What I Like Least About American, Delta, And United

What I Like Least About American, Delta, And United

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There’s no denying that the “big three” US carriers aren’t always popular with consumers. I recently wrote posts dedicated to the things that I like about American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. After all, there’s no perfect airline, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

On a slightly less positive note, in this post I wanted to share what I like least about each of the “big three” US carriers. Most of my points are intended to be more big picture, though in a couple of cases I’ll share specific shortcomings of the experience offered by each airline.

I’ll share my take, and then I’m curious to hear what OMAAT readers think.

What I like least about American Airlines

There are two things I like least about American — the lack of a strategy, and the carrier’s international route network.

First and foremost, I just can’t help but feel like American constantly has an identity crisis, and lacks a strategy. The airline seems to want to be all things to all consumers, and wants to compete with everyone, from Spirit to Delta.

At the same time that the airline was ripping TVs out of narrow body planes, the airline was opening Flagship First Dining facilities and serving Krug in them. American goes from ripping business class seats out of long haul jets to cram in more seats, to announcing it’s introducing super premium long haul jets.

It’s not just that this impacts the hard product, but I also think it’s not good for employee morale, as people don’t actually know what kind of a product they’re supposed to be delivering. What’s the mission that American employees are supposed to get behind?

I feel like there’s value in having some semi-consistent strategy. For example, United has committed to being a premium airline, and increasing the number of premium seats across the fleet. Meanwhile I’m not sure what exactly American’s strategy is.

American Airlines Flagship First Dining JFK

Second of all, American is the largest airline in the world, yet arguably has the blandest international route network of the “big three” US carriers. So while United expands to places like Cape Town, Tahiti, and Singapore, American is just adding domestic frequencies out of Charlotte and Dallas. Yes, of course American has added some interesting new service, like to Doha and Tel Aviv, but the carrier’s network still can’t compete with United’s.

American Airlines Boeing 787

What I like least about Delta Air Lines

There are three things that I like least about Delta — hubris, the SkyMiles program, and Boeing 767s.

First of all, let’s talk about hubris. I think Delta is better than American and United in terms of customer service. Most Delta employees genuinely seem to like their jobs, and they know how to take care of customers.

However, I can’t help but feel like the company lacks humility. Delta is better than the competition. Delta management not only knows that, but in my opinion management thinks they’re better by a bigger margin than they actually are. I could name countless examples, but I think a little humility would go a long way.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A350 business class

Next up is Delta SkyMiles. While American AAdvantage and United MileagePlus are far from perfect, personally I find SkyMiles to offer the least value for those looking for aspirational redemptions. While I can appreciate the simplicity of SkyMiles, and that Delta has basically turned its miles into a currency worth a cent each, the complete lack of aspirational redemption opportunities makes me have almost no interest in the program.

Dom Perignon in the Delta Sky Club (a good use of SkyMiles)

Lastly, Delta’s Boeing 767 fleet is a major disadvantage. For the most part Delta has older planes than competitors, but maintains them really well. The exception is Boeing 767s, which are Delta’s most common long haul aircraft. In my opinion these offer the worst wide body business class experience that you’ll find on any of the “big three” US carriers. For example, the difference between Delta’s 767-300 business class and United’s 767-300 business class is night and day.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 767 business class

What I like least about United Airlines

There are two things that I like least about United — that service could be much better, and Wi-Fi.

Let’s start with service. Here’s the thing — I think United is actually the US airline most trending in the right direction. The airline has an amazing route network, and is investing in its onboard experience and in premium capacity. In many ways I’d argue that United is a more compelling airline nowadays than Delta, with one major catch — service.

If you ask me, United is in the same league as American when it comes to service, and not in the same league as Delta. Following the Dr. Dao incident, former United CEO Oscar Munoz spent a lot of his time talking about how United had some customer service renaissance under his leadership.

While it’s true that people aren’t being dragged off United flights, United’s alleged radical customer service transformation simply doesn’t match my experience. Like every other airline, there are good apples and bad apples. But in my experience the customer experience that United offers in no way rivals what you’ll find at Delta.

When I walk around United’s terminal at Newark I still hear gate agents barking at passengers, threatening how big the fines will be if their bags are too big, and starting every announcement with “once again” (in other words “listen up dummies, I’m repeating myself”).

Onboard in Polaris I still find that flight attendants usually speak in fragments rather than complete sentences, and smiles cost extra. Heck, I took a United Polaris flight the other day where the flight attendants addressed passengers by their seat number — “15A, you ordered vegetarian.”

Don’t get me wrong, United has some really lovely flight attendants (especially some of the ones that have been there forever), but to suggest that the culture has evolved significantly and that United employees are consistently friendly simply puzzles me.

If United could get on Delta’s level when it comes to customer service, that would be a game changer. But it’s also not easy to change a company’s culture in that way.

United Airlines Boeing 787 business class

Second of all, for an airline so focused on the premium business traveler, the current state of United’s Wi-Fi offering is awful. American and Delta are simply in a different league when it comes to the speed and reliability of high speed Wi-Fi, while United has a lot of catching up to do there.

United Airlines Boeing 737 MAX first class

Bottom line

After writing posts about all of the good things about the “big three” US carriers, I figured it was only fair to share my major criticisms of the airlines as well. I’m not saying any of the above are the single biggest problems at the airlines, though when I think of the negatives of the above three airlines, those are the first things that come to mind.

