Give me one good reason not to defect to Continental

 
Old Oct 11, 07, 3:23 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: PIT/LAX
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Give me one good reason not to defect to Continental

To all my friends on FT, sorry for the sarcasm, but I have been researching other carriers with the intent of possibly doing a status match and definitely am on the verge of moving all of my business over to CO immediately. I've already qualified for Gold on US for 2008 and am currently within striking distance of Silver on CO. United is the only other possibility for me.

Honestly, from my "research" and my personal experience CO seems too good to be true. The recent round of cuts at PIT and the slow, painful spiral of US into an LCC with a (be nice) severely degraded experience for the business traveler has pushed me over the edge. Someone please tell me where I am wrong on this.

1. Newer fleet than US with a continuous fleet upgrade going into 2008 and 2009.

2. B787s coming online in 2010

3. Far superior aircraft cleanliness

4. Much better in-flight service in Y

5. Free snacks in Y

6. Far superior domestic biz class

7. Significantly higher business class to coach seat ratio than US

8. US has been shrinking First while CO is in the process of expanding it.

9. Far superior International product

10. Business First International worthy of a world class airline (redundant but worth mentioning again )

11. 75,000 Elite MIles (BIS miles) needed for highest elite level as opposed to 100K for US

12. Possibility of 150% Elite miles when purchasing higher fare level. This actually helps me a great deal as I not-infrequently end up buying last minute Y fares

13. Skyteam allows miles when traveling on Delta and Northwest which open up many possibilities for earning miles--all things being equal, better for me than *alliance with United/Air Canada

14. Presidents club (unless I am missing something) seems like a slam dunk compared to the US clubs. Many more cities, many more options with partners including Delta Crown Room and Northwest. Plus many international options. Free booze!! (ok I don't really drink much but its nice to have the option)

15. Cleveland is only an hour and forty-five minute easy drive from my "base" so flights doable directly from CLE as a backup.

16. Good TX connections

17. Mainline B737s PIT-IAH for west coast connections

18. EWR for all its problems still a lot better than PHL in the crappy hub race.

19. Codeshare and award availability through Virgin Atlantic (not sure if US has this)

20. Ability to status match to same level as I am currently

Negatives: From what I can tell, and maybe it is the "grass is greener" scenario, but there aren't many negatives and the ones I can think of are mostly weak points.

1. CLE and IAH still not as good facilities as PIT and CLT though they are close, and I will still O&D a lot out of PIT for the most part

2. IAH somewhat out of the way for Transcons

3. Wierd pricing from what I can tell. CO can occasionally have significantly higher pricing than US, but, of course, I can always use DL or NW.

4. Upgrade rate much lower than US, but my understanding is that the problem is most significant out of EWR and least out of CLE-though I have no illusions about this issue. This is probably the biggest negative.

5. Weak west coast route structure.

6. Virtually no direct flights from my home airports of PIT and LAX except to hubs.

7. Tight seating dimensions/configurations in coach on some A/C

Any comments are much appreciated.
Wave1 is offline  
Old Oct 11, 07, 4:04 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
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I think you have answered your own question

Enjoy CO/NW

BTW, when I was US Gold, NW comped me to Elite Gold status when I jumped.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 4:09 am
  #3  
 
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Beside for the route network of both and *A vs. SkyTeam, I personally do not understand even why US still has frequent fliers.

Go for it.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 4:48 am
  #4  
 
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Do you fly the cheapest fares and book through a travel agent? Make sure you don't get caught up in COs 50% EQM deal.

Also, it doesn't seem CO offers any systemwide upgrades like AA,UA and, U....well, let's not kid ourselves.

I would be curious to hear more about upgrade success rates out of CLE myself.

Last edited by PSU Mudder; Oct 11, 07 at 4:53 am
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Old Oct 11, 07, 5:27 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by PSU Mudder View Post
Do you fly the cheapest fares and book through a travel agent? Make sure you don't get caught up in COs 50% EQM deal.

Also, it doesn't seem CO offers any systemwide upgrades like AA,UA and, U....well, let's not kid ourselves.

I would be curious to hear more about upgrade success rates out of CLE myself.
I make my own reservations and would be able to use the CO website, so that is not a problem. I too would like to hear from some Cleveland CO fliers on their upgrade sucess. Maybe I will pose the question on the CO board.

I am more and more convinced by the minute that this move is the way to go.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 5:55 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Wave1 View Post
I make my own reservations and would be able to use the CO website, so that is not a problem. I too would like to hear from some Cleveland CO fliers on their upgrade sucess. Maybe I will pose the question on the CO board.

I am more and more convinced by the minute that this move is the way to go.

It is absolutely the right move. I live between CLE and PIT and used to be CP flying out of PIT. As far as upgrades go, make sure that the flights you would be taking out of CLE are not on RJs. A lot of cities out of CLE are only served by RJs. RJs bother some - not me - and obviously have 0% upgrade possibility. As a Plat I've only missed one upgrade this year - on mainline planes I'm probably 18 out of 19 opportunities. Golds could expect less success and Silvers even less. If I had to guess I'd say Golds 50% and Silvers half of that but I'll let some CLE Silvers chime in with personal experience. Good luck and don't be afraid to up your segment count by adding the PIT-CLE Beech 1900 onto your flights.
PIT may be a great airport but don't let that influence your view of US. US currently is the worst of big boys.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 6:53 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I had been a CP for a long time, flying 250+ segments a year. I have NEVER been HAPPIER since switching to ST. Remember, for west coast, Alaska is a partner.


A few points. I am 6' and do not find Y that offensive. I believe that some of the complaints on the CO board come from those who want CO Y ala UA E+.

The lounge.....US STINKS. CO you do NOT need a same day ticket. In fact, they will give you a gate pass to get INTO the secure area if you want to "drop in" for a drink. Or if you have friends/family you want to meet at the gate.

F product ROCKS. EWR-ATL gets a MEAL. With soup!

Onepass redemption is not that bad. I was able to book 2 EWR-FRA in F, 3-JFK-LON in Virgin UPPER CLASS, and recently (holding) Qantas 2 EWR-SYD in F!!! ALL at the standard rate!

The fleet expansion/updating is actually booked through 2012 I believe.

Transcons on a BF equiped 757-200 are GREAT. Full sundae service, 3 course meal including appetizers and salads!!!!

The ONLY....ONLY issue I have with CO (which management is currently working WITH the ff's on changing, by Jan 1 I belive) is that the standby list is not by status. At a recent CO "DO", Larry said this will be changed. It did get me once...as I was at the airport and 11 standbys cleared. I was the ONLY plat on the list (per g/a), but I was #15!!! This will make CO a 1000000% perfect carrier once it is completed.

As for CLE u/g's, I am a plat, and have flown through there quite a bit (ABE-CLE-XXX). I have had no problem with the u/g. I missed one...a CLE-IAH.
PhillyPhlyer40 is offline  
Old Oct 11, 07, 7:05 am
  #8  
 
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CLE-IAH is an extremely tough upgrade (my partner, CO Plat, is about 50% on deep discount fares but at far off-peak times (Wednesday 8:30pm, Sunday 8:30am), and I have never seen a CLE-IAH upgrade as Gold at any time (around 20 segments in the last two years, almost all off-peak)). Apart from that, upgrades out of CLE seem reasonably plentiful. (But not for me, since my main route is ROC-CLE-IAH, and ROC-CLE is an ERJ and CLE-IAH is as above.)

We stick with CO because there are a few good seats in CO Y and we usually get them, plus, yes, CO Y isn't that bad (it's clean), the PC is nice, and the flights out of CLE have a decent on-time record. (The problem is when the aircraft is routed through EWR on an earlier flight before reaching CLE, which you won't run into so much at PIT since different aircraft operate PIT-EWR and PIT-CLE.)

Last edited by yellow77; Oct 11, 07 at 7:35 am Reason: punctuation error
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Old Oct 11, 07, 7:43 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Thinking of switching, too

I'm based out of LV, and do all domestic flights. Many of those are to CA, but the majority of them are to the East Coast. I am thinking about switching.

From what I've read here, CO sounds like a pretty good choice, if they'll status match me (I'm gold so far, and I will make platinum by year end, but not CP unless they offer some ridiculous level of EQM multipliers) , but I was curious about something.

Given my home base (LV), and my main requirements (frequent free upgrades, power port in the seats so I can actually get some work done), to which airline should I go?

I must admit - on US Air, I've gotten upgraded on almost every flight since I made Silver. And I like that. But it only took one flight on someone else's metal to see that US F is a lot like CO coach. So, to whom should I switch?

Opinions?
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Old Oct 11, 07, 8:03 am
  #10  
 
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One good reason not to dump US??? Umm, the CLT lounge is nice and the East Coast route structure is convenient. Sorry, that's all I could come up with...

Seriously, though, I'm also in the process of getting a status match to a Skyteam airline, NW in my case. I've been back and forth between 1P and 1K on UA for the past few years, although most of my segs come on US, as I've had a tonne of customers in the MidAtlantic and South. If it weren't for that, I'd have bolted years ago. I'll probably drop down to 2P on UA so I can still keep a few *A perks and 30 segs is something that can be done in a couple of months.

I can't wait to say goobye to the crappy *A hubs (except for CLT and DEN) and the crappy planes. I'm also excited at the prospect of free wifi and sauce in the ST lounges. Better yet, Amex Plat gives free access with a same day ticket, so no more $400 per year for the RCC.

How could you go wrong switching over, particularly from US?
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Old Oct 11, 07, 8:03 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
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Having recently switched most of my business to CO (but still keeping my options open at US), I think your list is quite comprehensive, at least WRT the positives.

The negatives:
1. ST seems to be the alliance formed after all the majors picked someone else
2. Being a more desirable airline, good seats (i.e., upgrades/exits) are harder to come by
3. Upgrades on the international routes don’t happen with much frequency
4. EWR tries hard to be PHL's equal
5. I really miss my CP certs

US is upgrading their international product, although it’s not equal to CO yet, there’s the possibility it may be later in ‘08 or early ‘09.

Overall, I think you will pay more (sometimes a lot more) at CO as it seems the laws of supply and demand are fully at work.

And what's that old cliché?... there's no free lunch anymore.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 8:11 am
  #12  
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I live in Newark, so obviously CO has been exceedingly tempting. Circumstances for the past 1.5 years have had me flying to places that CO does not (TRI) so I stuck with US.

I'm scoring 100% with upgrades as a CP on all my CLT, PHX, LAS flights from EWR. US F isn't much to write home about, but I do drink and I am tall, so that makes it worth it for me. It's definitely better than CO Y. I have friends who are CO plats who are in the < 50% upgrade range on flights out of EWR.

I couldn't handle that with the amount I travel.

Also (there's another thread about it recently), US has been cleaning it's operation up at EWR recently, and the staff there knows me. So, I stick with US.

Sometimes I think I'm crazy. I had to go to LAX last week, and I took a connection in CLT on the way there and a connection in PHX the way back instead of taking a UA or CO non-stop. I upgraded on all four segments with no issue. As a CO Plat, upgrading on an EWR-LAX transcon is practically impossible (many many of my coworkers can attest to this), and UA doesn't give free upgrades at all - so I was fine with taking connections and having a comfy seat.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 8:25 am
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by Jumpgate View Post
so I was fine with taking connections and having a comfy seat.
Actually I used this theory a lot until March. Paid (with miles) for FC, delay MIA-CLT, missed connection to PIT, ended up in 19B after 5 hrs. in CLT. I guess I was lucky I got on as I hear others stories about no open flights for the same day.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 8:34 am
  #14  
 
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I say go for it. At the beginning of this year I had to switch to US Airways because they had the only direct DCA-TPA flights available. Even though I've been status matched and have been upgrade probably > 90% of the time, my experiences with this inept organization has actually caused me to fly Delta whenever humanly possible. I have 36 segments on US YTD, but will hit platinum on Delta this coming Sunday.

Why? Because at least with Delta I see progress. There are still problems, but they actually seem to care that customers are complaining. Even though I haven't been upgraded nearly as much on Delta as I have on US, I just cannot stand by a company that constantly spits on its customers. I have made it a point to book on Delta exclusively until the end of my project despite the layover in ATL. I say go ahead and jump ship while you can.
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Old Oct 11, 07, 8:41 am
  #15  
 
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I hate these types of threads. The reason is always the same...I would love to jump ship but I really value the direct flights that I have out of CLT and jumping would mean stretching my 3 hour regular trips to Denver into a roll of the dice 5 to 6 hour flight with connections. Damn.
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