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

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

Post by SoAnyway » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:38 pm

I didn't realize in submitting my earlier responses to this thread - and indeed I just learned today - that the co-founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines, Herb Kelleher, passed away last Thursday.

RIP, Mr. Kelleher. I'm sure I'm not alone in my gratitude for what you accomplished, against all odds at the time.

Although it's been many years since he'd been involved with Southwest's day-to-day operations, Herb Kelleher did much to give the average Joe access to decent air travel at an affordable price - and much like Jack Bogle, he faced fierce opposition from the then-"Establishment" in the industry he sought to change. He and his team fought some mighty battles to persevere.

Perhaps the greatest threat he posed to the established airlines was his commitment to employees, encouraging them to take their jobs very seriously in the interest of safety and customer service - and holding them to high standards - but emphasizing that doing so did not mean they had to take themselves too seriously. He helped strike that critical balance of emphasizing principles instead of rules. He gave employees the authority to exercise "situational discretion" - something most of the major airlines still fail to do. Anyone reading this post who, despite being a mature adult, has been treated like a kindergarten 5yo by one of the miserable, humorless, scolding, finger-wagging employees of the airlines cited in the thread title knows exactly what I'm talking about. That's not to say that every employee (not just of Southwest, but any company - self included) executes 100% perfectly, 100% of the time. But the leader's message matters. A lot.

SoAnyway, much like Mr. Bogle's legacy with Vanguard, one can only hope that current management continues as good stewards of their founder's legacy.

EDIT: OP, my apologies if I've gone OT here. I'm still in a bit of shock and was reminded of this thread on hearing the (not-so-new) news....

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8foot7
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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by 8foot7 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:43 am

skylar wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:08 pm
8foot7 wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:02 am
I also factor in
* in winter, I want to avoid northern hubs entirely -- this has me avoiding United and American into Chicago.
I used to think this as well, but it actually turns out that some northern airports deal with winter weather much better than southern ones. I've definitely been burned by snow storms in the south - I was once delayed at Kansas City for four hours on the plane (this was before airlines had to offer compensation for excessive ground delays) after one deicing truck had a failed pump, another had a failed heater, and then the airline ran out of deicer and had to beg a truck off another airline. On the other hand, I just flew through Minneapolis last week while it was snowing/icing, and Delta had an industrial deicing operation going that took <10 minutes.
See, I used to think the way you're saying, but then I've spent too many nights at O'Hare in January and February to really believe it's true. Although I don't doubt Delta does a good job at MSP, and you're absolutely correct that a winter storm in the south is murder. I think I more meant to avoid winter weather entirely, not to suggest that southern airports were better at dealing with it. :happy

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

Post by themesrob » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:00 am

I think it's mostly a matter of personal preference. My personal rankings are United, Delta a somewhat close second, then American a distant third. A lot of that has to do with my personal experience with certain United hub terminals at EWR, LAX, and DEN being the most reliable (and trying to avoid Delta at LGA or ATL), but others' MMV. One thing, though, is that if you're planning an international trip, you certainly want to check which of those big three have the most relevant partner airlines. I think it's objectively accurate to say that Delta has a much less expansive alliance than the other two.

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

Post by lazydavid » Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:52 pm

sport wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:15 am
I did not expect, nor did I want another tray with a full meal. Just something to keep the baby happy. A cookie or some fruit would have been appreciated. They would not give him anything at all. BTW, this was not "in the current era of mass travel". It was more than 40 years ago.
This much I could tell from your original post. I read it and was not outraged that your baby did not get a meal, but confused that you did. :mrgreen: Meal service in coach went the way of the dodo a LOOOOOOOOOONG time ago.

If you were to try again today, I think you'd find you'd have no trouble getting a snack for a lap child. It would cost the same $9 as it would cost you. :P

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

Post by MSORSA » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:19 pm

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?

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)?
+1

Dottie57
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Re: United, American, Delta--about the same?

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:44 pm

Mister A wrote:
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.
I flew first class the first time in 2012. It was a joy. Great service. Easyboarding. Pretty good food. No complaints.

I’ll go Delta in the future. I will never go coach again.

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

Post by sport » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:50 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:52 pm
sport wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:15 am
I did not expect, nor did I want another tray with a full meal. Just something to keep the baby happy. A cookie or some fruit would have been appreciated. They would not give him anything at all. BTW, this was not "in the current era of mass travel". It was more than 40 years ago.
This much I could tell from your original post. I read it and was not outraged that your baby did not get a meal, but confused that you did. :mrgreen: Meal service in coach went the way of the dodo a LOOOOOOOOOONG time ago.

