Apple spends $150M a year on United flights, Shanghai is No. 1 destination

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  • Reply 21 of 49
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,375member
    It's pretty clear which AppleInsider commenters in this thread have flown on international business class overseas flights and who has not.

    First of all, let's break down the revenue/flight numbers.

    UAL says Apple's SFO-PVG route revenue generates about $35 million a year, that's about $95K per day. UAL also claims 50 business class passengers a day (average). That works out to about $1900 per one-way flight.

    That's not really out of hand. Apple employees are probably flying refundable fares so they can change their schedules if necessary. Remember, these employees aren't paying out of pocket, the company reimburses them per the company's travel policy.

    Apple has enough dough where they don't bother enforcing a $20 per diem.

    When you fly from the US West Coast to eastern Asia non-stop, it is always a 10+ hour flight so the lay-flat seats in United Polaris class are worth it. Sure, Apple could make employees fly coach, but then they'd probably wreck the person for at least a day. Is it worth losing one day's work of a sharper, more productive employee by saving a few hundred bucks on airfare and letting them fester in cattle class? Not if the person flying has an annual salary of $100K+.

    Next, let's address the seat number thing. 50 business class seats per day (average) might be 25 seats to and 25 return. Or more likely, there are probably days when Apple employees are few, but other days where Apple employees are heavy. For sure, every time Tim Cook steps on the private jet to fly to Shanghai, there are a bunch of Apple personnel who are flying commercial, some perhaps several days in advance or afterwards.

    As for other airlines, well, airlines these days tend to work out of regional hubs and territories. SFO is a major United hub and anyone driving on US-101 by SFO over the past thirty years would know that because the United Airlines operations hangar is visible from the freeway. Yes, yes, Delta, American, etc. all have flights out of SFO, but they don't own SFO like UAL.

    At least on international overseas business class flights on USA flag carriers, United is pretty much the same with other USA flag carriers (Delta, American, etc.) in terms of quality. Meaning, they are all *GARBAGE* compared to top tied international carriers.

    The best international carriers are mostly the same as from 30-40 years ago: Singapore, Cathay Pacific, Japan Air Lines, All Nippon Airlines, etc. The best newcomer is Emirates. Virgin Atlantic isn't too bad if you are flying business class (formerly the cheekily named "Upper Class" when it was on the upper deck of the Boeing 747). Famous European flag carriers such as British Airways, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, etc. are only marginally better than the USA flag carriers on international business class overseas flights.

    The modern lay-flat seat is the best thing about business class overseas air travel. There are some people who think that the food in business class is "special" or "good". It's not. It's a glorified TV dinner.

    Apart from the lay-flat seats, the best thing about the international business class cabin is the overhead luggage storage capacity. A lot of business class travelers don't try to haul everything aboard so about half of the overhead luggage storage is empty. With the spacious seating arrangement, there are fewer passengers per overhead luggage compartment so there's no mad dash to cram as much stuff in them nor is there any gate checking.

    Anyhow, this has been an amusing thread to read.
    fastasleepwilliamlondonviclauyyctokyojimu
  • Reply 22 of 49
    My quick math says it cost about $175,000 to fly from CA to China in Jet fuel.

    That’s about $128 million for a round trip every day of the year.

    I have no idea how many additional personnel are needed or the $$$ for maintenance, but I’m going to figure $150 million in total costs.

    In addition to that the 747 plane costs between $85 & $225 million.

    The problem is Apple employees fly to a lot more locations than China.  Buying a plane for each destination would be ridiculous...

    Apple might change from United, but they’re not going to buy their own planes... 

