12 Things American Airlines Does Well

12 Things American Airlines Does Well

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American Airlines is the US airline that I fly most, given that I live in Miami. I’ll be the first to admit that I sometimes give American Airlines a hard time, though that doesn’t mean I think the airline is terrible.

For example, on balance I don’t think United is any better than American, both in terms of passenger experience and the loyalty program. Meanwhile I’d argue that Delta actually is better than American in terms of passenger experience, though the loyalty program is a deal-breaker for me.

Anyway, in the spirit of positive reinforcement, in this post I wanted to share 12 things that I think American Airlines does well. In separate posts I’ve written about the things that Delta Air Lines and United Airlines do well, as well as my least favorite things about the “big three” US carriers.

In no particular order, below is what I like about American Airlines…

High speed Wi-Fi

As it stands, American Airlines has the best overall Wi-Fi offering of any of the “big three” US carriers, in my opinion. A vast majority of American’s narrow body fleet is equipped with Viasat Wi-Fi, which is the best you’ll find in the industry.

American has more planes with Viasat than Delta, though admittedly Delta is catching up, and is preparing to introduce free Wi-Fi for all passengers. Meanwhile United is a distant third when it comes to Wi-Fi.

American Airlines has great high speed Wi-Fi

International lounge access

American Airlines offers excellent Flagship Lounges in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, which are the best easily accessible international airline lounges offered by any US airline.

In line with oneworld lounge access policies, these lounges can be accessed by oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members traveling internationally, as well as all oneworld first and business class passengers. As a point of comparison:

  • Delta Sky Clubs are superior for domestic lounges, but Delta doesn’t have any special international lounges (that should change in 2023), and for that matter Sky Clubs have serious crowding issues
  • United Polaris Lounges are superior to Flagship Lounges, but are only accessible by international business class passengers, and no elite status will get you into those lounges

So there’s something to be said for American having very nice lounges that are also easily accessible.

American Airlines Flagship Lounge Dallas (DFW)

oneworld Emerald status

It’s not that American deserves full credit for this, since it’s more about the alliance than American. However, oneworld Emerald status is my favorite alliance status that exists, and I love the lounges it gets me access to. From the Qantas Lounge First Lounge Los Angeles, to the Japan Airlines First Lounge Tokyo, I pinch myself every time I get to use one of these lounges when not flying first class.

Other alliances don’t have an elite tier that can compete. While Star Alliance Gold status is useful as well, it’s not nearly as valuable.

Qantas First Lounge Los Angeles (LAX)

Flagship First Dining

While it’s anyone’s guess what the future holds for these, American offers amazing Flagship First Dining facilities in Dallas, Miami, and New York. These are private, gorgeous spaces with a la carte dining. The food and service are generally quite good, but more than anything I just appreciate how tranquil these facilities are. These are among the best lounge spaces you’ll find in the United States.

Flagship First Dining is open to “premium” first class customers, traveling either on Boeing 777-300ERs or Airbus A321Ts. With American expected to eliminate international first class as of late 2024, it’s anyone’s guess what the future holds for these facilities. In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy them when I have access.

American Airlines Flagship First Dining New York (JFK)

International business class seats

While not particularly flashy, I’d say that on balance American has the best and most consistent international business class seats of the “big three” US airlines. American’s wide body fleet consists exclusively of Boeing 777s and Boeing 787s, and all of those planes have fully flat beds with direct aisle access.

To compare this to Delta and United:

  • Delta’s most common wide body aircraft is the Boeing 767, and those have a not-great business class product, with extremely narrow seats and many with outdated interiors; Delta now also has ex-LATAM Airbus A350s, which don’t even have direct aisle access in business class
  • United has made good progress with installing Polaris business class seats, but the airline still has Boeing 767-400s that haven’t been reconfigured, and United also has a substantial fleet of Boeing 757s, which are used for transatlantic flights but don’t have direct aisle access
American’s 777-300ER business class

Citi AAdvantage Executive Card

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (review) is my favorite airline co-brand credit card. It has a $450 annual fee, and comes with an Admirals Club membership.

