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Best airline to use if flying out of SNA (Orange County)

Best airline to use if flying out of SNA (Orange County)

Old Jul 15, 07, 11:51 am
  #1  
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Best airline to use if flying out of SNA (Orange County)

Since SNA (Orange County) is not a hub for any airline I am confused about which airline to use for my travels. My work travel will have me on the road 70-80% of the time with different cities every week. They could be mostly on the West coast but may include some east coast travel.

From my research American Airlines seems to be the best bet since they have a alliance with Alaska which also has a lot of flights out of SNA.

A guide like this http://www.oag.com/NorthAmerica/Airl...routeindex.asp would be great if it provided information about which airline has the most direct destinations out of a particular airport.
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Old Jul 15, 07, 11:56 am
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I think a big part of it also depends on your typical set of destinations, and which airlines have the best connections to/from those destinations, as much as which airlines have the most flights.
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Old Jul 16, 07, 10:54 am
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Originally Posted by riteshraja View Post
A guide ... would be great if it provided information about which airline has the most direct destinations out of a particular airport.
The airport's own website includes useful information...

http://www.ocair.com/airlines/FlightSchedules.htm

You may wish to consider accumulating miles in Alaska Airline's Mileage Plan because you can earn miles on half the carriers that serve SNA: Alaska, American, Continental, Delta and Northwest.

http://www.alaskaair.com/as/mileagep...rs_Airline.asp
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Old Jul 16, 07, 6:48 pm
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It depends on your destinations, but in my opinion AA (and AS as a partner) provides the best coverage. AA has the most flights to SNA.
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Old Jul 16, 07, 7:14 pm
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Originally Posted by zakami View Post
It depends on your destinations, but in my opinion AA (and AS as a partner) provides the best coverage. AA has the most flights to SNA.
AA seems to be the good choice. I have signed up for the Platinum challenge
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Old Jul 19, 07, 1:15 pm
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It also depends on upgrading possibilities and bonuses. For the not too frequent flyer, Alaska is a good choice because you can get credit for Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, etc.

United is not as good because it's only United, US Airways, Lufthansa, etc.

If you fly a lot, higher level elites do get benefits from sticking with their airline.

Also consider joining several. For example, American and Alaska (putting AA and AS miles into AA and the rare CO/NW/DL into AS). Or United and American, or Alaska and United, etc.

I used to avoid Southwest. Now other airlines have reduced service to sub-WN levels in some cases. WN isn't bad for domestic awards. They have seat availability.
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Old Jul 19, 07, 1:18 pm
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Originally Posted by glex50 View Post
I think a big part of it also depends on your typical set of destinations, and which airlines have the best connections to/from those destinations, as much as which airlines have the most flights.
Very true. Since the many airlines have made it hard to redeem awards, I have stopped going out of my way to fly a certain airline. I still do have preferences but these are not absolute.

Safety remains #1 priority (though only a few airlines get 2nd tier in my book), price and schedule next.
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Old Jul 19, 07, 1:46 pm
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I used to fly America West out of SNA almost exclusively.
Of course, that was back when they had a great elite program and hadn't joined US. Service, prices, and elite benefits are now much worse.

But two big pluses remain. Two of US's hubs are less than an hour flight away: Las Vegas and Phoenix. And from those two hubs there are many direct flights to cities covering the entire country.

And finally, US still has the only direct flights to Vegas.
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Old Jul 19, 07, 2:29 pm
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Depending on where you are relative to SNA and other airports, it may still be more favorable (in terms of less overall travel time and less risk of problems / misconnections) to sometimes fly from some other airport like LAX or LGB if it gives choices with fewer connections or better times.

