United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

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nisiprius
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United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by nisiprius » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:35 pm

We're planning a trip for late spring, and the main airlines serving our start and destination cities are United, American Airlines, and Delta. At the moment, there are no non-stop flights, a decent number of one-stop through flights, and tons of code-share one-ticket-two-planes-one-DBA flights. Prices are all about the same, total trip time all about the same. Travelocity has "ratings" for each flight and they are virtually all rated "very good flight," whatever that means and I'm not going to every trying checking.

I'm in the process of signing up for all of their frequent-flyer plans (or verifying that the forgot-I-had-them plans are still current), etc.

My impression is that United, American Airlines, and Delta are pretty much all about the same, none obviously much better or obviously much worse than the others, and no big-surprise-gotchas. Is that right? I'll never actually have enough miles to do anything, I don't mean tiny details like how much the second bag costs. I care a lot about discomfort (I won't use the word "comfort" for a plane) but I assume that all of them will be "unpleasantly cramped but not inhumane?"
Last edited by nisiprius on Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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badger42
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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by badger42 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:39 pm

Are the flights even on the carriers' planes, or on regional jets operated by 3rd parties?

IME - in terms of comfort, reliability, and service level, at least on mainline:

Delta >> United >> flying dumpster fire >> American

Have you checked the other carriers? Can you get Southwest or Alaska (both of which are way better than the big three)?

livesoft
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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by livesoft » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:40 pm

I think that's right. Not all hubs and airports are the same though. Certainly familiarity with a hub is a plus and a reason to choose one airline over another.

Years ago, my family flew to Maui using FF miles from two different airlines. Two of us went Houston-Honolulu-Maui and two went Houston-Dallas-Maui. The flights were about an hour offset, so two of us dropped off the other two and parked the car. When we got to Maui, the early arrivers had already picked up the rental car and met us outside baggage claim.

I like the comment about dumpster fire and it recalls a Southwest flight I took. It went from Houston Hobby to Houston Hobby (oops plane problem noticed in the air) then to Washington, DC.
Last edited by livesoft on Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by Jags4186 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:42 pm

Your comfort will be dependent on the plane used. Older equipment tends to actually be more comfortable than newer equipment because the airlines continuously cram more seats together in plane. American is most notorious for having the worst amount of space per seat of the big 3. If comfort is what you seek, get economy plus/premium economy and you’ll basically be in an economy seat from 25 years ago.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by sport » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:44 pm

Years ago, we took a long flight on United with a child under the age of 2. So, we did not need to buy a ticket for him, he rode on our laps if there was no empty seat. When it came time for them to serve lunch, they said "no meal for him, he does not have a seat". Since then, I have tried to avoid United. They would starve a baby rather than provide him with a little food. We had to share ours with him.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by livesoft » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:46 pm

sport wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:44 pm
Since then, I have tried to avoid United. They would starve a baby rather than provide him with a little food. We had to share ours with him.
I see it that parents didn't want to share their food with their child until forced to. :)
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Mister A
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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by Mister A » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:50 pm

badger42 wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:39 pm
Delta >> United >> flying dumpster fire >> American
^ This.

I used to fly United regularly for a few years because their New York hub (EWR) is easier for me. I've had to mass email the executive team at United twice to get a bizarre problem taken seriously. Once, they left me on hold for five hours in a snowstorm with no instructions. Another time, they mishandled a voluntary bump and I spent 32 hours trying to get from the west coast to the east coast with no hotel voucher nor lounge access. Both times, they gave me a substantial credit - only after I escalated - but not nearly enough to justify my time.

I've been flying Delta exclusively since then. I would consider Delta and United products roughly equivalent, but Delta service far superior. They might very well be just as bad when things go wrong, but in a couple decades of frequent air travel, things just haven't gone wrong. I snagged a Delta card from AmEx for priority boarding and the other perks.