I’m curious to hear how OMAAT readers feel — do you disagree with any of my takes? What do you like least about each of the “big three” US carriers?

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  1. Debster22 New Member

    Continued comment...I somehow hit enter. Flight from JFK to SFO disastrous!! I felt sorry for the crew, until their attitudes became more of an issue than the cold food, seats that didn't work, food being sent back three times and still cold. Being told "it's not safe for me to be talking to you" "I'm helping someone else right now!!" Only asking for a headset and a drink should not be a big deal? Who...

    Continued comment...I somehow hit enter. Flight from JFK to SFO disastrous!! I felt sorry for the crew, until their attitudes became more of an issue than the cold food, seats that didn't work, food being sent back three times and still cold. Being told "it's not safe for me to be talking to you" "I'm helping someone else right now!!" Only asking for a headset and a drink should not be a big deal? Who wants to eat cold fish? We finally gave up on the food. After two plus hours into our flight, six more attendants magically appeared in Delta One. Coach came to rescue the Delta One section. We did contact Delta service to inform them about our experience. Flying long hours on a plane with crap service and paying big $$$ makes for bad business. Only two attendant's in first class is a recipe for disaster. First time we've seen this on Delta. I hope it's not the new norm.

  2. Debster22 New Member

    Continued comment...I somehow hit enter. Flight from JFK to SFO disastrous!! I felt sorry for the crew, until their attitudes became more of an issue than the cold food, seats that didn't work, food being sent back three times and still cold. Being told "it's not safe for me to be talking to you" "I'm helping someone else right now!!" Only asking for a headset and a drink should not be a big deal? Who...

    Continued comment...I somehow hit enter. Flight from JFK to SFO disastrous!! I felt sorry for the crew, until their attitudes became more of an issue than the cold food, seats that didn't work, food being sent back three times and still cold. Being told "it's not safe for me to be talking to you" "I'm helping someone else right now!!" Only asking for a headset and a drink should not be a big deal? Who wants to eat cold fish? We finally gave up on the food. After two plus hours into our flight, six more attendants magically appeared in Delta One. Coach came to rescue the Delta One section. We did contact Delta service to inform them about our experience. Flying long hours on a plane with crap service and paying big $$$ makes for bad business. Only two attendant's in first class is a recipe for disaster. First time we've seen this on Delta. I hope it's not the new norm.

  3. Debster22 New Member

    Really like being able to see all the insights here on OMAAT. Having said that; I fly mostly first class. Recently flew Delta One. 767 was smooth ride. Seats in first are narrow. However, on all my flights recently the seats failed in first. One flight attendant came and manually manipulated a passenger's seat for them. The movies failed too. Had to reset 3 times the entire plane. So, if you were in the middle...

    Really like being able to see all the insights here on OMAAT. Having said that; I fly mostly first class. Recently flew Delta One. 767 was smooth ride. Seats in first are narrow. However, on all my flights recently the seats failed in first. One flight attendant came and manually manipulated a passenger's seat for them. The movies failed too. Had to reset 3 times the entire plane. So, if you were in the middle of a movie...too bad. The service to Iceland was top notch. Coming home through JFK was a nightmare! The lounge in Iceland (SAGA) lounge is the best hands down! JFK was a mess! Staff clearly needed a vacation! Dirty food areas, messy and unkept. When we walked out of the lounge to head to our flight...there was a line to get in. It looked like Black Friday line into a department store for a cheap unknown coffee maker! I wanted to shout at the line," Go to McDonalds and save your time! It will be cleaner and with great customer service!

  4. Mike Hinshaw Guest

    Although I agree with your comment on legroom (are you listening AA?), I cannot agree with you on service. One of your responders stated it's actually US Air 2.0 which is basically correct. When they lost the VP of service with AA they lost a real treasure. I also need AA to understand their new loyalty points program is shiite! I can't understand it, after over 30 years with AA and no one at the...

    Although I agree with your comment on legroom (are you listening AA?), I cannot agree with you on service. One of your responders stated it's actually US Air 2.0 which is basically correct. When they lost the VP of service with AA they lost a real treasure. I also need AA to understand their new loyalty points program is shiite! I can't understand it, after over 30 years with AA and no one at the airline can explain it to my satisfaction.

    I agree with you on service until a few years ago around 2019, unless they are from a more mature generation which are always very friendly. It may be that I fly out from DFW, but other Southern cities are always friendly also like Charlotte and Atlanta. BTW any and all issues for me are ALWAYS resolved with DMs on Twitter. That team is superb, efficient and very timely! I recommend everyone use them!

    Miami definitely not. It is like airports in the NE, JFK, LaGuardia and Dulles which I avoid like the plague. Every individual I run into at these airports are disgusting and hateful to every client they "service. They could care less about passengers and move at a speed slower than turtles.

    I have to say also that my interactions internationally are great with AA employees. I hurt my back at a travel writer conference and was supposed to walk the Camino. The sympathetic agent upgraded my class to business on my flight to London from Barcelon, my flight to Charlotte from London and my flight from Charlotte to DFW.

