Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > TravelBuzz
Reload this Page >

Why actually the 3 legacy have bad reputation?

Why actually the 3 legacy have bad reputation?

Old Oct 14, 17, 10:38 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Programs: MileagePlus
Posts: 56
Why actually the 3 legacy have bad reputation?

Hi,

In overall the average opinion about the 3 legacy is negative, usually in the sense of it's easy to compare Emirates A380 First to them and see the difference.

But this is how I see this:

1. More people actually travel with 3 legacy so as the saying goes: More you do more you fail (or something like this).

2. They have huge fleets and in charge of real logistics of transportation. So as you scale up to fletts of up to 1K you can't afford extra luxurious services, that actually might be overrated and outdated in 2017 air travel. For example LH has half fleet size of legacy.

3. Some internal U.S. general mess with domestic air travel: You don't have trains, 100% relay on air travel, weather + hub & spoke causes net delays etc.

4. FFP in U.S. are still much better than anywhere else: credit cards options, matching etc.
mikethe1 is offline  
Old Oct 14, 17, 11:21 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: San Diego, CA
Programs: GE, Marriott Gold
Posts: 14,705
The problem seems to be more that the value provided by AA/DL/UA is way lower than it should be. For example, would it kill them to offer one free checked bag without having to get status/sign up for their credit cards? And maybe a free meal in Y on the longer flights, too, even if it's just a sandwich or something.

Meanwhile, people seem much happier with WN because there's no expectation of anything other than a seat on a plane for the price paid. (The happier FAs don't hurt either.)
tmiw is offline  
Old Oct 15, 17, 1:12 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: AKL
Programs: Permanent nobody on AA, UA, QF & NZ
Posts: 31
I dont know about delta - never flown them but my own observations:

United when they get it right are really good but when it goes wrong it goes very wrong lol. Cabin crew seem to be hit an miss some are fantastic others you wonder how they ever got a customer service role.

American I found to be a lot better than anything I had heard about them. I'd fly both internationally again because although there are airlines that do a lot of things better, they are competitively priced usually and you get good value for the fare
Dweeb007 is offline  
Old Oct 15, 17, 1:26 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Economy, mostly :(
Programs: Skywards Gold
Posts: 7,800
The bait and switch that is domestic first class, it's as much confusion and misrepresentation as intra-European Business class. The additional charges for everything, lack of free meals and drinks (even non-alcoholic) on many flights/routes. Lack of lounge access on some domestic premium cabin travel. The expectation of free upgrades and premium cabins always being full, completely devalues the product. Who wants to pay for F when they can try game the system to get it free. Either they're frustrated that they didn't get the upgrade, or they pay and are frustrated thinking they could've had it free, or are judging some Silver who got upgraded because they don't know the right decibel level to whisper in the aircraft...

It's their choice to operate a hub-based network, if they can't handle it why should it be someone else's problem? It's their choice to scale to 1k aircraft, which happened through mergers, 10 years ago no single airline operated more than 500 aircraft, and all the merged ops should've been able to handle the entire fleet.

Emirates might only operated 200-250 aircraft but their average capacity per aircraft is in the region of 450 seats (!!!) Because every single one is a widebody aircraft, the smallest being a 777-300 with almost 400 seats. Every single Emirates flight is international, requiring more paperwork (for the aircraft and crew as well as keeping track of and validating pax), and operate to extremely remote stations which necessitate extremely good advance planning for crewing and catering. How often does one hear of flights in the US being cancelled because crew's timed out. Emirates manages to fly an aircraft back from Buenos Aires, half way around the world, without having a spare crew in hand, yet never having such a time-out issue. The A380 requires 2 tonnes of fresh water just for the F shower, which has to be sourced at outstations, while the 2-class carries 615 pax, all of which need to be boarded and catered for in an hour before departure. DXB handles the transit of almost 300k pax per day on average, every single one international-to-international on long distance itineraries, primarily during two major peaks, probably around 200k just during the midnight peak, yet misconnects are at a super low rate, IDBs are extremely rare.

You can't compare them directly. Equally you are right there are benefits to the US system. Credit cards are more a product of the financial system than the airlines however. The US-based airlines appear to have very interactive and powerful mobile apps, with the integration into booking allowing pax to easily change and rebook, even in case if IRROPS. This isn't possible to such a depth with Emirates or other middle Eastern airlines (of which I'd argue EK has the best app experience overall, but still not as powerful as what US airlines or even BA offer).

I've never flown any of the legacy airlines, or transited a US Airport since I was 6 years old, as my travel skews east of the meridien, but the above is what I've picked up on FT and through other online reading, so I understand if some don't value it as accurate given lack of first hand experience.
skywardhunter is online now  
Old Oct 15, 17, 2:34 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: K+K
Programs: *G
Posts: 4,557
The crowd on FT has traveled extensively enough to have a well formed opinion. It's not just sampling bias.

The issue is cultural. With many ME and Asian carriers employment is sought after and competitive. There is pride in the job. Not so much in the US so you get grumpy indifferent staff.

Flying the EU carriers in standard eco class shorthaul there's not much difference to flying in US in terms of the entire experience from departure to arrival. Flying in premium class longhaul I surmise there's more competition - from where I am OS LH LX can all be treated as "home" carriers in addition to other top carriers on other alliances .....whereas perhaps a US based flyer is slightly more captive to one of the big 3
deniah is offline  
Old Oct 16, 17, 12:01 pm
  #6  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: MCI
Programs: AA Gold 1MM, AS MVP, UA Silver, WN A-List, Marriott LT Titanium, HH Diamond
Posts: 49,442
I second the grumpy indifferent staff remark. U.S. carriers think of their passengers less as valued clients and more as self-loading cargo. My biggest problem with the U.S. airlines has nothing to do with seats or food: it's the overall disdain for the passengers and a customer-service culture that makes Comcast blush.

Add in a general lack of competition plus a political/regulatory climate that is 100% pro-airline and anti-passenger, and there's little incentive to compete to actually make things better.
pinniped is offline  
Old Oct 16, 17, 4:43 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Programs: AA, DL, Avis, Enterprise, National, IHG, HH, SPG/MR
Posts: 1,852
Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
I second the grumpy indifferent staff remark. U.S. carriers think of their passengers less as valued clients and more as self-loading cargo. My biggest problem with the U.S. airlines has nothing to do with seats or food: it's the overall disdain for the passengers and a customer-service culture that makes Comcast blush.

Add in a general lack of competition plus a political/regulatory climate that is 100% pro-airline and anti-passenger, and there's little incentive to compete to actually make things better.
I'm the opposite. I have very rarely had any real customer service issue. On the other hand, there have been numerous instances where I was grossly underwhelmed by seat comfort, or the IFE, and especially the meal service.

I suspect most of the general public takes issue with customer service because they don't understand or haven't read the terms to which both the airline and the passenger have agreed to at the time of purchase.
kb9522 is offline  
Old Oct 17, 17, 9:39 am
  #8  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: MCI
Programs: AA Gold 1MM, AS MVP, UA Silver, WN A-List, Marriott LT Titanium, HH Diamond
Posts: 49,442
Originally Posted by kb9522 View Post
I'm the opposite. I have very rarely had any real customer service issue. On the other hand, there have been numerous instances where I was grossly underwhelmed by seat comfort, or the IFE, and especially the meal service.

I suspect most of the general public takes issue with customer service because they don't understand or haven't read the terms to which both the airline and the passenger have agreed to at the time of purchase.
Perhaps that's the crux of it: airlines view their relationship with their passengers as driven first and foremost by the one-sided terms and conditions they've defined, not the broader principles and best practices of client service.

When I do business with my clients, I know that somewhere is a 40-page contract full of legalese that all of our lawyers have agreed to. However, it's not the primary driver with how I fundamentally treat other human beings. I can only think of two or three occasions in my career where a relationship got so toxic that we actually had to resort to the terms and conditions.

If a flight is long enough for me to care about food or IFE, I generally find a way to get it on an alliance partner or one of the ME3. Worst case, I find a way to get to J, which at least mitigates some of the pain and provides one avenue for semi-adequate (sometimes) customer service (the lounge).
pinniped is offline  
Old Oct 17, 17, 10:08 am
  #9  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 1,808
Originally Posted by mikethe1 View Post
Hi,

In overall the average opinion about the 3 legacy is negative, usually in the sense of it's easy to compare Emirates A380 First to them and see the difference.

But this is how I see this:

1. More people actually travel with 3 legacy so as the saying goes: More you do more you fail (or something like this).

2. They have huge fleets and in charge of real logistics of transportation. So as you scale up to fletts of up to 1K you can't afford extra luxurious services, that actually might be overrated and outdated in 2017 air travel. For example LH has half fleet size of legacy.

3. Some internal U.S. general mess with domestic air travel: You don't have trains, 100% relay on air travel, weather + hub & spoke causes net delays etc.

4. FFP in U.S. are still much better than anywhere else: credit cards options, matching etc.


There are a number of reasons, although they vary between the 3 mainlines. UA in particular is just outright failing at Customer Service, and the staff are unhappy.

But other factors include the fact that expectations are not properly managed. Once a decade flyers seem to have a nostalgic hangover that impacts their expectations, going back to how it was in the 80's. They still expect a meal in coach. They still expect to check in at the desk an hour before the flight and get seats together. When this fails, they end up hungry in the middle seat by the lavs separated from their companions, outraged at how they are being treated.

This also applies to non-Americans taking American legacies. Even second world domestic carriers like Avianca in Brazil blow American domestic legacies out of the water in terms of comfort and service. You still get a hot sandwich on the short flight between GRU and GIG WITHOUT having to pay for it. And legroom as they have not stuffed the aircraft full of seats. So when your basic domestic travel in your home country has good service, and you get on an American domestic carrier, it must be absolutely horrifying.

The other is a cultural entitlement, and this is solely on the customer. Everyone who travels is doing it for their own reasons, which are really important to that customer. It's always critical that you get to where you are going, no matter if you are going to hang on the beach or if you are going to get a liver transplant. When things get in the way like weather delays, irrops or simple run of the mill delays that put connections in peril, the airline is accused of absolutely ***ing up the customer's life. This was behind the recent temper tantrum I heard at the gate recently when a newlywed couple was not given seats together.."But we are on our HONEYMOON!!". The customer expects, wrongly, the airline to care.
Proudelitist is offline  
Old Oct 17, 17, 10:53 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 45
Originally Posted by kb9522 View Post
I suspect most of the general public takes issue with customer service because they don't understand or haven't read the terms to which both the airline and the passenger have agreed to at the time of purchase.
Are Flight Attendants spending most of the flight chatting with each other behind closed curtains in the galley covered there?
bigbuy likes this.
twb3 is offline  
Old Oct 17, 17, 11:27 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: PHX, SEA
Programs: DL Silver, Avis President's Club, Hertz President's Circle, Global Entry (Former AA Plt/Gold)
Posts: 4,133
My complaint with the US3 is that they keep on lowering their product because, instead of saying "we are better than the LCCs", now they roll out this basic economy nonsense and non-elites have to pay for aisles or windows because they are "preferred" seats prior to OLCI.

So their reputation is harmed because those of us that avoid LCCs are now stuck with the same lousy seat pitch and nickel-and-dime purchase experience. And because they are the "big three", despite prices dropping customers expect more of them.
Gig103 is offline  
Old Oct 17, 17, 12:18 pm
  #12  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: MCI
Programs: AA Gold 1MM, AS MVP, UA Silver, WN A-List, Marriott LT Titanium, HH Diamond
Posts: 49,442
Originally Posted by Proudelitist View Post
But other factors include the fact that expectations are not properly managed. Once a decade flyers seem to have a nostalgic hangover that impacts their expectations, going back to how it was in the 80's. They still expect a meal in coach. They still expect to check in at the desk an hour before the flight and get seats together.
But to play devil's advocate: if the airlines were once delivering this kind of product, why is it illogical for passengers to expect less? I can't think of any other mature technologies that I expect to get worse over time. I expect them to get cheaper, get better, or both. What other brands do you use where the product continually degrades over time, and then you blame the consumers for being unhappy about it? Cable companies and wireless providers suck in general, but at least I have fiber to the house and LTE over the air.

The meal is kind of a red herring - even in the 1980s, it was terrible. Every stand-up comedian of the era could do a whole segment on airline food. (I honestly thought airfood in coach peaked when AA had the bistro bag - solely because it was a deli sandwich they couldn't overcook into oblivion.) But the fundamental service points - the way airlines treat their customers, the way the employees behave, the efficiency and effectiveness at which they resolve problems, and the general attitudes they have about other people - should not be what they are.
pinniped is offline  
Old Oct 17, 17, 4:37 pm
  #13  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 1,808
Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
But to play devil's advocate: if the airlines were once delivering this kind of product, why is it illogical for passengers to expect less? I can't think of any other mature technologies that I expect to get worse over time. I expect them to get cheaper, get better, or both. What other brands do you use where the product continually degrades over time, and then you blame the consumers for being unhappy about it? Cable companies and wireless providers suck in general, but at least I have fiber to the house and LTE over the air.

The meal is kind of a red herring - even in the 1980s, it was terrible. Every stand-up comedian of the era could do a whole segment on airline food. (I honestly thought airfood in coach peaked when AA had the bistro bag - solely because it was a deli sandwich they couldn't overcook into oblivion.) But the fundamental service points - the way airlines treat their customers, the way the employees behave, the efficiency and effectiveness at which they resolve problems, and the general attitudes they have about other people - should not be what they are.

You can have good, or you can have cheap. Service used to be great...but expensive. Now, airfares are cheap, but the trade off is the service.

This kind of thing exists in most sectors. Food itself for example. It used to more expensive and agricultural technology was less efficient..but then, there was a time there were no chemical additives..no growth hormones..no paint to make meat look more pink..no pesticides on the fruit. Not only did everything taste better, it was better for you. Childhood obesity and obesity in general skyrocketed in 1992 when the FDA permitted RgBH in cattle. But it's cheap and plentiful. And worse.

And cars. While they used to be less safe and slower, they were also more reliable from simplicity. It was easy to fix a purely mechanical car...now, despite the enhancements and technology, they break very very easily. A bit of dust in the ECM and you start stalling. A less than perfectly inflated tire, or a rush tire change, and your dash lights up with warnings. A mismatch in injector volume and your car goes into LIMP mode.

It's a fallacy to think that things always progress towards the positive.

Yes airline food used to suck...at least on some airlines more than others. But on principle, you got food, and it was included in your ticket. Same with luggage.
Proudelitist is offline  
Old Oct 18, 17, 12:08 am
  #14  
tjl
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: California
Programs: AS,WN,UA,B6,hotels
Posts: 4,239
Originally Posted by Proudelitist View Post
And cars. While they used to be less safe and slower, they were also more reliable from simplicity. It was easy to fix a purely mechanical car...now, despite the enhancements and technology, they break very very easily. A bit of dust in the ECM and you start stalling. A less than perfectly inflated tire, or a rush tire change, and your dash lights up with warnings. A mismatch in injector volume and your car goes into LIMP mode.
Cars are not a good example of what you are trying to say. Older cars required much more frequent maintenance than newer cars, including adjustment of mechanical things the frequently wiggled out of adjustment. In the tire example, it is a feature that a newer car warns you about the improperly inflated tire; on an older car, that may go unnoticed until the improperly inflated tire fails, wears out too quickly, or causes a crash due to poor handling.
tjl is offline  
Old Oct 18, 17, 8:07 am
  #15  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: MCI
Programs: AA Gold 1MM, AS MVP, UA Silver, WN A-List, Marriott LT Titanium, HH Diamond
Posts: 49,442
Originally Posted by Proudelitist View Post
You can have good, or you can have cheap. Service used to be great...but expensive. Now, airfares are cheap, but the trade off is the service.
If it's a mature technology platform, I want good and cheap and I want it to get cheaper and better over time. Depending on the product, I can live with varying emphases on cheap vs better, but *worse* is not a good option.

Or I want supersonic aircraft.

This kind of thing exists in most sectors. Food itself for example. It used to more expensive and agricultural technology was less efficient..but then, there was a time there were no chemical additives..no growth hormones..no paint to make meat look more pink..no pesticides on the fruit. Not only did everything taste better, it was better for you. Childhood obesity and obesity in general skyrocketed in 1992 when the FDA permitted RgBH in cattle. But it's cheap and plentiful. And worse.
The percentage of GDP that we spend on food has fallen so far from a half-century ago that I'm fairly sure you could buy all organic/hormone-free/whatever and still come out far ahead of what you'd have spent on food in the past.

And cars. While they used to be less safe and slower, they were also more reliable from simplicity. It was easy to fix a purely mechanical car...now, despite the enhancements and technology, they break very very easily. A bit of dust in the ECM and you start stalling. A less than perfectly inflated tire, or a rush tire change, and your dash lights up with warnings. A mismatch in injector volume and your car goes into LIMP mode.
You've totally lost me on cars. The Honda Civic I currently drive, for which I paid $16k in 2006 dollars, is the best-performing, lowest-maintenance car I've ever driven. The next Honda Civic I buy, which I'm guessing will be $20k-ish in 2019-ish dollars, will be better than that car. (In the airline analogy, I kind of think of the Boeing 737 line as akin to the Honda Civic, although I won't try to stretch the analogy *too* far. I would hope the latest 737 represents a better and cheaper-to-operate model than the older ones.)

Contrast to the 1989 Buick Skyhawk (new cost - $12k in 1989 dollars), which was a total piece of crap that broke down all the time.

Today's cars are both better and better value than they once were. And they'll get even better and cheaper once we move away from internal-combustion engines.
pinniped is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: