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Leaving AC changed my life (for the better)

Leaving AC changed my life (for the better)

Old Jun 8, 15, 7:44 pm
  #1  
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Leaving AC changed my life (for the better)

For many years I had an exclusive relationship with AC/Star Alliance. I was E*35 (back when that got you *G), SE x 3, E75 x 1, and E50 x 1. During those years the only time I flew non-star alliance airlines was in Australia, and for one domestic flight in Venezuela.

Fast forward to 2015: I no longer have status with AC and have booked the following airlines so far this month: Delta x 2; AA x 1; WS x 1; and AC x 1; and I am: (i) saving a small fortune by booking cheaper flights; (ii) booking more direct flights; and (iii) booking flights at far more convenient times. I am UA E*25 (or whatever they call it) due to my Marriott Platinum status, but I don't go out of my way to fly UA.

For the foregoing reasons, I am grateful that all the AC "enhancements" scared me away from AC/Star Alliance. Inexplicably travel is a lot less stressful now that I don't have status on AC. Back when I had status I spent hours trying to figure out R space; I had to fight with airline staff that didn't understand the frequent flyer policies, I had to sit on the edge of my seat waiting for an upgrade to clear etc. Now I just show up at the airport, zip through security with Nexus and/or Amex and/or TSA Pre-Check, get into lounges with my AMEX card and/or Priority Pass (where available), board my flight and go on my way.

Usually it is cheaper for me to pay for a preferred seat and for checked baggage than it is to book a flight on AC. Hell it is not unusual for me to be able to book a J flight on a US airline from the US to Canada for not much more than an AC Flex Fare.

Finally, and this is a huge thing too in terms of a better flying experience - the UA app is a god send and makes travel much less stressful by letting travelers see and up to date seat map, upgrade list, accurate flight status etc.

I wish I had taken a less monogamous approach to flying years ago... maybe then I wouldn't have hair everywhere but on my head!
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Old Jun 8, 15, 8:24 pm
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awesome post.

lots of people belong to a not so secret club, "breaking up with AC."

However its fun to watch some of the newbies who seem to live in a dream world, and have never flown anyone other than AC.

Last edited by why fly; Jun 9, 15 at 9:22 am
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Old Jun 8, 15, 8:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Tedgrrrr View Post
For many years I had an exclusive relationship with AC/Star Alliance. I was E*35 (back when that got you *G), SE x 3, E75 x 1, and E50 x 1. During those years the only time I flew non-star alliance airlines was in Australia, and for one domestic flight in Venezuela.

Fast forward to 2015: I no longer have status with AC and have booked the following airlines so far this month: Delta x 2; AA x 1; WS x 1; and AC x 1; and I am: (i) saving a small fortune by booking cheaper flights; (ii) booking more direct flights; and (iii) booking flights at far more convenient times. I am UA E*25 (or whatever they call it) due to my Marriott Platinum status, but I don't go out of my way to fly UA.

For the foregoing reasons, I am grateful that all the AC "enhancements" scared me away from AC/Star Alliance. Inexplicably travel is a lot less stressful now that I don't have status on AC. Back when I had status I spent hours trying to figure out R space; I had to fight with airline staff that didn't understand the frequent flyer policies, I had to sit on the edge of my seat waiting for an upgrade to clear etc. Now I just show up at the airport, zip through security with Nexus and/or Amex and/or TSA Pre-Check, get into lounges with my AMEX card and/or Priority Pass (where available), board my flight and go on my way.

Usually it is cheaper for me to pay for a preferred seat and for checked baggage than it is to book a flight on AC. Hell it is not unusual for me to be able to book a J flight on a US airline from the US to Canada for not much more than an AC Flex Fare.

Finally, and this is a huge thing too in terms of a better flying experience - the UA app is a god send and makes travel much less stressful by letting travelers see and up to date seat map, upgrade list, accurate flight status etc.

