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Any other ORD-based flyers struggling with AA's schedule/lack of frequency

Any other ORD-based flyers struggling with AA's schedule/lack of frequency

Old Dec 13, 17, 11:46 am
  #1  
Used to be 'g_leyser'
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Any other ORD-based flyers struggling with AA's schedule/lack of frequency

By way of background, I travel predominantly for business, 100% North America, usually midweek. The majority of my trips are to the West Coast (literally every city AA flies nonstop to from ORD), and Southeast (ATL, Florida, Carolinas, DC area), with a few other random trips once per quarter or so (this year it was MSP, YYZ, and LGA x 2). I am only allowed to book economy, but sometimes I will pay out of pocket to upfare to F if it's reasonable (e.g. my ORD-SFO flight this week was only $62 more). I usually book one-ways, and I'm rarely able to book more than 2 weeks in advance. I spend a LOT of time in exit rows . I switched to AA in 2013 after 830K lifetime UA EQMs after I just couldn't take it anymore with UA. Have been PLT or EXP every year since. I am writing this on an LAX-ORD flight, which will qualify me for Plat Pro.

Lately I have really been struggling with making AA work for many of the itineraries I need. My goal in life right now is to spend as few nights away in hotels as possible. I am loyal to AA, but I absolutely will NOT spend an extra night away just to make sure I fly with AA. I have had to book on other airlines quite a few times this year as a result.

Some examples this year and looking into next year:
  • MIA-ORD on a Wednesday afternoon: Meeting went to about 4pm and wanted to get home same night - only UA had a late enough departure - this is hub-to-hub no less!!
  • ATL-ORD on a Tuesday evening - wanted to make a work dinner and get home same night. Last AA flight is ~7pm. At least 3 options on DL to either ORD or MDW
  • MSP-ORD on a Monday evening - same as above - last AA flight is ~7pm. 4 options on DL - ended up booking WN into MDW for ~$50
  • ORD-SJC any day: Usually only 1 flight a day and it leaves ORD around 10am. Which means to make a lunch meeting I have to fly into SFO and drive
  • SJC-ORD and SMF-ORD midweek - only 1 flight a day on Wednesdays and it's ~11am departure meaning the whole day is shot
  • ORD-RSW on a Thursday afternoon in Dec: Last flight of the day is at 12 Noon?
  • ORD-SEA in the winter: Summer schedule is great, but off-season is brutal. Last outbound from ORD is 10:30am!
I understand supply and demand, and there are limited aircraft, but just wondering if anyone else is finding this more challenging lately.
aisleorwindow is offline  
Old Dec 13, 17, 11:51 am
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I thought MIA has a few evening flights to Chicago? Like a 7pm and a 9pm?
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Old Dec 13, 17, 12:46 pm
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Originally Posted by aisleorwindow View Post
I am loyal to AA, but I absolutely will NOT spend an extra night away just to make sure I fly with AA.
The only CHI carrier with more departures than AA is UA, and you already said you couldn't put up with UA any more. That's not to say that AA/UA departures are equally distributed across the routes you travel...

You're going to need to fly other carriers. That's what happens when even a very large market is split 3 ways: frequency and number of non-stop destinations won't be what you can get out of ATL or DFW. It's good for price competition on the routes that see service. It's better for you, too, to see the issues of AA vs. other carriers' performance.
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Old Dec 13, 17, 1:23 pm
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Originally Posted by aisleorwindow View Post
I have had to book on other airlines quite a few times this year as a result.
You already identified the best solution: look at all airlines and choose the one that best meets your needs for a particular trip.
aztimm, eponymous_coward and DA201 like this.
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Old Dec 13, 17, 1:41 pm
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Since you are an AA loyalist, I would send your post verbatim to AA Customer Service. Just copy and paste it into the box. Their midweek schedule reductions are going to bite them in the a**, if they don't do it carefully.
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Old Dec 13, 17, 1:54 pm
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Originally Posted by MSP_Monopoly View Post
I thought MIA has a few evening flights to Chicago? Like a 7pm and a 9pm?

Looks like you are correct. This was not the case earlier in 2017 - glad to see this

Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
The only CHI carrier with more departures than AA is UA, and you already said you couldn't put up with UA any more. That's not to say that AA/UA departures are equally distributed across the routes you travel...
You're going to need to fly other carriers. That's what happens when even a very large market is split 3 ways: frequency and number of non-stop destinations won't be what you can get out of ATL or DFW. It's good for price competition on the routes that see service. It's better for you, too, to see the issues of AA vs. other carriers' performance.
Originally Posted by Austin787 View Post
You already identified the best solution: look at all airlines and choose the one that best meets your needs for a particular trip.
No disagreement with any of the above. This year I have flown UA, AS, VX, WN, and DL to make up for gaps in AA's schedule. Also flew on PD (Porter) to take advantage of the convenience of YTZ. My point was that 2017 has seemed to be significantly more challenging in this regard than in past year.