If you were to try again today, I think you'd find you'd have no trouble getting a snack for a lap child. It would cost the same $9 as it would cost you. :P
Well, he is much too big to sit on my lap now. :P

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

Post by Artful Dodger » Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:09 pm

I fly American a lot, and am overall happy with them. They have some older planes, but lots of new ones. I've flown both American and United on international, and would prefer American based on past experience. No recent experience on Delta.

One issue I hate, is the checked bag fee, but all three have the same issue.

ge1
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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by ge1 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:19 pm

Artful Dodger wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:09 pm


One issue I hate, is the checked bag fee, but all three have the same issue.
That‘s the exact reason DW and I have credit cards with AA and Delta. No bag fees, priority boarding and significant number of miles when you get the card (at least with AA). Those $95 are totally worth it. (I cancelled my AA card recently as I have status and get those perks anyway).

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

Post by Trism » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm

Horsefly wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:03 pm
I really like reading a thread like this. I've got very little experience with any except United. Living in Denver you almost can't avoid UAL, and during my working career I ended up with over 1M flight miles, which gave me (and my wife) lifetime Premier Gold status. As a result we get free bag checks, on the upgrade list automatically, etc. That makes it pretty hard to convince ourselves to take something else, even though I periodically get turned off by United.

Based on what I've read here, it sounds like I should use Southwest more often.
If you travel with any frequency, Southwest is what you choose when your only other viable options are Frontier, Spirit, or Greyhound.

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

Post by oxothuk » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:33 pm

Trism wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Horsefly wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:03 pm
Based on what I've read here, it sounds like I should use Southwest more often.
If you travel with any frequency, Southwest is what you choose when your only other viable options are Frontier, Spirit, or Greyhound.
I would say the flying experience goes from top to bottom as follows:
1) Flying on the big 3 IF YOU HAVE STATUS
2) Flying on SW if you have status.
3) Flying on SW as a regular Joe
99) Flying on the big 3 without status
100) Greyhound
999) Frontier or Sprit

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

Post by canderson » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:47 pm

Trism wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Horsefly wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:03 pm
I really like reading a thread like this. I've got very little experience with any except United. Living in Denver you almost can't avoid UAL, and during my working career I ended up with over 1M flight miles, which gave me (and my wife) lifetime Premier Gold status. As a result we get free bag checks, on the upgrade list automatically, etc. That makes it pretty hard to convince ourselves to take something else, even though I periodically get turned off by United.

Based on what I've read here, it sounds like I should use Southwest more often.
r

If you travel with any frequency, Southwest is what you choose when your only other viable options are Frontier, Spirit, or Greyhound.
We take two overseas trips a year in first class, and always stay at a 4 or 5 star hotel. We are luxury travelers through and through (not Boglehead-like, granted).

If I’m flying domestically, my first choice is ALWAYS Southwest and I’d pay $200 more to fly them over any other airline. They are superior to any US-based airline today for friendliness, efficiency and boarding quickly.

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

Post by dbr » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:50 pm

canderson wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:47 pm

We take two overseas trips a year in first class, and always stay at a 4 or 5 star hotel. We are luxury travelers through and through (not Boglehead-like, granted).
There is nothing in BH "philosophy" that says you must be a miser and can't spend your money the way you want to.

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

Post by canderson » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:03 pm

dbr wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:50 pm
canderson wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:47 pm

We take two overseas trips a year in first class, and always stay at a 4 or 5 star hotel. We are luxury travelers through and through (not Boglehead-like, granted).
There is nothing in BH "philosophy" that says you must be a miser and can't spend your money the way you want to.
Very true!

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

Post by Trism » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:05 am

canderson wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:47 pm
Trism wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Horsefly wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:03 pm
I really like reading a thread like this. I've got very little experience with any except United. Living in Denver you almost can't avoid UAL, and during my working career I ended up with over 1M flight miles, which gave me (and my wife) lifetime Premier Gold status. As a result we get free bag checks, on the upgrade list automatically, etc. That makes it pretty hard to convince ourselves to take something else, even though I periodically get turned off by United.

Based on what I've read here, it sounds like I should use Southwest more often.
r

If you travel with any frequency, Southwest is what you choose when your only other viable options are Frontier, Spirit, or Greyhound.
We take two overseas trips a year in first class, and always stay at a 4 or 5 star hotel. We are luxury travelers through and through (not Boglehead-like, granted).

