These stories are generally more important in smaller communities than for Angelenos, but Los Angeles will lose its only flights to Inyokern, Calif. early next month, according to a news report.
For a short period on Thursday, United Airlines was offering tickets for as little as $2.50. And just about any domestic fare could be purchased for less than $10.
It appears the tickets were actually being sold free of charge, and that United was simply passing onto travelers some standard government fees. After United discovered the error, customers weren’t able to book any tickets on United.com for about an hour a half.
United Airlines – or more specifically its contracted flying partners – are adding four seats to a regional jet regularly used to connect with Los Angeles with small- to medium-sized cities in the Western United States.
According to a post by a United employee on the website, Flyertalk, United is asking its United Express partners to add four seats to the CR7 aircraft, giving it 70 seats in total. The airplane is flown locally by Skywest Airlines, and destinations include Seattle, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Dallas and San Antonio.
United Airlines plans more than $400 million in renovations for its terminals at Los Angeles International Airport, according to a report filed recently with the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners.
United, which operates a hub in Los Angeles, wants to make a series of upgrades, including improving passenger security screening checkpoints, installing a better baggage sorting system, renovating passenger waiting areas, replacing boarding bridges and building a new lounge for premium customers.
The world is getting smaller.
United Airlines took a major step forward toward global connectivity on Thursday, announcing that it wants to begin flights between San Francisco and Chengdu, China starting in June 2014. The route, pending government approval, would be the first nonstop flight on an American carrier from the United States to a secondary mainland Chinese city – that is, not Shanghai or Beijing. It will fly three times per week.
Of course, “secondary” is relative here, as Chengdu has more than 14 million residents in its metro area. But it’s a big deal because it’s the type of route the Boeing 787 was built for. The fuel efficient airplane can fly long distances, but it’s not as big as some of the other aircraft flying between the U.S. and China, like the 777 and 747. United 787s are configured with 219 seats.
The whole idea of the 787 is to open new markets that had not previously been financially viable. So far, with a few exceptions, that hasn’t really happened. But United’s move could portend well for the future.
Los Angeles could benefit from this change, but that’s far from a sure thing. While Los Angeles could get its share of new 787 flights to secondary cities, other airports – like San Francisco and Seattle – will be fighting for them as well. Many cities view international flights as vital for their economic well being. And for all the excitement about the Airbus A380, most aviation analysts believe smaller more efficient aircraft like the 787 and A350 are the real future of aviation.