How airlines price flights https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72hlr-E7KA0
The little plane war https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1YMPk3XhCc
Why planes don't fly faster https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1QEj09Pe6k
The economics of Airline Class https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzB5xtGGsTc
How airlines schedule flights https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGXahSnA_oA
I just recently found the channel. So much good stuff. (My unrelated favorite is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j48Z3W35FI0 How the US government will survive doomsday.)
The 747 was amazing, when it was introduced, but it has now reached an age where it needs to retire gracefully, and point to point with twin engines is seeing to that.
Also flown a A350-900 with Qatar Airways and it was really close to the A380, seat were very pleasant.
As for the noise in planes: if you travel a lot by planes, buy active noise reduction headphones. Bose QuietComfort 35 or 25 work very very well. Try them out first if possible, a small amount of people dislike the feeling they give with noise reduction active, but for me it was a world changer as I take about 2 planes a month, my 35 were one of the best purchase I ever made.
In car for long drives
In bed when someone snores next to me
In bed when street outside is loud
On a boat when motoring
On every flight
Most modern distraction laws (the ones actually written nowadays) are very thorough. WA just passed one last year where you essentially can't touch your phone while driving. BC has had one for a few years now which includes any non-fixed electronic device while the car is running.
As for cues, the vibration from road surface is still there and plenty of cars come with ANC built-in. These headphones don't block noise completely, things like police alarms, honks or speech are still very easy to hear. I can even hear the wind from AC vents (if it blows directly into ANC's mic's).
Furthermore, Bose, and basically all other ANC headphones work at isolating and cancelling off the low frequencies you'd typically find in plane engines, which are also most of the time the kinds of frequencies that are also used on a boring road trip where you're the only one on a long stretch of highway (your exact use case). Speech and honks and police alarms aren't things you'd expect to find in this scenario, but early warnings of your car breaking down, or things happening outside of your car that would affect your car do.
Seriously, stop using your headphones while driving. It's illegal in many places for a reason, and you're missing out on far more auditory cues than you realize because your brain is good at moving sensory information into the background when it doesn't deem it as important. Let your brain do its job, it's not that hard to listen to the podcast over your car's BT/AUX connection.
There are luxury cars than come with Bose's ANC built-in. They'd have the same problem if there was one.
Finally, I never use it in a city, just out on a long drives, where road surface is more ruff and listening a podcast via car system is more difficult than useful.
Well, I sort of can if I find this odd position where I push them into pillow, but the foam pads did get permanently compressed a bit. Easy to change tho.
How did they fail for you? I had one QC25 fail just a month after warranty expired, but Bose replaced them for free - quite a common case of one side getting quieter/crackling when rotating them. QC35 seem to be build even more seriously (thicker band).
Also, I can’t imagine flying without QC’s anymore ;)
(Yeah, QC's are a must :)
First class on the United 747 was a fairly pleasant experience. You could tell it was an old plane, but the seat comfort was amazing and the view (in rows 1/2) was even better. And also the quietest flight I've experienced (except for takeoff/landing since you're right over the nosewheel). Slightly small toilets for first class, but other than that an overall great experience.
The 787 and 777 suffer from airlines using terrible seats in economy, which the A330/340/350/380 generally don't suffer from, but if you're flying premium economy or better the A350/787 are equally good, and the other aircraft aren't far behind.
And looking at the published customer lists for the 777 and 787 the list is dominated by non US based airlines. Particularly Asia seams to be emerging as the dominant market for air travel.
My local airport is a perfect example of this. It has gone from hosting just single digit numbers of regularly scheduled flights a day, with all of them being ~20-30 minute connector flights to nearby hubs on regional jets, to hosting well over a dozen 737-sized flights each day. All of that has happened in just ~15 years and it's partially down to the growth of my area but also how dissatisfied passengers were with driving 90-120 minutes to the 2 nearby, overcrowded, oft delayed hubs. I held off from committing to using my local airport up until this year as the price difference was $200 or more, but demand has risen to the point that the difference has fallen to around $100. The convenience alone is a winner but the savings in parking alone make up a third of the difference even if I park at the airport instead of taking an uber.
To the best of my knowledge, no airline has configured 787 economy anything other that 9 across. There's not actually a direct comparison to Airbus, the A330 is slightly narrower but is usually configured 8 across, whereas the A350 is slightly wider and is also usually configured 9 across.
So as a general rule, and subject to exceptions such as the proposed 11-across A380, Airbuses will have wider seats in economy than Boeings.
