AA to operate 3 cabin 321s with lie flat first, business class

jimntx

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And, since we are giving up any control over staffing levels in the LBFO, no doubt if they lose money on operating these a/c with fewer fannies in the seats, they will decide that the problem is too many f/as on the a/c, and cut the staffing to FAA minimum. If it's only 100 seats, that is two f/as. Of course, there will be no cuts in the level of service, the f/as will just have to adjust to get it all done.


Cynical? Moi? How could you say such a thing?
 
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WorldTraveler

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wanna guess what the staffing will be on an aircraft with 10 in first, 20 in business, and 72 in coach?
How did/does UA staff its ps aircraft?
 

1AA

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3 class on a A321 is not cost effective. A321 can hold up to 185 in a 2 class configuration, 221 Max (airbus website).

"The largest member of the A320 Family, the A321 offers the best seat-mile costs of any single-aisle aircraft, matching widebody efficiency."

How can it be cost effective with about 100 seats?

This aircraft can make money but if AA chooses to go with a 3 class configuration with a capacity of around 100 pax then what?
 

dfw gen

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Can u say more room in coach? With plans like this you guys in tulsa will be moving seats on seats off, seats on,seats off.....very busy job security....
 

jimntx

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wanna guess what the staffing will be on an aircraft with 10 in first, 20 in business, and 72 in coach?
How did/does UA staff its ps aircraft?

Well, FAA minimum would be 3 flight attendants. Let's say you go four f/as. That is still one for F/C, one for B/C, and two for coach. Given the current services on transcon premium classes are retained, there is no way one f/a can handle F/C or B/C--currently on the 767s, one f/a does nothing except F/C galley. The service is that elaborate. The services require a minimum of two in each premium cabin, and two in coach. So, now you have 6 f/as for 100 passengers. Unless the passengers are paying through the nose for their seats, I agree with 1AA...how can this be cost effective?

And, I'm already seeing more and more of the Executive Platinums booking coach tickets with the knowledge that they go first on the upgrade list for any unsold F/C seats. I worked a flight recently where there were 9 EPs in F/C. Only two of them had actually purchased F/C tickets.
 

FWAAA

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AA gets the higest average fares of any airline on JFK-LAX, roughly $460 each way. Compare that to BOS-LAX where AA gets about $300 each way. In some markets, passengers still pay for premium fares, and JFK-LAX is the primary one. There's a reason that AA has been flying two daily three class 777s between MIA and LAX, and it's paid premium fares. Put simply, some passengers are paying through the nose for their seats. If several people per flight are paying AA's First or Business class fares, you can make money as long as you fill the back of the plane with super saver kettles. Even if you upgrade a few EXPs now and again.
 

kirkpatrick

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Cynical? Moi? How could you say such a thing?
What is the definition of a cynic? A skeptic with experience.

10/20/72 is 102, whiich means 3 FAs. But the current 767-200 used on the routes can go with 4, although 9 are normally scheduled. There's no way they could offer a decent service without more staffing.

I'm curious about galley configuration. I can't imagine a narrow body with three galleys. Maybe one galley up front handling first and business, and one in the back?

MK
 

kirkpatrick

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So, now you have 6 f/as for 100 passengers. Unless the passengers are paying through the nose for their seats, I agree with 1AA...how can this be cost effective?
102/6 is 17 pax per FA. 168/9, the current seats/FA ratio on the 767 is one per 18.7. Not much change here. They must think the premium fares are out there if they're planning this. Another observation is that we're simply not as expensive as they like to suggest during contract talks.

If it doesn't work they can reconfigure to something like 20 premium (BC) and 110 or so coach.

MK
 

FWAAA

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What is the definition of a cynic? A skeptic with experience.

10/20/72 is 102, whiich means 3 FAs. But the current 767-200 used on the routes can go with 4, although 9 are normally scheduled. There's no way they could offer a decent service without more staffing.
I assume six FAs, two per cabin. Although one FA could certainly pour beverages and sell snacks for the 72 economy seats - that's just 12 rows - if the service expectations were adjusted.

