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NOLA folks: what airline?

NOLA folks: what airline?

Old Nov 14, 16, 1:43 pm
  #1  
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NOLA folks: what airline?

So I've just moved to New Orleans from the DFW area, where I was an AA hub captive. Flying out of MSY, though, the flight frequency is much more balanced, so I'm needing to decide what airline to focus my flying on.

I'm currently AA Platinum and UA Silver, but I expect both will expire Jan/Feb of next year, leaving me AA lifetime Gold and no other air status. My current project has me flying to the IAD area 1x/month, but that may end next year, and the next project may be somewhere else yet unknown, and may have more or less travel. I'll likely have 3-6 domestic leisure trips mixed in as well. So focused on one airline, probably enough for 25K status, but 50K status might be a stretch (unless I start connecting a lot and make it on segments).

Of importance to me:
1. Flight comfort - can I get an aisle seat, extra legroom, occasional upgrades?
2. Flight schedules - nonstops, or connections that aren't too out-of-the-way or lengthy.
3. Operational reliability.

I'm not especially concerned with the redemption side of the equation.

Thoughts? Who is your preferred carrier?
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Old Nov 14, 16, 10:11 pm
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Which airport would you most likely fly into when you go to the IAD area. Will IAD be the closest to your project site or would Reagan be closer?

If Reagan, stick with AA. If IAD, then consider UA.

With that said, if comfort and occasional upgrades are major considerations, then AA is your best bet. With no status on UA, you won't get those unless you pay for E+. With the UA Explorer credit card, you can have group 2 boarding.

The vast majority of my flying is TATL connecting via Dulles and I'm UA 1K. For my TPAC trips, I've connected thru IAH, DEN, SFO, & LAX. I try to avoid ORD & EWR. A caveat is that lately my flights to IAD have been on CRJs which is what is scheduled for my usual flight time. Larger planes fly at different times than my usual 12:30-ish departure time.

MSY is not UA elite heavy, so if you can get to silver again, you might stand a chance of getting an occasional upgrade. Aisle seating shouldn't be a problem, silver or not. I'm not really familiar with silver perks, but I think silvers can choose an available E+ seat within 24 hours of departure.

Since you have Lifetime AA Gold, give United a shot. You'll always have AA to fall back on.

Welcome to my hometown.
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Old Nov 16, 16, 9:11 am
  #3  
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Yet another reason to fly AA ex-MSY: Tyrone, who has been working the AA gates most mornings for as long as I can remember, is one of the best, if not THE best, AA employee there is. He will always greet you with a big warm smile, a firm handshake, and a hearty laugh. He's well worth getting to know. (As I always remind him, I hate seeing his smiling face because it means that I'm leaving New Orleans.)

Edited to add: swag, if you don't already know Tyrone from your MSY-DFW runs, make sure to introduce yourself to him and let him know that you expect to be one of his regulars going forward.
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Old Nov 16, 16, 9:28 am
  #4  
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How about DL? You'd probably be able to get Gold status, the same as Plat on AA, of you can spend $50,000-60,000 on a DL AmEx card annually.
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Old Nov 16, 16, 1:42 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
How about DL? You'd probably be able to get Gold status, the same as Plat on AA, of you can spend $50,000-60,000 on a DL AmEx card annually.
I used to fly Delta, however, they screwed around with their elite program once too often, so I left. They are a good airline and have the only lounge at MSY. However, DL probably has the most elites of the 3 majors at MSY. Could make the occasional upgrade difficult for someone with no or low DL status.

Last edited by FLYMSY; Nov 26, 16 at 10:00 pm
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Old Nov 16, 16, 5:12 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by FLYMSY View Post
Which airport would you most likely fly into when you go to the IAD area. Will IAD be the closest to your project site or would Reagan be closer?

If Reagan, stick with AA. If IAD, then consider UA.

With that said, if comfort and occasional upgrades are major considerations, then AA is your best bet. With no status on UA, you won't get those unless you pay for E+. With the UA Explorer credit card, you can have group 2 boarding.

...

MSY is not UA elite heavy, so if you can get to silver again, you might stand a chance of getting an occasional upgrade. Aisle seating shouldn't be a problem, silver or not. I'm not really familiar with silver perks, but I think silvers can choose an available E+ seat within 24 hours of departure.

Since you have Lifetime AA Gold, give United a shot. You'll always have AA to fall back on.

Welcome to my hometown.
With this client, IAD is closest, but DCA is a reasonable choice, and I've even done BWI on the Sunday night inbound (but not the weekday return). But it's likely that by mid-year or sooner I'll be on to the next client, who could be anywhere else in the US.

And thanks for the welcome!

Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
...

Edited to add: swag, if you don't already know Tyrone from your MSY-DFW runs, make sure to introduce yourself to him and let him know that you expect to be one of his regulars going forward.
I've encountered him, but never really spoken with him...

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
How about DL? You'd probably be able to get Gold status, the same as Plat on AA, of you can spend $50,000-60,000 on a DL AmEx card annually.
That spend is likely out of range, and even if I did reach that high, I'm sot sure I'd want to direct it all into SkyMiles.