    Any airport in Europe and Asia have employed very friendly service representatives. I think your issue with service may be the area of the US you fly out of. No one can argue with your legroom comment. I am only 5'7" and have no idea how anyone over 6'0" can manage to sit in the AA seats for more than a couple of hours. How they manage an extended International flight is almost heroic.

    I have a thought that might help competition. The three major airlines should throw out an offer to transfer miles/points between airlines and see how this might effect their service levels. A great deal of my miles are associated with credit card expenditures. I would instantly change cards, if another airline like United would transfer my miles.

  5. Jeff Guest

    You are absolutely right about those OLD 767-300's with Delta.
    Why pay premium prices for an old, horrible seats, small video screen flying coast to coast, when you can fly United Polaris with? Since Delta took off the 767-400 series on their Delta One from JFK-LAX, I have a hard time booking the 767-300.
    Yes, Delta...gets what "YOU" paid for!

  6. Parkhill mays Guest

    Your analysis of united s service is spot on. Much deteriorated over thr last 2 years. Flight attendants outside of first class are not friendly. Snacks and meals infirst class are scarce now.

    My best service experiences are in american and delta. Head and shoulders above united. Also you are right abiut newark airport. Awful

  7. Carena Mazzoleni Guest

    I recently travelled business class from London Heathrow via San Francisco to Auckland NZ with United & thought their service was excellent particularly the wonderful flight attendant & purser who looked after me

    1. Emily Guest

      I am surprised to see that customer service is not listed as an American flaw. When their flight was late. They told us to run for it through the airport (a long run), we were not offered a ride over or them holding the plane for five minutes. When we all just missed the flight I was told we should have run faster. I was also told that all the flights for the next several...

      I am surprised to see that customer service is not listed as an American flaw. When their flight was late. They told us to run for it through the airport (a long run), we were not offered a ride over or them holding the plane for five minutes. When we all just missed the flight I was told we should have run faster. I was also told that all the flights for the next several days were full so I could stay there, with no assistance from them, or take a flight one state closer and see if I could get a ride from there. I missed the first day of an event I was supposed to be helping to host for work as there were no rental cars or busses available anywhere and I had to catch a ride with a stranger. The updated flight to one state closer got in late and I had to get a hotel there even though I had already paid for a hotel and rental car I couldn't use somewhere else. I was told I couldn't ask for any compensation until my trip, which included my return flight was completed. When I asked for a refund I was then told because I completed the flight I accepted their changes as equivalent. This was after over 8 hours in Phone trees. Highly disappointed in American

  8. Anthony Joseph Guest

    All 3 airlines. Change your policy with regards to "seniority gets the Int'l Long Haul". Also, review the Senior FA's and don't allow them to be "protected" from being fired due to union rules. Like Emirates and other Int'l carriers, FA's should be limited as to how many long haul flights they can fly in a month (i.e. trip bidding would be a mix of long haul and shorter haul flights).
    There should be...

    All 3 airlines. Change your policy with regards to "seniority gets the Int'l Long Haul". Also, review the Senior FA's and don't allow them to be "protected" from being fired due to union rules. Like Emirates and other Int'l carriers, FA's should be limited as to how many long haul flights they can fly in a month (i.e. trip bidding would be a mix of long haul and shorter haul flights).
    There should be a qualification and stricter reviews for FA's to certify for long haul flights. I DONT FLY US CARRIERS internationally because of the lousy service.

  9. Ron Guest

    I'd like to know how delta is exhibiting examples of hubris? Or how they lack humility?

    1. sam Guest

      Is fleecing their loyal customers is not a sign that Delta lacks humility? It's a shameless, arrogant and pretty corrupt company that has been buying its influence with the Atlanta city council, which in return has been awarding Delta with the sweet-heart deals that stifles the completion on international routes from/ and to ATL airport.

  10. sam Guest

    @Ben has begrudgingly acknowledged I've been saying for years: Delta's skymiles program really sucks. Business award requirements from the US to Europe have been one of the worst in industry (and unfortunately, AA has pretty much followed the suite).

    Perhaps with the exception of traveling sales/marketing people, who probably get their miles through their companies, who could possibly afford one way tickets of more than 300K?!

    I can't imagine there are many customers who...

    @Ben has begrudgingly acknowledged I've been saying for years: Delta's skymiles program really sucks. Business award requirements from the US to Europe have been one of the worst in industry (and unfortunately, AA has pretty much followed the suite).

    Perhaps with the exception of traveling sales/marketing people, who probably get their miles through their companies, who could possibly afford one way tickets of more than 300K?!

    I can't imagine there are many customers who buy those insane award tickets. And I seriously doubt that even traveling sales/marketing people can afford buying those award tickets on a regular basis.

    Delta has practically eliminated their saver awards of 120K ( which is still pretty steep) for one way business award ticket to Europe. For this reason, I basically avoid flying Delta to Europe (and I live in the Atlanta area) or flying on Delta in general, or applying for Amex cards (I hope there will be enough people like myself who would boycott Amex cards, and that should hit Delta really hard, because the airlines, including Delta, make huge profits from selling miles to the banks, perhaps even more than from selling tickets).

    As for their so "called excellent customer service", I haven't noticed anything exceptional about it on my recent flight from ATL to Toronto (the award tickets within North America are not insane yet). If the sign of "good service" these days that the flight attendants don't throw food at the passengers then yes, Delta has provided a "good" service.