No experience with American, but I gather their hardware is supposedly pretty dated and uncomfortable. That is pure gossip, though.
Last edited by Mister A on Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by drk » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:52 pm

I agree with badger42's ranking. At this point, I fly Delta or Alaska based on itinerary convenience, United if necessary, and American only if I absolutely have to.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by tim1999 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:53 pm

If you don't have any frequent flyer status on any of them, then I would focus on the convenience of the arrival/departure times and the length of the layover; not so short that you easily risk missing it (hour or less), not so long that you are sitting in the hub airport for 3+ hours.

2015
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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by 2015 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:54 pm

I've accepted that flying anymore is nothing more than a greyhound bus in the sky. I am more concerned with what I will get as a seatmate than the comfort of the plane, as I already know not to expect comfort (unless it's some version of business class). Every flight and every airport I just sort of mentally prepare myself and pretend I'm having to participate in either a Black Friday mall sale or one of those viral McDonald's fight videos.

This way I won't be surprised.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by Freefun » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:56 pm

You may get better responses by providing origin and destination cities. These matter as do the hubs and equipment used and are interrelated.

Asking about airline advice without more specifics is akin to asking what investments to pursue without appropriate background - the most common answer being "it depends."
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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by cherijoh » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:59 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:35 pm
We're planning a trip for late spring, and the main airlines serving our start and destination cities are United, American Airlines, and Delta. At the moment, there are no non-stop flights, a decent number of one-stop through flights, and tons of code-share one-ticket-two-planes-one-DBA flights. Prices are all about the same, total trip time all about the same. Travelocity has "ratings" for each flight and they are virtually all rated "very good flight," whatever that means and I'm not going to every trying checking.

I'm in the process of signing up for all of their frequent-flyer plans (or verifying that the forgot-I-had-them plans are still current), etc.

My impression is that United, American Airlines, and Delta are pretty much all about the same, none obviously much better or obviously much worse than the others, and no big-surprise-gotchas. Is that right? I'll never actually have enough miles to do anything, I don't mean tiny details like how much the second bag costs. I care a lot about discomfort (I won't use the word "comfort" for a plane) but I assume that all of them will be "unpleasantly cramped but not inhumane?"
One thing to consider in addition to the quality of the airline is where are you connecting through and how much extra time it will add. For example, there is still a possibility of a winter storm in the upper midwest in late spring. I would keep that in mind if the United fights are connecting in O'Hare.

A few years ago a flight from Amsterdam to Dulles was "adjusted" and no longer worked as a connection for a second leg to Charlotte. My return trip was replaced with a pair of United flights connecting through Chicago. :annoyed Not a route I would have chosen on my own since it added at least an extra hour in the air.

Last summer, I flew on American and upgraded to their "Premium Economy". For 4 flights (including 2 transatlantic legs) it cost ~$180 and was well worth the price. It netted me more legroom, an aisle seat, a better boarding zone (which guaranteed me overhead space) and a location towards the front of the plane.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by Shallowpockets » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:01 pm

tim1999 wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:53 pm
If you don't have any frequent flyer status on any of them, then I would focus on the convenience of the arrival/departure times and the length of the layover; not so short that you easily risk missing it (hour or less), not so long that you are sitting in the hub airport for 3+ hours.

True, true. FF mileage is of no account if you do not have an account and do not fly enough to get miles.

All airlines are basically busses with less than a bus mentality. The visions about the poor Greyhound station and its passengers applies equally to the state of affairs for the airports and airport people and passengers. There is clearly a bad perception of airlines and they have almost taken it to heart in order to comply with that poor immage. They can and do go out of their way to make things as problematic as possible.
So, all the airlines you note are basically the same. The best distinguishing thing might be the routing.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by adamthesmythe » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:01 pm

You are unusual if you have even two major airlines to choose from.

Apart from schedule/ convenience/ price you might want to look at baggage and carryon policies. Sometimes one or more of the majors has unfavorable policies at any given moment.

Some people have strong preferences based on one bad experience. But if you travel enough you are almost guaranteed to have the occasional really bad experience. I'm not sure this is a rational basis for decisions going forward (unless your goal is to punish the airline by witholding your custom).

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by Startled Cat » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:18 pm

I think you're broadly correct. These airlines have very similar service levels and there won't be much difference in the product. Frequent flyers will strongly prefer their airline of choice because of the elite benefits they receive - for example, my girlfriend goes through great lengths to always fly United because as a 1k member she gets frequent upgrades to domestic first class, early boarding, bonus miles, and other perks - but for someone without status, there won't be much difference between these airlines. Delta has a reputation for good operational performance (fewer cancelled flights, and so on), so if I didn't care about earning miles and convenience wasn't a factor, I might choose Delta. Since Delta doesn't have many nonstop flights from any of my local airports and I prefer the other frequent flyer programs, I rarely fly Delta.

If Southwest is an option for you, they are worth considering. In my opinion, flying Southwest is a much better experience than flying any of the "legacy" airlines without status. Seats have more legroom, checked bags are included in the ticket price, and there aren't any ridiculous restrictions on carry-on bags or seat choice. I strongly prefer Southwest and will sometimes pay slightly more to fly them when their flight schedule meets my needs. Often, I'll be on Southwest and will meet my diehard-United-flyer girlfriend at the destination. Southwest's primary distribution channel is their own web site, so their flights usually don't show up in flight search engines. It's worth checking their website as well as a general search engine like Kayak or Google Flights.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by sport » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:20 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:46 pm
sport wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:44 pm
Since then, I have tried to avoid United. They would starve a baby rather than provide him with a little food. We had to share ours with him.
I see it that parents didn't want to share their food with their child until forced to. :)
I see someone drawing unwarranted conclusions. We had even brought food for him with us, in case we needed it.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by curmudgeon » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:22 pm

I don't have a strong differentiation between the three, though I fly United much more often because their SFO hub gives me many more nonstop flight options. I've actually felt like cabin crew service has gotten a little better in recent years (less bad attitude) on United and American; haven't been on Delta in ages.

I normally take a look at seatguru to see if the planes used on longer flights have poor configurations. Several years ago I got stuck with a really obnoxious United (new) 737 on a cross-country flight. They had not just really crappy legroom, but in the back of the plane they had also narrowed the seats to fit the taper of the tail. One of the worst flights I've ever taken. On the other hand, we did 11 hours in economy on a United 787 this fall, and it was reasonably comfortable.

I think Alaska and Southwest have held the line on tolerable 737 seating better than the big 3. Southwest has some advantages on baggage fees and change fees, but then it has the free-for-all seating model which can be annoying unless you are good at playing the check-in game. These two are where I first look for domestic flights, with a general preference for Alaska. Sometimes Alaska will have a fairly cheap option for their first-class seats, which is nice, though they are nothing like the long-haul lie-flat seats on bigger planes (we got a last minute upgrade offer for $50 each way on Hawaii flights a couple years ago).
Last edited by curmudgeon on Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:25 pm

I should take note of this thread. I never flew with Delta, but did with a United and American. United did a number in us from LAX to Hawaii, 9 hours delay, so I’m avoiding United. If I have to choose I would choose American until I read this thread. But I’ve booked using non stop and convenient timing solely. My husband and I no longer want to fly those early flights, no 6AM anything for us and no super late arrival either. So we may never get the super cheap flights, so what.

Edit to add, I also avoid connecting flight to a Phoenix in the summer. We got caught there one year on the way to Hawaii. We weren’t sure our flight would be ok or not, the rising temperature there which made it impossible for some types of aircrafts to take off.
Last edited by DrGoogle2017 on Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by dbr » Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:09 pm

I think your concerns should probably not center on which airline broadly to choose but rather:

1. Number of stops and where you are connecting. Some connecting cities can be plagued by weather problems both winter or summer. SFO and DFW are possible problems, as well as Chicago. East coast airports such as JFK and especially EWR should be avoided like the plague.

