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Tracing the route of 3 United Airlines aircraft over a week.

A Week in the Life of Three Types of Airplanes

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Airline operations staff spend a lot of time making sure they are getting the most out of their aircraft. That means using the right aircraft on the right route. For some airlines, like Southwwest or easyJet, that problem is solved by having one type of airplane and a route network that fits the aircraft’s performance. For others, like United Airlines or Qantas, it means having multiple types of aircraft for different missions. We took a look at a week (Saturday, 27 February — Friday, 4 March) of flying for three different kinds of aircraft in the United Airlines fleet—Embraer E175, Boeing 737-900ER, Boeing 787-9—to see how each is used by the airline.

Embraer E175 (N103SY)

United Express Embraer E170-200LR (E175) N103SY, operated by SkyWest Airlines
United Express Embraer E170-200LR (E175) N103SY, operated by SkyWest Airlines

United and its regional partners operate a fleet of 127 Embraer regional jets in the E170 family, which includes the E170 and E175. N103SY is an E175 operated by SkyWest Airlines under the United Express brand. Over the course of the week, N103SY visited the east and west coasts of the United States, but did most of its flying through the United hubs in Chicago and Denver. Beginning in Austin and ending in San Francisco, N103SY completed 25 flights, visiting 15 different cities.

A week of flying for N103SY
A week of flying for N103SY
3/4/16Dallas (DFW)San Francisco (SFO)UA60143:341:30 PM1:47 PM5:38 PM 05:21 PM
3/4/16Chicago (ORD)Dallas (DFW)UA56972:0112:20 PM12:41 PM2:52 PM 02:42 PM
3/4/16Madison (MSN)Chicago (ORD)UA54240:2710:36 AM10:51 AM11:33 AM 11:18 AM
3/4/16Chicago (ORD)Madison (MSN)UA56470:329:05 AM9:37 AM10:01 AM 10:09 AM
3/4/16Minneapolis (MSP)Chicago (ORD)UA54690:545:16 AM6:49 AM6:50 AM 07:43 AM
3/3/16Chicago (ORD)Minneapolis (MSP)UA59260:589:12 PM10:17 PM10:42 PM 11:15 PM
3/3/16Detroit (DTW)Chicago (ORD)UA59060:536:47 PM7:58 PM8:09 PM 08:51 PM
3/3/16Chicago (ORD)Detroit (DTW)UA56031:025:35 PM6:08 PM6:59 PM 07:09 PM
3/3/16Washington (DCA)Chicago (ORD)UA52361:491:45 PM1:47 PM3:55 PM 03:35 PM
3/3/16Chicago (ORD)Washington (DCA)UA55901:2512:00 PM12:17 PM1:57 PM 01:42 PM
3/3/16Colorado Springs (COS)Chicago (ORD)UA57352:097:05 AM7:35 AM9:43 AM 09:44 AM
3/2/16Denver (DEN)Colorado Springs (COS)UA55670:228:19 PM8:58 PM9:01 PM 09:20 PM
3/2/16Charlotte (CLT)Denver (DEN)UA51783:202:25 PM2:55 PM6:15 PM 06:15 PM
3/2/16Denver (DEN)Charlotte (CLT)UA53822:5112:32 PM12:42 PM3:50 PM 03:33 PM
3/2/16Raleigh-Durham (RDU)Denver (DEN)UA51953:435:42 AM5:51 AM9:52 AM 09:34 AM
3/1/16Denver (DEN)Raleigh-Durham (RDU)UA52312:507:32 PM8:08 PM10:58 PM 10:59 PM
3/1/16Santa Barbara (SBA)Denver (DEN)UA55141:572:34 PM2:53 PM5:10 PM 04:50 PM
3/1/16Denver (DEN)Santa Barbara (SBA)UA57132:2110:15 AM10:42 AM12:59 PM 01:03 PM
3/1/16Atlanta (ATL)Denver (DEN)UA52583:086:35 AM6:47 AM10:23 AM 09:55 AM
2/29/16Chicago (ORD)Atlanta (ATL)UA57341:259:50 PM11:40 PM11:53 PM 01:05 AM
2/28/16Windsor Locks (BDL)Chicago (ORD)UA57682:064:53 PM4:50 PM7:41 PM 06:56 PM
2/28/16Chicago (ORD)Windsor Locks (BDL)UA59541:323:05 PM3:19 PM5:09 PM 04:51 PM
2/28/16Salt Lake City (SLC)Chicago (ORD)UA56772:359:21 AM9:42 AM12:32 PM 12:17 PM
2/27/16Chicago (ORD)Salt Lake City (SLC)UA54333:036:40 PM7:04 PM10:21 PM 10:07 PM
2/27/16Austin (AUS)Chicago (ORD)OO24912:133:45 PM3:44 PM6:33 PM 05:56 PM


Boeing 737-900ER (N64844)

United Airlines Boeing 737-900ER N64844
United Airlines Boeing 737-900ER N64844

United’s 142 Boeing 737-900 aircraft form part of the narrow-body backbone of the carrier’s fleet. N64844 began and ended its week in Panama City while moving between United hubs in Houston, Denver, and Newark throughout the week. N64844 covered a total of 81,516 kilometers (50,652 miles) over the week, spending 99 hours, 32 minutes flying.

