Switching WN to AA?

Old Aug 29, 19, 12:53 pm
  #1  
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Switching WN to AA?

Late last year, I switched from DL (where I'd been with occasional travel for 5 years) to WN.

Primarily, I was flying 1X a month to WN cities. Not enough for much status on AA or DL. But on WN I got A-List and Companion Pass, the latter of which I earned through credit card spend. Now my job has changed a bit and I'm flying 2X a month at least. Sometimes more. I'm flying all over, so I frequently go to non-WN cities. I buy expensive tickets, which means the segments might be fewer but the dollars/miles are high. This month I flew AA, WN, and DL all one time each. So now I'm re-evaluating for 2020. I have Companion Pass on WN but never use it. The miles are worth a lot but I mostly cash the in for Amazon cards.

Might switch to AA, because I'm close to DFW (LIT). CLT would be another major connecting city for me. Right now it's STL or DAL on WN.

It seems obvious for me: given my level of travel, upgrades are more likely on AA than DL. And DFW is close enough to drive if I have a cancelled flight. But I don't know that I've ever met a happy AA customer, and that's my main concern. I do like DL. And though the storms sometimes make me late, ATL is crazy easy to connect through. And of course, power plugs everywhere! But my A-List status only gets me Silver on Delta, where I'd be much of next year. OTOH, WN's points are awesome, A-List is easy to get, and gate-to-gate Wi-Fi is nice, even if it doesn't always work.

I'd love to hear opinions on this. In the past I traveled so little that WN was the only one that made sense. Nowadays, I'm not so sure. And TBH, this MAX thing really affected my budding loyalty with WN, because I feel like they were not very forthcoming.

Would you switch to AA right now (status challenge this winter?) if you were me?
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Old Aug 29, 19, 1:02 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
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There's alot of things that AA could do better, but overall they fit me well. Every airline has their mess ups, although DL is probably the best operationally from what I have read here.

For me personally:
WN - doesn't work for me as I go international about 50% of my trips
DL - not usually competitive out of OKC (I assume because hubs are farther away). Some of my travel is corporate so I have to pick the lower cost fare. And, Skypesos. (not that AA is that much better these days)
UA - Probably my only reasonable alternate - and I almost moved to them when it was CO and AA was on my last nerve. IAH would replace DFW for the majority of my connections. I can get some extra benefits on United due to my employer, but I'd have to learn the ins and outs and tricks for everything there that I know on AA.

Based on all this, it's really a UA vs. AA decision for me. I don't think AA is any better or worse than UA, and most of the time I'm as happy with AA as you can be with an airline. At the end of the day, you aren't picking the best, you are picking the least of the evils.
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Old Aug 29, 19, 1:45 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Despite its pitfalls, I actually really like AA and am proud to be loyal to them. They have responded well to most issues I've had and the bad experiences (so far) have been laughable, not detrimental. I don't really get upgraded with Gold (I've had three this year out of 22 AA flights), but the other perks are solid. I also like that their miles can be used internationally. I flew Business to LHR last year on AA miles, which was nice!

As for personal preference: I really like WN, but I get airsick and I HAVE to have a window seat or so help me. Even with Early Bird, I am constantly worried about getting a bad boarding number and being stuck in a middle or aisle seat. I love their customer service and humor though. I use them about 25% of the time for work trips and like to use my miles to hop over to LAX for next to nothing.

