Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > America - USA > Midwest
Reload this Page >

United vs American for Chicago Travelers

United vs American for Chicago Travelers

Old Dec 18, 15, 9:07 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 103
United vs American for Chicago Travelers

Does anyone know which of the two large Chicago-hubbed airlines is more popular with the Chicago population base, both leisure and business travelers?
flyingrox is offline  
Old Dec 19, 15, 6:41 am
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Chicago
Posts: 11,024
I'd put the service and terminals just about equally bad for both right now, so it really depends on destination. For example, if you're going to SFO, UA is going to have a better schedule than AA (and VX is going to have much better service). But AA is the only one of the two with flights to SJC, and it has much better MIA service than UA.

Both airlines have a lot of very bitter employees and both seem to be in the commodity business rather than a service business. I wouldn't let a bad or good experience on either airline influence the decision unless that decision is to stay away from both and go with an airline that is committed to better service.

Lounges, UA has more at ORD, but AA's is large and has both a quiet room and a kids' room. The kids' room benefits everyone in the lounge, not just parents. And the AA lounge attendants offer much better service than their UA counterparts, who can be downright surly.

I find UA miles to be a lot easier to use for intentional award travel than AA miles, which is a reversal of the situation about a decade ago. UA also has much larger economy plus sections than AA (I've been in regular economy seats for my last three flights on AA).

What are your regular destinations?
rjque is offline  
Old Dec 19, 15, 9:24 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: ORD
Programs: UA Silver, Marriott Titanium/LT Platinum, Hilton Gold, AA Platinum
Posts: 4,442
I agree with the notion that your destinations make a difference.

Despite all the complaining on the UA forum here, I would characterize UA as an airline that is generally stable after several really bad post-merger years. Its starting to fix some of the little things that bothered people, and has improved the big things (such as on-time performance) as much as it ever will.

My impression of AA is that they didn't break all the little things like UA did, but a lot of the big things are trending downward. I mainly fly UA though.

If you travel internationally, I really like UA's partners in Star Alliance.

The real question is where will each be 2 years from now when you have dedicated your loyalty to one of them. My guess is they will look a lot alike.
JBord is offline  
Old Dec 19, 15, 5:46 pm
  #4  
Moderator: Information Desk, FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Programs: AA Gold
Posts: 12,285
Personally, I'm an AA person. My best friend has just jumped from AA to VX, when possible. The boyfriend has split loyalty between AA and UA. Of the couples I know who travel most frequently, two are loyal to UA and one is loyal to AA. Old data point, but in the last office I worked, the two most frequent travelers were both UA fans.
chgoeditor is offline  
Old Dec 20, 15, 12:52 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Chicagoland, IL, USA
Programs: WN CP, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 13,317
Most of my Chicago FF friends prefer AA. As do I.
toomanybooks is offline  
Old Dec 21, 15, 10:44 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: duh!
Programs: DL, WN, AA, IHG Plat, Hertz 5*
Posts: 3,037
If most of your flying will be domestic, WN from MDW might also be an option. Southwest has a big hub at Midway.
DavidDTW is offline  
Old Dec 23, 15, 5:55 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: AA, UA, GE
Posts: 3,647
I fly both UA and AA out of ORD. My decision is usually made on who has the better fare & schedule for my destination. In coach, I don't see much difference between the products. My personal experience is that AA handles IROPS a bit better, but that could be just my experience based on a very small sample.

I think the rjque's observation about the lounges at ORD is spot on.

Lately I have been flying AA more and more for personal travel as my wife and I fly business class to Latin America and the Caribbean. AA is usually cheaper for this and I find the the domestic first service on AA is somewhat better than UA.
cheltzel is offline  
Old Dec 26, 15, 4:04 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chicagoland/ORD
Programs: UA Gold, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 3,262
Originally Posted by DavidDTW View Post
If most of your flying will be domestic, WN from MDW might also be an option. Southwest has a big hub at Midway.
Depends on where you live. I'm 15 min. from ORD and what seems like another country--and more than 5x taxi fare--from Midway.