A week of flying for N64844
A week of flying for N64844
3/4/16New York (EWR)Panama City (PTY)UA12144:2911:59 PM12:46 AM5:20 AM 05:14 AM
3/4/16Boston (BOS)New York (EWR)UA16571:018:47 PM9:58 PM10:18 PM 10:59 PM
3/4/16Denver (DEN)Boston (BOS)UA7143:152:40 PM2:43 PM6:42 PM 05:58 PM
3/4/16Vancouver (YVR)Denver (DEN)UA5452:168:38 AM8:40 AM11:33 AM 10:57 AM
3/3/16Denver (DEN)Vancouver (YVR)UA8292:485:58 PM6:22 PM9:08 PM 09:09 PM
3/3/16Boston (BOS)Denver (DEN)UA4484:1112:52 PM1:02 PM5:34 PM 05:13 PM
3/3/16Denver (DEN)Boston (BOS)UA5993:229:55 AM10:04 AM1:51 PM 01:26 PM
3/2/16New York (EWR)Denver (DEN)UA4853:594:48 PM5:18 PM9:25 PM 09:17 PM
3/2/16Denver (DEN)New York (EWR)UA17743:051:15 PM1:18 PM4:56 PM 04:23 PM
3/2/16Fort Lauderdale (FLL)Denver (DEN)UA12623:585:33 AM5:50 AM10:15 AM 09:48 AM
3/1/16Denver (DEN)Fort Lauderdale (FLL)UA11273:097:30 PM7:51 PM11:23 PM 11:01 PM
3/1/16Cancun (CUN)Denver (DEN)UA11323:3711:27 AM11:48 AM3:47 PM 03:25 PM
3/1/16Washington (IAD)Cancun (CUN)UA11543:128:42 AM8:52 AM12:32 PM 12:04 PM
2/29/16Orlando (MCO)Washington (IAD)UA3931:396:58 PM7:12 PM9:10 PM 08:51 PM
2/29/16Houston (IAH)Orlando (MCO)UA14121:423:38 PM3:50 PM5:56 PM 05:32 PM
2/29/16Panama City (PTY)Houston (IAH)UA10313:438:55 AM9:09 AM1:15 PM 12:52 PM
2/28/16Houston (IAH)Panama City (PTY)UA10343:403:35 PM3:59 PM7:40 PM 07:40 PM
2/28/16Panama City (PTY)Houston (IAH)UA10313:428:55 AM9:22 AM1:15 PM 01:04 PM
2/27/16Houston (IAH)Panama City (PTY)UA10343:283:35 PM3:41 PM7:40 PM 07:08 PM
2/27/16Panama City (PTY)Houston (IAH)UA10313:438:55 AM9:03 AM1:15 PM 12:46 PM


Boeing 787-9 (N45956)

United Airlines Boeing 787-9 N45956
United Airlines Boeing 787-9 N45956

The Boeing 787-9 is the most recent type of aircraft to join the United fleet. United took delivery of its first 787-9 in September 2014 and has orders for 26 of the type. United has deployed the 787-9 on trans-Pacific routes, serving Asia and Australia. N45956 visited just four cities during the week. Operating out of its base in Los Angeles, the aircraft flew to Tokyo, Shanghai, and Melbourne. The Los Angeles-Melbourne route is currently the world’s longest 787 route.

A week of flying for N45956
A week of flying for N45956
3/4/16Melbourne (MEL)Los Angeles (LAX)UA9914:134:25 PM4:50 PM7:00 AM 07:03 AM
3/4/16Los Angeles (LAX)Melbourne (MEL)UA9814:355:40 PM6:23 PM9:25 AM 08:58 AM
3/2/16Melbourne (MEL)Los Angeles (LAX)UA9913:434:25 PM4:53 PM7:00 AM 06:36 AM
3/2/16Los Angeles (LAX)Melbourne (MEL)UA9815:015:40 PM5:59 PM9:25 AM 08:59 AM
2/29/16Shanghai (PVG)Los Angeles (LAX)UA19910:154:25 AM4:34 AM3:55 PM 02:49 PM
2/28/16Los Angeles (LAX)Shanghai (PVG)UA19813:344:40 AM4:52 AM6:35 PM 06:26 PM
2/28/16Tokyo (NRT)Los Angeles (LAX)UA338:4012:50 AM1:02 AM10:50 AM 09:42 AM
2/27/16Los Angeles (LAX)Tokyo (NRT)UA3210:444:15 AM4:58 AM4:05 PM 03:42 PM


By the Numbers

Aircraft TypeRegistrationNumber of FlightsCities VisitedTotal DistanceTotal Time
Embraer E170-200LR (E175)N103SY251534,287 km / 21,305 mi49hr 10min
Boeing 737-900ERN64844201181,516 km/ 50,652 mi4d 3hr 32min
Boeing 787-9N4595684115,937 km/ 72,040 mi4d 6h 45min

Correction: an earlier version of this post listed incorrect time and distance figures for N103SY.


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