If I’m flying domestically, my first choice is ALWAYS Southwest and I’d pay $200 more to fly them over any other airline. They are superior to any US-based airline today for friendliness, efficiency and boarding quickly.
Even in my own experience, expectations are different for leisure travel (or even infrequent business travel). When I started traveling a lot the SWA culture just didn't work.

On AA I always board with First Class or the first Economy boarding group automatically, which I'll take over "hope and pray" on SWA every day of the week. I don't want to have to check in exactly 23:59 ahead of time - or pay a priority boarding fee - to ensure that I'm not stuck in a middle seat in the back across from the toilet. And heaven forbid I fly SWA enough to acquire priority boarding in exchange for my loyalty.

I'm also not giving up complimentary First Class upgrades 50+ times a year.

SWA isn't my brand of friendy. On the last (and I mean LAST) SWA fight I took the flight attendants were using the PA to emcee a contest where they would take a roll of toilet paper and roll it down the aisle. Dozens of passengers were laughing and screaming and barking out guesses as to which row would be closest to where the roll stopped, trying to win free cocktails (mimosas?). This went on for 20 minutes, and it didn't get any more pleasant as everyone's free drinks kicked in.

Try finishing a proposal for work while they're taping Jerry Springer.

I also wouldn't travel frequently without an airline lounge membership, and SWA doesn't have lounges. Sitting or standing at the airport gate is uncomfortable, and quite possibly the worst use of time ever devised.

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

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:06 am

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?"
All three airlines will treat you with utter contempt. Just accept that from the outset and move on with it; you'll experience less rage.

I'd take Delta of the three. But there's no reason not to mix and match as long as legs are separated by some time. Pick the most direct flights, throw in some Southwest, Alaska, Jet Blue. For Pete's sake take the train if you can.
Last edited by letsgobobby on Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

stan1
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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by stan1 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:07 am

I was a frequent business traveller for many years; now I am not. There are some perks I thought I would miss but in reality I really don't. I realized air travel is a utilitarian experience like riding the subway. My expectations are low and I accept personal accountability for the decisions I make.

Domestic Lounge Access - When I had it I liked it but now I don't miss it. The lounges were overcrowded. Restrooms were no cleaner than out in the concourse. Now I find an empty gate area and sit there.

Early Boarding/Better Seats - I just include these as just part of the cost if I want them (sometimes I don't). If you are going to pay $600 for a round trip ticket but not pay $30 more to get early boarding you've made a decision. If out of principal you refuse to pay an add on fee your destiny is in your control.

TSA Pre Check - Absolutely! Worth every penny, but I suppose there are still a few true cheapskates who out of principal refuse to pay for an extra service while complaining they should get great service at no cost.

International Flights - Premium economy with reclining seats/footrests works for us on overnight flights at a savings of 50-66% off business class frequently. Every airline's premium economy product is different so requires some research. Some are just extra leg room, others have different seats and even meals. Even when I had top tier status I seldom got complimentary international upgrades (my employer bought lower cost economy fares not Y class tickets).

Rebooking priority - I am careful about short connections. If I have a choice between a 50 minute connection and a 150 minute connection I will almost always choose the longer 150 minute connection to lower the risk of missing a connection. Some people hate sitting at the airport, but again the decision to favor a short connection over a longer one is a decision we get to make. If you make the decision and take a risk don't complain if you end up making a bad decision. I also try to fly on early morning flights where delays are less of a problem and avoid hubs prone to afternoon thunderstorms. ORD is set up to de-ice a lot of planes; DFW can de-ice a few planes but the main strategy there is to cancel flights while waiting for the sun to come out.

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

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:41 am

OP: They are all about the same - I fly all three regularly and have been doing so for decades. Its funny to read some folks have a preference for Delta over United and American - if I was forced to rate the 3 - I'd probably put Delta third based upon my personal experiences.

Typically - folks favor whichever airline they are at a hub for (e.g. - some of the folks saying "Delta is best" may be at a Delta hub where Delta services may be slightly better and where they are more likely to enjoy a higher-level of status on Delta).

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

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:20 am

You will definitely want to consider a premium credit card such as CSR as you will get a good priority pass membership to use. In some cities such as DEN, PDX, and LAX that will mean free restaurant meals in lieu of lounge entry. But lounge entry can also be nice and may get you nearly a meal, such as in DFW.

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

Post by bberris » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:39 am

I think there is a larger difference in service and equipment within an airline than between them. All the majors fly some old equipment and some have dated insides. Before you buy your ticket, check the aircraft (although this could be changed, expecially for a flight far ahead). All have some grouchy FAs.

