United leaves Thailand and drops Seattle – Narita

United has indicated that it will be dropping its Narita to/from Bangkok flights in early 2014. As part of its agreement with other airlines (ANA), service will be provided until 29 March 2014 by United. Apparently the United staff at BKK have been told about this.  Of course ANA will not be offering upgrades using United instruments, unless you buy an expensive ticket and try to use a Star Alliance upgrade with United miles.

Also going will be the propular (for upgrades anyway) flight from Seattle to Narita – last flight 15 Jan 2014. One of the last international flight for United from Seattle, it shows how much the airline has re-focussed since the merger. Who else remembers that days of SEA to Heathrow? (This was my second ever United flight). There are still upgrade seats available for the 14th, but none on the 15th.

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  1. Very sad news indeed – both the decision to leave BKK entirely, and the termination of SEA-NRT. NRT-BKK was operated for decades, not only by UA but also before that by PA. Since it is staffed by Asia-based FAs, must have some cost advantages. And for UA flyers there are multiple reasons to prefer UA metal, such as using GPUs and earning lifetime miles. It is sad to see UA give up on this market after such much heritage. And presumably once the Asia FA base shrinks, it probably won’t come back.

    Just like it is sad to see UA giving up on SEA. Even if DL is increasing competition, UA shouldn’t walk away, and it creates some alternatives to the SFO ATC delays. Isn’t that what the 787 was supposed to allow – cheaper operation costs and smaller capacity.

    I flew on SEA-LHR when UA bought PA’s LHR routes. For a while they operated an ex-PA 747SP.

    To some extent these cuts seem like UA management grasping at straws in light of poorer than expected performance post merger. But perhaps the revenue problem is due to both merger hiccups and management cutback decisions, not the routes themselves. And perhaps Asia will come back stronger than ever, but UA is shrinking there. Sad.

  2. Horrible news about BKK, in fact the entire tone of the press release was very discouraging as a UA 1K. I expect the cutbacks to impact frequent travelers even further, which would be fine if i saw service levels improving, rather than diminishing.

    My wife is Thai and UA has always been our go-to carrier, as we live in HNL. Very sad indeed.

  3. With Thai flying 380’s I can see why they did this. Though I suspect many FF to that area would probably choose another airline rather than Thai?

  4. I almost exclusively fly to Asia for awards, with the 2014 devaluation coming, any less metal going that way is that many less awards I can redeem at the “united” award price. Brutal–I was looking at a SE Asia trip centered around Thailand for next year. Suppose I Can book it before 1/31.

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