The 757 is an aircraft that missed its calling. It was supposed to be a replacement for the 727 back in the 1980s. This meant its mission was for mid to longer-range domestic flights. The longest hauls were still the domain of the widebodies.
Slowly, airlines began using the plane more and more on coast to coast flights instead of using widebodies. They found that flying more flights with fewer seats on each flight was much more desirable for the business traveler’s schedule, so it ended up being very successful at this mission.
As people started becoming more comfortable with flying twin engines over water, the 757 again found a new market for itself. As production wound down, airlines just began discovering that the 757 could be used to open up long haul routes with lower demand, such as from the East Coast to secondary cities in Europe. Though production has ended, the plane is now very “hot” as airlines scramble to find more to use for these longer range routes.
Northwest is the latest to announce 757 flying over the Pond today with the following:
- Detroit – Brussels (Belgium) effective May 7
- Detroit – Dusseldorf (Germany) effective June 5
- Hartford (Conn) – Amsterdam effective July 1
As you can see, it’s connecting secondary cities (two in Europe, one in the US) with larger hub airports on either end.
Continental has done the most work with 757s over the Pond, mostly from their Newark base. From Newark, they fly 757s to Amsterdam, Stockholm, Barcelona, Belfast (UK), Birmingham (UK), Bristol (UK), Paris/Charles de Gaulle, Cologne (Germany), Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hamburg (Germany), Lisbon, London/Gatwick, Madrid, Manchester (UK), Oslo, Shannon (Ireland), and Berlin/Tegel. They also fly from Cleveland to London/Gatwick and soon to Paris/Charles de Gaulle.
American has tried flights between Boston and both Shannon and Dublin in Ireland, but those have had mixed results.
US Airways started 757 flying this year from Philadelphia to Dublin, Shannon, Glasgow, and Lisbon. They were happy with results and expect to increase 757 flying going forward.
Delta has also indicated an interest in flying 757s over the Pond while United seems to be the only one who hasn’t.
On the other side of the Pond, Icelandair pioneered 757s flying from its Mid-Atlantic home in Keflavik to Boston, New York/JFK, Baltimore, Minneapolis, and Orlando/Sanford. Next year, Air Greenland makes its foray into the US market with flights from Baltimore to Kangerlussuaq.
Finnair has been experimenting in Stockholm – Boston and bmi used to fly from Washington/Dulles to Manchester (UK), but that appears to have been dropped. Plenty of charter airlines are wroking on 757 transatlantic service as well.
I won’t even get into the premium market where airlines fly in all Business Class configurations over the water on planes as small as an A319.
Though many people seem to prefer widebodies simply because it feels more roomy, alot of it is just overcoming perception. For example, nobody would think twice flying a 757 from Boston to San Francisco, but a 757 from Boston to Glasgow seems crazy. Well, the latter is a mere 300 miles further, so there isn’t much difference.
If you’re in coach, the accommodations should be about the same. Though the premium cabins may not be as nice for now, the airlines are working on that. In the end, 757s allow airlines to fly places nonstop that never could be flown before. If you live in Hartford, you can now get to Amsterdam nonstop and you can connect beyond to all the destinations in KLM’s network. I’d definitely rather fly the 757 than have to connect twice.
I think this is money better spent than the millions they poured into their DC-9 fleet a few years ago. The ROI should be better (and faster).
In technical terms it does make sense to fly a 757 from Boston to Glasgow. I fly from LAX to Frankfurt,Germany, and certainly would not appreciate being in a can of tuna for a long flight. A wide body aircraft is just a larger can, but for perception purposes, it makes a different flying, say, from JFK to FRA, in a 767 than the single isle 757.