747 has both 9 and 10 seat wide configuration.
But I claim that, for example, you can't realistically have a 737 layout that isn't 6 seats wide in coach — and that means the width of your coach seats will be whatever width fits 6 seats plus one gangway.
Air India and KLM operated 737s with 5 seat config in economy (flew in them) up till last decade.
Ethiopia fertility 1991: 7.2
Ethiopia female life expectancy 1991: 49
Total pregnancy time: 7.2 * 0.75 years = 5.4 years
Lifespan proportion spent pregnant: 5.4 / 49 = 11%
Either way, an impressive number!
I can't imagine flying a 747 for 10-12 hours (from the UK to Brazil), getting off, doing a 3 hour concert, then getting back on the plane and flying to your next gig. Even with a day or two off, that's an insanely hard schedule.
Props to him though, like you said, he claims the band saved a ton of money doing it that way.
...not to mention borderline illegal. Yes on long haul flights the pilots can and do sleep, but God hope nothing ever happens.
If memory serves me correctly, I think PPL allows you to fly aircraft up to 5700Kg MTOW. Even one of the 747 engines might bust that limit. :)
Here some related discussion:
The overall trend in aviation is point-to-point routes and frequent flights on smaller planes. Just today it was announced that Sydney-Melbourne is now the world's second busiest air route, even though it's almost entirely served by "small" 737/A320s: https://www.ausbt.com.au/sydney-melbourne-is-now-the-world-s...
There are still A380s flying, but they only make sense on those fairly rare routes where you've got massive volume and tight slot restrictions. London-Singapore/Dubai-Sydney works, not a whole lot of other routes do.
It's notable that Qantas, which still operates the 747 as well as the A380 on its Australia-London routes (with layovers in SE Asia or the Middle East) has just started using the Dreamliner to operate its first ever non-stop Australia-London flight, departing from Perth (Australia's Western-most major city) .
It's conceivable that over time, Qantas could retire all its 747s and A380s and fly all its London passengers from Perth on the Dreamliner, using its many 737s and A320s for connections to/from from the rest of Australia.
Emirates/Qatar is a good hub, but not ideal for me.
No flights to Vilnius nor Riga. The best I can do is Warsaw/Copenhagen, then Palanga, which is sort of more convenient, but more expensive.
Also, I haven't been to Istanbul, but it must be way more interesting than Doha :)
(http://www.gcmap.com/ is a good site to find the distance of great circle routes)
One thing that cripples A380 adoption is its size. Airports and airfields before A380 were not designed to handle plane of that size and weight. Expensive changes for regular routes may be needed and new airports are not build very often.
Interestingly A380 is relatively pavement-friendly aircraft because it's wide multi axis landing gears limit the maximum strain amplitude. Alas, landing fees are paid by weight, so A380 can't benefit from that.
BER has always been a program to transfer as much cash as possible into the private sector. The profit the building companies siphoned off (and will keep siphoning off!) is enormous.
Unfortunately the city of Berlin has had to slash staff numbers in the last decades, so there is no in-house expertise to oversee that project... and external consultants don't have any incentive to actually do their job so the client has a benefit. They will want to drag out the BER build as long as possible, same as the building contractors.
Maybe the difference is whether you really need an airport, or when it is second to having a big public project to sink costs into?
The overall trend in aviation is point-to-point routes and
frequent flights on smaller planes.
Kidding, of course, but when you do live in the hub city it does make it much easier to get a direct flight to almost any destination.
Depending on where I'm going, if I can find a non-stop flight from Orlando, I'll drive to the Orlando airport. Surprisingly, that doesn't happen very often.
This is only true regionally or domestically. The hub and spoke model is more alive than ever on international routes. There are more direct routes today, but that is a consequence of having more hubs and more airlines, not because the airlines have figured out some advantage in point to point routes.
For the long range widebody market, the largest planes don't save you much on fuel economy, even running full. A common saying in the industry is that it takes a lot of fuel to fly a lot of fuel; with fuel economy there are diminishing returns to aircraft size. Given they weren't saving much on fuel, the A380 and 747 only made sense at megahubs, because it reduced demand for landing and departure time slots. But the airlines responded to that problem in a different way: they increased the number of their hubs. This made them more flexible by not tying them into very expensive fleet decisions with new and unproven aircraft with hard staffing and infrastructural investments to go along with them, and it gives the advantage of having more direct routes.
