Comment and analysis on all things Charlotte

United Airlines to elmininate its Cleveland hub

This spring. The move also comes as no surprise, as the former Continental and now, post-merger United hub has been losing money for years. While Continental needed a hub in Cleveland (CLE) to give it a presence in the Midwest (Continental’s other hubs were in Newark and Houston), the merger eliminated that need as United had a much larger operation at Chicago O’Hare. The airline has between two and four flights a day, depending upon the season, from Charlotte to Cleveland.

United has announced that they will retain service from Cleveland to 20 cities but hasn’t yet identified all of them. There’s no reason to suspect that CLT-CLE service will be among the survivors. To be blunt, United really doesn’t do very well in Charlotte. Here’s the rest of the airline’s planned offerings this summer from CLT:

Chicago O’Hare: 6 flights a day, one of which is on United proper, three on large regional jets and two on 50-seat regional jets
Houston: 6 flights a day on 50-seat regional jets
Newark: 6 flights a day on 50-seat regional jets
Washington Dulles: 4 flights a day on a mix of large regional jets and 50-seaters.

(Large regional jets seat 65 to 80 and have a first-class cabin. 50-seat regional jets don’t have a first-class section.)

Newark and Houston just on 50-seaters? That’s just sad.

Bonus thought: Losing four flights a day max to a small hub in a city best known for its river catching on fire may not seem like much of a loss, but the post-American Airlines/US Airways merger reality is that the QC is at only about 70 flights a day by everyone else, so every non-US Airways/non-American Airlines flight matters.

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February 2016
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