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Delta vs. American vs. United

Delta vs. American vs. United

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Old Aug 21, 15, 2:42 pm
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Delta vs. American vs. United

Hi! I'm brand new to these forums but have been stalking them for a while.

I have almost exclusively flown with Southwest/Airtran for my whole life, with a few legs on JetBlue and Virgin. I really want to travel internationally, and none of these travel outside of North America.

I am debating which airline to stick to and fly with. From what I have heard and researched, these are my perspectives.

American: Getting lots of new planes but bad service. Merger may not be working well.
Delta: Good service, slightly expensive.
United: okay service, newish planes.

Which airline has the best service and frequent flyer program? I am leaning towards Delta or United, but American isn't really far behind.

Thanks!
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Old Aug 21, 15, 2:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Beyfan16 View Post
Which airline has the best service and frequent flyer program?
These days that depends on the type of ticket you buy, as well as how many miles you fly per year. You also need to factor in where you live. There is no single answer.

If you're a leisure flyer, AA may be the best fit as they offer 100% flight miles plus bonus miles at the various elite levels. Alaska, which has a lot of partners, would also be worth looking at.

If you're a business traveler buying high-priced tickets, any of the carriers you mentioned might work for you. United and Delta award miles based on the price of the ticket, very different than what AA does.
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Old Aug 21, 15, 3:17 pm
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
These days that depends on the type of ticket you buy, as well as how many miles you fly per year. You also need to factor in where you live. There is no single answer.

If you're a leisure flyer, AA may be the best fit as they offer 100% flight miles plus bonus miles at the various elite levels. Alaska, which has a lot of partners, would also be worth looking at.

If you're a business traveler buying high-priced tickets, any of the carriers you mentioned might work for you. United and Delta award miles based on the price of the ticket, very different than what AA does.
I fly for leisure mostly but do take a few business trips. Which, in your opinion, has the best economy experience? My company has never put me in first.
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Old Aug 21, 15, 3:24 pm
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That's going to depend on route and aircraft, as well as elite status (again, no single answer, so start reading the various airline forums). I have an AA flight this week LAX-LHR in the first four rows of economy where they eliminate one seat and have extra legroom. It's on a new 777-300 with a great entertainment system. It's my favorite aircraft in the fleet, but they're only flown on a couple international routes. If you don't fly one of those routes, though, this information is completely useless to you.

Your economy seat selection will depend on your elite status. Both AA and UA have specific seats set aside. Those tend to come with a few extra inches of legroom. I don't fly DL to comment on them.
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Old Aug 21, 15, 3:31 pm
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
That's going to depend on route and aircraft, as well as elite status (again, no single answer, so start reading the various airline forums). I have an AA flight this week LAX-LHR in the first four rows of economy where they eliminate one seat and have extra legroom. It's on a new 777-300 with a great entertainment system. It's my favorite aircraft in the fleet, but they're only flown on a couple international routes. If you don't fly one of those routes, though, this information is completely useless to you.

Your economy seat selection will depend on your elite status. Both AA and UA have specific seats set aside. Those tend to come with a few extra inches of legroom. I don't fly DL to comment on them.
Most of my coworkers who fly on AA or UA get on 737-800s, A321, or occasionally a 767.
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Old Aug 21, 15, 4:13 pm
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Old Aug 21, 15, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
These days that depends on the type of ticket you buy, as well as how many miles you fly per year. You also need to factor in where you live. There is no single answer.

If you're a leisure flyer, AA may be the best fit as they offer 100% flight miles plus bonus miles at the various elite levels. Alaska, which has a lot of partners, would also be worth looking at.

If you're a business traveler buying high-priced tickets, any of the carriers you mentioned might work for you. United and Delta award miles based on the price of the ticket, very different than what AA does.
Good points.

It also could depend on where you're based and where you're flying to.

But putting the many specifics of your situation aside, it seems that Delta is the best-run airline (from what I've heard - I've flown hardly it at all). American has the best frequent flyer program. As someone who used to fly United a lot, my own opinion is that American is much better in terms of both its operations and its FF program. And at least for now (though things could change as it is more fully integrated with UA Air), it has the best FF program of the three, but I don't know how it compares operationally with Delta.
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Old Aug 21, 15, 4:45 pm
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Beyfan16 Welcome to FT

Originally Posted by Beyfan16 View Post
Which airline has the best service and frequent flyer program? I am leaning towards Delta or United, but American isn't really far behind.
Best to you will not be the same as best to me or others.
Look and ask here http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/infor...help-here.html

As above AA is a good ffp for many. UA for some. DL tends to have a lower ranking with many. AS is good as it has many partner airlines http://www.alaskaair.com/content/mil...-overview.aspx

But if your travels are infrequent buy on price & schedule and treat ff miles (if any) as bonus that may or may not be able to be used. Most ff miles have expiry rules (DL sky pesos do not expire,)
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Old Aug 21, 15, 6:22 pm
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I've kind of eliminated United from the list, which was my previous top choice.