Southwest has figured out the advantage. People want point to point and the profits and continued expansion of Southwest will hopefully clue the other airlines onto that fact. I fear the day when Southwest no longer has any competition and decides to convert over to a hub system to save on costs. Using current accounting methods, airlines see huge advantages in using a hub system. If they had to charge all the wasted time the hub system costs its passengers, they might see why Southwest keeps getting bigger and bigger. When looking to fly, I always sort for non-stops only and consider that as the price to fly to my destination (luckily I live in the Bay Area that has airport competition). Only when no non-stop flights exist, do I consider multiple stop flights.
Unique to southwest (I'd say it's a strategic advantage, but only viable regionally) is the use of focus cities like Sacramento. These operate essentially as hubs, but aren't called hubs because they don't have maintenance operations there. Southwest's route planning model within regions is quite unique, and you can see how it works by tracking a flight number. Almost all of their regional flights are 3 leg flights: (Spoke -> Hub -> Focus City -> Spoke) or (Spoke -> Focus City -> Hub -> Spoke). This allows them to have lots of hubs (which allows for a lot of direct flights), while still allowing nearly all of their fleet to have access to a hub's maintenance operations, which is probably the most expensive part of operating a hub. This gives the popular illusion of having an extensive point to point network, but in reality nearly all flights connect to a hub or pseudo hub.
There is absolutely no doubt that people prefer direct flights. Airlines running hubs have basically resigned themselves to the fact that if southwest opens a direct route between any of their non-hub cities, they've lost almost all of their non-frequent-flier customers on that specific city pairing to Southwest. That means that direct flights only make sense if there is enough volume on the specific corridor, and that only ever happens regionally, because that is where all the cultural and business connections are.
Maybe the word I should use is non-stop for the type of flight that people want. "point to point" seems to have some technical meaning that I don't grok. What makes the Seattle to San Jose a point to point route but other Seattle flights by Southwest not point to point?
Airlines need small amounts of maintenance daily, but occasionally intense maintenance on short notice. When you have to use 3rd party maintenance facilities, it is extremely expensive. Most airlines run their own maintenance facilities at hubs because most of their planes pass through hubs, and a huge expense with maintaining a hub is running a maintenance operation.
Southwest's strategy maintains focus cities (which I've used interchangably with minihub or pseudo hub), which operates as a hub from the passenger's perspective, but does not include maintenance facilities. This works out well for them because they operate short haul multi-leg flights on routes that ensure they always have a maintenance facility available to them once per day. So a three leg flight will start at a spoke city, have one intermediate stop at an full hub with maintenance operations, and one stop at a minihub or focus city, before ending at a spoke city. By only having maintenance facilities at half their "hubs", they can have many hubs at a fraction of the cost.
Once you get out of the regional business, those multi-leg flight paths no longer make as much sense, because spoke->hub->hub->spoke flight times with a return trip will exceed pilot's allowable operating hours, requiring you to pay pilots to live in two locations instead of one. Southwest has ripped up the regional market with this strategy, but it absolutely doesn't work for anything outside of the regional market.
Operating bases (full hub)
San José (CA)
Being in the first group, I like Southwest's system better and wish another airline could try the same system for competition. Jet Blue seemed to start out that way but I have not flown them in years. A quick check of their site it seems that have baggage fees and change fees and look pretty hub centered.
Lots of airlines are no longer performing heavy maintenance at their hubs.
There's two components that make an airport into a hub:
1) Transfer operations. This means flight schedules are almost invariably determined by the hub airport, because they time arrivals and departures to happen in waves, which minimize the amount of time that passengers have to wait for connections. This means that you'll have a lot of staff to handle the peak load of a transfer wave, while that staff might be relatively idle at other times.
2) Maintenance operations: this means doing routine maintenance during layover, as well as swapping out planes for intense maintenance. This is why your hub layover doesn't have a pre-determined terminal for your second leg flight...it can and regularly will change if a plane needs to be swapped out for maintenance.
A spoke city will have neither transfer operations nor maintenance operations. A minihub might have transfer operations but not maintenance operations (I've explained these are only viable regionally in other comments). But a full hub will have both.
I’ve been on an all economy 380 between Guangzhou and Beijing. Fun plane.
The 777 is way too crammed. The washrooms are on the side instead in the middle aka mini-washrooms (but with window). In general it feels like the first computer designed airframe, they forgot about the size of humans, it's made for short people. I take a 747 or even better A380 any day over the 777. I mean who seriously prefers to sit in a narrow long can for 12 hours, when you can choose a double decker A380 were you can stretch your legs, walk around and have big washrooms were you can stand even upright. And don't get me started on the entertainment system of the 777 - needs a serious upgrade.