I wish I had taken a less monogamous approach to flying years ago... maybe then I wouldn't have hair everywhere but on my head!
Thanks for your farewell post.
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Old Jun 8, 15, 8:40 pm
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I also let my AC status lapse this year, simultaneously with a calculated decision to travel less overall for business. This has been partially offset by more leisure travel. I agree with you entirely that the liberation from AC has been favourable and the financial impact of PE, bag fees, lounge access, etc has been negligible. This is partly due to WS's status match, which so far has worked out well. Going forward, even if my WS status lapses I think I'll be better off.

In the same manner as dumping a troublesome spouse or employee, you don't realize the overwhelming sense of relief you'll feel until you actually do it.
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Old Jun 8, 15, 8:42 pm
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Wish I could but my hometown only has them and KE.
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Old Jun 8, 15, 8:45 pm
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Do you still have Canadian CCs for lounge access? (as PP for cards in the US has far more restrictions on how you can access lounges-though my own PP is from Citibank Prestige issued in HK.)
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Old Jun 8, 15, 9:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Tedgrrrr View Post
Fast forward to 2015: I no longer have status with AC and have booked the following airlines so far this month: Delta x 2; AA x 1; WS x 1; and AC x 1;
What are your impressions of the other airlines' FAs so far, compared to AC?

I wonder when I ditch AC/*G next year, which USA airline has, on average, better looking FAs than AC
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Old Jun 8, 15, 9:07 pm
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Originally Posted by maradori View Post
What are your impressions of the other airlines' FAs so far, compared to AC?

I wonder when I ditch AC/*G next year, which USA airline has, on average, better looking FAs than AC
Let's just say on US carriers, I spend the majority of time working/sleeping where appropriate (and on shorter flights, using my mobile the entire flight.)
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Old Jun 8, 15, 9:37 pm
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Originally Posted by maradori View Post
What are your impressions of the other airlines' FAs so far, compared to AC?

I wonder when I ditch AC/*G next year, which USA airline has, on average, better looking FAs than AC
I was on a UAX flight that had the prettiest FA I've seen in a while in charge of F... but she had a wedding ring. So, go for the regional carriers, which tend to hire more inexperienced (=younger) people?
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Old Jun 8, 15, 9:39 pm
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It's easy to get trapped in a loyalty program that only gives you benefits when you spend more money than what is needed for the same product (or in a lot of cases spend more money and more time) and then be led to believe that as a result of your "loyalty" you are getting all these benefits - shorter check-in lineups, shorter security lineups, free food and drinks and comfy seats, first to board etc etc etc....

But when you take a step back like the OP did and see that the Embraer is not wearing any clothes it becomes painfully obvious....all these benefits were just paid for in advance. You dumped a lot of money, and a lot of time, and energy, and stress into AC's bank account and over the following year they gave you little bits of comfort back in return...

A better strategy for a lot people (but not all) would be to use that time and money and energy improving each individual flight (buying better seat access, lounge access, buying a craft beer and a good meal at a restaurant rather then Molson Canadian and chips and hummus in the lounge....) and you might then enjoy what the OP is enjoying....freedom instead of frustration. Let me confirm what was said above - it feels amazing.
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Old Jun 8, 15, 10:10 pm
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Did Air Canada send you a farewell gift?

Last edited by tcook052; Jun 8, 15 at 10:30 pm Reason: snark
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Old Jun 8, 15, 10:17 pm
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Unfortunately for me, I am still stuck with AC (for now).

This is the first year that I stopped caring/chasing about status, but will still attain SE as my travel is mainly domestic, and WestJet does not offer business class. Even then, I don't care about the food/drinks in J (domestic), nor need the seat pitch. I do like the extra width for the "sense" of room, but I'm fine with an empty middle seat.
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Old Jun 8, 15, 10:38 pm
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Originally Posted by pewpew View Post
I was on a UAX flight that had the prettiest FA I've seen in a while in charge of F... but she had a wedding ring. So, go for the regional carriers, which tend to hire more inexperienced (=younger) people?
rogue also has such FAs, but you won't ever see me on one of their flights.
(I will take an overnight somewhere/connection/pay more on the competition in order to avoid it.)
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Old Jun 8, 15, 11:07 pm
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Originally Posted by AA_EXP09 View Post
(I will take an overnight somewhere/connection/pay more on the competition in order to avoid it.)
+1

I am following OP's footsteps.