2. Schedule, including not having to make really early starts or late arrivals. This includes have reasonable connection times, not the minimum connecting time, and having enough frequency of flights that you have some options when things go wrong.

3. Specific equipment and/or seating options. Consider the value of economy "plus" to get more legroom on long flights or premium economy even better. It takes research to understand exactly what you are getting. Economy "minus" or lowest fare economy can be a bad deal in a lot of cases. Of course, if you are opting for business/first all the way, that is different. There can even be subtle differences across aircraft such as chances to secure two seats along the window for a couple on a 767 vs 3x3x3 on a 777, or worse. It takes a lot of research.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by RetiredAL » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:48 pm

An item to remember, not too many months ago United chose to forcefully police evict a already seated passenger because their few hundred dollar compensation did not attract any takers. About the same time period, Delta was paying compensation into the low $1000's when they got in a pinch. It's about how management thinks what a customer and the airline's reputation is worth.

The best delayed service I ever experienced was on Southwest from KC to San Jose via LAX. The weather was a mess in Chicago, so the plane was delayed there for a couple of hrs. When the plane got into the air, the loading area people went into action to get people to their destinations that day. Some were re-booked, some were moved to other airlines. For the group to San Jose, they told us not to worry, our new flight from LAX to San Jose would WAIT FOR US. It was held about 20 minutes for us. Even our luggage made it.

Never with any other airline, have I experienced them holding an aircraft for delayed passengers. I've was denied boarding one time with the airplane door still open, but they had already closed the jet-way entrance. I basically told, tough luck. I had to take a flight to San Francisco and take a limo down the the San Jose Airport to pick up my car.

Unique, nope! On another Southwest flight just a few years ago, the airplane had a fowl lunch upon landing, thus it would be delayed departure for inspection. They sprang into action and booked my wife and I on a different Southwest flight thru a different city and we got home only about 2 hrs later than originally scheduled.

My preference tree: Southwest - even with a stop, then Delta, then Alaska, with United and American last.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by noraz123 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:55 pm

badger42 wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:39 pm

Delta >> United >> flying dumpster fire >> American
I agree wholeheartedly with this ranking. If flying any of the big 3, and price and connections are the same, choose Delta. In my opinion, Delta is far and away the leader among these.

As others mentioned, also worth checking some of the smaller airlines like Southwest, Alaska, JetBlue, etc.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by nisiprius » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:07 pm

dbr wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:09 pm
I think your concerns should probably not center on which airline broadly to choose but rather:

1. Number of stops and where you are connecting.

2. Schedule, including not having to make really early starts or late arrivals.

3. Specific equipment and/or seating options. Consider the value of economy "plus"...
Yeah... I know. But #1 and #2 are readily visible to the eye, while #3 takes quite a bit of research and in my experience (as with rental cars) you don't always get the equipment you expect to get. Unfortunately, at least right now, the pricing looks like $300-$400 round trip for "economy," $600-$700 for "economy plus," and $900-$1,100 for "business." Gotta think about the difference between $300 and $600.
badger42 wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:39 pm
Are the flights even on the carriers' planes, or on regional jets operated by 3rd parties?
That's visible to the eye in the online listing; maybe 1/3rd of the flights are on a single plane that is "really" operated by the carrier, and about 2/3rd are one leg on the "real" airline and the other by a code-share partner.
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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by tennisplyr » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:14 pm

I'm not positive but the seats on Delta seem tiny but am not sure how AA and United compare. I'm 6' 0" and am very tight in Deltas seats.
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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by nvambith » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:19 pm

I don't fly too often, but I have flown all the airlines, and I can corroborate the 'Delta > United > American' assessment. I usually try to fly Delta because from my location it connects through DTW, which is a very good airport for connections in multiple ways (nice airport, lower probability of delays and cancellations compared to airports on the east coast). That said, I did fly American last summer, and it was basically fine. So, I think the dumpster-fire comparisons may be exaggerated (or specific to certain routes / airports).

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by Trader Joe » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:28 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:35 pm
We're planning a trip for late spring, and the main airlines serving our start and destination cities are United, American Airlines, and Delta. At the moment, there are no non-stop flights, a decent number of one-stop through flights, and tons of code-share one-ticket-two-planes-one-DBA flights. Prices are all about the same, total trip time all about the same. Travelocity has "ratings" for each flight and they are virtually all rated "very good flight," whatever that means and I'm not going to every trying checking.

I'm in the process of signing up for all of their frequent-flyer plans (or verifying that the forgot-I-had-them plans are still current), etc.

My impression is that United, American Airlines, and Delta are pretty much all about the same, none obviously much better or obviously much worse than the others, and no big-surprise-gotchas. Is that right? I'll never actually have enough miles to do anything, I don't mean tiny details like how much the second bag costs. I care a lot about discomfort (I won't use the word "comfort" for a plane) but I assume that all of them will be "unpleasantly cramped but not inhumane?"
I only fly Delta. Far superior to the rest.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by grok87 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:32 pm

nvambith wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:19 pm
I don't fly too often, but I have flown all the airlines, and I can corroborate the 'Delta > United > American' assessment. I usually try to fly Delta because from my location it connects through DTW, which is a very good airport for connections in multiple ways (nice airport, lower probability of delays and cancellations compared to airports on the east coast). That said, I did fly American last summer, and it was basically fine. So, I think the dumpster-fire comparisons may be exaggerated (or specific to certain routes / airports).
agree.
i think Delta is a bit better than the other two. I would say United and American are both tied for 2nd.
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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by caffeperfavore » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:35 pm

I would rather fly on the Hindenburg than United. I would take a connecting flight through Fallujah on Delta before I would take a nonstop with United. Nothing but misery. My wife got ticked at Delta over something and switched her status to United for a bit. After three flights, she vowed never to fly with them again and is now back with Delta.

Agree with the others that Delta is better. Depending on routes, I would opt for Southwest (no BS fees!), but status on Delta keeps me tethered to them most of the time.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by nisiprius » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:42 pm

Thanks to all who have replied. Of course I'll keep following the thread but I have about as much of an answer as I need to get at this point. More consensus than I expected.
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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by exigent » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:44 pm

I fly almost exclusively on Delta and have been happy with them overall. This decision is based on proximity to a Delta hub, and thus a good selection of direct flights most places In likely to go.

I also fluctuate between Gold and Platinum on Delta (mostly Gold) and the SkyPriority perks, occasional upgrades, etc. are another benefit of consistently flying just the one airline.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by matthewbarnhart » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:49 pm

Speaking as someone who's flown over a million miles on American and flies a decent amount for work (between 20-50 flights a year, sometimes more):

If you A) don't have an allegiance to a specific airline, B) you hardly ever fly, and C) don't live in a hub city for one of the major airlines, just pick the one with the best combination of price and schedule.

Everyone has horror stories about every airline. They're just anecdotes, and spending too much time worrying about it is like... fussing about the difference between an index fund with a 0.04% ER and another with 0.03%. Or a 4% WR vs. a 3.95% WR.

I personally would pick the airline with the most frequency to/from where you're going -- i.e. I woudn't fly, say, Delta between Chicago and Dallas -- because if something goes wrong, I want a lot of backup options. This generally excludes the low-cost carriers (Frontier, Sprit, et al). Google Flights will also show you historic on-time information about flights, though past performance does not guarantee future results.

If you're tall or worried about legroom, just pay for fancier seats when you buy your tickets. Bring your own snacks.

All that said, if Alaska is an option for a route I will usually take it over anything else, just for the decent beer and coffee on board.

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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by MBB_Boy » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:21 pm

I'm a former management consultant, so flew 2x weekly for a few years. Delta is definitely the best of the 3. Full stop.

