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UNITED AIRLINES: Axes Brisbane to Los Angeles seasonal route, plus Auckland flights

UNITED AIRLINES: Axes Brisbane to Los Angeles seasonal route, plus Auckland flights

Last summer, United Airlines massively expanded its services to the Pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand. It looks like that is over for the moment, with United axing its Auckland and Brisbane flights out of LAX. It’s still maintaining its flights between San Francisco and Brisbane and Auckland.

United invested heavily in these routes during the northern hemisphere winter, providing more flights between the USA and the South Pacific than Qantas did. In fact, it invested way too much and is now re-aligning its services to account for the reduced demand.

a plane on a runway
United Airlines 787 Sydney Airport, 2023 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Northern winter flight reductions

For the next northern hemisphere winter – so think the 2024 Christmas and 2025 New Year period, United will be reducing its services to Australia and New Zealand. It will axe:

  • Auckland (AKL) to Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Brisbane (BNE) to Los Angeles (LAX)

That still leaves United with services from Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles. It will also continue to service Sydney and Auckland out of San Francisco (SFO). The Auckland to San Francisco route even gets a boost from three flights a week to a daily service from 27 October 2024 until 27 March 2025.

a city with tall buildings
Brisbane with Lands and Treasury building an Star Casino development 2024 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

United changes planes

United will be upping capacity on the Brisbane to San Francisco route by swapping out the current Boeing 787 aircraft for the larger capacity Boeing 777. Although you will miss out on the newer technologies on the 787 that reduce fatigue with increased humidity, higher cabin pressure and less cabin noise, you will get the United Polaris flatbed Business Class suite and Premium Plus, their premium economy product.

Still plenty of USA services from Auckland and Brisbane

The citizens of Auckland and Brisbane shouldn’t fret too much thought. They still have other options to the west coast of the USA. Both American Airlines and Delta still support the Auckland route, if only seasonally. Brisbane will continue to be served by Delta and American as long as the Queensland government is willing to provide payments to the airlines via its Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, which currently runs through until 2025. Expect a change to the number and frequency of USA flights into Brisbane when that pot of money dries up.

Virgin Australia maintains a partnership with United, so this will be a bit of a blow to them for both their in and outbound customers. It will make it difficult to burn those Velocity points on flights to the USA.

people walking in a terminal
Auckland International Airport 2021 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

2PAXfly Takeout

I suppose this is a perfect demonstration of how subsidies can distort the market. Queensland has paid heavily via subsidies and grants for the increase in services to the USA. Now they have proved not as economically successful as expected, service is reducing.

I don’t know how capacity is going for these Brisbane and Auckland-based flights, but if it’s not filling planes – expect further reductions.

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