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Old Feb 20, 00, 3:36 pm   #1
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United vs. Delta

I have been a loyal and Elite customer of Continental for years. I now have to switch to UAL or Delta to keep in line with our Travel Policy. I have been offered a Comp to Silver on each is I desire. I travel mainly domestically our of EWR. I am taking a personal Flight to Prague in the next three weeks and want to pick one or the other before I take that flight. Why give up over 8000 miles right? I know Catman loves UAL out of EWR but since I'll only be Premeir do I have much of a chance for Upgrades. I only have 8000 UAL miles and 70,000 Skymiles. But do have 4 UAL upgrade certs b/c of bad service. Any Advice. I wish I couls stay with CO. I'll miss terminal C at EWR. Thanks as always for the help!
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Old Feb 20, 00, 3:53 pm   #2
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But do have 4 UAL upgrade certs
Can you be more specific? What type of ungrades? Systemwide or domestic only? Confirmable at time of reservations? On what type fare? What type fare and class do you normally fly on? How many flight miles do you anticipate this year?

Because of Delta's domestic fare restrictions on upgrades, but the higher 800 mile upgrades they give, the type of fares you normally buy and the miles you expect to fly annually will likely have a bearing on everyones opinion.

[This message has been edited by PremEx (edited 02-20-2000).]
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Old Feb 20, 00, 4:21 pm   #3
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Good Points PREMEX:

2 are Customer Service tickets valid on Any Fare. 2 are System wide Domestics Good on most every fare. I usually fly discounted fares but I can pay a bit more to get above Delta's L class fares. I Plan to fly about 35-40k this year. If I decide Delta and get lucky and charge the $25,000 that might push me to Gold. Thanks for the help. I hope yhis clarifies..
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Old Feb 20, 00, 7:26 pm   #4
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I would go with United. (actually, I would stay with Continental, but that is out of the question)

They have the second largest presence at Newark, with non-stops to hubs (Chicago, San Fran, LA, Denver, and Dulles) and to London (I think).

If you are used to flying f/c with Continental for free, this is going to be an eye-opener when you have to buy those 500 mile certs.
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Old Feb 20, 00, 7:30 pm   #5
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I'm a United Premier, Delta Silver Medallion, and Continental Silver Elite, but am boycotting United since August 1999.

IMHO customers should select an airline on quality of service first, before even comparing Frequent Flyer Programs.

In this case Delta is an easy call because of UAL's consistently sub-standard rankings on baggage handling and on-time arrivals.
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Old Feb 20, 00, 7:43 pm   #6
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I think the first thing you have to look at when choosing an airline is: First, do they go where you want to go from where you are? Second, what is there reputation for service? Third, how good is their FF program? Once you answer these questions you will have picked an airline.
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Old Feb 20, 00, 9:51 pm   #7
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The other, not inconsiderable issue, is alliances.

With UA you get *A, and the ability to earn status miles with all of the * carriers. DL's international alliance is much weaker.

If you are going to fly overseas a lot, UA is much stronger than DL.
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Old Feb 20, 00, 11:32 pm   #8
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A consideration for the times you are unable to upgrade (which may be hard as a Premier out of key business destinations)-- EconomyPlus, which is an absolute lifesaver on longer flights. I have really gotten used to it over the past few months (am usually on 757s), but have recently been on a few flights without it. Let me tell you-- I was in an aisle seat and as soon as the person in front of me on the 747-400 with 31" of seat pitch reclined all the way, I wanted to get off that plane.

Frankly, I have never flown Delta and have no idea what your chances of upgrades are.

But in defense of UA's on-time record, I would suspect that it has a lot to do with where their hubs are located. Atlanta doesn't often get too much inclement weather. Chicago, Washington D.C., and San Francisco are very prone. And from Newark, you probably are too (heard that CO's operations were crazy this weekend-- had a friend who was going to PHL via EWR and never made it!). In the past year I have been on only one UA flight that was more than 15 minutes delayed for non-weather problems.

Some other considerations: Starbucks Mocha Frappucino. Can't live without it! Also, word is that UA tends to have better Y catering.

[This message has been edited by dw (edited 02-20-2000).]
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Old Feb 21, 00, 2:44 am   #9
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I would also recommend UA for many of the same reasons mentioned here, but also because it's simply a far more professional airline than DL. In the event that you occasionally have to fly DL, you can always earn Mileage PlusŪ miles on DL domestic routes. These flights unfortunately still do not count towards base miles, but it could be helpful if you're interested in sticking with one program.