  11. Keith Guest

    You think united wifi is bad, Try Singapore, patch and frequent drop out. I understand it is legally limited in some places but ove Australia very miss, miss then hit and yhats on an A350

    1. John Guest

      @Keith

      Did you have a stroke while typing?

  12. Jay Guest

    American’s done a pretty good job at driving me to other airlines over the years. Mainly because of routes they keep deleting. I seem to get by with their partners, but can’t believe how often they drop flights and equipment I really like. Platinum or Platinum Pro for the last 20 years. Though I have’t gotten a free upgrade in years.

  13. DEE Guest

    Try to fomd Dom in any Sky CLubs over the last few months, They say they cannot get it delivered!! the "chain" issue!!!Nd the 737's do not have real air vents. The aiar flow sucks..It is horrid and had barely any air come out ot them. It makes the cabin warm and NO AIR FLOW!!!!

    1. hartd8 Member

      sorry typing with long nails!!!

  14. Don Guest

    American Airlines is awful. Many of the staff are downright rude. Legroom is a joke, I'm 6'2" and my knees are pressed against the seat back in front of me even on international flights. I refuse to fly with them anymore. There are much better options.

  15. Arrowspace90 Guest

    Speaking of the airline I am most familiar with, I think that United is "trending" up mostly because it currently has the most dynamic CEO in Scott Kirby. Obviously, Kirby was second fiddle most of his career at America West, USAir, and American. Now he is showing that he was being held back.
    The core problem at United is their Chicago "mentality". The HR department, which has way to much control over hiring and...

    Speaking of the airline I am most familiar with, I think that United is "trending" up mostly because it currently has the most dynamic CEO in Scott Kirby. Obviously, Kirby was second fiddle most of his career at America West, USAir, and American. Now he is showing that he was being held back.
    The core problem at United is their Chicago "mentality". The HR department, which has way to much control over hiring and advertising, is totally Woke. Every ad UAL has is focused on showing wokeness instead of what customers really want: Service, Safety, OnTime.
    United would benefit hugely by sacking the HR Dept and even more by moving their headquarters OUT of dismal, violent, Chicago.

  16. MaxPower Guest

    This topic really was made for a tim Dunn temper tantrum and he didn’t disappoint.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      and neither did you in failing to actually respond to the issues that I raised.

      Help us out and turn over a new leaf and engage with the topic and the issues that have been raised in the conversation instead of focusing on the user.

    2. MaxPower Guest

      Tim
      Responding to anything you say is like trying to argue with a Russian tv station. There’s no point because a conversation requires an agreed upon set of facts to debate. It’s much more fun to watch you make an idiot out of yourself and get called out on it across the internet.
      You make up “facts”, distort and misinterpret real data, and then redirect the subject whenever you’re called out on it...

      Tim
      Responding to anything you say is like trying to argue with a Russian tv station. There’s no point because a conversation requires an agreed upon set of facts to debate. It’s much more fun to watch you make an idiot out of yourself and get called out on it across the internet.
      You make up “facts”, distort and misinterpret real data, and then redirect the subject whenever you’re called out on it making up some new issue that “others refuse to respond to”.
      Delta is a great company and does many things well, but your unwavering and strange devotion to a company that fired you never ceases to amuse.

    3. Tim Dunn Diamond

      then tell us what has been distorted or walk away from the comments. If you aren't capable of engaging in the discussion, then recognize that.
      Other people affirmed some of the very same points I made even while disagreeing with me.
      And yet some points I made such as what executive hubris have to do with passenger experience remain unanswered BY EVERYONE.
      If you think I have misrepresented data, then note what...

      then tell us what has been distorted or walk away from the comments. If you aren't capable of engaging in the discussion, then recognize that.
      Other people affirmed some of the very same points I made even while disagreeing with me.
      And yet some points I made such as what executive hubris have to do with passenger experience remain unanswered BY EVERYONE.
      If you think I have misrepresented data, then note what is misrepresented. In fact, you just don't like some of the data so pretend that I am distorting it.
      Feel free to engage with either the topic or the responses but ditch your childish attacks on other users.
      Either you are capable of discussing relevant issues or you should simply not comment.

    4. MaxPower Guest

      Thanks for your crazy
      I won’t demonstrate how you mess up data but if you’re as smart as you think you are
      You already know
      If not
      You’re just an idiot like the world and assumes.
      There’s a reason lucky never responds to you
      There’s a reason Gary doesn’t either
      Perhaps
      Finally
      It’s a time to reevaluate your life and crazy toward delta
      You won’t
      But you should

    5. MaxPower Guest

      But again…
      A company that FIRED you

      Thanks for the laughs from someone even delta thought was an idiot

    6. digital706 New Member

      This MaxPower character is clearly a lame travel blog troll that wants to call out others for engaging in open, active discussion and debate online and use loaded terms like “wokeness” that he’s parroted from certain faux news networks.

      Thanks, Tim Dunn, for contributing to the community and any others here that DON’T emulate the “main character syndrome” of trolls like MaxPower.