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

Post by dbr » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:53 am

Another thing to look out for is choosing a flight that is perpetually cursed. That means that on any airline certain flights on certain routes at a certain time of day are frequently late or cancelled. One can check on Flight Stats or wherever to get some history and think twice if you see cancellations 10% of the time and more than an hour late 25% of the time, or what it might be.

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

Post by alfaspider » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:05 am

oxothuk wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:33 pm
Trism wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Horsefly wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:03 pm
Based on what I've read here, it sounds like I should use Southwest more often.
If you travel with any frequency, Southwest is what you choose when your only other viable options are Frontier, Spirit, or Greyhound.
I would say the flying experience goes from top to bottom as follows:
1) Flying on the big 3 IF YOU HAVE STATUS
2) Flying on SW if you have status.
3) Flying on SW as a regular Joe
99) Flying on the big 3 without status
100) Greyhound
999) Frontier or Sprit
This is pretty accurate. For frequent fliers who are likely to have status, which of the Big 3 you choose is likely is mostly going to be a function of whether you are at a hub for the airline. If you are in Chicago, you are probably with United. If you are in Atlanta, you are probably with Delta. If you are in Dallas, you are probably with American. I currently have status with Delta due to a couple of trips abroad on Air France and KLM, and I can't figure out what to do with it or the miles- going anywhere on Delta means flying to Atlanta first- not particularly convenient. My United status gets used quite a bit more- it's worth it over Southwest to get a (pretty much) guaranteed bulkhead seat with extra legroom. If you frequently travel abroad, the partner airlines may also be relevant to you.

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

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:34 am

alfaspider wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:05 am
oxothuk wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:33 pm
Trism wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Horsefly wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:03 pm
Based on what I've read here, it sounds like I should use Southwest more often.
If you travel with any frequency, Southwest is what you choose when your only other viable options are Frontier, Spirit, or Greyhound.
I would say the flying experience goes from top to bottom as follows:
1) Flying on the big 3 IF YOU HAVE STATUS
2) Flying on SW if you have status.
3) Flying on SW as a regular Joe
99) Flying on the big 3 without status
100) Greyhound
999) Frontier or Sprit
This is pretty accurate. For frequent fliers who are likely to have status, which of the Big 3 you choose is likely is mostly going to be a function of whether you are at a hub for the airline. If you are in Chicago, you are probably with United. If you are in Atlanta, you are probably with Delta. If you are in Dallas, you are probably with American. I currently have status with Delta due to a couple of trips abroad on Air France and KLM, and I can't figure out what to do with it or the miles- going anywhere on Delta means flying to Atlanta first- not particularly convenient. My United status gets used quite a bit more- it's worth it over Southwest to get a (pretty much) guaranteed bulkhead seat with extra legroom. If you frequently travel abroad, the partner airlines may also be relevant to you.
I'd add JetBlue to the list along with SouthWest as #2 and #3. And perhaps Alaska Airlines as #4.

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

Post by alfaspider » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:10 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:34 am
alfaspider wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:05 am
oxothuk wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:33 pm
Trism wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 pm
Horsefly wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:03 pm
Based on what I've read here, it sounds like I should use Southwest more often.
If you travel with any frequency, Southwest is what you choose when your only other viable options are Frontier, Spirit, or Greyhound.
I would say the flying experience goes from top to bottom as follows:
1) Flying on the big 3 IF YOU HAVE STATUS
2) Flying on SW if you have status.
3) Flying on SW as a regular Joe
99) Flying on the big 3 without status
100) Greyhound
999) Frontier or Sprit
This is pretty accurate. For frequent fliers who are likely to have status, which of the Big 3 you choose is likely is mostly going to be a function of whether you are at a hub for the airline. If you are in Chicago, you are probably with United. If you are in Atlanta, you are probably with Delta. If you are in Dallas, you are probably with American. I currently have status with Delta due to a couple of trips abroad on Air France and KLM, and I can't figure out what to do with it or the miles- going anywhere on Delta means flying to Atlanta first- not particularly convenient. My United status gets used quite a bit more- it's worth it over Southwest to get a (pretty much) guaranteed bulkhead seat with extra legroom. If you frequently travel abroad, the partner airlines may also be relevant to you.
I'd add JetBlue to the list along with SouthWest as #2 and #3. And perhaps Alaska Airlines as #4.
Yes- I'd consider Jet Blue to be a mini Southwest in terms of experience. There are other random oddballs like Virgin, but the routes are quite limited. I've heard good things about Alaska, but they are pretty regional to the West coast.