Starting this year, I no longer fly AC YVR-HKG (in J, at least 2 return trips a year) as I hated AC B77P coffin class. Last trip in May was by CX (way better hard and soft products). Next trip in October will try CZ via CAN.

I don't give a damn about AC status anymore. "Release me and let me go"

Last edited by tcook052; Jun 8, 15 at 11:17 pm Reason: merge posts
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Old Jun 9, 15, 1:35 am
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Originally Posted by Tedgrrrr View Post
For many years I had an exclusive relationship with AC/Star Alliance. I was E*35 (back when that got you *G), SE x 3, E75 x 1, and E50 x 1. During those years the only time I flew non-star alliance airlines was in Australia, and for one domestic flight in Venezuela.

Fast forward to 2015: I no longer have status with AC and have booked the following airlines so far this month: Delta x 2; AA x 1; WS x 1; and AC x 1; and I am: (i) saving a small fortune by booking cheaper flights; (ii) booking more direct flights; and (iii) booking flights at far more convenient times. I am UA E*25 (or whatever they call it) due to my Marriott Platinum status, but I don't go out of my way to fly UA.

For the foregoing reasons, I am grateful that all the AC "enhancements" scared me away from AC/Star Alliance. Inexplicably travel is a lot less stressful now that I don't have status on AC. Back when I had status I spent hours trying to figure out R space; I had to fight with airline staff that didn't understand the frequent flyer policies, I had to sit on the edge of my seat waiting for an upgrade to clear etc. Now I just show up at the airport, zip through security with Nexus and/or Amex and/or TSA Pre-Check, get into lounges with my AMEX card and/or Priority Pass (where available), board my flight and go on my way.

Usually it is cheaper for me to pay for a preferred seat and for checked baggage than it is to book a flight on AC. Hell it is not unusual for me to be able to book a J flight on a US airline from the US to Canada for not much more than an AC Flex Fare.

Finally, and this is a huge thing too in terms of a better flying experience - the UA app is a god send and makes travel much less stressful by letting travelers see and up to date seat map, upgrade list, accurate flight status etc.

I wish I had taken a less monogamous approach to flying years ago... maybe then I wouldn't have hair everywhere but on my head!
Way to go Tedgrrrr! I am following your footsteps! My return from YYZ to YVR this past Friday was a last straw! I booked on 787 with a good seat in premium economy cabin. Last minute (usual!) equipment change/downgrade was only the beginning. Replacement aircraft got right engine problem and we spent over an hour at the gate. While waiting, I got the permission from SD to go back to the gate to try to change my flight. GA didn't want to hear any of this. His opening line to me was that I was in violation of Transport Canada for leaving the plane without my hand luggage. Number one I had none, number two I got the permission from SD. I asked for his name and got well rehearsed: "Not your business, I don't want a Christmas card from you" (I took the picture of this individual and will be happy to share it with you on your private email!). He also lied to me there were no seats on next two flights to Vancouver. I stayed cool and went from gate D41 to D39 where next flight AC 33 was boarding for YVR. I got the last seat exactly at the same moment my original flight AC 1167 was cancelled. How lucky! So, squished like a sardine by the back washroom in Y, I ordered my wine and decided not to complain to AC but simply leave the program! I don't need this nonsense and it has been for years my fault to think any different. It is midnight now and I am about to clear my upgrade to J this weekend to Montreal. I got this ticket already few week ago. And this is going to be my last Flex ever! No more! I have already made arrangements with my juniors to take over flying from me. We will not only cut it in half but also stick to Tango only! If I need to fly in Canada it will be always Tango as well, I just pay extra for a legroom by emergency exit. I will navigate through security with my Nexus and credit card will always get me to the lounge. Overall company/personal spend with Air Canada will go 70% down minimum. I will keep my gold status on Air New Zealand though. They have the best premium economy product, so called "space capsules" seats. Business class caliber! Check it out on the web/youtube. I can even go with them to LHR. The rest with anybody! And no Merry Christmas card to Air Canada staff or Head Office! We have had some good times together too and thank you for that but overall it has been absolutely dysfunctional! I am cool now!^
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