I find it interesting that United is now looking at Boeing narrowbodies after retiring all the old United-livery B737s and repainting / reusing the Ted A320s in their place. (Granted, this was long before the Continental buyout-merger). Having flown on both in United service several years ago, I will say the A320 felt a little roomier / more comfy than the 737 (though as some have already said, interior depends a lot on airline choice).
The big question to me is how many aircraft, both narrow and widebody, United has after the Continental acquisition and how many of both types need replacing. Not to mention how much of the "United" service you see out there is actually being done by feeder airlines (Mesaba, SkyWest, All Wisconsin, etc) with RJs, and if that will be expanded.
Would love to see one of these beauties come to where I live. However, I don't picture anyone doing 787 service out of KOMA ever (not when most of the traffic these days seems to be B737s, MD80-class or assorted RJ's). Only way we'll see a 787 here is either a special charter or some sort of publicity tour (and don't hold your breath on that for KOMA, either).
Wayne and Agg, thanks for the info. Sorry I've not gotten back sooner (work, ya know). Wayne, I think you're right about the A320 at the Paris Air show. I'm not completely sure, but I do recall something about it crashing and a lot of hullabaloo as to whether the all-new fly-by-wire control system was involved
A quick question regarding the Airbus airframes -- didn't Airbus introduce the one-hand side stick with the A-320's? I seem to remember a lot of ballyhoo about that, whereas the A300 and A310 had the traditional wheel/yoke setup that Boeing still uses on everything. Please let me know.
@Wayne -- Got a chance to get a look at the tail number this morning. If I read it right, it was N748FD. That tags out to an A300-600 series freighter, according to various databases. Also found a listing of fleet tail numbers for FedEx (http://www.planespotters.net/Airline/Federal-Express-%28FedEx%29). It shows a bunch of A300 and A310 frames, roughly 120 or so, in their fleet. The FedEx pilots may not like them, but they don't seem to be going away anytime soon!
@Brian -- I have to agree, the larger RJs like the 90-seaters could very well edge Boeing and Airbus out of some markets. Especially if Embraer can make good inroads with their 170/175/190/195-series.
@Agremeister -- You can't make the B737 - A320 comparison with United anymore (unless they picked up B737s in the Continental buyout). When United shut down their Ted low-fare operation, all the A320-series aircraft in Ted were repainted to standard United colors and the remaining B737s in the United fleet were retired. It's been several years since I flew on either type of aircraft, but I have done so on both with United. I actually found the seating more comfortable on the A320s. It may very well have been the layouts of those particular aircraft, but that's what I saw. Granted, everything after the first couple rows on almost any major carrier these days is Cattle Class.
@Wayne -- My source on the A300's flying for FedEx through KOMA was an employee on their ground staff. On first view I had thought it was a B767 myself, but he corrected me a few years ago. Maybe things have changed, I'm not sure. When I get a chance, I'm going to look up a few tail numbers on the FAA website to make sure I'm seeing things right. The ting is, when I see the FedEx and the UPS regulars on the ramp, side by side, the FedEx actually looks like a shorter fuselage than the UPS B757, so I'm still inclined to say it's an A300 for FedEx. Like I said, I'll check a few tail numbers.
The thing is, you KNOW FedEx has a lot of freight going through on some days, because they have both the regular shuttle and a second one (usually a B727 of all things). FedEx seems to do a lot at KOMA; I think they may be a regional hub (especially with all the putt-putt Cessna's on the ramp).
Not a pilot, just a longtime aviation junkie and industry observer. @Wayne -- thanks for bringing up something that occurred to me, the growing prevalence of RJs in smaller markets. It's not just the short-haul but the passenger volume that airlines are looking at. My home airport, KOMA, is a prime example -- I'd say at least 1/3 to 1/3 of all flight volume is either Bombardier or Embraer RJs (many of them run by mini-airlines like ComAir, All-Wisconsin, ASA, SkyWest, etc. under the flag / livery of the big boys). Let's be honest, the bigger airlines aren't going to cart around empty seats on B737s and A320's if they see 50- and 70-seat RJs can handle the passenger volume. Yes, you do see the "bigger" aircraft here (Midwest with MD-80s/B717s, American with MD-80s, United with A320s and an occasional B757 if they haven't been completely retired, and of course Southwest's all-B737 fleet). Frankly, the "biggest" aircraft regularly flying through KOMA are freighters. FedEx has at least one