United Airlines Reports Returning Business Travelers

by Tiffany Millar on February 1, 2010

According to United Airlines last Wednesday, business travelers are starting to travel by air more. The US carrier says that it is seeing an improvement in demand for premium and business travel for sure. United Airlines isn’t the only one to notice either, as other big airlines have said they’ve noticed it too. However, business travelers aren’t paying the high prices they use to.

Although United Airlines has seen an improvement in demand for business travel, they still lost a good chunk of money in the 4th quarter. UAL Corp., the carrier’s parent company, reported a $240 million quarterly loss. This was notably smaller than the loss in the 4th quarter of 2008, as well as much smaller than the figures predicted by analysts.

United Airlines president John Tague said that their premium cabin tickets aren’t anywhere near the peak they were at before the credit crisis, and in order for them to optimize the business, they will have to get them back to that point. It’s too soon to increase the price of fares too much, he continued, but they will keep trying.

According to the Air Transport Association, the amount a passenger pays per mile fell 1.9% in December across the industry. However, the amount United Airlines passengers paid per mile fell 8.4%. Tague said that their success rate over the past 3-4 months has improved over prior periods, and they will continue doing all they can to optimize the opportunity ahead for pricing, he added.

Big airlines everywhere tried to increase fares in early January by about $16 for a round trip. This didn’t work like they had hoped, but it seems they are determined to get their prices back up there.

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