Xrayman69
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Re: United, American Airlines, Delta--about the same?

Post by Xrayman69 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:13 pm

Alaska most flights point to point direct along west coast. Price is the same as all of the carriers mentioned including Southwest. Alaska credit card also useful for companion ticket every year and free check bags. Also lowest annual miles flown of the main 3 to get status. Alaska is still miles based for status. The main 3 I believe are how much you spend based for status. Southwest is also based upon how much you spend but there credit card permits you ability to buy status if you spend enough on it.

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

Post by lazydavid » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:00 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:41 am
Typically - folks favor whichever airline they are at a hub for (e.g. - some of the folks saying "Delta is best" may be at a Delta hub where Delta services may be slightly better and where they are more likely to enjoy a higher-level of status on Delta).
My experience is the exact opposite of this. :) I've found that service is worst at hub airports, at least for United and AA (I haven't flown Delta much). I live in Chicago, so bad experiences with United have me avoiding them. Since American also has a very large presence at ORD, they're my default. But I've had bad experience with them in MIA, one of their hubs, and there have been TONS of problems with AA in CLT over the past year or so. DFW has actually been ok for me, but I'll choose to call that the exception that proves the rule. :p

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

Post by catdude » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:30 pm

If it makes y'all feel any better, I was told awhile back by a retired airline pilot that the airlines treat their employees just as badly as they treat their customers. Misery loves company...
catdude | | All generalizations are false, including this one.

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

Post by vtjon » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:44 pm

I contemplated starting a new thread about this and a moderator can let me know if that's still best.

I fly out of a small regional airport several times a year, mainly for pleasure, though once or twice a year for business. I don't have status with any airlines and normally fly with whoever has the best price/route/times. Most of my flights will be on American or Delta and very occasionally United. I've started to spend more on checked bags lately it seems since I have small kids. On my last Delta flight, it seemed like over half the flight had some type of priority boarding.

Is there a single credit card out there that would cover checked bags, priority boarding or lounge access for both AA and Delta? I would accept an annual fee if the benefits were strong enough. I realize this is asking a lot though.

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

Post by Trism » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:44 pm

catdude wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:30 pm
If it makes y'all feel any better, I was told awhile back by a retired airline pilot that the airlines treat their employees just as badly as they treat their customers. Misery loves company...
An old friend of mine is a pilot for one of the big 3. The culture is very much us vs. them, where the pilots think that management is out to screw them at every turn, and management regards pilots as a bunch of whiners. They're probably both right.

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

Post by curmudgeon » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:47 pm

vtjon wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:44 pm
I contemplated starting a new thread about this and a moderator can let me know if that's still best.

I fly out of a small regional airport several times a year, mainly for pleasure, though once or twice a year for business. I don't have status with any airlines and normally fly with whoever has the best price/route/times. Most of my flights will be on American or Delta and very occasionally United. I've started to spend more on checked bags lately it seems since I have small kids. On my last Delta flight, it seemed like over half the flight had some type of priority boarding.

Is there a single credit card out there that would cover checked bags, priority boarding or lounge access for both AA and Delta? I would accept an annual fee if the benefits were strong enough. I realize this is asking a lot though.
I'm not aware of a single credit card which meets your criteria. It would take three, all of which have fees (though some may give the first year free). You would be looking at AA and Delta cards, plus something like Chase Sapphire Reserve or a high-end Amex card.

I occasionally pick up airline cards for the signup bonuses, but haven't generally kept them when the annual fee rolls around. We do have one Sapphire Reserve card between my wife and I, which has a net cost of $150/year and gives us access to some airport lounges (Priority Pass). We've been travelling a fair bit the last couple of years, and have found the Priority Pass lounge access somewhat of a mixed bag (often the lounge is in the wrong terminal or otherwise not very useful).

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

Post by dbr » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:10 pm

curmudgeon wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:47 pm
vtjon wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:44 pm
I contemplated starting a new thread about this and a moderator can let me know if that's still best.

I fly out of a small regional airport several times a year, mainly for pleasure, though once or twice a year for business. I don't have status with any airlines and normally fly with whoever has the best price/route/times. Most of my flights will be on American or Delta and very occasionally United. I've started to spend more on checked bags lately it seems since I have small kids. On my last Delta flight, it seemed like over half the flight had some type of priority boarding.