That’s potentially a good deal in and of itself, though what makes this card so special is that you can add 10 authorized users to the card at no extra cost, and each authorized user is able to bring up to two guests or their immediate family into Admirals Clubs when flying American or an eligible partner airline the same day.

So for a single $450 annual fee you not only get lounge access for yourself, but also for your friends and family. This is one of the all-around best credit card perks out there.

American Airlines Admirals Club Miami (MIA)

Business Extra program

American’s small business rewards program, Business Extra, is the best such program offered by any of the “big three” US airlines. This allows you to earn extra rewards for the flights you book anyway, and I use the points earned to confirm upgrades on flights where I don’t think my complimentary upgrade would otherwise clear. I really appreciate the extra value offered by this program.

Business Extra helps me lock in upgrades on domestic flights

Valuable partner award tickets

Among the “big three” US airlines, American AAdvantage is the only program that offers some industry-leading partner award redemption values. To be clear, I’m not suggesting that all AAdvantage awards are an amazing value, but American has some real sweet spots.

In particular, being able to fly from the United States to the Middle East, India, Africa, etc., on Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, is an amazing value. These awards cost 70,000-75,000 miles one-way in business class, and you won’t find a better value for these kinds of awards through other programs.

Meanwhile to compare that to other programs:

  • Delta SkyMiles really offers very little value for partner redemptions, not to mention partner award availability is limited
  • While United MileagePlus has some okay partner award redemption values, you’ll almost always get a better deal through Air Canada Aeroplan or Avianca LifeMiles
I love redeeming AAdvantage miles for Qatar Airways Qsuites

Transparency & honesty

While I have my fair share of criticism for American’s management, I do have to give them credit for generally being transparent, at least compared to other airlines. This applies in several ways:

  • When American makes changes, the airline typically provide advance notice of them, which is something I appreciate
  • As of now AAdvantage is the only one of the “big three” US programs to still have award charts
  • I find that when I make a media request with the airline, American is the most likely to give me an honest answer (even if it’s not in the company’s favor), rather than trying to sugar-coat or avoid answering
  • In the employee intranet, American generally overshares with employees

Wide body planes on domestic flights

More so than at Delta and United, American operates a good number of internationally configured planes on domestic flights. This means that you can score a flat bed even in markets that aren’t typically considered “premium” markets.

For example, I live in Miami, and looking at the schedule for this winter, there’s at least one daily flight operated by a wide body to Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. Being able to get flat beds on routes like this is pretty awesome.

I frequently get wide bodies on domestic American Airlines flights

Transcon product & upgrades

In terms of the overall value to frequent flyers, American has the best transcon product of the “big three” US airlines. American flies specially configured Airbus A321Ts with just 102 seats, including three classes of service. Generally speaking:

  • Upgrades are reasonably easy, since you have 30 premium seats and only 72 economy seats
  • Business class passengers get access to American’s excellent Flagship Lounges, while first class passengers get access to American’s incredible Flagship First Dining (meanwhile at United, premium transcon passengers don’t get Polaris Lounge access, and Delta doesn’t yet have premium international lounges)
  • Elite members are eligible for complimentary upgrades on these routes at their normal upgrade window, unlike at Delta and United (at United they’re not eligible at all, while at Delta they’re only eligible day of departure)

Admittedly American is expected to reconfigure these planes in late 2024, and also eliminate first class on transcontinental routes (and instead offer business class as the highest cabin). However, these planes should be replaced by jets with an even better product (possibly Airbus A321XLRs).

American Airlines Airbus A321T first class

AAdvantage Loyalty Points system

New as of 2022, American Airlines completely overhauled its AAdvantage program, with the introduction of Loyalty Points. As I’ve explained, this program is absolutely brilliant, even if it doesn’t work great for me. You can earn elite status entirely through credit card spending, if you’d like.

Given the state of Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus, I’d argue the program is the all-around most rewarding — status is easiest to earn, and perks are competitive.

Bottom line

While American Airlines has its fair share of weaknesses, the airline also does many things well. Frankly as long as American operates on-time, I’m a pretty happy passenger. Between the Wi-Fi, Flagship Lounges, international business class seats, etc., there are a lot of positive elements to the airline.