The 757 will go out of service next, United still has some 757 from the 1980s - sure the seats are super comfortable because in the 1980s the were bigger and softer, but the airframe is old and the entertainment system was added as addon, meaning a computer box is below every other seat and gives the unlucky guy (who doesn't know about seatguru) little leg room.
Why is the very very odd 737 still going? It's older than the 747, I wonder when they finally design a new smaller airframe.
The 737 has been updated many times and Boeing hasn’t seen the need to introduce a completely new narrow body. It is still very successful, so I guess they are right. In contrast, the 767 was dying and needed replacing by the 787, it couldn’t be updated.
The 747 is still in production and is very successful in freight and other applications. It isn’t going away anytime soon.
I've been on Dreamliners with entertainment boxes intruding on the legroom. That's 100% up to the implementation by the airline
ETOPS regulations also ensure (at least for the US) that if one engine does go out somewhere over the ocean, you’ll at least get to land somewhere.
To make things more complex, there are regulations that require an aircraft to be able to continue takeoff should one engine fail. To match the thrust available of an A380 on 3 engines would require nearly 1000 kN of thrust from a single engine, way beyond current commercial jet engine technology.
You may be thinking of the new Pratt & Whitney PW1000G, which will be on the A320neo, which has a geared turbofan for that reason.
It is much easier to get full planes with high frequency departures on a hub model than it is on a point to point model. Generally people don't like connections, so their propensity to buy is much lower if there is a competing direct flight available. There is a balance to be made, but generally speaking a point to point route is only more efficient if the passenger volume is extremely high and very predictable.
A lot of people, though, are confusing the recent availability of new international direct flights with a move towards a point to point model. This is completely false. The increase in "direct" flights has to do with the expansion of hubs and airlines. For example, if you go to the SeaTac airport  has a higher number of direct international routes than it ever has, but every single one of them has a hub for that airline at the origin or the destination. You have more direct flights not because the airlines are operating point to point routes, but because you have more hubs and more airlines.
Only regionally has point to point made more traction, but that is an irrelevant discussion when talking about the widebody market.
I think that's an example of using a absolutist definition of "point-to-point" instead of a relative definition.
When airline industry analysts talk about 787 servicing more point-to-point routes, the "point-to-point" is relative to avoiding the mega hubs with 4-engine jumbo planes.
Yes, there can be a so-called "point-to-point" at a 2nd-tier airport flying to another 2nd-tier airport (that also has "hub&spoke" like attributes) which makes it fail the absolutist definition of "point-to-point". We can concede that more restrictive definition and yet still simultaneously understand what the industry is talking about when they mention "point-to-point". The expansion of 2nd-tier hubs at budget airlines is still point-to-point compared to superhubs like New York JFK, London LHR, Paris CDG, etc.
Demand from Orlando to Oslo and vice versa would never have been enough to be viable if Oslo wasn't a hub connecting dozens of european cities to dozens of american cities. The demand of Orlando residents wanting to see Oslo and Oslo residents wanting to see Orlando is only a tiny fraction of what actually flies on that route.
To the customer, it doesn't matter...you have more direct routes. To the airline and fleet planners, it absolutely matters. Because they have to predict the demand to fly on those routes and they have to plan the volumes and connection timings at their hubs. The ETOPS rule, while not insiginificant, isn't as significant as you claim. The difficulty in filling a 747 isn't much different from a 787, and in no way did the prior rule force a 3 span dual megahub route instead of a direct flight in order to fill a plane with 25% more passengers.
You're explaining more facts which we can all agree on. Yes Oslo can also act as a mini "hub".
My comment was about language and the evolution of how "point-to-point" is used to also describe 2nd-tier "hub" traffic. For some reason, "point-to-point" gained currency to also describe traffic outside of superhubs even if the majority of passengers are not native residents of the 2nd-tier airports. In this way, it can be a misleading term based on actual passenger demographics but it's the term that's already in wide use.
To add to the relativism, to a rich guy with his own jet or fractional ownership NetJets, none of the commercial airlines are actually "point-to-point" because they don't fly to the tiny executive airport that's 2 miles from his office.
So let's say we banish "point-to-point" and rewrite A380 headlines as "Airbus A380 lost because of the rise of non-superhub to non-superhub traffic". Does that materially change anything about the incorrect market assumptions that Airbus made?