Is there a single credit card out there that would cover checked bags, priority boarding or lounge access for both AA and Delta? I would accept an annual fee if the benefits were strong enough. I realize this is asking a lot though.
I'm not aware of a single credit card which meets your criteria. It would take three, all of which have fees (though some may give the first year free). You would be looking at AA and Delta cards, plus something like Chase Sapphire Reserve or a high-end Amex card.

I occasionally pick up airline cards for the signup bonuses, but haven't generally kept them when the annual fee rolls around. We do have one Sapphire Reserve card between my wife and I, which has a net cost of $150/year and gives us access to some airport lounges (Priority Pass). We've been travelling a fair bit the last couple of years, and have found the Priority Pass lounge access somewhat of a mixed bag (often the lounge is in the wrong terminal or otherwise not very useful).
To really do this up you would probably look at the Citi AA Exec, an AMEX Platinum, and maybe a Delta Platinum Card. The fees for those would be staggering relative to what you really want. Priority pass might be helpful but it is not the same as access to AA and Delta lounges. Eschewing lounge access I think you can check on the Barclay or Citi AA cards and the AMEX Gold for Delta. Note an AMEX Platinum also makes you a Gold member at Hilton, again at a pretty high price. There might be some Hertz or Avis benefits and some paybacks of certain expenses such as fee for Global Entry, etc.

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

Post by lazydavid » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:48 pm

curmudgeon wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:47 pm
I'm not aware of a single credit card which meets your criteria. It would take three, all of which have fees (though some may give the first year free). You would be looking at AA and Delta cards, plus something like Chase Sapphire Reserve or a high-end Amex card.
I don't think you need three, just two (one per airline). Citi AA Executive Elite MasterCard and Delta Reserve Amex would provide all the asked-for benefits on both airlines. Of course, each carries a $450 annual fee. We have the AA card and find it quite worthwhile, but we fly American almost exclusively. I don't know that I could justify carrying two such cards.

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

Post by fujiters » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:22 am

lazydavid wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:48 pm
curmudgeon wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:47 pm
I'm not aware of a single credit card which meets your criteria. It would take three, all of which have fees (though some may give the first year free). You would be looking at AA and Delta cards, plus something like Chase Sapphire Reserve or a high-end Amex card.
I don't think you need three, just two (one per airline). Citi AA Executive Elite MasterCard and Delta Reserve Amex would provide all the asked-for benefits on both airlines. Of course, each carries a $450 annual fee. We have the AA card and find it quite worthwhile, but we fly American almost exclusively. I don't know that I could justify carrying two such cards.
The $95-99 fee versions of those cards are sufficient to avoid checked bag fees. I'd start with the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card, which waives the first year annual fee, gets you one free checked bag for you and anyone else on your reservation, and currently has a 50000 sign up bonus. Ideally you could wait to get this for a 70000 point bonus though, which was recently offered.
“The purpose of the margin of safety is to render the forecast unnecessary.” -Benjamin Graham

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

Post by oldcomputerguy » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:21 am

My $0.02 for what it’s worth...

Actual in-flight service hasn’t been a factor for my choice of an airline, one is roughly like another plus/minus good/bad days.

Like one of the other posters mentioned, I am absolutely put off United due to their demonstrated contempt for passenger rights and safety (bodily dragging a paid passenger from his seat to make room for an airline employee). There is nothing I can think of that will restore them to my good graces.

Likewise, due to my personal experiences with American (specifically them changing my flight itinerary by over six hours less than a month before travel date) has made me swear off using American.

Delta has been “good enough”, so we now use them for everything.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

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

Post by lazydavid » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:24 am

fujiters wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:22 am
lazydavid wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:48 pm
curmudgeon wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:47 pm
I'm not aware of a single credit card which meets your criteria. It would take three, all of which have fees (though some may give the first year free). You would be looking at AA and Delta cards, plus something like Chase Sapphire Reserve or a high-end Amex card.
I don't think you need three, just two (one per airline). Citi AA Executive Elite MasterCard and Delta Reserve Amex would provide all the asked-for benefits on both airlines. Of course, each carries a $450 annual fee. We have the AA card and find it quite worthwhile, but we fly American almost exclusively. I don't know that I could justify carrying two such cards.
The $95-99 fee versions of those cards are sufficient to avoid checked bag fees. I'd start with the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card, which waives the first year annual fee, gets you one free checked bag for you and anyone else on your reservation, and currently has a 50000 sign up bonus. Ideally you could wait to get this for a 70000 point bonus though, which was recently offered.
I'm well aware that the cheaper ones provide at least one free checked bag. But that's not all that was asked for. vtjon said he wanted checked bags, priority boarding, and lounge access. Only the $450 cards provide all three.

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

Post by vtjon » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:35 am

lazydavid wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:24 am
fujiters wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:22 am
lazydavid wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:48 pm
curmudgeon wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:47 pm
I'm not aware of a single credit card which meets your criteria. It would take three, all of which have fees (though some may give the first year free). You would be looking at AA and Delta cards, plus something like Chase Sapphire Reserve or a high-end Amex card.
I don't think you need three, just two (one per airline). Citi AA Executive Elite MasterCard and Delta Reserve Amex would provide all the asked-for benefits on both airlines. Of course, each carries a $450 annual fee. We have the AA card and find it quite worthwhile, but we fly American almost exclusively. I don't know that I could justify carrying two such cards.
The $95-99 fee versions of those cards are sufficient to avoid checked bag fees. I'd start with the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card, which waives the first year annual fee, gets you one free checked bag for you and anyone else on your reservation, and currently has a 50000 sign up bonus. Ideally you could wait to get this for a 70000 point bonus though, which was recently offered.
I'm well aware that the cheaper ones provide at least one free checked bag. But that's not all that was asked for. vtjon said he wanted checked bags, priority boarding, and lounge access. Only the $450 cards provide all three.
Thanks for all of the feedback. Admittedly, lounge access is much lower on the list than checked bags and priority boarding. I prefer to fly Delta as they are ever so slightly nicer as mentioned elsehwere in this thread. That said, I rather not fly through Atlanta when I can help it so it will often be AA. I'll likely watch for the 70k mile promo and apply for the AA card at some point soon. I couldn't justify the $450 annual fee though I might be able to justify the one with the Chase Sapphire card. I really like to use the Chase cards (Freedom in my case) since it has trip cancellation insurance with it.

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

Post by themesrob » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:42 am

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:21 am
My $0.02 for what it’s worth...

Actual in-flight service hasn’t been a factor for my choice of an airline, one is roughly like another plus/minus good/bad days.

Like one of the other posters mentioned, I am absolutely put off United due to their demonstrated contempt for passenger rights and safety (bodily dragging a paid passenger from his seat to make room for an airline employee). There is nothing I can think of that will restore them to my good graces.

Likewise, due to my personal experiences with American (specifically them changing my flight itinerary by over six hours less than a month before travel date) has made me swear off using American.

Delta has been “good enough”, so we now use them for everything.
in fairness, if that's the standard you're using, you may have to stop using Delta as well... https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ca ... er-n755141

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

Post by oldcomputerguy » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:51 am

themesrob wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:42 am
oldcomputerguy wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:21 am
My $0.02 for what it’s worth...

Actual in-flight service hasn’t been a factor for my choice of an airline, one is roughly like another plus/minus good/bad days.

Like one of the other posters mentioned, I am absolutely put off United due to their demonstrated contempt for passenger rights and safety (bodily dragging a paid passenger from his seat to make room for an airline employee). There is nothing I can think of that will restore them to my good graces.

Likewise, due to my personal experiences with American (specifically them changing my flight itinerary by over six hours less than a month before travel date) has made me swear off using American.

Delta has been “good enough”, so we now use them for everything.
in fairness, if that's the standard you're using, you may have to stop using Delta as well... https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ca ... er-n755141
Going by what the article said, it looks like the family was attempting a couple of things that were violations of FAA regulations, so it doesn’t seem to be the same situation as the UA incident.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

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

Post by themesrob » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:06 am

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:51 am
themesrob wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:42 am
oldcomputerguy wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:21 am
My $0.02 for what it’s worth...

Actual in-flight service hasn’t been a factor for my choice of an airline, one is roughly like another plus/minus good/bad days.

Like one of the other posters mentioned, I am absolutely put off United due to their demonstrated contempt for passenger rights and safety (bodily dragging a paid passenger from his seat to make room for an airline employee). There is nothing I can think of that will restore them to my good graces.

Likewise, due to my personal experiences with American (specifically them changing my flight itinerary by over six hours less than a month before travel date) has made me swear off using American.

Delta has been “good enough”, so we now use them for everything.
in fairness, if that's the standard you're using, you may have to stop using Delta as well... https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ca ... er-n755141
Going by what the article said, it looks like the family was attempting a couple of things that were violations of FAA regulations, so it doesn’t seem to be the same situation as the UA incident.
that is not my reading of it at all (and certainly was not the end outcome), but YMMV

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

Post by lazydavid » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:08 am

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:51 am
Going by what the article said, it looks like the family was attempting a couple of things that were violations of FAA regulations, so it doesn’t seem to be the same situation as the UA incident.
I assume you're referring to this:
Later in the video, another employee said that Federal Aviation Administration rules stipulate that a 2-year-old cannot be in a seat, or occupy a car seat, and needed to be sitting an adult’s lap.
Which is a bald-faced lie. Here is what the FAA says:
Federal Aviation Administration wrote:Did you know that the safest place for your child on an airplane is in a government-approved child safety restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap? Your arms aren't capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly urges you to secure your child in a CRS or device for the duration of your flight. It's the smart and right thing to do so that everyone in your family arrives safely at your destination. The FAA is giving you the information you need to make informed decisions about your family's travel plans.
source: https://www.faa.gov/travelers/fly_children/

They go on to say:
Federal Aviation Administration wrote:
  • Buying a ticket for your child is the only way to guarantee that you will be able to use a CRS
  • Airlines must allow a child who is under the age of 18 to use an approved CRS that is properly labeled, appropriate for the child’s weight, and as long as the child is properly secured in the CRS
The actual FAA rules state that children under the age of 2 may ride in a parent's lap, but they do not require this, and as identified above, actively discourage it. They also are very explicit that the ticket does not have to be purchased in the child's name. Children above the age of two must have their own seat.

Even more damning is Delta's own policies on the matter:
Delta Airlines wrote:Infants and children less than 2 years old may travel for free within the U.S. if an adult (18 years or older) holds the infant in arms or places the infant in an FAA-approved child restraint during take-off and landing.
Delta Airlines wrote:A purchased ticket is required when:
  • A child is age two or older.
  • The child is to sit in a seat in order to travel in an approved restraint.
  • A customer is traveling with a second child, regardless of age, and has a lap-child
source: https://pro.delta.com/content/agency/us ... ldren.html

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

Post by GoldStar » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:12 am

Its interesting to me that some folks would shun one airline (or hotel or restaurant, etc.) for a one-time incident which could, in-fact, happen on any of their competitors.
I was stranded when Delta's systems shutdown in 2016 for half-a-day causing me to miss one of the most important meetings I was supposed to have that year. I dug in finding out it was a comedy of multiple errors that simply shouldn't occur in this day-and-age of computer technology that is backed up with redundancy and failure-prevention mechanisms. Rather than saying "I will never fly Delta again" I felt they simply learned from their mistakes and moved on.

OP: The three major airlines are, indeed, all about the same. I would rate JetBlue up there with them.

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

Post by sport » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:29 am

Of course, the problems cited in this thread are mainly just inconvenience. I was on a commuter flight from Cleveland to Lansing, MI. While we were in the air, the pilot announced that their instruments identified a problem with the nose wheel and they needed to go to Flint MI, because they did not have repair facilities in Lansing. When we arrived at Flint, we did a fly-over at low altitude so the people on the ground could see whether or not the nose wheel was down. The runway was lined with fire trucks. The pilot set the plane down with the nose wheel not touching the ground until we slowed. There was a lurch when it touched, and all was well. The airline paid for a rental car for each passenger to get to Lansing. I even got interviewed by a news reporter. Now that was an exciting flight. :shock:

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

Post by oldcomputerguy » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:56 am

lazydavid wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:08 am
oldcomputerguy wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:51 am
Going by what the article said, it looks like the family was attempting a couple of things that were violations of FAA regulations, so it doesn’t seem to be the same situation as the UA incident.
I assume you're referring to this
Actually, no, I was referring to the allegation that they had purchased the seat in the teenage son’s name, then tried to transfer the seat to another individual at the time of boarding. I don’t think any airline would look on that favorably.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

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

Post by lazydavid » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:21 pm

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:56 am
Actually, no, I was referring to the allegation that they had purchased the seat in the teenage son’s name, then tried to transfer the seat to another individual at the time of boarding. I don’t think any airline would look on that favorably.
It's difficult, but by no means a violation of FAA regs to change the name on a ticket. But do note that, as I called out in my post, a child in a carseat can fly on a paid ticket that is not in their name.

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

Post by Barefoot » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:33 pm

I'll pile on here. I used to fly a lot for work, and some for pleasure.

For work, I had to take whatever got booked by the travel people. For pleasure, I'll pay more to get what I want.

Over the last several years, every bad airline experience I've had was with American.

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