United and American is a more nuanced comparison, but I would exhaust other options (Southwest, Alaska, etc) before taking a flight from either. Sounds like this isn't going to work for you, so BLUF is that I prefer American (regional thing) but United has a much better loyalty program (better than Delta's even). This is their attempt for making up for how terrible they are - and in my experience, it still isn't worth it. The only airline that has ever "screwed me" is United, and it happened multiple times. Never again, if I can help it. American is worse overall, but I live and often traveled in an area where they are pretty strong, so am willing to put up with it.

That said, flying international kind of changes things. Who are the actual airlines conducting the flights? United vs American may not be the right comparison to be making

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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by ilisira » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:26 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:35 pm
My impression is that United, American Airlines, and Delta are pretty much all about the same, none obviously much better or obviously much worse than the others, and no big-surprise-gotchas. Is that right? I'll never actually have enough miles to do anything, I don't mean tiny details like how much the second bag costs. I care a lot about discomfort (I won't use the word "comfort" for a plane) but I assume that all of them will be "unpleasantly cramped but not inhumane?"
You are correct on this. They do have the same business models (Hub-spoke, with regional partners operating smaller jets to carry passengers from smaller airports to hubs), they operate pretty much the same planes, and have the same service. The only difference would be your status if you have one. Depending on your status level, they will take care of you if they think you're bringing good money. Besides that, you're right in "unpleasantly cramped but not inhumane" observation.

Even though I do not think one is particularly worse then the others, I refuse to fly with United as much as I can (I fly ~125K miles a year), as I like my face, and do not like to get punched :)

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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:30 pm

Economy vs Economy plus, the following link might help

https://www.businessinsider.com/economy ... ?r=UK&IR=T

I booked JetBlue recently for three of my trips, all on economy. It turns out it has the best legroom for economy at 34 inches. But really I picked it for direct non stop route and decent departure and arriving time.
But my husband and I are not very big person, my husband is thin and about 6 feet, I’m a lot shorter.

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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by grok87 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:07 pm

MBB_Boy wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:21 pm
I'm a former management consultant, so flew 2x weekly for a few years. Delta is definitely the best of the 3. Full stop.

United and American is a more nuanced comparison, but I would exhaust other options (Southwest, Alaska, etc) before taking a flight from either. Sounds like this isn't going to work for you, so BLUF is that I prefer American (regional thing) but United has a much better loyalty program (better than Delta's even). This is their attempt for making up for how terrible they are - and in my experience, it still isn't worth it. The only airline that has ever "screwed me" is United, and it happened multiple times. Never again, if I can help it. American is worse overall, but I live and often traveled in an area where they are pretty strong, so am willing to put up with it.

That said, flying international kind of changes things. Who are the actual airlines conducting the flights? United vs American may not be the right comparison to be making
thanks
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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by ram » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:43 pm

I try to avoid "multiple airlines" When things go wrong ( frequently), nobody wants to take responsibility.
Ram

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by Cycle » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:56 pm

sport wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:44 pm
Years ago, we took a long flight on United with a child under the age of 2. So, we did not need to buy a ticket for him, he rode on our laps if there was no empty seat. When it came time for them to serve lunch, they said "no meal for him, he does not have a seat". Since then, I have tried to avoid United. They would starve a baby rather than provide him with a little food. We had to share ours with him.
They didn't serve him a meal, I think term starvation doesn't become valid until several weeks have passed with no food. You can purchase food on an airplane.

My gripe is they include meals in the ticket price. I'd rather just fast for the long flights, requiring less fuel consumption... Lowering prices.
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by mattsm » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:42 pm

Not sure how anyone's advice helped, you did not even post the route.

-M

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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by whodidntante » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:47 pm

United has the best frequent flier program so I fly United when it's otherwise a close call. They're all terrible if you fly economy. Sometimes the little old planes are the most comfortable, because they haven't gotten around to cramming more seats in those.

