Poll: What makes an airline good for frequent fliers?

With all the talk about American and US Airlines merging, I started thinking about airlines and frequent fliers. Loyal frequent fliers can be an airline’s best asset, and there are so many ways to treat them well. I’m just curious—if you had to pick the top three things, which are the most important?  Is it boarding first, loyalty programs, comfy seats, lounges, fly-by lanes, or something else?

In my opinion, the loyalty program, availability of upgrades, and comfortable seats are the things I value in an airline. The loyalty program is a no brainer. Upgrades are great—I’d rather sit in first class than just about anything else. But of course I won’t get upgraded every time, so it’s important to have comfortable seats in coach too. In fact, I think I would rank comfortable seats as second most important after the loyalty program.

Readers, what do you think?

What are your top three ways for airlines to treat frequent fliers well?

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  1. As of right now, the top 2 vote getters is “upgrades” and “loyalty program”, both of which really suck for Delta.

    Let’s just hope that US/AA keep those instead of downgrading to the DL level (systemwides require near full fare Y, and saver redemptions are rare except tuesdays to Wichita).

  2. Consistently available award travel would be my number 1…isn’t that what we’re in this game for?

  3. @Jake : i’d add to that – it should “consistently available award at fixed saver levels”

    WN has 99% award availability since their redemption is directly linked to the retail price of the open seat. We don’t want anything like that.

    DL has high award availability if you’re willing to pay astronomical number of miles in the “High” bucket. Again, very undesirable.

  4. Cleanliness. Planes and seats in good repair. I hate it if plane has broken/nonfunctional elements(lights, seats, etc). After that its safety and on time record.

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