American Vs. Delta Vs. United – What Are The Least Used Aircraft?

This November, American’s B777-300ERs have fewer flights than any other type, while it’s the A350-900 for Delta and the B767-400ER for United. Naturally, the results would be markedly different if available seat miles (ASMs; seats x distance) were examined instead, reflecting the longer length of haul of these widebodies. But this would then push down low-capacity aircraft on shorter routes, a reminder that each measurement brings different results.

American B777-300ER
Earlier this month, American introduced JFK to Delhi using the B777-300ER. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

B777-300ER is American’s least-used aircraft

Analysis of schedules provided by American to OAG indicates that the B777-300ER has 927 flights (take-offs and landings) this month. This is less than any other type, whether narrowbody, widebody, or regional, and it’s only marginally behind the B787-9 (993 flights).

American’s 304-seat B777-300ERs are perhaps inevitably at the bottom. It has only 20 examples (17 are active), and each aircraft has fewer daily flights than short-haul and intensively used types. Hardly surprisingly, its average length of haul is 3,344 miles (5,381km), despite four in ten flights being domestic.

The type is bottom partly because of the retirements of other machines. In November 2019, the B757-200 and A330-300 both had fewer movements, but they’ve been withdrawn.

American's B777-300ER network
JFK to Miami has more flights by the B777-300ER, American’s largest aircraft, than any other route, with up to three outbound a day. Image: OAG Mapper

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Delta’s A350-900s

For Delta, the A350-900 has fewer flights this month than any other equipment. It has some 455 services, very close behind the A330-900 (480) and not far from the A330-200 (617).

Delta has 15 active A350s, ch-aviation.com indicates, more than the A330neo (11) and A330 (11). If flights per aircraft are looked at, the A350 is used less often, with about half the flights per aircraft as the A330ceo. Of course, this is due to vastly different deployment.

Over eight in ten (84%) of the A330-200’s services are domestic, against two in ten (22%) for the A350. No wonder the A330’s average haul is 2,262 miles (3,640km), well under half that of the A350 (4,997mi, 8,042km). All but one Delta route over 5,000 miles uses the A350, including its longest: Atlanta to Johannesburg.

Delta A350-900
Atlanta-Detroit has more A350 flights this month than any other route, with services continuing onto Asia, the most important region for the type. Photo: Airbus.

United’s B767-400ERs

Sixteen aircraft comprise United’s B767-400ER fleet with an average age of 20.2 years, ch-aviation.com indicates. All are ex-Continental, and they have 240 seats. After grounding the B767 variant in March 2020, they were next used 14 months later in May 2021.

Just 10 of United’s sixteen examples are active. With 427 flights, they have only 63% of what they had in November 2019 against 84% for United as a whole, OAG shows. They’re still down significantly especially compared to newer widebodies, the B787-8, B787-10, and B777-300ER.

United_Airlines_Boeing_767-400ER_N68061_AMS_2011-3-6
The B767-400ER has the most flights from Houston and Newark. Photo: Jules Meulemans via Wikimedia.

Two years ago, the B767-400ER had 464 international flights. Now it’s 206, from Newark to Barcelona, Dublin, Lisbon, and Madrid. However, Houston to Newark still has more flights than any other route.

Have you flown each carrier’s least-used aircraft? Share your experiences in the comments.

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