I am leaning towards Delta now. The only problem is routing. I live in Tampa. There are almost no direct Delta flights to the destinations I am interested in visiting soon that do not involve a stop in ATL. For example, I usually fly into BWI when visiting up there, but neither Delta or American have direct flights there. Delta has a stop in ATL and American barely flies there at all.

Also, which has a more updated fleet? I know AA is going through the whole fleet revival, but from what I can tell on my routes, I'm going to be stuck on lots of MD 80s and 757s with no personal TVs. I know most of the DL 757s came from Song and have TVs.

Finally, why is Delta so much more expensive in some markets? AA flying up to CLT then to SJU is half the price of Delta flying to ATL then SJU.

For the FF programs, the easy earning of AA is attractive while the no expiration of DLs points seems nice.
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Old Aug 21, 15, 6:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Beyfan16 View Post
For the FF programs, the easy earning of AA is attractive while the no expiration of DLs points seems nice.
Earn to burn and award $$ co payment is what matters if awards are your main objectives
Freq flyer miles in different ffp's are not equal. Just like USD is not equal to Euro
It is easy to keep ff miles alive
Here on FT many fly the long way to get more miles
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Old Aug 21, 15, 6:37 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Earn to burn and award $$ co payment is what matters if awards are your main objectives
Freq flyer miles in different ffp's are not equal. Just like USD is not equal to Euro
It is easy to keep ff miles alive
Here on FT many fly the long way to get more miles
I'm used to Rapid Rewards, which is revenue based. Are the DL and AA one revenue based or mile based? If they're mile based, I'll be happy to take that extra trip to ATL to get to Puerto Rico versus flying direct on Southwest
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Old Aug 21, 15, 6:43 pm
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AA is mile based (but who knows if it will change)
UA & DL are revenue based
AS is mile based. AS has AA & DL as partners so you get AS miles from AA and DL flights (refer to post 2)
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Old Aug 21, 15, 6:50 pm
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AS and DL are very attractive now. I have no reason to fly on AS, but if I book DL flights through AS, I will get actual miles with AS that can be redeemed with DL?

The reason I'm in love with Delta now is after comparing the in flight experience of DL with AA and UA, DL has a much better product it seems. And Medallion is the frequent flyer program right? If so its awesome how you can grab the bulkhead and emergency exit row seats for no extra charge, and get economy comfort/Delta+ upgrade on the same day if there is room.

Sorry for all of these questions. While I know a lot about aircraft and airlines, I know next to nothing about FF programs.
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Old Aug 21, 15, 6:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Beyfan16 View Post
AS and DL are very attractive now. I have no reason to fly on AS, but if I book DL flights through AS, I will get actual miles with AS that can be redeemed with DL?
There is a strong opinion by many of FT that AA will in future change to a revenue model

With ffp partners airlines you do not "book through AS". You just enter your ff number in the reservation made direct with AA, DL or who ever. They have a drop down menu to select the ffp name you want those miles credited to. All airlines are the same. The miles you earn can vary a lot with different ffp for the same flight.

AA & DL are ff partner airlines of AS. So you can get awards flights with AS miles on AA and DL (via AS). AS has some unusual rules & limitations on award flights. More so for non USA flights.

But the airline you fly most with is usually the best ffp to join.
If you have status, you tend only to get status benefits (or more benefits) with that airline
FFP's are not simple. Each is different.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/infor...help-here.html

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Aug 21, 15 at 7:13 pm
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Old Aug 21, 15, 7:14 pm
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A given award trip using Delta miles will likely be more expensive than the same trip using AA miles. For one thing, outside the "lower 48," Delta's base requirements for a ticket tend to be higher than AA's. For another, DL's initial allocation of award seats tends to be stingier than AA's unless you're at least Gold Medallion. Once the initial allocation is gone, Delta's required miles also go up faster. When it comes to the last seat on the plane, Delta wants 3x the base award miles. AA will give you that seat for 2x the base award miles.
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