---
Do any MSY flyers here focus on Southwest? Obviously no upgrades, but even with no status, a bit of diligence almost always gets me a good enough number for an aisle.
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Old Nov 17, 16, 3:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
Yet another reason to fly AA ex-MSY: Tyrone, who has been working the AA gates most mornings for as long as I can remember, is one of the best, if not THE best, AA employee there is. He will always greet you with a big warm smile, a firm handshake, and a hearty laugh. He's well worth getting to know. (As I always remind him, I hate seeing his smiling face because it means that I'm leaving New Orleans.)

Edited to add: swag, if you don't already know Tyrone from your MSY-DFW runs, make sure to introduce yourself to him and let him know that you expect to be one of his regulars going forward.
+1 Tyrone is awesome!

For the thread, all I can add is Southwest is probably better if you value nonstops to more cities. Especially if you have the companion pass. But if you're solo and value upgrades I'd go with a legacy carrier like AA. Both Southwest and AA fly to DCA. For IAD, just United.

I personally am off the status treadmill and mostly fly either on deep-discount sale fares on Southwest as a party of two on CP or on miles/points on the legacies if traveling solo.

We are getting a new terminal in a year or two, hopefully with more lounges. Currently there's just a Delta crown room.
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Old Nov 17, 16, 8:15 pm
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Originally Posted by TravelerMSY View Post
We are getting a new terminal in a year or two, hopefully with more lounges. Currently there's just a Delta crown room.
BA will want a lounge for its MSY-LGW service. It'd be nice if it were to be available all day long for AA passengers, but I'm not optimistic.
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Old Nov 26, 16, 9:31 pm
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Originally Posted by swag View Post
With this client, IAD is closest, but DCA is a reasonable choice, and I've even done BWI on the Sunday night inbound (but not the weekday return). But it's likely that by mid-year or sooner I'll be on to the next client, who could be anywhere else in the US.

And thanks for the welcome!
If IAD is closest, it seems like UA is a no-brainer. Not playing home team bias given my status, but you may as well give it a shot if you are lifetime gold on AA. The only downside (IMO) is no UA lounge in MSY.
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Old Mar 25, 17, 7:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
BA will want a lounge for its MSY-LGW service. It'd be nice if it were to be available all day long for AA passengers, but I'm not optimistic.
BA is flying to LHR baby!

I think MSY has a separate international lounge, but I've never used it myself.

If you value nonstop service, WN is at the top with over 20 destinations and well over 50 daily departures - about double the legacies. No first class or premium seating of course, but the seats are fairly spacious for economy and I'd rather get to my destination sooner than make a connection with first class seats. And with them you're earning points that don't expire or reset every year.

Of the legacies DL has long been king at MSY, but AA is upgrading a lot of their flights to mainline service and of course has partner BA coming in. As others have mentioned UA has more regional jet service and the schedules just aren't as great as other airlines e.g. UA 2-3 daily to EWR versus DL 3 to LGA and 3 to JFK or UA 2 IAD vs. AA's 4-5 DCA flights or Southwest's 2 DCA and 3 BWI flights.

My advice would be to try the WN route and see how things shake out with the other airlines and new terminal. I've heard rumors that MSY is going to see a big DL expansion, maybe others as well, so who knows. AA is good, but has a few holes in the network, like NYC and PHX, and only once daily to LAX.
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Old Mar 25, 17, 10:23 pm
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Originally Posted by prokowave View Post

I think MSY has a separate international lounge, but I've never used it myself.
Delta has the only lounge at MSY, as far as I know.
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Old Mar 27, 17, 9:06 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by prokowave View Post
I think MSY has a separate international lounge, but I've never used it myself.
Originally Posted by FLYMSY View Post
Delta has the only lounge at MSY, as far as I know.
I was wandering around Terminal C once with some extra time on my hands, before BA had even announced its MSY-LHR service, and I noticed a door marked "International Lounge," or something like that. It was locked and looked dark inside, and I never can recalling having seen it before, let alone in operation. But if you look at this map you can see it adjacent to Gate C1. I'm assuming BA departs from Terminal C. Perhaps this is the lounge that they're using (although note that a search of lounge locations on BA.com does not list this one).
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Old Mar 27, 17, 9:51 am
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I've seen that door also. It does show on the terminal map (proof it really exists!) but I agree it's odd that there's an absence of info about it anywhere online.

My Mom is actually flying BA J out of MSY soon. I'll ask her to check it out if she has time.

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Old Mar 27, 17, 10:01 am
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Originally Posted by swag View Post
I've seen that door also. It does show on the terminal map (proof it really exists!) but I agree it's odd that there's an absence of info about it anywhere online.

My Mom is actually flying BA J out of MSY soon. I'll ask her to check it out if she has time.
I just posted an inquiry on the BA board as well. Interestingly, after the route was announced there was a lot of discussion on the BA board about lounge access, but nothing that I could find since the route actually began operating.
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Old Mar 27, 17, 10:06 am
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
I just posted an inquiry on the BA board as well. Interestingly, after the route was announced there was a lot of discussion on the BA board about lounge access, but nothing that I could find since the route actually began operating.
Not surprising, since the first BA departure from MSY isn't until tonight.
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