US First vs AirTran Business

Old Mar 17, 10, 10:59 am
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Smile US First vs AirTran Business

This weekend I did RT First Class MCO-Charlotte and here are some observations, compared with my many recent AirTran Business class experiences. Both flight crews were very nice, East going and West coming back. The seats were more comfortable (extra seat padding) on the East planes; though the West neck things were great. I loved the pomegranate martinis, having two doubles on each flight. The basket of goodies was fine for an offering. Also, the express line through security was a great benefit, as was the express luggage.

AirTran Business Class is very similar to the above with a few differences. One is, that you get pre-takeoff cocktails, which US Airways does not provide. Second, the goody basket, seems to have more to offer. I like the seats; however they are about the same. The flight attendants are about the same, as is the ground operation.

In summary, I think that US Airways is equal to the services provided by AirTran with its premium product. The added benefit of *A earning is something that AirTran does not offer. This being said, US First is not a true domestic First, such as United, Continental, Alaska, or Delta. Not offering meals for under a 3.5 hour flight, plastic cups, no pre-flight drinks, no US Airways skycaps and a staff that never addresses you by name: is not what one sees in the other majors First Class products.

I did like my flights overall, however the US product is not equal to the First product that either United or Continental offer. It seems to me, that US needs to improve its offering to be competitive within its alliance. While it does (more or less) equal AirTran the main benefit over AirTran is it's alliance benefits. So in the end, I will look into moving my flights (MCO based) to US Airways to take advantage of the great earning benefits on BMI. I should look into, more paid First tickets, at 3x mileage [email protected]:-)@:-):-:
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Old Mar 17, 10, 11:50 am
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just a few points-

1. I've been addressed by name before, and sometimes I have not been. I would rather a stranger not know my name in this day and age.

2. Out of the last 12 F segments I've flown I got a preflight drink on 11 of them. In fact, I've been cut off more times than I've not been offered a preflight drink.

Last edited by Frebis; Mar 17, 10 at 12:24 pm
Frebis is offline  
Old Mar 17, 10, 11:56 am
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I don't know about MCO but US cannot serve alcoholic beverages at TPA when the aircraft is on the ground.
Other than that US serves pre flight drinks on all other flights (minus NM).
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Old Mar 17, 10, 12:00 pm
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I'll give you the no meals under 3.5 hours (though I recently was served one on ORD-PHX) and the infamous plastic cups, but I agree with the previous poster on the whole "calling by name" issue. Doesn't bother me in the least, and given the choice, I'd rather not have them address me by name.
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Old Mar 17, 10, 12:05 pm
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That's the biggest stretch I've seen in a long time. Pre-departure drinks are hit or miss on US East. Much more "hit" on US West.

Originally Posted by bwiadca View Post
I don't know about MCO but US cannot serve alcoholic beverages at TPA when the aircraft is on the ground.
Other than that US serves pre flight drinks on all other flights (minus NM).
HereAndThereSC is offline  
Old Mar 17, 10, 12:07 pm
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There's some weird Alcoholic Beverage Commission rule at MCO-- not sure if it is county or state--- they can't serve pre-flight cocktails there. They used to, maybe 3-4 years ago; not entirely sure when they stopped and TBH occasionally they slip up and "forget" but when I've forgotten where I am, and asked for a drink, I'm always gently reminded that they can't serve on the ground in MCO.

I've never been all that impressed with AirTran. The planes are OK, no real difference in Coach (never had an AirTran business class seat though) but my real hangups with them are: Very limited destinations served from DCA when compared with US, especially for the nonstops, and very limited equipment; if you get stuck with a broken-down plane on US in a hub or a focus city, you've got a decent chance that the spare part or a spare plane is there or closeby; you're not totally done for. AirTran doesn't seem to have the same resources.

Also AirTran doesn't partner with anyone "big" that I know of, just Frontier and I don't consider them too big, so in irrops you're not going to get walked over to another airline. For me that's a biggie. I could give lots of examples but I think the best is trying to beat the St Patricks Day Ice Storm back east about 2 years ago, flying US from SAT-DCA connecting somewhere in between. The connection into DCA had been cancelled and no other routes into DCA from SAT on US so they put me on a UA nonstop that got me to IAD just in time to beat the ice storm. If I'd been on Air Tran (or WN for that matter) I might have been in Texas for a couple extra days. No fun.

I like being called by name although it annoys me when it's overdone. You don't have to address me by name every time I ask for something. But I think it is a classy touch and shows respect when greeted by name for the first contact.

And I really don't have an issue with plasticware. I could care less if my cocktail comes in glass, plastic or a handmade terra cotta coconut with tiki dancers on top.
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Old Mar 17, 10, 12:14 pm
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Although the Tiki dancers are kind of cute, eh?
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Old Mar 17, 10, 12:29 pm
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Last time I flew AirTran in business they absolutely refused to serve a second pre-departure beer. My last flight on US my seat opponent polished off three pre-departure beers with nary a protest from the F/A (I was honestly surprised that he got a third, never mind a second).
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Old Mar 17, 10, 12:36 pm
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Lounges make a huge difference for me.
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Old Mar 17, 10, 12:53 pm
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AirTran has wifi on all flights, does it not? End of story for me. Wifi makes AirTran the best FC/BC out there, even if there is a charge.
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Old Mar 17, 10, 12:56 pm
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Originally Posted by dcpatti View Post
I might have been in Texas for a couple extra days. No fun.
I'll take two extra days in SAT over DCA anytime!
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Old Mar 17, 10, 7:41 pm
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Originally Posted by masonuc View Post
AirTran has wifi on all flights, does it not? End of story for me. Wifi makes AirTran the best FC/BC out there, even if there is a charge.
Lack of power ports kills that. As does the regular undercatering of adult beverages in FL's J.
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Old Mar 18, 10, 2:01 am
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AirTran's Sirius-XM radio & the GoGo wifi is a great distraction, in my mind, over US.

Every airline is starting to look the same, more and more... its coming down to network & flights for the most part.
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Old Mar 18, 10, 7:40 am
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I have also flown Airtran Business before and it is about on par with the US First offering. I do also hope that US does bring power and wifi to their airplanes, that would be quite nice. I have had to relegate my movie watching to an ipod due to battery issues with the laptop.

-- Mia
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Old Mar 18, 10, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by Beckles View Post
My last flight on US my seat opponent ...
A little insight into what traveling has become .

I know what you meant, but it made me chuckle when I read it. Now that I think of it, I have had some real opponents in coach for the armrest elbow wars.
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