As for the OP's question, I fly UA because it has better fares and schedules for my destinations.
linsj is offline  
Old Jan 6, 16, 10:37 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: MKE, formerly the closest FT-er to LAX
Programs: Marriott Gold. Usually WN or DL if in the air.
Posts: 675
I'm certainly not loyal to either, but in very general terms I've found UA's domestic route network out of ORD to be preferable to AA. There are several mid-size cities where UA offers at least some mainline service while AA has only Eagle service or no service whatsoever (eg ALB, BUF, SMF). UA offers nonstops to ANC & HNL -- AA doesn't.

Of course, as others have mentioned, AA might be better depending on your particular destination. AA offers the only daytime flight to LHR which I prefer to the overnights.

Last edited by mizzou65201; Jan 6, 16 at 10:38 pm Reason: clarification
mizzou65201 is offline  
Old Jan 31, 16, 4:33 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: ORD
Programs: United 100K, Etihad Gold, Marriot Platinum, Hilton Gold
Posts: 497
I live pretty equal distance to MDW and ORD. Most people I know who travel only for leisure like Southwest. At my business people who fly to Asia a lot prefer AA, while to europe prefer UA / Star alliance. I don't know much about AA but I know they can code share on Qatar and Cathay Pacific so Asia flyers like that. We of course have a coach only policy right now until oil rebounds so no comments about J products.
steveo is offline  
Old Jan 31, 16, 7:01 pm
  #11  
glg
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Chicago, IL, US
Posts: 2,183
I also live pretty equal distance to either airport. I started doing almost exclusively Southwest for leisure when I had a young child and a checked bag became a given. Child is older now, but we got used to not cramming into carryons, so we stuck with Southwest. I travel for business 5-10 times a year, almost exclusively domestic, and I moved that mostly to Southwest as well. Combine the guarantee of no RJs with points to use for the aforementioned leisure and it's just worked out. If something were to change with biz travel, that could change, but it works for now.
glg is offline  
Old Feb 1, 16, 9:22 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: ORD
Programs: AA EXP, Hyatt Diamond, Marriott Gold, Hilton Gold, Hertz PC
Posts: 439
Originally Posted by flyingrox View Post
Does anyone know which of the two large Chicago-hubbed airlines is more popular with the Chicago population base, both leisure and business travelers?
I would say that UA is probably more popular in Chicago. Whether or not that means better often depends on an individuals travel patterns and preferences.
AlwaysSunnyInORD is offline  
Old Feb 1, 16, 10:08 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Indianapolis
Programs: Hilton-Diamond Lifetime Platinum AA UA, WN-CP, SPG Gold.
Posts: 5,456
I often go out on one, only to return on the othe...depends on the time of departure.
satman40 is offline  
Old Feb 2, 16, 7:27 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: ORD
Programs: AA PLT
Posts: 2,702
Originally Posted by AlwaysSunnyInORD View Post
I would say that UA is probably more popular in Chicago. Whether or not that means better often depends on an individuals travel patterns and preferences.
Agreed. I would say UA has the slight edge over AA when comparing legacies, but the growth of WN at MDW in the last 10 years can't be ignored. I know more than a few people who have shifted their allegiances in the last few years from AA to WN so that they could use a companion pass.

In general, I agree with the sentiment that destination matters -- if you're headed to the east coast, AA has a slightly better network, whereas UA does a little better to points west. UA has a much stronger international presence, especially to Europe, whereas AA has removed flights like FRA and DEL in recent years in favor of relying on alliance partners and codeshares.
linglingfool is offline  
Old Feb 20, 16, 7:28 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Francisco
Programs: GM on VX, UA, AA, HA, AS, SY; Budget Fastbreak
Posts: 4,708
United vs American for Chicago Travelers

I prefer AA out of ORD (compared to ual) - just a smaller terminal area. Ual out of Ord is just too big, which means loads of expected walking post-security. It's similar at SFO. So that could be a consideration; a shorter walk at any airport is nicer. I fly out of ord 3-4 times a year, ever since 2005.

Overall I prefer VX the most but this doesn't answer the Topic.
gaobest is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread