United Airlines will no longer operate a hub in Cleveland. Read the internal letter

United will no longer call its Cleveland operation a hub.

United will no longer call its Cleveland operation a hub. Photo: United.

United Airlines will no longer operate a full-scale hub in Cleveland, many news organizations reported today.

The hub in Cleveland — a former Continental stronghold –was not profitable, United CEO Jeff Smisek told employees and was not feasible to operate such a robust operation there. By June, when the reductions are complete, there will still be 72 departures on peak days to 20 destinations. But now there are about 200 flights on peak days. Midwesterners will now do even more of their connecting on United in Chicago. (72 flights from Cleveland is still a lot, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that number is further cut in the coming years.)

Sadly, this is becoming a thing for once vibrant hubs in the middle of the country. Cincinnati (Delta), Memphis (Delta), Pittsburgh (US Airways) and St. Louis (TWA) have all lost significant flights in the past decade. Meanwhile, major hubs, like LA, have stayed the same or gotten stronger.

Read on to see the letter Smisek sent to his United “Coworkers.”

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A CONVAIR 340, built in 1955, visits LAX

Can you name this plane, seen last month at LAX? Photo by your blogger.

Can you name this plane, seen last month at LAX? Photo by your blogger.

We wrote last week about Biman Bangladesh Airlines retiring the world’s final passenger DC-10. But do you know where planes like this go when they’re done with passenger service? To cargo operators, of course.

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United’s “Fantasy Flights” take children to the North Pole

This children got to meet Santa after flying to the North Pole with United Airlines. Photo courtesy of United.

This child got to meet Santa after flying to the North Pole with United Airlines. Photo courtesy of United.

Some Los Angeles-area children got a special surprise this week from United Airlines. They got to fly to the North Pole to visit Santa.

United has been doing these flights for 20 years, and they’re meant for seriously ill children as well as disadvantaged kids. Many of them have never been on airplane before, so apparently they don’t seem to mind that the flight to the North Pole only takes a few minutes.

According to the United, the Fantasy Flight program is led by volunteer teams of employees and retirees. In addition to Los Angeles, the airline led trips to the North Pole from Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Denver, Newark, N.J., San Francisco and Washington, D.C. – as well as Boise, ID., Phoenix, San Antonio, Texas, and Sydney.

After the short airplane trip, children are led into an airport gate or hanger, where they get to meet Santa, receive gifts and celebrate the holiday.

Delta has a similar program from LAX, and I’ll be attending it on Wednesday.

Fantasy Kid 2

The above pictures are from United’s other hubs, but this one below is from the LAX celebration. Looks like there was a good crowd.

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United Airlines says it had strong on-time record in November

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United Airlines says it exceeded its on-time goals for the third consecutive month in November, reporting that 85 percent of its domestic flights and 82.5 percent of its international flights arrived with 14 minutes of the scheduled time.

United spokeswoman Jennifer Dohm did not share the carrier’s exact on-time goals with me.

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