Which airline(s) to emphasize depends on your destinations, and what benefits you are looking for. Someone emphasizing redeemable miles for flights and upgrades may prefer AS or AS + UA, since AS has mileage partnerships with AA, CO, DL, and NW. Someone emphasizing elite status perks would have to look carefully to see which airline can best be concentrated on (since elite status perks are best on the actual airline, as opposed to partners).
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Old Jul 19, 07, 2:51 pm
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avoid US Airways!!!!
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Old Jul 19, 07, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Bidkat View Post
I used to fly America West out of SNA almost exclusively.
Of course, that was back when they had a great elite program and hadn't joined US. Service, prices, and elite benefits are now much worse.
It wasn't HP joining US but HP being a skinwalker and taking over US.
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Old Jul 19, 07, 2:57 pm
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The only thing I care about is getting status on an airline so that I get upgraded.

So based on that is Alaska a better choice then AA?
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Old Jul 19, 07, 6:21 pm
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Originally Posted by Bidkat View Post
And finally, US still has the only direct flights to Vegas.
"Only"?

Southwest Airlines Schedule for Orange County to Las Vegas

Flight Departs Arrives Stops Travel Time
1621 9:00am 10:05am N/S 1:05
2339 11:30am 12:35pm N/S 1:05 (except Sunday)
704 11:50am 12:55pm N/S 1:05 (Sunday only)
713 1:30pm 2:35pm N/S 1:05
3071 3:20pm 4:25pm N/S 1:05
3072 5:35pm 6:35pm N/S 1:00 (except Saturday)
1511 6:05pm 7:05pm N/S 1:00 (Saturday only)
839 7:40pm 8:45pm N/S 1:05 (except Saturday)
699 9:10pm 10:15pm N/S 1:05 (Saturday only)

I count 6 daily, not zero!!!
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Old Jul 19, 07, 6:36 pm
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Originally Posted by riteshraja View Post
The only thing I care about is getting status on an airline so that I get upgraded.

So based on that is Alaska a better choice then AA?
It depends completely where you want to get upgraded!

If you earn Alaska EQMs (Elite Qualfitying miles), you only get status-related upgrades on Alaska. Does Alaska take you where you most want to get upgraded, or will you be fliying its metal mostly for shorter flights up and down the coast?

If you earn American EQMs, you only get status-related upgrades on American. That might be more valuable if your American flights will be midcon to cross-country.

The only way you can get status-related upgrades on both is if you qualify for status on both. (There are few if any airline FF programs in which status gets you upgrades on partner airlines. In general, upgrades from status can only be done on the airline's own metal, and upgrades using miles can only be done on the airline's own metal, though of course in the case of miles you can accumulate them in multiple airlines from partner activity even if earning all your EQMs to only one FF program.) Now, if you have just over 75,000 miles of flying a year, the trickier part is to figure out who to give the higher status to and who the lower status...

Since it's July, if you achieve the AAdvatnage Plat Challenge, you'll be Plat through Feb 2009 even if you don't credit a single extra flight to AAdvatnage between now and then. So for the near term, after you get to AA Plat, you may want to concentrate on earning Alaska (whether you're flying AA or Alaska) so as to get status there also, at the very least for the rest of this year. Then, by 2007, you may have a better idea of which airline's status you value more. (Remember, on no airline does status guarantee you upgrades, and upgrade chances are a complex relationship between status level, the specific city pair, the day of week maybe also time of week you fly, etc, in that on some flights you have much more competition for upgrades than on other flights.)

Also keep in mind that mileage upgrades can be confirmed months ahead of time, which status upgrades can't (sometimes they're confirmed until you're at the gate!). That's something to consider when figuring out what to use regular miles for (given that using 25000 miles for a flight that would cost you only $250 cash is about the most awfully-valued redemption you can do!). On a cross-country route where you know it's hard to actually secure the status upgrade, you may want to sometimes use the 15k (or whatever) miles to secure the one-way upgrade well in advance of the flight.
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Old Jul 23, 07, 11:55 am
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Another thing to keep in mind is the chances of being upgraded out of SNA as an AA Plat. are not good. Both DH and I did the Plat. challenge last year. Since then he's flown quite a bit more than me, but neither of us have ever scored an upgrade SNA-DFW on a weekday. He's been lucky on a couple of Saturday flights. SNA-ORD seems a better bet, we're running about 60% on that one. Ex. Plats are numerous out of SNA and they get most of the seats.
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