Direct means you fulfill the customer's desire with one flight, irrespective of whether there is a hub at the origin or destination, although most are to or from a hub. That is why airlines advertise direct routes. Despite their marketing as direct routes, typically fewer than 10% of passengers on that flight will share the same origin and destination.
Point to point means a route that doesn't connect between a hub and a spoke, neither of which has full scale maintenance operations and significant staffing for that airline. It is also expected that 100% of passengers on the flight are coming from the same origin and to the same destination.
All point-to-point routes are direct routes, but not vice versa. For example, when I fly from Seattle to San Jose on southwest, I'm flying on a direct route, but I'm also flying a point to point route, because neither Seattle or San Jose are hubs for Southwest. It actually takes a lot of volume for an actual point to point route to make sense, and in this case it does because of the significant business ties between Silicon Valley and Seattle. But when I fly Seattle to Oakland, it is only a direct route, because Oakland happens to be a hub.
> So let's [...] rewrite A380 headlines as "Airbus A380 lost because of the rise of non-superhub to non-superhub traffic". Does that materially change anything about the incorrect market assumptions that Airbus made?
In the sense of the magnitude of how bad that decision was, it matters: it made it doubly bad for airbus. Because even between superhubs, they're now running A350's, 777s, and 787s.
The A380 only made sense at superhubs because of constrained takeoff and landing slots. Those slots have a non-linear value: an airpoint at 99% capacity may charge 10x more for a takeoff or landing slot than an airport at 95% capacity. So if I'm running American Airlines between JFK and Heathrow, an A380 may make sense, but if 10% of the competing airline volume on that route switches to LaGuardia and/or Gatwick, it no longer makes sense for me to run an A380...even though my network map hasn't changed at all. So airbus even lost out even on the airlines that never changed with the times.
For me to fly to my in-laws it is two flights, each at $120/person (prices change all the time and are never the same for each leg, but lets use these numbers). If I could get a direct flight for $150/person I'd be more likely to go, both because it is cheaper and because it avoids switching planes. Thus it might be less fuel-efficient on a global scale because of the greater number of people/flights.
Direct flights can take more direct routes, which uses less fuel because people are going less distance. Direct flights also eliminate a lot of fuel infrastructure at the hubs - you don't need moving sidewalks or trams if the airport is smaller. These are fuel savings.
I suspect that take-off use a lot of fuel, but I don't know how jet engines work well enough to know if this obvious savings is significant or not.
Or do you mean operational efficiency...fewer parts to maintain, engineers, simpler plumbing etc? Probably less disturbance on the wing flow with 2 engines as well.
And wow, the most hilariously-expensive business class fares it seems: USD $1,288 return (even including a Sat night stay) with Qantas. It's a 1hr25min flight. Luckily Virgin looks to be providing some tough competition...at $1,143.
Interesting, with just about 900km between both cities they seem the perfect candidates for a highspeed rail link instead.
I think it might be due to the fact that Sydney are Melbourne are both similar sized, so it's 50/50 where a company should set up their office, so for in-person meetings, there's a lot of flying to and from required.
Political parties are constantly proposing to build a fast rail link between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
But at this stage the populations of the cities are just too low to make it economically feasible.
Melbourne and Sydney are about 4M each, and Brisbane is 2M.
By comparison, the Northeastern United States  has a population of 55M, in a smaller geographic area. And Japan has a population of 130M in an area about half the size of Sydney's state of New South Wales.
I wish it could be done. It would be so much better to be able to board and disembark in the centre of town rather than having to drive/commute to and from airports. I'm hopeful that Hyperloop may be the answer, but we'll see.
Isn't the number of people travelling between the cities the thing that actually matters?
Not if you have lay new tracks, then that cost will dwarf all other considerations. A lot of the land between Melbourne and Sydney is quite valuable as well making it even more expensive. Plus the fact that there already are fully functional and reasonably priced air routes makes it much harder for high speed rail to charge a premium, making the profit pr. passenger quite slim.
Had they started building the high speed rail line in 1984, before the land prices started to sky rocket and before low cost airlines took of, then it might have worked out very well. Starting to build it today is an entirely different prospect.
As a comparison, London and Paris, which are of comparable proximity and economic importance to one-another, have much bigger populations, and thus fast rail is justifiable, so the two cities don't rank highly on the busiest-air-routes list.