  17. Andrew Guest

    I’m an AA Exec Plat and agree with the comments about American, but I’ll add another: delay handling and notification. When an American flight is delayed, you won’t usually know until 5 minutes after the scheduled departure time. Heck, when it’s boarding time and the inbound aircraft still hasn’t departed it’s last stop, American still reports everything is fine. When there is finally a change to the departure time, it’s bumped back by a round...

    I’m an AA Exec Plat and agree with the comments about American, but I’ll add another: delay handling and notification. When an American flight is delayed, you won’t usually know until 5 minutes after the scheduled departure time. Heck, when it’s boarding time and the inbound aircraft still hasn’t departed it’s last stop, American still reports everything is fine. When there is finally a change to the departure time, it’s bumped back by a round 30 minutes at a time, so we all get to stress and be anxious and hanging around the gate. In contrast, I’ve had experiences with Delta when they pro-actively message you to let you know there might be a delay.

  18. NC Guy Guest

    “ I could name countless examples, but I think a little humility would go a long way.” OK, how about just one example? I’m serious - this analysis is a little shallow when you look at your specificity in other comments. Also, have you been on the reworked DAL 767s with the Delta One interior? A recent flight from ATL to SAN on a 764 was amazing - better than their A350 Delta One.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      and why the railing against the 767 business class seats - which some here cleary like and NOT A SINGLE MENTION about DL's A350 and A330NEO suites? If it is clearly a matter of checking boxes, DL has checked plenty of boxes in cabin comfort - including wider coach seats on multiple DL fleet types than what you get on AA and UA 777s and 787s.

      It would be more insightful to know when Ben...

      and why the railing against the 767 business class seats - which some here cleary like and NOT A SINGLE MENTION about DL's A350 and A330NEO suites? If it is clearly a matter of checking boxes, DL has checked plenty of boxes in cabin comfort - including wider coach seats on multiple DL fleet types than what you get on AA and UA 777s and 787s.

      It would be more insightful to know when Ben actually was last on a DL 767. Seriously. Same thing for United.
      It doesn't make for a very convincing list of qualities - positive or negative - when you list things including "executive hubris" that he couldn't possibly have experienced as a customer, even if he actually was on a Delta plane.

      Either you speak from your own experience and you have documented it with recent posts or its all just something you read on the internet written by others.

  19. Paul Smith Guest

    American changed with the merger and we all know for the worse.
    No vision, no strategy, terrible employee morale
    Heck as an employee we fly for free but the perks are useless cause we can never get on a flight.
    As a long standing AA employee i refuse to even spend a cent on a flight with them cause I know the product sucks. You can have a good hard product, but...

    American changed with the merger and we all know for the worse.
    No vision, no strategy, terrible employee morale
    Heck as an employee we fly for free but the perks are useless cause we can never get on a flight.
    As a long standing AA employee i refuse to even spend a cent on a flight with them cause I know the product sucks. You can have a good hard product, but when you cheapen the soft product it’s useless.
    Long gone are the chateaubriand days, now all they can afford is short rib.
    Wait till they gut the mileage program and I’ll dump them for good.

    1. Arrowspace90 Guest

      Well, it's the same at United. With everyone "working from home", every week is an "opportunity" for a getaway vacation. United CEO says this is "the new normal".
      Right now in the autumn is traditionally THE time for employees to use their vacation passes to fly. But now? Fuhgetaboudit. Every flight every day to even Podunk destinations, full, full, full. I eeked on to a few flights lately and oh boy, middle seats only...

      Well, it's the same at United. With everyone "working from home", every week is an "opportunity" for a getaway vacation. United CEO says this is "the new normal".
      Right now in the autumn is traditionally THE time for employees to use their vacation passes to fly. But now? Fuhgetaboudit. Every flight every day to even Podunk destinations, full, full, full. I eeked on to a few flights lately and oh boy, middle seats only in coach for 2 hour plus discomfort. Yuck. Doesn't make you feel very special for all the years put in. In the past, it was even possible to end up in Business! Now that can never happen as mileage pax are upgraded instead.
      Time to change the old tee shirt to, "Marry Me, Get Bumped". Most who can afford it just give up and buy tickets.

    2. Jay Guest

      They kind of have gutted the mileage program, they charge 100,000 miles at the drop of a hat nowadays each way.

  20. keith wallin [email protected] Guest

    american mixed with qantas what ajoke am.doesnt acare if there dom. are cancelled to pick up inter. flights.at dallas qantas reception opens 1hr bsfore flight .if u want to sreif u can change seats or places they dont care.70 yrs on your own wigh dramas as stoma etc just dont care.american 4out 10 qantas NOW is a4

  21. Brian Karnofsky Guest

    So glad you picked up on the “once again” intro to United announcements. Seems to me that they all do it; much too frequently. Nobody needs to be admonished. There’s no problem with repeated announcements and they are appreciated by anyone that missed the last announcement or just arrived. Hopefully, the powers that be read your blog and train their staff to cut it out.

    Another commenter mentioned that American is really USAir. Or maybe...

    So glad you picked up on the “once again” intro to United announcements. Seems to me that they all do it; much too frequently. Nobody needs to be admonished. There’s no problem with repeated announcements and they are appreciated by anyone that missed the last announcement or just arrived. Hopefully, the powers that be read your blog and train their staff to cut it out.

    Another commenter mentioned that American is really USAir. Or maybe they are America West. I just wish they were Piedmont (which was gobbled up by USAir, before it was relaunched as a commuter). At the original Piedmont, customer service and safety came first, everything else fell into place nicely.

  22. Rabbi Single Malt Guest

    Someone wrote American is actually USAIR. That is incorrect. If you know the history they are actually America West.

  23. BigTee Guest

    If you want an unmasked smile, hire a prostitute. I'll take a QR helpful crew over yours any flight.

  24. brianna hoffner Member

    The Delta hubris thing extends to the customers, too. Like a 45 minute wait to get into the lounge is the new normal and yet that hasn't dampened the enthusiasm of any of my Delta fan friends. It should.

    Also, you don't need quotes around "big three".

  25. shza Member

    I'm a United 1K this year and have flown a lot of Polaris SFO-EWR. For my next trip, for whatever reason, DeltaOne to/from JFK was more than $1500 cheaper, so I'll be flying that. I had been mildly excited, since I hadn't flown DeltaOne in probably 5 years, but my expectations are now very low. I did remember the DL1 transcon food and beverage being substantially more premium and closer to int'l than Polaris's -- have they paired that back?

    1. sacrxy New Member

      To Polaris international yes. To international no.

  26. Paul Tuke Guest

    I agree that Delta is the best of the three DOMESTICALLY, but I will never book a ticket to Europe with Delta. KLM in Amsterdam is CHAOS. Also, if bags are delayed- because of Delta’s mishandling- they demand I take up the problems with the local airlines. In my case, Georgian Airways in Tbilisi told me to get reimbursed for expenses from Delta. Delta has refused. Use United & Turkish Air when crossing the Pond.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Industry standard is for the delivering carrier to take responsibility for mishandled baggage. That point is specifically laid out in the interline agreements between airlines.
      And, yes, AMS has had a rough summer.
      According to systemwide DOT data, your chances of losing a bag on American and United are considerably higher than on Delta.
      Your experience might be different but the government does collect that data.

  27. David Root Guest

    If someone is put off with the Big 3 try Alaska Airlines or Virgin America.

    1. shza Member

      Good luck trying Virgin America in 2022.

  28. Matt C Guest

    Unfortunately Dom is no longer available in sky clubs…huge loss :-(

  29. Diane Guest

    What I don't like about AA is their dropping the ability to put a flight on hold for 24 hours. That was a wonderful differentiating characteristic when trying to coordinate schedules among several people converging on a location. Yes, now you can purchase and then within 24 hours cancel for a refund, but they have told me the refund will take 10-14 business days. Amazing the way the charge hits your credit card immediately but...

    What I don't like about AA is their dropping the ability to put a flight on hold for 24 hours. That was a wonderful differentiating characteristic when trying to coordinate schedules among several people converging on a location. Yes, now you can purchase and then within 24 hours cancel for a refund, but they have told me the refund will take 10-14 business days. Amazing the way the charge hits your credit card immediately but it takes sooooo much longer to do a refund!

  30. Joe Guest

    I fully agree. I am a founding Diamond Elite with Delta and Platinum pro with American and a Premier gold with United. Delta is head and shoulder above in everything.

  31. GS Guest

    the 767 is one of the most comfortable rides in coach today.

  32. --- Guest

    For United, service is consistently inconsistent. However, it also seems to depend a bit on the base.

    I'm based in SFO and service is usually pleasant to great. Maybe not as friendly as Alaska on average, but still generally friendly.

    I don't fly through ORD much, but one of my best UA flights in a while in terms of service was from an ORD crew.

    EWR on the other hand... have had a handful of...

    For United, service is consistently inconsistent. However, it also seems to depend a bit on the base.

    I'm based in SFO and service is usually pleasant to great. Maybe not as friendly as Alaska on average, but still generally friendly.

    I don't fly through ORD much, but one of my best UA flights in a while in terms of service was from an ORD crew.

    EWR on the other hand... have had a handful of excellent flights but I'd say on average, service is not great. From not being particularly friendly to yelling across the cabin to communicate with each other, etc.

    That's just been my experience.

  33. Eric S. Guest

    I’m not sure how it is United is investing in their on board product. The service (re: food) on board in domestic first and in Polaris business is an absolute embarrassment. The lounges are also a joke. Polaris used to be excellent and domestic first was ok. They have had the same horrible meals on every flight in domestic F for over 6 months. United lost all of my premium business to American. While AA...

    I’m not sure how it is United is investing in their on board product. The service (re: food) on board in domestic first and in Polaris business is an absolute embarrassment. The lounges are also a joke. Polaris used to be excellent and domestic first was ok. They have had the same horrible meals on every flight in domestic F for over 6 months. United lost all of my premium business to American. While AA might have some identity issues, at least their premium product these days is excellent, and their OneWorld partners get me where I need to go if they don’t.

    1. NFSF Gold

      The food in United long-haul J is so bad. Luckily Polaris lounges are still great and I make sure to eat there

    2. mike Guest

      What polaris lounge are you at? The one at EWR has been over-crowded (no seats) and angry/nasty employees.

    3. brianna hoffner Member

      Completely agree. I just flew Polaris ICN-SFO and the "bimbimbap" dinner they served was the size of a rice ball - 4 bites of food, tops. I immediately asked for one of the mid-flight snack sandwiches and got a grumpy huff of a "you'll have to wait for that!" as the response.

