Chicago.
The following diagram illustrates where the biggest changes would be (by number of seats available):
Checking the Winter schedule specifically (from airlineroute.net) for the NRT, LAX, IAD and DEN. A majority of the changes are separated into two types: 1. substituting larger aircrafts with smaller ones or 2. reduction or cancellation of frequency.
For example, for Tokyo (NRT), changes to frequency or aircrafts contributed to close to a reduction of 3,000 seats.
The decrease in the number of seats available for sale would 1) increase fare prices (as the planes are being filled more), 2) a reduction in upgrade opportunities for elite members and 3) inconvenience from a longer connection time.
Current ticket holders should check if they are being affected by these changes. Potential ticket holders flying to NRT from these cities should book tickets when there is a fare dip. It is smart to use tools where there is a built-in notification systems to send alerts when lower prices are posted (For example – Google Flight (refer to link))