I'm curious about galley configuration. I can't imagine a narrow body with three galleys. Maybe one galley up front handling first and business, and one in the back?
So you've never flown UA's three class 757s (featuring its ps service)? Prepare meals for 30 premium passengers from one forward galley? Nope. Not enough space for premium service. And you couldn't serve business class from an aft galley. Here's a link to UA's 757 seat map:

http://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/inflight/aircraft/757/200/default.aspx
102/6 is 17 pax per FA. 168/9, the current seats/FA ratio on the 767 is one per 18.7. Not much change here. They must think the premium fares are out there if they're planning this. Another observation is that we're simply not as expensive as they like to suggest during contract talks.
AA is already getting the premium fares on the JFK-LAX/SFO transcons. And once AA can schedule FAs with the same flexibility enjoyed by DL, you're not going to be as expensive as you are now, so six should be no problem.
 
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WorldTraveler

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AA gets the higest average fares of any airline on JFK-LAX, roughly $460 each way. .
not according to US DOT information which is quite accurate for domestic travel.
UA has the highest average fare in the market - about a 25% premium to the average market fare.
AA's premium to the average is about 9%.

Even if AA can make the economics work w/ a minimum of 5 FAs on an aircraft seating 100 passengers - and they certainly have access to enough data from UA's experiment plus Airbus data to be able to make a decision - they are still walking away from a huge portion of the coach market. AA is still the largest carrier in the transcon markets - and you could argue that chasing economy passengers doesn't matter... but if other carriers can and will absorb the demand w/o reducing fares, then AA loses passengers to other carriers, allowing them to expand their market presence, and ultimately their ability to penetrate the premium market.

VX and DL have growth their presence in the JFK transcon markets and have gained both premium and economy passengers. If AA and UA decide that average economy passengers aren't worth chasing, and if AA can't make the economics work w/ brand new aircraft and renegotiated labor contracts coming out of BK, what does that say about their ability to stand up to low cost competitors and more aggressively network competitors?
 
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FWAAA

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not according to US DOT information which is quite accurate for domestic travel.
UA has the highest average fare in the market - about a 25% premium to the average market fare.
AA's premium to the average is about 9%.
I got my numbers from Table 1a, and for 4Q2011, AA's average JFK-LAX fare was $456 and the market average was $369, which gave AA a 24% premium over the market average. And, of course, that market average is skewed by AA's $456. Better analysis would exclude AA's fares to determine its premium over its competitors.

Where are your numbers from?
 
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WorldTraveler

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same source but for the whole past year and netted...... but I have not seen AA's average fares higher than UA's since UA started PS service. I'm not sure how AA could have fares higher than UA's given that AA has not up to this point tried to walk away from the majority of coach traffic. UA's premium cabin average fares are just not that much worse than AA's.

I wouldn't be surprised if AA's average fares do equal if not surpass UA's once this initiative is in place but I see no evidence anywhere to say that they are doing it now.

GIven that AA and UA both generate above average fares, it would take other carriers to generate fares as much BELOW the average as AA and UA do above average for the average to be accurate - and it isn't. AA is still the largest revenue and share carrier in the JFK-LAX market.

BTW, DL generates more than 25% more revenue per flight than UA even though DL's fares are below average. Thus, the notion that you can create higher revenue by going only after the highest average fares does not exist when comparing DL and UA who both use 757s and probably use the same FA staffing - probably 5, maybe even 4 for DL - not sure on the transcons.

I still no evidence that you can get the costs out using a super premium configured domestic aircraft as fast as you can force fares up.
 
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BoeingBoy

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There are some silver linings to using the 321 for a ps-type transcon service - not everything is found in normal trip cost vs revenue collected.

1 - the airplane is lighter than the 757 by nearly 30K pounds so furnished the same would burn ~1500 pounds less fuel on a transcon - not a tiny difference.

2 - the 321 wasn't designed as a true transcon aircraft but reducing the capacity allows adding the fuel to make it a transcon aircraft - when everyone else that uses 321's for transcons is making fuel stops a reduced capacity 321 will make it, saving the cost of fuel stops and missed connections while offering a better service - nonstop transcon flights. Making one fuel stop can wipe out the profit on a week or more of non-stop flights by itself.

Jim
 
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