  34. Mark J Guest

    I have to hammer American for the NE Alliance - HARD. I'm an Alaska 75K based in NYC, so I default to American. But, because of the NE Alliance, I don't have options on American metal out of NYC to a LOT of places I travel regularly, and JetBlue is such a train wreck in reliability - on EVERY SINGLE FLIGHT I HAVE TAKEN WITH JETBLUE we have been over 2h late due to factors...

    I have to hammer American for the NE Alliance - HARD. I'm an Alaska 75K based in NYC, so I default to American. But, because of the NE Alliance, I don't have options on American metal out of NYC to a LOT of places I travel regularly, and JetBlue is such a train wreck in reliability - on EVERY SINGLE FLIGHT I HAVE TAKEN WITH JETBLUE we have been over 2h late due to factors within the airline's control, including in one instance a fuel stop on a transcon that left us on an A320 for over 12 hours end to end. The fact that I can't earn miles or leverage elite perks on them basically guts the value prop for anyone who is OneWorld in NYC.

  35. David B Guest

    I feel compelled to update y’all that Delta renovations of the 767 are (at least mostly) complete! The -400 is 100% finished I know that. FINALLY the 767 can be good again!

    1. Kiwi Guest

      The 300’s are just getting new coverings the problem lies in the hard equipment of their Delta One seat which is appalling even in the refurbished aircraft

  36. Morgan Diamond

    "Delta management not only knows that, but in my opinion management thinks they’re better by a bigger margin than they actually are. I could name countless examples, but I think a little humility would go a long way."

    Then why don't you? Isn't that purely what the article is about?
    I know I wouldn't be the only OMAAT reader who would love reading some examples.

  37. Donna Diamond

    I agree with you on most points but I’m not sure that strategy is a criteria that plays into my equation of dislikes. AA’s lack of strategy does not impact my travel needs. Agree totally with the DL points of the poor 767 Business Class product and SkyMiles program. And the lack of DL premium lounges and overcrowding of their Sky Club lounges should be mentioned.

  38. DesertGhost Guest

    According to Tim Dunn there IS a perfect airline - Delta - It can do no wrong, and all the others deserve to be liquidated.

    1. Jason Guest

      And absolutely no criticism of Delta is permitted. If you do criticize it, then you need to realize that even though you dont like it you really do like whatever element you dont like because that's what makes Delta better.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Jason and Ghost.
      not only do you go to extremes in your responses but you don't even address the reasons why I objected to what Ben wrote.
      Absolutely nowhere have I objected to anyone - including Ben's SUBJECTIVE comments - but I do take issue with objective and selective use of data to come up with conclusions that aren't even supported by all of the participants in the conversation besides me.
      1....

      Jason and Ghost.
      not only do you go to extremes in your responses but you don't even address the reasons why I objected to what Ben wrote.
      Absolutely nowhere have I objected to anyone - including Ben's SUBJECTIVE comments - but I do take issue with objective and selective use of data to come up with conclusions that aren't even supported by all of the participants in the conversation besides me.
      1. I objected strongly to Ben's factually incorrect statements about fleet age and this is not the first time I have raised the issue - without acknowledgement that someone else might be wrong or providing evidence that he is right. Airfleets is a real time data source for fleet age and Ben's statements not only don't agree with that statement but they don't agree with airline 10Ks - which I readily agree that investors, not customers, read. Where is the evidence for Ben's statement and why should anyone be offended when someone gets called out time after time for making unsubstantiated and incorrect statements?
      If Ben had said Delta's fleet age is older than American's, I wouldn't disagree but I would also ask "so what" in terms of what he as a customer cares.
      2. I legimitately talked about lack of perspective both in terms of running a business - which I can acknowledge is not the focus of this or Gary's or other mileage/credit card sites - but also about the lack of perspective in recognizing that the 767 provides a better coach experience - even if a less competitive business class experience. And the 767 is not Delta's most common international aircraft - it is the A330; 1/3 of the 767-300ER fleet is used on transcon routes where the 767 provides a product as good of or better than competitors for all passengers.
      3. and, finally, my very first comment was about Ben's use of the word "hubris." Really. If he or his defenders want to talk about product and service quality, then WTH does hubris have anything to do with it? And further, Ben, yet again can't even provide evidence that DL execs demonstrate hubris. DL execs don't even compare themselves to other airlines but some industry analysts do. UA execs have made far more comparative statements about themselves to other airlines than DL execs. Using justifications such as "executive hubris" is childish and fanboyish. There are plenty of legitmate industry facts such as on-time and cancellation rates etc even without using purely business metrics.

      I am an active participant in multiple sites and am a diamond member here. A whole lot of people agree with what I have written and have validated even my comments.

      No, I don't expect Delta or anyone else to be free of criticism. I am completely justified in expecting people to make logical and factual statements on matters that are based on facts or admit that they are solely making subjective opinions, in which case about half of the reasons either positive or negative for any airline should appear in these evaluations.

    3. Mitch Rapp Guest

      You should also mention that United has 777's that only offer seatback entertainment in there Polaris 1st class section and no in the coach cabin. Talk about poor customer service, no other airline would even consider something like this. Obviously United only cares about it 1st class customers.