If you're pleased with WN and don't care so much about the miles, I'd stick with them. The "perks" I get with AA Gold, such as extra leg room seats and a free checked bag, are what you'd get as a regular customer on WN anyway. I just like being able to walk up to the gate ten minutes after boarding has started and walk right to my assigned window seat. That's worth the AA loyalty to me.
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Old Aug 29, 19, 2:09 pm
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by argolfer View Post
It seems obvious for me: given my level of travel, upgrades are more likely on AA than DL. And DFW is close enough to drive if I have a cancelled flight.
Are you sure about that? Upgrades on the 30 minute flight to DFW, sure. Upgrades FROM DFW->Anywhere? Nope.
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Old Aug 29, 19, 2:32 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Uzzar View Post
Are you sure about that? Upgrades on the 30 minute flight to DFW, sure. Upgrades FROM DFW->Anywhere? Nope.
I think I'm likely to be Platinum on AA or Gold on DL next year. I figured I could at least score some Main Cabin Extra upgrades. Maybe FC on those shorter flights to cities with few elites. No?
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Old Aug 29, 19, 2:38 pm
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Originally Posted by argolfer View Post
I think I'm likely to be Platinum on AA or Gold on DL next year. I figured I could at least score some Main Cabin Extra upgrades. Maybe FC on those shorter flights to cities with few elites. No?
As a platinum youd have access to book MCE at the time of booking provided its not Basic Economy.
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Old Aug 29, 19, 2:44 pm
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Fellow LIT flyer, I've found AA and DL just work better for me out of LIT than WN (not enough flights at the times I need them). And I like the AA agents in LIT. It depends on where you are traveling whether I'd go with AA or DL.
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Old Aug 29, 19, 2:49 pm
  #8  
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The OP should read some of the stickies to understand how upgrades work. Yes if the OP is going to make PLT then AA would be better than WN.
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Old Aug 29, 19, 2:51 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
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I was briefly (1.5 years) A-list. Here are a couple things you should be aware of:
1. A lot of AA employees are unhappy-- just in a general way. There are plenty of great employees for sure, but look around in this forum for some of the threads at the treatment people get. It's completely hit or miss and you have to hope when you're having a travel issue that you get one of the great ones and not one with an IDGAF attitude. I was always impressed by how much everyone who worked at WN seemed genuinely nice. Clearly WN does something differently with their hiring. So that will be something big to get used to.
2. As far as MCE, look at the Oasis thread. If you're used to WN's pitch, especially if you are used to getting the exit row, you'll find Oasis to be really tight, even in MCE. While that's not on every plane, it's the future of the fleet.
3. A bright spot is the regional fleet. There have been lots of E175s added, with first class (often an easier upgrade than mainline) and 2x2 seating in main cabin. Those I would say are clearly superior to traveling on WN.
4. AA is affected by the MAX as well, though not to the extent of WN.

My personal opinion is if you are flying enough that things like schedule reliability and IRROPS handling are as important to you as the occasional upgrade, you'll probably be happier at DL. That being said, as a lower level elite (AA Plat) you'll have an easier time getting upgrades generally than on DL because of the 500-mile upgrade ("sticker") system, which means you're not competing with the entire pool of elites for every upgrade (just those who decided to request it).
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Old Aug 29, 19, 2:52 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by WiscAZ View Post


As a platinum youd have access to book MCE at the time of booking provided its not Basic Economy.
Good deal. That's what I thought, but I can't remember what I've read at this point.
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Old Aug 29, 19, 2:55 pm
  #11  
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Like others said the big part of the equation is the destinations you fly to from LIT. The biggest caveat with DL is ATL is the only year round route on DL and ATL isn’t exactly ideally located for connections to the majority of the US from LIT besides the eastern part of the US.

AA offers more options in that regard. However if you mainly fly up and down the east coast then I do think DL is better than AA. DL does make it possible for you to get higher status with reasonable CC spend.
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golfingboy is offline  
Old Aug 29, 19, 3:06 pm
  #12  
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Thanks for all the replies.

To clarify a couple things: I fly mostly east of DFW. Almost never west. And never international. I have reasonable CC spend (~$120-140k/yr.)
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Old Aug 29, 19, 4:28 pm
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Originally Posted by argolfer View Post
Good deal. That's what I thought, but I can't remember what I've read at this point.
also MCE comes with free drinks. Its much better deal than DL where you get upgraded into Comfort plus middle seat at the gate.
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Old Aug 29, 19, 4:29 pm
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I switched to DL and have been more satisfied with them, but I wouldn't suggest you discount American. Instead, you should go for a "Status Challenge" (because it's for a fee in contrast to a Delta 'match' which you said only gets you Silver) and give them a shot.

If you are able to fly 12,500 Elite Qualifying Miles or 16 segments in the next 3 months, you'd be AA Platinum for $240-$540 (depending on interim status) for all of 2020. Here's a link to the wiki:

HELP DESK & FAQ: Gold and Platinum Status Challenge

Platinum can book the extra legroom seats at booking (you and your party) which is nice, especially as the main cabins get crammed in more dense than Southwest.

Of course if you are flying for work and have to follow strict booking rules, check to see if DL or AA fit those rules better.
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Old Aug 29, 19, 5:40 pm
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The one thing that really makes sense is minimizing your time in transit. If Airline X will accomplish that 80% of the time, and, you will be flying enough that concentrating your business, by giving them the other 20%, will get you to and maintain meaningful status; then you have an answer.

If there is almost a second thing, and as noted above, check the equipment on probable routes and avoid being shoehorned in. E175's and E190's are way more better than something smaller, and in my opinion are better than the slightly larger A319's. (But I also hear people love the Delta A220's for the same reason).
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