The only other consideration for DL could be if you were paying for tickets yourself, as the AMEX SkyMilesŪ Gold and Platinum CC's offer double miles per dollar charged for DL flights. On the bright side for UA, at least you can buy relatively inexpensive upgrades (around $31 or so?) that you can use if space is available. With DL you can run the risk of paying a K or higher fare for the privilege of being eligible to upgrade--only to find out that none are available. I don't know what the market is like in EWR, but here DL has L fares available on every competitive route--often requiring no Sat night stay and little advance--so they're not just restricted to "leisure travel."
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Old Feb 21, 00, 8:09 am   #10
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I think I may be leaning toward United as well. How much do Upgrades cost to Purchase and are they only available in 500 mile certs? Can you buy Certs with Miles? I read in the frequent flyer handbook that you could, but that was last years edition and may be out of date. I dont see nay mentioj of it in the Online membership guide.
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Old Feb 21, 00, 10:51 am   #11
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Packets of 4-500 mile certs are $125 for Premier members ($200 General Public).

8-500 Mile certs can be purchased for 30,000 miles. Only Premier members can purchase with miles. This is not a very good use of miles, IMHO.

[This message has been edited by PremEx (edited 02-21-2000).]
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Old Feb 21, 00, 10:55 am   #12
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milesandpoints :
"How much do Upgrades cost to Purchase and are they only available in 500 mile certs? Can you buy Certs with Miles?"

As a Premier you'll buy a book of 4x500 miles for $125 (instead of $200 for general members). You can buy them at check-in if you want. They only come in that increment. Honestly, compared to CO it is $31 you could save but $31 to go in the front is still a cheap cheap cheap privilege. I'm Premier since Jan 1st and was upgraded 24hours in advance BOS-IAD or BOS-ORD 3 times/3 already !

check it out : The Airline First and Business Class Service Reviews web site at
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Old Feb 21, 00, 12:06 pm   #13
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A number of people have mentioned the Star Alliance as a reason to choose United over Delta.

If Star covers many routes unavailable from Delta's Air France/AeroMexico partners, this is certainly a reason to choose United. However, if the routes overlap Delta is the way to go because elite Delta status earns the appropriate mileage bonus on Air France and AeroMexico. UAL premiers earn no such bonus on partner flights.

I am United Premier member (which will not last) but can say that my level does nothing for me when flying Air Canada. If I were a premier executive it might be different, but I am not (nor is the flyer who launched this discussion.) It's that the special elite lines at YYZ which whisk you through check-in, customs, and immigration are restricted to Star Alliance Gold or higher members. UAL Premiers thus earn no 25% mileage bonus and get to wait on the lengthy (at least in Toronto+Montreal) cattle lines to board USA bound Air Canada flights. I endure this occasionally because otherwise I believe Air Canada to be one of the three best North American Airlines (with Delta and Continental). Helas, I cannot say the same of their partner UAL. Indeed, UAL and Northwestern are the only 2 airlines to rank below average in customer satisfaction for both long and short haul flights according to the latest "Frequent Flyer"/J.D. Power and Associates study

Yes, weather and traffic problems beyond UAL's control may contribute to their poor on-time performance. But whatever the reason, Delta is more punctual than UAL. If you have to make a connection in the winter you are generally better off doing it in ATL than in ORD.

Provided two airlines fly where you need to go, you owe it to yourself to choose the more professional one *without* looking at flyer miles.

Otherwise we're all just servants of miles and the industry will continue to placate strike, sick-out, and service victims with mileage promotions. I'd give back many miles if UAL just hadn't lost my luggage and then consistently lied about returning it.

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Old Feb 21, 00, 12:06 pm   #14
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Except, of course, when you're flying transcon's, then that up front privilege gets much, much pricier.

Especially when UA doesn't send you upgrade certificates for 8 months..
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Old Feb 21, 00, 1:19 pm   #15
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If you are only going to be a Premier on UA and intend to travel during peak business travel hours, your chances of upgrading are slim to none. I can't speak for DL, but would have to imagine that you will have a better chance upgrading with them. On the other hand, if you can get UA to comp you to Premier Exec, I would go with them. It will be tough to get DL to comp you to the second tier level.
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