Just this past May I flew from SFO to MEL. My options on United were SFO-SYD-MEL or SFO-LAX-MEL. I actually preferred the Sydney connection because I reasoned a missed connection in Sydney wouldn't put me off my journey by much, but a missed connection at 9pm in LAX would ensure I'd lose at last half a day if not a whole day getting to Australia. Ultimately I went with the SFO-LAX-MEL route for 2 reasons; the Sydney option routed me on Qantas for the Australia "domestic" leg and I didn't get any miles for it, plus the LAX-MEL route was served by a 787 which I deemed preferable for its potential to reduce jet lag (jury's still out on that one).
The advent of smaller planes like the 787 serving MEL from, one would hope, an increasing number of US cities, might take stress off of SYD.
High speed rail is very useful for medium distances, but has you get to long distances it doesn't really make sense.
I.e. airlines couldn't even fill the flights they had, so they did not spend big money (that they didn't have either) on big airplanes. This has changed however. The 777, the newest version of which seats almost as many people as a 747 does, is selling very nicely. Since the A380 project is close to breaking even now and airlines have shown a willingness to discuss new sales, Airbus is almost ready to commit to a midlife upgrade. That doesn't sound like much, but it's a massive step up from just a few years ago.
The reason the 747 is the only big airliner that just no one is interested in buying anymore is that it is an incredibly old design that was kept alive by the fact that it was the biggest commercial airliner on the market. The moment the A380 was announced, 747 sales started to taper off. Once the latest embiggening of the 777 was announced, there was just no raison d'être for the 747 anymore.
Also, the claim that twin engine airliners are cheaper or more efficient than quads is a myth as well. The number of engines itself has nothing to do with it, because quads can generate the same amount of thrust with smaller engines than twins, making every engine cheaper. Upfront costs for airliners scale linearly with size (i.e. maximum take-off weight) and running costs (i.e. fuel and maintenance) scale linearly with thrust. Both are independent of the number of engines, though larger airplanes that require more thrust tend to have a larger number of engines.
But one doesn't have to just take Boeing's word for it. One can see the trend in the actual real-world routes. For example, you have Norwegian Airlines recently offering direct nonstop service from Oslo Norway to Orlando Florida on the 787. Both Oslo and Orlando would be considered 2nd-tier population cities and that lower demand point-to-point route is made possible by the newer smaller planes.
Before the ETOPS rule changes, an airline had to use the 4-engine jumbo jets to get Norwegians in Europe to Disney World in America. To architect such a route, the airline would choose a prominent "gateway" city in Europe with a superhub such as London Heathrow LHR, or Paris France, or Frankfurt Germany. They then pick a gateway city in USA with a hub such as New York JFK or Atlanta Georgia. The route would then be something like Oslo-to-London-to-NewYork-to-Orlando. That type of hub-&-spoke route was what Airbus was counting on and it didn't happen. The Norwegian Airlines p2p route of Oslo-to-Orlando is a "lost sale" of an Airbus A380.
>suffered from the tripple whammy of 9/11,
But Airbus made their overly optimistic prediction of 1200 orders for the A380 in 2005 which was 4 years after 9/11 2001.
For example, you have Norwegian Airlines recently offering direct nonstop service from Oslo Norway to Orlando, Florida on the 787.
As for major European hubs. Note that they are not necessarilly used by ULC carriers.
I don't know if this is still the case, but when you took Ryanair to Barcelona you wound up in Girona and Stockholm wasn't really Stockholm. Second (or third or fourth) tier airports sometimes offer very attractive conditions to airlines just to get passengers, which make the attractive to ULC carriers.
Now that long-haul LCCs are becoming a thing, they're buying up 787s, like Norweigian and AirAsiaX.
By not using hubs, they need more aircraft like the 787 and 737MAX.
Then there are all the mainland Chinese carriers who are effectively taking this strategy out of necessity. Chinese aviation authorities prohibit a given international city pair from being served by more than one Chinese airline, which is part of why we're seeing a lot of those airlines show up in second tier cities even if the route doesn't serve their own hub in China. E.g., XiamenAir serving Seattle-Shenzen and Hainan Airlines serving Chongqing-Rome.
And when you look deeper, you can see that many trunk routes are more or less maxed out on flights. That's because many major airports can't handle more starts/landings or they don't grand more starting/landing slots to airlines to schedule new flights. The only way to grow these routes is through going to bigger planes.
tl;dr: There are more flights happening all over the place, but p2p routes' passenger numbers aren't outgrowing h2h routes' numbers.
It's not necessary to start the analysis with "ultra low cost carrier" that doesn't use a hub.
Instead, we work backward from the "missing" 900 A380 orders that Airbus thought they'd get but didn't. (If Airbus predicted 1200 sales but only got 300 orders, they were way off on their assumptions.)
By flipping the cause & effect around, we can see the following:
1) The Boeing 787 makes it possible for a ULC like Norwegian Air to not have to partner with British Airways A380 to get their Norway customers from LHR London to JFK New York.
2) the Boeing 787 makes it possible for a ULC like Norwegian Airlines to offer p2p service themselves without buying hub slots
Whether British Airways doesn't buy an additional A380 because Norwegian Airlines isn't sending them any Oslo connecting passengers -- or -- Norwegian doesn't buy an A380 because they don't use hub slots in their ULC business model, the end result is the same: it's an unsold A380.
San Jose to Manchester
Oakland to Oslo
London to Calgary
I've definitely seen a trend of 787s making these routes possible. Dunno where the "point to point is marketing speak" comes from.
That wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that Oslo is Norwegien Airlines' hub, would it? Cause if so, that isn't a point to point route. That is a hub route.
And that's why the trend is illusory. No international airlines are running point to point. The availability of direct routes has to do with the increase in the number of airlines and the number of hubs. Check out Seatac's list of direct international routes. Every single route listed has either a hub destination or a hub origin for that airline. Every single one of them.
No, Norwegian does not have a hub. Check out https://www.aftenposten.no/okonomi/i/b0pGl/Norwegian-apner-n... for a list of destinations served from the US, and it will include Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, and more. And those are the larger cities, this summer they also fly direct from US to Belfast, Bergen, Dublin, Edinburgh and more, using the 737 MAX.
Southwest doesn't actually have a hub at every city they fly to. They just have a lot of hubs.
They do this by a regional strategy: Nearly every flight goes from a spoke to a hub or focus city (the distinction between the two is irrelevant to the passenger, but relevant to the airline), to another hub or focus city, then ends at a spoke. It's a strategy that has worked out well for them, as it gives them a huge direct flight network despite running what is essentially still a hub and spoke network, because focus cities don't have to have maintenance operations. It's a cool strategy, but only really works regionally because shorter flights mean that they can run multi-leg routes that stop at a full hub at some point. Because it only works regionally, it is completely irrelevant to the discussion in the widebody market.
Regarding route models: Airbus bet big on airlines wanting to run long-haul service between existing congested megahubs, and built the A380 for that purpose. Think of routes like Hong Kong to London (which BA serves with an A380). With the 787, Boeing went the other way and bet on airlines wanting to expand service from their hubs to secondary or tertiary destinations. Boeing seems to have come out ahead on that; the number of megahubs is limited, and the A380 required expensive infrastructure to support. And airlines do seem to like using the 787 to serve places that aren't alpha-tier world cities.
And the idea that more + smaller engines is as efficient is not accurate, either; modern jet engines gain their efficiency in large part from their bypass ratio, and for that bigger engines are better. The ability to certify high ETOPS numbers on twinjets, and the availability of larger, high-bypass-ratio engines, killed the trijet and is now killing the quadjet.
From my understanding the Airbus A330 and - A340 are pretty much the same plane, with the exception that the 340 has 4 engines and the 330 2.
Assuming that the desing is pretty much the same (inlcuding capacity of the fuel tanks) why is the range of the 340 much farther then the one of the 330. This seems somehat counter intuitive so I was wondering.
Alas, I'm pretty sure that I'm somehow guilty of wrong think here. I just wonder why.
Not wrong, just too literal maybe.
These are design ranges, with a standard payload and standard fuel loading.
If you think about it, it makes sense: airplanes don't have a fixed range. Depending on how much payload and fuel you take along (at full payload, you probably can't fill your tanks to max capacity, or you'll exceed your max takeoff weight), you can get more or less far.
The extreme case, an empty plane with full tanks, would have tremendous range but would of course make no economic sense.
So they design airplanes for what they assume to be the sweet spot: certain routes with certain characteristics (say, long distance over water, traditionally needing more than two engines).
So the A330 was designed for routes which were accessible to pre-ETOPS twin-engine planes, which apparently tended to be shorter. Conversely the A340 was designed with a focus on over-water routes, which are apparently longer.
The things you can learn here are awesome.
Makes a lot of sense and thanks for the insight.
Reminds me of another dirty, little aviation secret:
An airline may bump you, despite the fact that the plane has empty seats. The reason, again, is take-off weight.
It's a lot more profitable to load an additional container than you. Even considering costs like compensation, hotel rooms and even a rebooking to a different airline.
The source for that is my sister, who worked ground handling for the (now defunct) Swissair.
So in short: no economies of scale vs twin jets plus it being hard to reliably fill such a large plane are stopping jumbo jets.
Interesting. Question: Both twin and quads have to be able to take off with one engine failed. Thus, under normal circumstances twins can deliver up to 200% of required power (times 1/2 = 100%), while quads deliver up to 133% (times 3/4 = 100%). If max thrust were a contributor to cost, quads could be cheaper than twins.
However, common understanding seems to be that twins are cheaper. Can you elaborate on this myth?
Now, 20 years, later, Boeing has just started deliveries of the new 737 MAX generation, which again brings substantial improvements.
But don't confuse the 737 of today with that of the original. There have been 3 major redesigns since the original (Classic, NG, and MAX), to the point where the MAX shares little more than the name with the original.
The cheapest 737 went for an average price of 80.6M $. That's average and not the list price, which is higher. The most expensive Boeing offering was the 777-9 with an average price of 400M. 
The Airbus prices I found with a brief search are from 2013 and range from 83.9M$ for the 319 (I didn't count the 318, since I've never ever seen it in operation) to 403.9M$ (A380-800).
140 million is pretty far away from getting you any new widebody plane from those companies.
The "big jumbo market" itself has shrunk in demand and was made less relevant by the newer generation of long-range fuel-efficient (but smaller) planes like Boeing 737Max/777/787 and Airbus A330. Airbus originally projected sales of 1200 A380s in 2005 but only sold ~300 so far. The "missing" 900 sales happened because many airlines rejected A380s designed for hub-&-spoke in favor of smaller planes designed for point-to-point.
The youtube channel Wendover has lots of educational videos about transportation and he has a 10 minute video about the different economics of Airbus A380 vs Boeing 787:
Boeing has specially designed the B787 to serve as a point-to-point plane.
Airbus has also acquired a contolling stake in Bombariers C-Series Programme in a move towards smaller planes.
Didn’t have my coffee yet.
(They should fix that.)
Thanks for the link.
The C-Series compares to the Embraer E-Series and the CRJ series (owned since years by Bombardier). It's meant to be more of a regional/short hop plane than a direct competitor to the A320/B737.
This is why after Airbus surprised Boeing by acquiring a majority stake in the C-Series program Boeing is now looking at acquiring a significant stake in Embraer.
For example, United is the only US airline that flies to India.
When Australian Airlines was brought under the QANTAS wing and rebranded, then they went back to 737s, 767s, Airbuses etc. for domestic routes too.
This is one of those stories that is so often repeated it becomes truth. My issue is that it makes it sound as if Boeing took on creating the 747 because Juan asked for it and business wise there is no way it could have happened like that. But it sounds nice and the type of thing PR wise the press would repeat forever. It was probably more closely that there was a discussion between the heads of the two companies and then Boeing ran the idea by other airlines or did their research and decided it made sense to bet the company on building the 747 (which was another story that has been told time and time again 'the big bet'). I would suspect that Boeing didn't even have a signed commitment from Pan Am to even take on the enormous cost of the program (prior to the first order in 1966) as it wouldn't have made sense for Pan Am to pay anything and/or even guarantee any purchase without being able to get out of the contract w/o any penalties. So this is a bit different than when a ship is built to order for a cruise line because in that case it's a firm order and an order for 1 (or 3 whatever).
Not doubting that a version of this happened just that it sounds so romantic and unrealistic business wise.
I also like the business class ANA 787 bathrooms with the washlet (bidet) toilets.
Before this, flew Mid East carriers (Etihad, Emirates, Qatar) and they all had those vents.
I think it’s specific to an airline .
This article makes it sound like the 747 is gone from USA skies but it just took longer to transition to all-cargo work than Pan Am originally envisaged. They thought it would last a decade before being displaced by supersonic passenger transports.
UPS haven't even received their newly-ordered 747-8F freighters yet.
Start it at 7:10.
Effectively, the aircraft drops water on a guy who is not expecting it.
Hell it was only 5 years ago we still were running windows nt machines with a max version of dotnet 1.0
The Marine Corp has a similar division for rotary aircraft.
And the USAF has at least one other unit for less-important VIP transport.