I’m curious to hear what OMAAT readers think — what do you think American Airlines does well?

Conversations (42)
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  1. XPL Diamond

    One thing missing from Ben's list is important to me: the people and service. On Delta I know I'll get consistently friendly, professional service. At United everyone is professional if not always friendly. On ULCCs the service can be indifferent, but no one goes out of their way to gratuitously mistreat passengers. Unlike American. Maybe the front of the plane is different, but at the back of the plane where most of us are, the...

    One thing missing from Ben's list is important to me: the people and service. On Delta I know I'll get consistently friendly, professional service. At United everyone is professional if not always friendly. On ULCCs the service can be indifferent, but no one goes out of their way to gratuitously mistreat passengers. Unlike American. Maybe the front of the plane is different, but at the back of the plane where most of us are, the kindest explanation I can think of is maybe the employees are so mistreated that they take it out on us.

  2. Tom Berry Guest

    Having accumulated over 3.5 million miles during my career, I have American Airlines Platinum status for life. I like the upgrades but I still have over 400K miles I have not been able to use because they make it very difficult to find a seat UNLESS you book an Anytime Award for twice the miles which I refuse to do out of principle. Now that I am retired in France, my choices for connections are...

    Having accumulated over 3.5 million miles during my career, I have American Airlines Platinum status for life. I like the upgrades but I still have over 400K miles I have not been able to use because they make it very difficult to find a seat UNLESS you book an Anytime Award for twice the miles which I refuse to do out of principle. Now that I am retired in France, my choices for connections are either Iberia which rarely offers seats for points, or BA which has plenty of seats but with connections through LHR, that easily cost $700 or more just with the taxes. It has been frustrating. So I am actually switching my alliance to Air France which I find is better than even Delta - particularly in business class. And their schedules are much more convenient. For example, I just did a trip from my base of Toulouse to Detroit for a reunion. The outbound connection was via Amsterdam (KLM TLS-AMS and Delta AMS-DTW) that got me there by 12:30 pm EDT. The return was DTW-CDG-TLS on Air France and took less than 11 hours. This was the best connection and flight time I have ever experienced. I have always loved AA but since the US Airways merger they just haven’t had the same professionalism. It has been sad.

  3. Jacci Guest

    Great article..I agree 100 percent ..loyalty gets you everything on American if you understand the game. I get upgraded 98 percent of time.im purely a leisure traveler

  4. Wayne Davis Guest

    I'm not a frequent flier anymore (retired) so none of these things matter to me. What I care about is customer service and comfort in economy. To me AA is dead last I will always pay a little more to fly another airline.

  5. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    I agree with all of these points too, I've been flying with AA for the last decade out of DFW. The last 5 as a PlatPro and this year as an EP. Besides upgrades being a little scarce out of my home base (out of AA's control with so many flyers buying up themselves these days) I've only ever had 2 luggage issues, both times rained on, at LAX and CVG. Flown them multiple times...

    I agree with all of these points too, I've been flying with AA for the last decade out of DFW. The last 5 as a PlatPro and this year as an EP. Besides upgrades being a little scarce out of my home base (out of AA's control with so many flyers buying up themselves these days) I've only ever had 2 luggage issues, both times rained on, at LAX and CVG. Flown them multiple times to Europe, South America, and Asia, along with a TON domestically and generally have a great flight. Could the food be better: yes. Could the FA's work a little more and play Candy Crush less: Yes. But AA is a relatively reliable Airline.

  6. Brian Gasser Guest

    American is a company in deep financial distress with large debts. I appreciate the product they offer at reasonable prices. The A321T J and F cabin are not luxurious (compared to the middle east 3), but are also not overpriced. They are the "Target" of airlines.

    1. XPL Diamond

      I've never had bad customer service at Target. Unlike American.

  7. Christopher Guest

    Nothing new to add except to say that the author has exceptionally articulated AA’s strengths and is the very reason AA is my preferred air carrier out of DCA. Looking forward to that new DCA Admirals Club opening soon!