  • Reply 23 of 49
    lennlenn Posts: 36member
    Apple is totally out of control! They are living a very lavish lifestyle while continuing to raise prices on all their products to fund their habits. Just crazy.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 24 of 49
    lennlenn Posts: 36member
    In other news Apple plans on buying their own plane.
    They already own a Gulfstream 5 that Cook and the gang uses all the time.
  • Reply 25 of 49
    They have posted Non Public Information. There are big fines for that along with the fact that you are going to lose a customer. United lost me years ago....
  • Reply 26 of 49
    Jobs had his own jet, why not buy a corporate jet with a more or less regular schedule to and from Chy-NAH as you know who says?
  • Reply 27 of 49
    designrdesignr Posts: 502member
    lazereth said:
    Some heads will role for this cock-up.. Remember what happened with Nvidia under Jobs. This may result in United losing their prized client.
    firelock said:
    I’m stunned if this is real. Surely Apple and United have a MNDCA (Mutual Non-disclosure and Confidentiality Agreement) in place.
    Seriously folks? It's just airline flights. Does it surprise anyone that Apple employees fly to China a lot?
    edited January 11 williamlondon
  • Reply 28 of 49
    ksecksec Posts: 1,554member
    designr said:
    lazereth said:
    Some heads will role for this cock-up.. Remember what happened with Nvidia under Jobs. This may result in United losing their prized client.
    firelock said:
    I’m stunned if this is real. Surely Apple and United have a MNDCA (Mutual Non-disclosure and Confidentiality Agreement) in place.
    Seriously folks? It's just airline flights. Does it surprise anyone that Apple employees fly to China a lot?
    I guess you are pretty new to Apple.

    The First Rule of B2B Relationship with Apple, You Don't talk about Apple.
    edited January 11
  • Reply 29 of 49
    ksecksec Posts: 1,554member
    To those about pricing, it has been known Apple rarely schedules out these travel, if they need to go they do it now. And they expect to have seats, doesn't matter if they are business or first class. And you know on the Spot Travel booking tends to be much more expensive. 


  • Reply 30 of 49
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,722member
    lenn said:
    Apple is totally out of control! They are living a very lavish lifestyle while continuing to raise prices on all their products to fund their habits. Just crazy.
    Traveling for work is lavish now? Huh.
    williamlondonNotsofasttmay
  • Reply 31 of 49
    The market cap for United Airlines (UAL) is $21 B. Apple should buy them with their nearly $300 B cash on hand (as of March 2019). Then rename them United Apple Lines. Then immediately declare bankruptcy and shut it all down. :)
  • Reply 32 of 49
    payecopayeco Posts: 298member
    chasm said:
    macxpress said:
    I feel sorry for all of those Apple Employees who have to fly United. That would be the absolute LAST airline I'd ever consider flying on. I cannot stand United. 
    You're not flying Business Class, obviously. I'm not saying United is a great airline ... they're not ... but in BC and FC most US airlines are pretty similar. Non-US airlines ... oh that is a whole different story.

    Anyway ... I have a friend who is an engineer for Apple ... flies to China at least 4-6 times a year.
    For first class you are absolutely right. US based airlines are way behind. Business class though, in terms of hard product, is a different story (hard product meaning the physical stuff, not service and amenities). US based airlines are basically on par with the top foreign airlines for hard product in business class. The seats are all lie flat and comfortable enough to get a decent amount of sleep if you have a few drinks or pop a  benadryl/Xanax/melatonin/whatever. 
  • Reply 33 of 49
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 306member
    macxpress said:
    I feel sorry for all of those Apple Employees who have to fly United. That would be the absolute LAST airline I'd ever consider flying on. I cannot stand United. 
    Still carrying a grudge against United for losing a year’s worth of photographic work when moving years ago. 

    I had attended a photography school in Denver and left town on a United flight and all of my negatives were packed in my luggage. They sent the particular suitcase to Chicago instead of the proper destination and assured me all was fine. Later, when they were supposed to ship it to me they claimed it was destroyed in transit and offered me some pittance in exchange.