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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by BeneIRA » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:51 pm

I have flown quite a bit the last few years on all three airlines along with Southwest and JetBlue. Just took my first Alaska. JetBlue and Southwest are better than the big three. I have had terrible luck with Delta, but I know it was a bad run for them. Got caught in a couple of their system crashing incidents where all flights were grounded. On the whole, though, I think they are very slightly better than United and American. Very slightly.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by Stinky » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:59 pm

badger42 wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:39 pm

IME - in terms of comfort, reliability, and service level, at least on mainline:

Delta >> United >> flying dumpster fire >> American
I agree with this order. I would put Southwest ahead of Delta.
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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by 3504PIR » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:07 pm

Stinky wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:59 pm
badger42 wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:39 pm

IME - in terms of comfort, reliability, and service level, at least on mainline:

Delta >> United >> flying dumpster fire >> American
I agree with this order. I would put Southwest ahead of Delta.

I agree as well. American is horrible especially after acquiring US Airways. Their fleet of aircraft is very old on average compared to the others in significant part to absorbing that fleet. United gets some abuse, but I do well by them usually and their miles program is user friendly unlike my experience with Delta. Internationally, United all the way followed by Delta. The ease of upgrading if you plan ahead is above average.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:18 pm

Cycle wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:56 pm
My gripe is they include meals in the ticket price. I'd rather just fast for the long flights, requiring less fuel consumption... Lowering prices.
I'm happy they serve a meal on those long flights. it not only keeps my blood sugar up, but it provides a welcome distraction from the tedium.

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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by HIinvestor » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:19 pm

I mostly fly United because they have the most flights between my destinations and I like having options. We fly about 25-30k miles/year and are often upgraded to economy plus. I much prefer economy plus over economy on all airlines. We always bring our own food on planes unless the flight says it serves food in our class of service.

I have had good and bad luck experiences on most airlines and feel they’re all pretty similar. If one is going to fly regularly, it can pay to be loyal to an airline and get points and upgrades, which makes flying a bit less challenging.
Last edited by HIinvestor on Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by dustinst22 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:35 pm

Delta is definitely a tier up. Also, the skylounge is fantastic -- get an amex platinum (preferably Charles Schwab version) for free access.

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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by stan1 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:13 pm

For an infrequent traveller they are about the same. Pay extra for a seat you would find more comfortable and early boarding if carry on space is important. It's how the game is played.

Focus cities, hubs, and equipment come into play for a specific route even if it is not a non-stop. Agree I'd pick Southwest with early bird checkin in most cases over the others for domestic travel.

I think a lot of business travelers who reasonably have a choice in carriers have in large part switched from American to Delta. After the buy out American quickly became just like America West and US Air.

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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by badger42 » Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:31 am

Stinky wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:59 pm
badger42 wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:39 pm

IME - in terms of comfort, reliability, and service level, at least on mainline:

Delta >> United >> flying dumpster fire >> American
I agree with this order. I would put Southwest ahead of Delta.
I would put both Southwest and Alaska ahead of Delta.

I'm also conflicted about Jetblue - love the soft product (legroom, etc), but haven't been within 2hr of on-time any time I flew them.

But the OP didn't appear to have those as options.

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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by typical.investor » Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:58 am

If the shutdown isn’t over by then, I suspect security will be hell. I confirmed with a TSA agent yesterday that they aren’t getting paid and thanked them for being at work anyway.

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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by Luckywon » Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:09 am

I agree Delta is a cut above United. American Airlines' service is a true abomination, IMO.

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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by rainyday1 » Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:55 am

Delta is definitely better than United and American. Internationally, Delta is still the best of the three, but I do think American is better than United.

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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by KSOC » Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:23 am

Delta definitely. I'm a Southwest guy. I've already flown SW into a a further airport & rented a car to get to my destination. Price came close to the same & the hassle factor was much lower. My wife would not agree with me.
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