Loyal US Member Needs Advice Out of DCA

Old Feb 18, 14, 2:11 pm
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Loyal US Member Needs Advice Out of DCA

I am a loyal US member out of DCA (Plat, last year flew 64 segments and 92K miles). I now have a job that will take me Atlanta almost weekly and oftentimes elsewhere. When flying elsewhere I can take US but US/AA does not offer a direct flight on DCA-ATL.

Should I keep taking US/AA through CLT or give it up and switch to DL, which offers the direct flight but whose program I otherwise despise?

This would all be a moot point if US/AA was willing to compete with the other big carriers on routes out of DCA!
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Old Feb 18, 14, 2:48 pm
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I can't imagine any of the legacy carries being that much better than the other to warrant an extra stop on your bi-weekly flights. I would definitely status match to DL if I had to fly to ATL ~weekly for at least 3 months.
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Old Feb 18, 14, 3:02 pm
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Is Southwest another option if you want to avoid DL?
Flying through CLT isn't really much more distance but I assume it would add 60-90 minutes per trip, plus the connection factor just increases your risk more.

I would say it depends how badly you want to be home
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Old Feb 19, 14, 7:20 am
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I haven't checked, but I assume that UA offers nonstop flight to ATL from IAD. If so, would that be a possibility or is IAD too difficult for you to reach conveniently.
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Old Feb 19, 14, 7:49 am
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Originally Posted by JPG3392 View Post
I haven't checked, but I assume that UA offers nonstop flight to ATL from IAD.
Checking Friday's schedule, UA offers 4X IAD-ATL, all CRJ/ERJ/CR7 vs. 14x Delta mainline DCA-ATL.
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Old Feb 19, 14, 8:58 am
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You could continue flying US and changing planes at CLT...you'd definitely retain your status if not get to Chairman just on segments alone that route. If you're looking for convenience, then I would prob switch to DL and status match as nautikal suggested.

Are you based more near DCA, BWI, or IAD?
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Old Feb 19, 14, 9:01 am
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Originally Posted by JPG3392 View Post
I haven't checked, but I assume that UA offers nonstop flight to ATL from IAD. If so, would that be a possibility or is IAD too difficult for you to reach conveniently.
Why would anyone want to fly out of IAD if it could be avoided especially if they're flying out of DCA on a regular basis right now? Plus since the OP is a loyal US member flying UA and crediting to US is only feasible for another 6 weeks which isn't worth it. If the OP is going to switch might as well bite the bullet and do it now so they can have the entire year to credit to DL.

I'd agree it generally wouldn't be worth the extra stop in CLT at the same time I understand if you want to concentrate on one program. I think it would be unwise to switch to DL for just DCA - ATL and then fly US/AA the rest of the time. You'll end up with Gold or worse on both. You'd be better off crediting everything to AS and then your AA-coded flights and DL-coded flights will both count toward a shared status (AS MVPG or 75k)
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Old Feb 20, 14, 12:01 am
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Loyal US Member Needs Advice Out of DCA

I would qualify on segments and keep the connection.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 3:38 am
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Originally Posted by flyerdude88 View Post
Why would anyone want to fly out of IAD if it could be avoided especially if they're flying out of DCA on a regular basis right now? Plus since the OP is a loyal US member flying UA and crediting to US is only feasible for another 6 weeks which isn't worth it. If the OP is going to switch might as well bite the bullet and do it now so they can have the entire year to credit to DL.

I'd agree it generally wouldn't be worth the extra stop in CLT at the same time I understand if you want to concentrate on one program. I think it would be unwise to switch to DL for just DCA - ATL and then fly US/AA the rest of the time. You'll end up with Gold or worse on both. You'd be better off crediting everything to AS and then your AA-coded flights and DL-coded flights will both count toward a shared status (AS MVPG or 75k)
While that's theoretically possible, why would one do that if he doesn't fly AS? Yes, there are some tangible benefits for AS elites when flying AA and DL but not worthwhile, in my opinion. Also, AS doesn't have a relationship with US just yet (and it may never will), so flying US wouldn't credit to US and OP will end up with 2 FF programs still - AS' and US'
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Old Feb 20, 14, 6:04 am
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Originally Posted by finny52 View Post
This would all be a moot point if US/AA was willing to compete with the other big carriers on routes out of DCA!
Keep in mind that DCA is a bit of a burden to work with, between the perimeter restriction and being slot-controlled.

Quite a few major destinations, it's simply not possible to fly without a perimeter exemption. And US is actually the oddball there: it's the only airline with a hub system which uses any exempt slots to fly to a non-hub (US uses 4 of its 10 exempt slots to operate to LAS and SAN, though SAN is ending in May).

Plus, slot controls make it even more unappealing than usual to operate flights into another airline's hub when you could be flying someplace friendlier to you.

Finally, in terms of US specifically, the pmUS hub at DCA has always felt like it's focused heavily on the regional operations, flying to lots of smaller markets where there's money to be made in having direct flights to the nation's capital.

Anyway, as to your actual situation, if you know you'll be flying enough that you have some room to experiment, why not try doing each a couple times? Then you'll be able to make an informed choice based on experience of each route (depending on your schedule, after all, you might end up in RJs on DL but mainline on US, or vice-versa, which is a factor worth considering).
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Old Feb 20, 14, 9:11 am
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Thanks

Thanks for the insights all... I do concur with Flyerdude88 that IAD is a huge pain (DCA is 10 minutes from my house at 6am) and will no longer be part of US's network.

Pucnit, would you really be willing to connect nearly every week through CLT? That more than doubles travel time given the short distance between ATL-DCA.

Everybody has done a great job of flushing out the opportunities and it seems like there's no silver bullet here...
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Old Feb 20, 14, 10:02 am
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Originally Posted by Phoenixtinct View Post
Also, AS doesn't have a relationship with US just yet (and it may never will), so flying US wouldn't credit to US and OP will end up with 2 FF programs still - AS' and US'
Although AS may never have a relationship with US, US will be disappearing a lot sooner than "never" and the AA relationship with AS will be all that matters. The OP could just credit AA/US miles to an AA account and not need a US account.

Jim
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Old Feb 20, 14, 10:18 am
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Originally Posted by finny52 View Post
Pucnit, would you really be willing to connect nearly every week through CLT? That more than doubles travel time given the short distance between ATL-DCA.
Probably more like a 50% increase in travel time since CLT most connections are between 35 minutes and an hour.

Unfortunately there just aren't enough available slots at DCA for carriers to waste any trying to compete with flights to another carrier's hub, especially a mega-hub like ATL. If you were running AA/US, would you use 28 precious slots to compete with DL to ATL or use them for service to places where you'd have no non-stop competion to/from DCA?

Also, there's no indication yet that IAD won't continue to be a part of US or US/AA's networks. If that flying was unprofitable I suspect that both AA and US would have dropped it yet both still serve IAD.

Jim
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Old Feb 20, 14, 10:32 am
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FWIW, there's been speculation on FT that the DL/AS partnership might be ending soon.

If OP is traveling for business, it could be hard to explain missing connections while trying to fly UA/US through CLT when there are many non stops on the route.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 11:50 am
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Well, if the OP is currently a loyal US flyer connections shouldn't be too much of a problem with the boss - how many places in the country can US take you from DCA without a connection in CLT/PHL/PHX?

Jim
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