  8. Debra M Casillas Guest

    Forgot to mention that our flight from LAX to Corpus Christi, TX last week that should have taken 4-5 hours took 20! hours.....flight out of LAX was delayed 3 hours plus....which meant we missed our connection....next flight was full.....finally had to settle for a three hour wait in Dallas to catch the last plane out.....and of course no First Class.....bottom line is we left home at 6:00 am and checking into our hotel in Corpus...

    Forgot to mention that our flight from LAX to Corpus Christi, TX last week that should have taken 4-5 hours took 20! hours.....flight out of LAX was delayed 3 hours plus....which meant we missed our connection....next flight was full.....finally had to settle for a three hour wait in Dallas to catch the last plane out.....and of course no First Class.....bottom line is we left home at 6:00 am and checking into our hotel in Corpus at Midnight.
    Return trip ALSO had a delay on the first leg....Corpus to Dallas....which.....YOU GUESSED IT! made our connecting flight impossible.....but thankfully that flight got a bit delayed at the last minute so we RAN just in case and barely made it! Only to enjoy a cold sandwich served in First Class for their dinner service.....oh well, at least this trip home only took 9 hours. Sad thing was NONE of the Dallas/LAX options were on wide bodies....

  9. Jennifer Guest

    They really need to work on their catering. I flew from HNL to DFW a couple of weeks ago in Premium Economy and was shocked that they just provided a cold sandwich as the meal. Seat was spacious but the food missed the mark big time.

    1. Debra M Casillas Guest

      Don't feel bad as we flew First Class from Dallas to LAX last week and they also served a COLD sandwich for dinner!.. Still am a fan of the wide body options for domestic flights....although getting harder and harder to find on the LAX to DFW route. Still enjoy them on the LAX to Miami and even stay LATER in town after cruise in order to fly them.
      I am still however confused about...

      Don't feel bad as we flew First Class from Dallas to LAX last week and they also served a COLD sandwich for dinner!.. Still am a fan of the wide body options for domestic flights....although getting harder and harder to find on the LAX to DFW route. Still enjoy them on the LAX to Miami and even stay LATER in town after cruise in order to fly them.
      I am still however confused about the Flagship Lounge entry options......as we have only been allowed in when flying LAX to MIA AND when flying in a three cabin aircraft - which is pretty much non existent these days as they are calling everything in front of economy "business'....

  10. D3kingg Guest

    American does operations , logistics , and cargo well. It is not a luxury product as many aviation geek millennials demand. It is a business.

    Senior Captains with navy and Air Force experience. If I was wealthy I’d feel safer flying American long haul than on a private jet.

    I can’t wait for BOOM supersonic travel. American is 3rd in the pecking order after United and JAL for deliveries. :))))))

  11. Steve Diamond

    Got free wifi for the entire flight yesterday on a LGA to DFW flight just had to watch a 30 second tommy johns ad. Great speed too, probably because most people didnt see the offer.

  12. Matt Guest

    As an AA captive (PHL is home airport), I have been pleasantly surprised lately. I’ve cleared an upgrade on greater than 50% of flights in the past 6 months. All flights have been on time. Catering is much improved. The hard product is not the most thoughtfully designed, but it is newer and clean. The FAs have all been fine to sometimes great, if a bit workman like.

    Flying UA’s municipal bus service of the skies recently made me realize it can get much worse.

    1. Gravelly Point Guy Guest

      Well guess what???? That UA municipal bus in the skies your talking about is pretty soon going to be turning into a Royal Chariot in the skies buddy. Have you heard about the United Next program?? I guess not, so I don’t want to spoil it for you. Go on and do your research, but just so you know, between now, today, and December 2023 United will be getting 179 brand new single aisle aircraft,...

      Well guess what???? That UA municipal bus in the skies your talking about is pretty soon going to be turning into a Royal Chariot in the skies buddy. Have you heard about the United Next program?? I guess not, so I don’t want to spoil it for you. Go on and do your research, but just so you know, between now, today, and December 2023 United will be getting 179 brand new single aisle aircraft, less dense, with AVOD in every seat, and the fastest goddamned internet on the planet, Bluetooth to boot! I’m sorry, but the airline that’s going to be flying old, cramped low cost aircraft will be AA.

    2. DCS Diamond

      Well guess what???? That UA municipal bus in the skies your talking about is pretty soon going to be turning into a Royal Chariot in the skies buddy. Have you heard about the United Next program?? I guess not, so I don’t want to spoil it for you. Go on and do your research, but just so you know, between now, today, and December 2023 United will be getting 179 brand new single aisle aircraft,...

      Well guess what???? That UA municipal bus in the skies your talking about is pretty soon going to be turning into a Royal Chariot in the skies buddy. Have you heard about the United Next program?? I guess not, so I don’t want to spoil it for you. Go on and do your research, but just so you know, between now, today, and December 2023 United will be getting 179 brand new single aisle aircraft, less dense, with AVOD in every seat, and the fastest goddamned internet on the planet, Bluetooth to boot! I’m sorry, but the airline that’s going to be flying old, cramped low cost aircraft will be AA.

      That's precisely why these nonstop posts by self-anointed "travel gurus" that purport to be able to call winners and losers by are a senseless exercise.

      Today AA has award charts, tomorrow it will join DL and UA and it would no longer have award charts.

      Yesterday LGA was the worst airport in America, today it is headlined as a winner:

      December 2021: "82-Year-Old LaGuardia Airport Wins UNESCO Award For Best New Airport": https://bit.ly/3srxxXG
      July 2022: LaGuardia Airport Terminal Wins Inaugural Award from the National Academy of Construction": https://bit.ly/3TVzNCh

      What gives?

    3. Gravelly Point Guy Guest

      Amen to that! So true…

  13. LMT Guest

    The AA wifi on the transcon wide body (Panasonic) is horrendous. The worst I have ever encountered. To add insult, customer service refused to provide a refund for this terribly slow and inconsistent wifi that would not even allow for simple internet browsing.

  14. DCS Guest

    Given the state of Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus, I’d argue the program is the all-around most rewarding — status is easiest to earn, and perks are competitive.

    There he goes again! I am not sure what "state of Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus" that statement is referring to, but I would argue that it depends on the meaning of "rewarding" because the last time I checked, the dAArk side was on a race...

    Given the state of Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus, I’d argue the program is the all-around most rewarding — status is easiest to earn, and perks are competitive.

    There he goes again! I am not sure what "state of Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus" that statement is referring to, but I would argue that it depends on the meaning of "rewarding" because the last time I checked, the dAArk side was on a race to the bottom...

    For me, upgrades to premium cabins rank as my top airline perk, and in that department, no other FF program (domestic or foreign) cabin upgrade scheme comes close to being as rewarding as UA's PlusPoints (definitely not the anachronistic SWU). Guaranteed.

    Not only do UA PlusPoints have a much higher clearance rate than any other FF program's cabin upgrades (going back to Nov 2021, I am 6/6 [2 domestic, 4 TATL)], i.e. perfect, on my own PlusPoints upgrades, and 5/10 [3 domestic, 2 TPAC] on sponsored PP upgrades), they are extremely flexible (I suggest you read up on PlusPoints if you are not aware of what one can do with them).

    In terms of cost, including "opportunity cost", which is my most important consideration. I am not at all sure that top AA elite status is "easier" to earn...

    I am a UA 1MM, which I believe is superior of AA 1MM.

    Many of the other claimed AA's "superiority", like transparency and honesty (same claims made about World of Hyatt until the program showed that it was no different) should simply be chalked up as "YMMV". Take lounges, instance. I always travel in business class internationally, which means that I always have access to UA's Polaris lounges, which I would argue are tops among the US Big Three's lounges...

    G'day!

    1. James Guest

      I thought you were just Hilton-crazy?

    2. DCS Guest

      Well, you were clearly wrong, so do I get an apology for your confusing my thorough knowledge of a program, demonstrated here again with UA, with "crazy"?

  15. Bgriff Guest

    I think your perspective on domestic widebodies is colored by being in an AA hub -- hub-to-hub flying is often on larger planes than you'd otherwise get.

    Based on Cirium schedule data, for Oct 2022 AA has 170 domestic widebody flights scheduled each week, DL has 323, and UA has 676. So I wouldn't exactly say AA is winning that battle.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Bgriff -- Totally fair point, and that's thought-provoking. A couple of thoughts.

      First of all, one advantage that Delta and United have with wide body flying is that they mostly put wide bodies on their premium transcon routes, while American uses A321Ts for those flights. So that accounts for a large portion of the difference.

      As far as other wide body flying goes, Delta's domestic wide body flying mostly consists of 767s (which are......

      @ Bgriff -- Totally fair point, and that's thought-provoking. A couple of thoughts.

      First of all, one advantage that Delta and United have with wide body flying is that they mostly put wide bodies on their premium transcon routes, while American uses A321Ts for those flights. So that accounts for a large portion of the difference.

      As far as other wide body flying goes, Delta's domestic wide body flying mostly consists of 767s (which are... not great), while United's domestic wide body flying consists largely of domestic configured 777s (with eight seats per row in business class). I wouldn't consider either of those to be great.

      For example, looking at United's lower 48 winter schedule out of Houston, I found a single daily frequency on a wide body that's not operated by one of the eight abreast 777s. That was a 767 to Newark.

      So your point is totally valid, and perhaps I should have instead said that American is flying wide body planes that I'd actually want to fly.

      It's possible I'm missing something, though.

    2. D3kingg Guest

      @Ben

      The 77W is coming back on the MIA-JFK route in December. I’ll be in seat 1J. Let’s toast with an individual 175ML Cava passed expiry.

    3. Jake Guest

      I just flew an eight abreast 777 ORD-SFO with lie-flat seats and IFE. It beat the hell out of AA's offering, a 738 with hard as rock recliners and not even a screen to be seen.

      UA offers wide bodies that I actually want to fly (on the routes it deploys them).

  16. Jeremy Vogel Guest

    One thing AA does NOT do well is liaise with its partner, Qatar. We have (had?) AAdvantage award tickets CPT-IAD ticketed and confirmed, but a 35 minute schedule change on 10/1 threw the whole thing into disarray - reservation no longer visible online at AA.com, AAdvantage says Qatar un-confirmed it and may not give the seats back, Qatar won't speak to me about it since it's issued on AA ticket stock. Granted there is time...

    One thing AA does NOT do well is liaise with its partner, Qatar. We have (had?) AAdvantage award tickets CPT-IAD ticketed and confirmed, but a 35 minute schedule change on 10/1 threw the whole thing into disarray - reservation no longer visible online at AA.com, AAdvantage says Qatar un-confirmed it and may not give the seats back, Qatar won't speak to me about it since it's issued on AA ticket stock. Granted there is time to sort this out (travel is for March), but given we've invested thousands in nonrefundable plans, the 3 weeks + of uncertainty that we have flights home is really unnerving!

    Will be opening DOT case at 30 days if this is still unresolved - very confusing to me why someone at AA will not pick up the phone to Qatar and work this out!

    1. DenB Diamond

      Similar probs with Qantas trips ticketed with AAdvantage (therefore on 001 ticket stock). Lots of fingerpointing before any progress

  17. George Romey Guest

    When it comes to most flyers the Big 3 are essentially one in the same with some differences on the margin.

  18. Grogg Member

    I would add "no redeposit fees on award tickets." This makes AA miles more valuable to me.

  19. tim Guest

    Most people are not able to make use of #2-7 like you can Ben. The vast majority of people flying on AA are still stuck sitting in cramped and uncomfortable Oasis seating and being served by rude employees that should have taken early retirement. AA is broken airline that does not care about its regular customers. Maybe you should do an article titled the "Worst 12 Things about flying AA coach". I'm sure Emerald status...

    Most people are not able to make use of #2-7 like you can Ben. The vast majority of people flying on AA are still stuck sitting in cramped and uncomfortable Oasis seating and being served by rude employees that should have taken early retirement. AA is broken airline that does not care about its regular customers. Maybe you should do an article titled the "Worst 12 Things about flying AA coach". I'm sure Emerald status and Flagship First Dining must be awesome for you.

  20. DavidO New Member

    just flew AA in business class — ORD-CDG and FCO-CLT. The flights were fine (especially the 787 flight to Paris) and everything operated on time. But the food was forgettable at best. The pasta dish out of Rome lacked any flavor whatsoever.

  21. MildMidwesterner Gold

    I would add AA's global network (especially when combined with OneWorld). Nearly all major Alpha & Beta city pairings are accessible with no more than one stopover.

  22. JayC Member

    when i first read the title, I thought that at least half of these would be sarcastic points.. lol.

  23. Anthony Diamond

    In my time with a decent amount of business travel, I've vacillated between American and Delta. I was Delta, switched to American, switched back to Delta. I flew American for the first time in a couple of years a few weeks ago. A few things I noticed both flying and looking around

    1) American seems to have brought back more service in coach than Delta
    2) American's lounges (outside of Flagship) are a joke...

    In my time with a decent amount of business travel, I've vacillated between American and Delta. I was Delta, switched to American, switched back to Delta. I flew American for the first time in a couple of years a few weeks ago. A few things I noticed both flying and looking around

    1) American seems to have brought back more service in coach than Delta
    2) American's lounges (outside of Flagship) are a joke compared to Delta
    3) American has outsourced a ton of flying to JetBlue T5 JFK in NYC, which I view as a downgrade in experience (schedule is OK though)
    4) Flying out of LGA on AA seems to be nice, if you can get a flight that works with your schedule
    5) It is much easier to get higher levels of status on Delta now (Platinum or above) than AA

    Overall I am still preferring Delta for the moment. Maybe if I need to push up my AA mile balance, I will move to AA at some point next year after prequalifying for Delta Platinum status.

  24. Donna Diamond

    I agree on all points, especially international business class seat consistency which takes the last minute switch to a bad product out of the equation. The new feature which I love is the facial recognition boarding for international flights and facial recognition, no documents, no paper receipts Global Entry at DFW. It’s incredible!

  25. Alonzo Diamond

    What is this, I love AA week?

  26. Andrew Diamond

    I just have to plug this: if you have CitiGold, that AF on the Exec card isn't $450. It's $305.

  27. david Guest

    Very helpful and interesting post. Can you do the same article for United?

    1. Anon Guest

      Not really. Ben barely flies United (read the Rolling Stone profile to learn why), and isn't in a position to judge the airline well based on first-hand experience these days.

  28. Super Gold

    I know it's also very anecdotal - but as a business traveler who flew almost every week for 5 years straight with AA, I only had two serious operational blunders: one flight cancelled for no reason given, and one flight cancelled due to extreme weather forcing me to overnight in a layover city. I'm sure that someone else balances me out by having no luck with AA reliability, but for my experience, that makes AA...

    I know it's also very anecdotal - but as a business traveler who flew almost every week for 5 years straight with AA, I only had two serious operational blunders: one flight cancelled for no reason given, and one flight cancelled due to extreme weather forcing me to overnight in a layover city. I'm sure that someone else balances me out by having no luck with AA reliability, but for my experience, that makes AA the most valuable of the big 3 in my books.

    One thing I will say as a question is that I know everyone touts AA as having the best loyalty program (and unquestionably Delta is the worst, United is middling) but I've had almost no opportunities to actually use the points I've accrued. I found my only chances are redeeming for First class to Asia (very far out) and short-haul flights.

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Wayne Davis Guest

I'm not a frequent flier anymore (retired) so none of these things matter to me. What I care about is customer service and comfort in economy. To me AA is dead last I will always pay a little more to fly another airline.

2
Bgriff Guest

I think your perspective on domestic widebodies is colored by being in an AA hub -- hub-to-hub flying is often on larger planes than you'd otherwise get. Based on Cirium schedule data, for Oct 2022 AA has 170 domestic widebody flights scheduled each week, DL has 323, and UA has 676. So I wouldn't exactly say AA is winning that battle.

2
Grogg Member

I would add "no redeposit fees on award tickets." This makes AA miles more valuable to me.

2
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