An interesting sample of AC defectors?

Old Mar 15, 13, 4:55 pm
  #1  
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An interesting sample of AC defectors?

As those following this forum know, I have migrated away from AC/AE over the past few years as I viewed the program deteriorating become of less value given my travel patterns. While I had maintained SE status for the past several years and always had either that status or Elite status since such a program was introduced in the late 1980s, in recent years I shifted a lot of my overseas flights to UA and earned 1K in it for a fews years. Given the deterioration of aspects of that program but more so service issues since the merger with CO, I have now moved most of that flying (transborder and some international) to AA and become ExecPlat in its program. This year I am 75KElite with AC but this will be my final year with any elite status in the program, and any AC flying will be restricted to intra-Canadian flights. I also dropped down to Platinum in the MP program but intend to keep my STAR status through flying at least 75K EQMs on UA and its partners, including AC, and crediting those flights to MP.

There have been numerous posts, particularly this year, about people defecting form AC/AE and joining one or another of the US airline programs. For anyone taking a lot of transborder flights, this is a no-brainer. After achieving top tier elite, automatic upgrades to the front cabin is pretty much guaranteed about four or five days before the flight(s), no vouchers or eCredits required. So why fly AC unless your company doesn't mind paying for J or uses Latitude passes which also do the comp upgrade thing?

However, actual numbers of defectors remains speculative...at least for me until last Monday when I flew AA to DFW for my connection onward to NRT, upgraded shortly after booking my $1200 ticket using AA SWUs. Of the 16 people in the full front cabin, I counted three who sported not only AA ExecPlat tags but the new AC 75KElite tags. Counting me, that would represent 1/4 of those on the flight who have obviously decided it was better to give AA their money to fly to the US than AC.

While I don't believe this would provide an accurate scientific sampling, it is an interesting random sample that surely must be affecting AC's competitiveness and reinforces the belief that a lot of top tier elites are leaving, perhaps following my path of going from SE last year to 75KElite this year to nothing next year, but maintaining top tier elite status in one or another of the US programs.
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Old Mar 15, 13, 6:15 pm
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I've followed this debate with interest over the past months. I think that the number of people who can make the switch are limited to those who mainly fly trans-border and who are living near a main hub well serviced by US airlines. I don't fall into either category.

The rest of us don't have a lot of choice unless we are willing to fly out of our way to use US carriers.

For TPAC and TATL travel (which is mostly what I do now) AC is still my best option as I like the lie flat bed option and as an SE I get upgrades 95% of the time on Flex Fairs.

I suspect a good number of FTers are in the same boat as me and making many of the same calculations.
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Old Mar 15, 13, 6:27 pm
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My situation is a bit different. Our group is on paid J and almost 95% TPAC/TATL or YYZ.

Kind of obvious to people here but when you are paid J, status is kind of irrelevant. This means we can fly whatever carrier we like while taking in to account fare.

What has happened over the past year is that far more of our flights have been on CX, QR, EK, LH, etc.

We really used to be severely loyal to AC...but we've been burned time and time again by the executive...so we gave up caring.
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Old Mar 15, 13, 6:30 pm
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I abandoned AC 35 years ago, first to CP then to ABAC. Does that count?
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Old Mar 15, 13, 6:32 pm
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For the last ten years over 90% of my air travel has been on AC using T+ fares. Over the last 5 months:

- one trip YVR to Indonesia via HKG and SIN on OW carriers;

- YVR to ORD paid J on UA for a decent price, something I would never have done on AC;

- OGG and YYC on AC, T+ and Flex;

- booked YVR to YHZ and YDF on AC but only T fare; return from YDF on WS;

- booked YVR to MSP direct on DL, whereas last year I probably would have gone via YYZ on T+ hoping for an upgrade.

