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Thanks, Southwest! United Announces Reductions to Houston Schedule

You may remember that United was trying to put a stop to Southwest being able to fly internationally out of Houston Hobby. One of their claims was that if Southwest could fly internationally from Hobby, that United would have to pull back on its routes from Houston Intercontinental. Southwest was, of course, allowed to begin flying (some day) internationally from Hobby, and United has followed through with their threat.

First, they canceled the upcoming launch of flights to Auckland, seeing that Southwest would throw 737s on that route. Now, they have peered into Southwest’s crystal ball and decided the best defensive move was to cancel nonstop flights from Houston to Paris, which they will do beginning in October. They have flown that route since 1997.

They are also cutting back on domestic flights, eliminating Asheville, Greensboro, Toluca, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Waco, and Victoria (TX). Worst of all (or, for those of you fascinated with the Continental Bus service to Allentown, best of all) they will replace Houston-Beaumont air service with a bus.

Houston isn’t going away as a key hub, but we’ll see more of these types of reductions in the coming months.

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  1. Does Smisek really think the world is so dumb that everyone will buy that Paris and Auckland are cancelled because Southwest is going to start flying a few short-hauls to Mexico down the road? I am guessing yes unfortunately, he does seem a pretty arrogant guy and what gets poured on top tends to flow down to the bottom too.

  2. United’s pullout from Houston prior to the approval of SW for Hobby airport was a combination of threats for show, or moves motivated by their own route juggling. More detailed analysis of flights out of Houston has shown SW has no plans to bother United’s biz outside Latin American and northern South America. SW simply cannot fly a 737 all the way to Asia, New Zealand, most of Europe and southern South America. The plane won’t fly that far, they’d need a larger aircraft.

  3. Smisek is a blithering buffoon who will hqve UA bankrupt within 3yeas anyway. Thisnidiot csn,t run a commuter bus company, muchnless an airline. He is singlgle-handedly driving UA into the ground. Whether UA isnthe world’s largest airlines unsure. What is sure is that UA i hee most hated airline in the Free World. Under hisdirection he will drivenUA the swme direction of PanAm and Braniff.
    He cuts1300 jobs because WN will start between 4-8 flights to Mexico, which haven’t even been aproved by the Government of Mexico. Please, Jiffy Jeff, do you really think the people of Houston are that stupid?
    Then this fool hqs the temerity to hold what will soon be the Nation’s 3rd largest city hostage by threatening to disband it largest hub?
    He even says UA nis Houston’s hometown airline. Horse Hockey!
    Continental heldnthat position. But hen you accepted all those millions under the tsble fro Chicago to keep UA’s heqdquartersnin Chicago you lost that title. You are no more than substandard airline from up North who has a big hub at IAH, and tht’s all you are.
    Here are the other facts:
    Even if U ssurvives the next five years, which is doubtful, UA has no other hub it can expand. UA has only 34% of the lift from ORD and ORD is too saturated to expand. Add to tne mix that it has the worst on-time performance and worst weather related displays you have a recipe for failure. Denver has the room to grow but not the population base of IAH. Then there’s poor old Dulles. IAD is best called ”an uncomforable hub. SFO is failing miserably on its Transpacific routes because UA has no clue how to compete with airlines like OS/SQ/QF/NH/TG/CI/CA/MH /KE/MU.
    Be of good cheer , Smisek. United isn’t totally reprehensible. Any compan that is so sensitive to go so far out of its way to hire so many mentally challenged people for management can’t be all bad.

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