    During that year I had travelled through Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah. Almost all of the pictures were lost forever- only a few mounted prints I had made to give to friends and family that were in another case survive. That was 1983 and I am still mad. You can never get that stuff back even if you took the time and revisited every place- time and circumstance changes everything.
    buckalecbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 34 of 49
    tbornottbornot Posts: 107member
    I’d be more happy if someone at Apple would stay home and fix the malfunctioning Bluetooth on the new Mac Mini.
  • Reply 35 of 49
    thedbathedba Posts: 474member
    lenn said:
    Apple is totally out of control! They are living a very lavish lifestyle while continuing to raise prices on all their products to fund their habits. Just crazy.
    tbornot said:
    I’d be more happy if someone at Apple would stay home and fix the malfunctioning Bluetooth on the new Mac Mini.
    Posts #23 and 34. 
    I thought we’d get posts like yours in the top ten. 
    What’s going on, are you guys slacking off?

    williamlondonfastasleep
  • Reply 36 of 49
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 129member
    payeco said:
    thrang said:
    macxpress said:
    I feel sorry for all of those Apple Employees who have to fly United. That would be the absolute LAST airline I'd ever consider flying on. I cannot stand United. 
    My wife flies to China quite a bit, and even United first class sucks in comparison to many other airlines. Cathay and Emirates I think are among the best she said...

    But what idiot or (unmanaged team of idiots) thought it was a good idea to share private customer data as a public marketing campaign>

    This is like data from an internal powerpoint presentation.. oh, those wacky millennials in marketing... If this is how United pays attention to details, I wonder how equipment inspections are going...

    If you’re flying US direct to Greater China then Cathay Pacific is definitely the way to go if you’re going to travel in first. The seats are incredibly spacious and the bed is nearly as comfortable as a real bed. I’ve been lucky enough to fly them in first from Hong Kong direct to JFK.
    It's all about the money. United must fly to most of the places they need to go and probably offer a significant savings to Apple.
  • Reply 37 of 49
    robbyx said:
    macxpress said:
    I feel sorry for all of those Apple Employees who have to fly United. That would be the absolute LAST airline I'd ever consider flying on. I cannot stand United. 

    Totally!  They are the WORST airline.  I remember flying them a lot several decades ago and it was quite the opposite.  Back then the employees were friendly and the planes weren't ridiculously cramped.  I've had the misfortune of flying them a few times in the past ten years or so and they are just awful now.  Some of the rudest, nastiest employees I've ever dealt with and the most uncomfortable planes.  I'd rather flying standing than have to sit in those seats.

    $150M also seems like a pretty absurd amount to spend on air travel annually.  I'm having a hard time imagining why any company would need to spend that kind of money on air travel, especially these days with high speed internet, video conferencing and online collaboration tools.  I understand that some things have to be handled in person, but at an average price of $2000/ticket, that's still 75,000 trips or 200+ employee flights per day.  Doesn't that seem crazy?
    This is how business works-- one of the largest companies in the world, with factories, suppliers and research centers all over the world, does the vast majority of business communications on line, but still requires significant and constant in person meetings, inspections, etc.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 38 of 49
    designrdesignr Posts: 502member
    ksec said:
    designr said:
    lazereth said:
    Some heads will role for this cock-up.. Remember what happened with Nvidia under Jobs. This may result in United losing their prized client.
    firelock said:
    I’m stunned if this is real. Surely Apple and United have a MNDCA (Mutual Non-disclosure and Confidentiality Agreement) in place.
    Seriously folks? It's just airline flights. Does it surprise anyone that Apple employees fly to China a lot?
    I guess you are pretty new to Apple.

    The First Rule of B2B Relationship with Apple, You Don't talk about Apple.
    Not new at all. I go all the way back to a Macintosh in 1985. And I get Apple's penchant for secrecy. But get real...it's airline flights that would be a surprise only to someone who is new to Apple. Furthermore, there seems to be an immediate assumption that United didn't get permission from Apple for the marketing campaign.

    Sheesh.
  • Reply 39 of 49
    Why in the world are Apple people flying on commercial airliners to China? Isn’t their time more valuable?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 40 of 49
    designrdesignr Posts: 502member
    Why in the world are Apple people flying on commercial airliners to China? Isn’t their time more valuable?
    I'd bet Apple's probably done a cost/benefit analysis on owning their own jet (or fleet) for this purpose. Maybe not. But that line-item is big enough that someone has probably given it some thought.
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