United Orders More Boeing 777-300ER and 737 MAX Aircraft, Sets New Passenger Records
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
A day after Delta announced that in-app SkyMiles seat upgrades were coming soon, the government shutdown was costing it a pretty penny and the long-awaited first flight of the A220 may be delayed, United is unloading a barrage of bulletins itself. As part of its full-year and Q4 2018 earnings report, the carrier quietly disclosed that it ordered an additional four Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and 24 737 MAX aircraft last month.
That’s atop the 21 new Boeing aircraft it took delivery of in the past year, including four 777-300ER, four 787-9, three 787-10 (which we recently reviewed between Newark and Los Angeles) and 10 737 MAX 9 aircraft.
The 777-300ER expansion is great news for those looking to plop down in a Polaris business-class seat across the ocean, and we found the 737 MAX 9 to offer a slick first-class cabin, improved seats from front to back and a far quieter ride than the aircraft it will replace. United isn’t going so far as to point out which routes on which the new metal will fly, but we’ll be keeping an ear out on its full earnings call for added detail.
On the operational side, it saw profit drop some 20% — attributed to higher fuel and labor costs — but still managed to beat expectations. More interesting, however, are the records set in Q4. United flew “the most revenue passengers ever,” and also operated “the most mainline departures and achieving the fewest cancellations ever in a year.” Translation? More United customers departed on time in 2018 than ever before. Granted, the weather in 2018 seemed to help all airlines, as Delta noted on Tuesday that it, too, blew past 2017’s on-time performance records with 251 days of 2018 without a Delta mainline cancellation.
You may have noticed a little less luck in scoring an open middle seat last year as well, as United was able to push its year-over-year load factor from 82.4% to 83.6%. That’s even more impressive given the rate at which United is adding seats, and it seems to be filling them at higher prices. Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) was up 5%, while cost per available seat mile (CASM) was up 7%, both on a year-over-year basis.
United absorbed a staggering 29.3% uptick in fuel cost from 2017, reporting an average rise from $1.74 per gallon to $2.25 per gallon, while the airline as a whole guzzled 4% more during the period.
On the customer experience front, it swung open the doors at three new United Polaris lounges located in San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), while also introducing a new boarding process and United Premium Plus seating. In January, it opened its newest Polaris lounge in Los Angeles (LAX).
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees