Sell me your airline

I have been flying American for years. The flights are convenient, the points program has been decent, and my company prefers them. In years past, I would get upgraded more often than not, have direct flights, could easily fly standby, and redeem points for vacations on a regular basis. But for the past six to eight months, I feel like things have changed. They got rid of the direct flight to San Jose, upgrades are rare, and reward tickets are more expensive. Worst of all, all flights are overbooked and I can never get on an earlier flight using standby. In fact, last Friday I was flying home from Raleigh through Chicago. There was a ground delay in Chicago, and I was going to miss my connection home. Not only could they not get me on any other flight out of Raleigh (including two to Dallas that would have been quicker anyway), all of the Saturday direct flights were overbooked, so I had to make a connection in Dallas. Which meant I didn’t get home until 5pm on Saturday.

After all of this, and with the bankruptcy drama in the back of my mind, I am considering a switch. My understanding is that other airlines will often do status matches. What airline do you fly, and why do you like them? Or, conversely, who have you flown and hated? Who has the best rewards program? Do you get a lot of upgrades? Or can you fly standby?

Comments

  1. Delta delta delta. Their customer service is unbelievable and upgrades at platinum are pretty common. Even more so with the Amex reserve. They fly anywhere I could ever want to go and they replaced my laptop without asking when they gate checked my bag and crushed it. I literally went to an apple store, bought a MacBook air, brought back the receipt and the redcoat cut me a check. They have a great app and their assistance by tweets is pretty unbelievable. They’re also eyeing rid of all their crj’s thank god.

  2. RW,

    What status do you have with AA? If EXP, which I just scored via their promo, I’m shocked.

    To answer your question, I’ve been 1K with UA for a decade, and continue to be pretty happy with the bennies despite the merger. Good UG odds, customer service, and IRROPS priority.

  3. I too have been considering a switch to Delta, everything I have heard makes them sound like the best domestic airline. Of course redemption in the rewards program is pathetic, but thats the tradeoff I suppose.

    Also, in your situation last friday, I would have demanded to be put on another airline. Did you try this?

  4. While not necessarily the explanation for the overall pattern, many places were starting Spring Break last week, which significantly floods the leisure/academic flight market.

  5. I am EXP on American- almost always get upgraded. What is your status with AA. I am also Platinum with Us Scareways. I usually get upgraded with them as well, but I prefer AA.

  6. Delta Points, Delta only flies from three hubs to SJC. Of course, United does also. Looks like SJC’s a shadow of what it used to be flight-wise, which is probably why I’ve migrated to SFO as my preferred airport.

  7. Wow! I am a amazed by the Delta calls. I should look closer, had a bad wrap over sky pesos. I am with UA(1k) looking st other ideas, so was looking at AA. UA seems to be on a downward spiral, following Delta was my expectation. any way, UA good for RDM, and network globally, lots of partner availability. Dying upgrades, and SWUs may now be defunct, for those that do not buy YBM

  8. Delta is ok but about even with AA in my opinion. Plus the delta miles are worth less. If you fly us domestic Southwest is really the best efficient airline but no first class and no way to earn free flights around the globe. From your location I’m wondering if US air might be a good alternative.

  9. I echo what Explore said above. I haven’t been 1K on United for a decade yet, although…yikes, it’s getting close! However, especially when flying on formerly-Continental aircraft I get upgrades almost 100% of the time. To get in or out of SJC on United/Continental you have to go through LAX, DEN, or IAH, I think.

    “To answer your question, I’ve been 1K with UA for a decade, and continue to be pretty happy with the bennies despite the merger. Good UG odds, customer service, and IRROPS priority.” <–Completely agree.

  10. I flew AA for years when I lived in Austin. 4 years ago I moved to Houston and flying AA out of Hobby was a pain, always going through Dallas for any flight. I sent a request to Continental to match my status, which they did right away. I have been Gold on CO for three years now and I’m quite happy. At Gold, free upgrades are a little harder, but using mileage for upgrades works on about every flight. I quite like CO, though I am not decided yet on the United change…we’ll see. Their BusinessFirst seats are starting to make their way into domestic 757s for many routes, which is awesome! I fly Delta a lot and was elite with them in the 90s, I never really like Delta though, the narrow seat pitch and impossible upgrades just didn’t impress me.

  11. I’ve been happy with my United status (prem exec) at least pre-merger. Haven’t used it since the final merge earlier this month. Although, I generally fly international and use the gold star alliance status more often. I haven’t been really thrilled with most of the American based airlines offerings, except what they get me on the alliance side.

  12. I’ve been Gold or Platinum with USAir for the past 5 years. Only remember missing an upgrade maybe three to five times during that period. Hate flying into PHL but love CLT.

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