For my hops around western Canada WS is now an attractive option as a result of my new-found freedom. My behavior is definitely changing due to the gutting of the program and the R games.
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Old Mar 15, 13, 6:43 pm
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I used to fly to Asia on AC via HKG and Europe via AC to LHR/FRA but this past year have been going Oneworld on Cathay and BA. Have spent ~40k this year so far that AC has missed out on.

Fly paid J too, but couldn't see putting the effort toward AC when they keep taking stuff away. It's a relief to be honest. It's actually MUCH easier to connect to the rest of Asia on Cathay (rather than go onward from HKG to SIN) and BA's connections throughout Europe (and the UK itself) are great!

AC lost my loyalty when they lost their loyalty program.
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Old Mar 15, 13, 7:09 pm
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Old Mar 15, 13, 7:14 pm
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Defectors ??

Over the last three months I find myself flying almost weekly and for the most part I keep coming across extremely full flights.....

How can AC see who the defectors are or even care with their high load factor?
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Old Mar 15, 13, 7:14 pm
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Yep... just booked flights to LIM, HOU and BNA - all on UA because AC Flex fares don't make sense. Although my domestic flights are still on AC, after a brief tryout of WS.
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Old Mar 15, 13, 7:15 pm
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While I would really like to defect to another program, the issue for me for me (and I suspect many others) is that ~90% of my travel is domestic. Until WS starts to offer the same amenities to biz travellers that AC does there really aren't any other viable options. I suspect that AC knows this which explains why the elite tier (which is based largely on domestic travellers) has taken the brunt of the cuts.
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Old Mar 15, 13, 7:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Shareholder View Post
I flew AA to DFW for my connection onward to NRT, upgraded shortly after booking my $1200 ticket using AA SWUs. Of the 16 people in the full front cabin, I counted three who sported not only AA ExecPlat tags but the new AC 75KElite tags. Counting me, that would represent 1/4 of those on the flight who have obviously decided it was better to give AA their money to fly to the US than AC.
It could also be route-specific. I too flew the route this week (on AC) . AC flies CRJ-705's YYZ-DFW with cold food and people fighting for very limited overhead bin space.

Compare that with AA's 738 offering hot meals and plentiful space and it is a no-brainer if you are paying for J on this route (which is also low cost to book in J).
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Old Mar 15, 13, 7:31 pm
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I'm interested to hear this as well. My North American travel is on small planes, short flights, so I don't care about upgrades. My TATL and TPAC is paid J which is usually AC or UA, with 1-2 per year on DL/KLM, so I only stick with AC as my *A from a points perspective on AE to consolidate with CC points. If I could get a MP CC in Canada, I would move.

I don't think as many are moving as you would think, unless they are at a major airport with good service from most US and some International carriers. The rest of us are stuck...
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Old Mar 15, 13, 7:33 pm
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On the shuttle bus this am from hotel to SFO. A bunch of flight attendants from various airlines,including AA. The AA bunch were vocal about routes,distances to commute for work and passengers on board.
One AA attendant quipped she told a recent pax that" we are here for your safety,we do not have to like you."
Someone answered back, 'Remind me why I do not fly AA?"
Someone else took a quick dig as well at the FAs
So I guess that my sample of 2 people taking shots at AA FAs would mean 20% .......

BTW , my AC flights today were on-time,100% capacity from SFO.
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Old Mar 15, 13, 8:25 pm
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C'mon, you people who are wannabe 'defectors' : JUMP! JUMP!

For goodness sake, stop prevaricating, stop talking about it, stop writing to FT about it, just get on with it!

Less crowding in the MLL, less crowding at the gates, less competition for eUps, less whining on FT.

JUMP now!
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Old Mar 15, 13, 9:24 pm
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I was thinking of starting a similar thread on how many folks are actually willing to pony up for flex fares for TPAC or TATL. But not to hijack the subject:

Most (75%) of my travel is TPAC out of YYZ, YVR, or LAS/LAX/SFO.

For the TPAC (75%):

            In Summary, AC could have a lot more of my revenue if its pricing made more sense.
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