Originally Posted by formeraa View Post
Their midweek schedule reductions are going to bite them in the a**, if they don't do it carefully.
Exactly my point. For me the reductions are palpable. Curious if others are having the same experience, or if I've just been a bit unlucky.
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Old Dec 13, 17, 1:58 pm
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If you're sitting in exit rows and upfaring to F out of your own pocket, then why are you so dead set on being loyal? I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that it really doesn't sound like loyalty is getting you very far. You can upfare on any major carrier, regardless of status...
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Old Dec 13, 17, 2:15 pm
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There is something wrong with your searches.... looking at this week, AA has:
  • 5 daily ORD-SEA, including a 5pm, 8pm & 10pm
  • 3 daily SJC-ORD at 7:45am, 1:25pm and 10:45pm
  • 3 daily SJC-ORD at 9:55am, 5:10pm & 8:05pm
  • 4 daily ORD-RSW including a 3:10pm
  • 10 daily MIA-ORD, including a 9:30pm
As for ATL-ORD & MSP-ORD, the latest departure makes sense as it connects with the last outbound bank at ORD. Non-hub airlines will typically have later departures to other airlines' hub cities.
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Old Dec 13, 17, 2:28 pm
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Originally Posted by GregL View Post
There is something wrong with your searches.... looking at this week, AA has:
  • 5 daily ORD-SEA, including a 5pm, 8pm & 10pm
  • 3 daily SJC-ORD at 7:45am, 1:25pm and 10:45pm
  • 3 daily SJC-ORD at 9:55am, 5:10pm & 8:05pm
  • 4 daily ORD-RSW including a 3:10pm
  • 10 daily MIA-ORD, including a 9:30pm
As for ATL-ORD & MSP-ORD, the latest departure makes sense as it connects with the last outbound bank at ORD. Non-hub airlines will typically have later departures to other airlines' hub cities.
Agreed. I often fly out of ORD, and I, too, was quite confused by the OP's post with regard to frequency/timing on these routes.

Every airport has seasonal route changes, and I don't think the situation at ORD is as dire as the OP suggests.
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Old Dec 13, 17, 5:42 pm
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I think the OP may have not factored that the ideal flights may have been sold out given how close he books to departure.
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Old Dec 13, 17, 6:26 pm
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Originally Posted by aisleorwindow View Post
My point was that 2017 has seemed to be significantly more challenging in this regard than in past year.
I don't follow airlineroutes.net nor airliners.net for schedule changes, but I don't believe AA has seen a big reduction in ORD departures year-over-year. But, if AA isn't available where and when you need a flight, your best choice is another carrier vs. a connection.
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Old Dec 13, 17, 6:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Austin787 View Post
You already identified the best solution: look at all airlines and choose the one that best meets your needs for a particular trip.
This is what I do. I am primarily a UA flyer because I live near a UA hub, but I will fly whoever has the most convenient flight for me. Hence, I have status on UA, AA, and DL.
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Old Dec 14, 17, 8:43 am
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Originally Posted by aisleorwindow View Post
  • ATL-ORD on a Tuesday evening - wanted to make a work dinner and get home same night. Last AA flight is ~7pm. At least 3 options on DL to either ORD or MDW
  • MSP-ORD on a Monday evening - same as above - last AA flight is ~7pm. 4 options on DL - ended up booking WN into MDW for ~$50
Going TO a hub, airlines try to get the flights to arrive in time to make the last bank of connections for the night. So going from a DL hub to an AA hub, I would think DL would have flights that depart later than the AA options, as AA is trying to get you to ORD in time to make a flight out. However, the opposite is also true. I would expect AA to have flights PHL/ORD/CLT - ATL/MSP to depart later than the DL options.

There are always exceptions, but this is the general rule.
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Old Dec 14, 17, 10:23 am
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Well it sounds like others are not having the same experience as I am, lol. Just to clarify a few things:

Originally Posted by arlflyer View Post
If you're sitting in exit rows and upfaring to F out of your own pocket, then why are you so dead set on being loyal? I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that it really doesn't sound like loyalty is getting you very far. You can upfare on any major carrier, regardless of status...
The only reason I have access to the exit rows in the first place is because of my status. So in fact, loyalty is extremely important for me.

Originally Posted by GregL View Post
There is something wrong with your searches.... looking at this week, AA has:
  • 5 daily ORD-SEA, including a 5pm, 8pm & 10pm
  • 3 daily SJC-ORD at 7:45am, 1:25pm and 10:45pm
  • 3 daily SJC-ORD at 9:55am, 5:10pm & 8:05pm
  • 4 daily ORD-RSW including a 3:10pm
  • 10 daily MIA-ORD, including a 9:30pm
As for ATL-ORD & MSP-ORD, the latest departure makes sense as it connects with the last outbound bank at ORD. Non-hub airlines will typically have later departures to other airlines' hub cities.
This isn't really a fair comparison, because this week has an unusual schedule due to the holidays coming up. Remember, I travel primarily for business.

Let's look at mid-January and Feb:

ORD-SEA - the 5pm doesn't run on Tue or Wed (my main travel days), and the 8pm and 10pm are gone
ORD-SJC - one flight a day at 5pm - again, this means flying into SFO or spending another night away, which I'm not willing to do
SJC-ORD - one daily flight at 8am
ORD-RSW - my point was that the latest flight was at 3pm, so can't work a full day and still get there same night
You're right about MIA-ORD, it wasn't an option for my specific example, but it could've been that those flights were sold out

Originally Posted by golfingboy View Post
I think the OP may have not factored that the ideal flights may have been sold out given how close he books to departure.
Definitely a possibility, and a good point.

Thanks to everyone for their feedback.
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Old Dec 14, 17, 10:29 am
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Originally Posted by IAHtraveler View Post
Going TO a hub, airlines try to get the flights to arrive in time to make the last bank of connections for the night. So going from a DL hub to an AA hub, I would think DL would have flights that depart later than the AA options, as AA is trying to get you to ORD in time to make a flight out. However, the opposite is also true. I would expect AA to have flights PHL/ORD/CLT - ATL/MSP to depart later than the DL options.

There are always exceptions, but this is the general rule.
This makes a ton of sense. Really good point.
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