    4. XPL Diamond

      "no other airline would even consider something like this"

      You haven't flown American, have you? They had seatback entertainment in economy but chose to spend money to rip it out. Not just 777s but fleet-wide.

  39. Daniel Custer Guest

    American is not American. It's USAir. Once you recognize that, its complete inefficiency, lack of strategy, and terrible customer service makes sense. "USAir and I don't care." And not only do they treat their customers badly, but they are horrible to their employees. Example: closing the SFO flight attendant base and only giving the options to a) quit; b) move to Dallas, NYC or Chicago; c) commute to another base (but not allow them to...

    American is not American. It's USAir. Once you recognize that, its complete inefficiency, lack of strategy, and terrible customer service makes sense. "USAir and I don't care." And not only do they treat their customers badly, but they are horrible to their employees. Example: closing the SFO flight attendant base and only giving the options to a) quit; b) move to Dallas, NYC or Chicago; c) commute to another base (but not allow them to park in employee parking if they choose c. Gee, what a wonder that their unhappy employees take it out on customers. If I never had to fly them again, that would be just fine. And for someone with 3.5 million miles on American, that's very sad.

    1. Mark J Guest

      And remember that USAir is actually America West, aka America Worst. They did a reverse merger and threw out the AW brand because it was SO tarnished by unreliability. I think (and please correct me) at one point near the end AW had a below 50% on time rating.

    2. andy Guest

      Most of the low brow/ budget cutting comes from America West and that Operational Manual of Cheapness and let's not forget that. Doug Parker totally trashed the USAirways that was built by Stephen Wolf and then Parker managed to conduct a coupe to take over Legacy AA and that is what we have today. The Name may be American but the standards are clearly America West on steroids....

    3. Dempseyzdad Gold

      100%

      I would add that AA has not even come close to returning to their pre-COVID schedule, something that can be quantified by booking options that come back with overnight layovers and 24 hour itineraries just to fly certain places. Thank dog for Alaska. Alaska Airlines up and down the west coast is unfortunately the best thing about American Airlines.

  40. Gabe Guest

    I’d say the 767 is has the most comfortable economy and premium economy seats in Delta’s long-haul fleet. I will agree that their Delta One seats are way too narrow for a long journey.

  41. Lee Guest

    Ben, you are spot on with respect to AA and strategy. For me, it's how strategy affects its route network. Consider flying from New York to Frankfurt. One would think that New York, being the largest market in the US, would have non-stop flights to key cities in Europe. If nothing else, London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Rome. Instead, the routing is JFK to DFW to FRA. Seriously?

    1. Jason Guest

      The point is, you dont fly american from NYC to Frankfurt. You fly another airline.

  42. Dian Guest

    The food is awful on United. It’s bad in economy, bad in business, and bad at the lounge. Its often far too sugary and vegetables are far and few between. I’m not convinced it’s a cost savings thing either, it’s a judgment thing.

    1. Bob Guest

      Funny, I actually like the food on United for the most part, and don't find it dramatically different than any other airline, ME3 and Singapore included. So I guess different strokes for different folks.

    2. Kim Guest

      I flew SFO/FRA in Polaris in august and, honestly, the food was practically unedible. I was very surprised. And the service in Polaris lounge pre-flight was below average. Food was delivered luke warm and it wasn't crowded. Not terribly impressive - especially as I flew Air France from CDG/SFO home and there was a world of difference across the board.
      But I'll remain loyal to UA because their routes are my routes, I'll hit...

      I flew SFO/FRA in Polaris in august and, honestly, the food was practically unedible. I was very surprised. And the service in Polaris lounge pre-flight was below average. Food was delivered luke warm and it wasn't crowded. Not terribly impressive - especially as I flew Air France from CDG/SFO home and there was a world of difference across the board.
      But I'll remain loyal to UA because their routes are my routes, I'll hit 1K later this month and I do seem improvements in friendliness and effort.

  43. Jayceegee New Member

    I'm quite surprised that Lucky didn't lean harder into American for their poor customer service, particularly when it comes to ground staff like gate/ticketing agents, lounge staff, etc. He's right to attribute part of that to low morale. I took a quick flight from DCA to LGA yesterday evening, and almost everyone looked exhausted and overwhelmed... I'd even describe some as sullen/defeated. While waiting to board my flight, there was embarrassing incident where one of...

    I'm quite surprised that Lucky didn't lean harder into American for their poor customer service, particularly when it comes to ground staff like gate/ticketing agents, lounge staff, etc. He's right to attribute part of that to low morale. I took a quick flight from DCA to LGA yesterday evening, and almost everyone looked exhausted and overwhelmed... I'd even describe some as sullen/defeated. While waiting to board my flight, there was embarrassing incident where one of the lower level managers received a call from another gate demanding to know why our gate agents had sent people with a canceled flight to them instead of customer service. He repeatedly switched back and forth between yelling into the phone that it wasn't his fault and then glaring at the gate agent and saying "Why would you do that!? You can't just do that!", despite her repeated insistence that she gave them the correct instructions. After about 2-3 straight minutes of this, two passengers walked up to the gate to vouch for the gate agent. The poor woman eventually just threw her hands in the air, said "I've had enough!", and walked away. I genuinely couldn't determine if she was taking a break of resigning.
    When I eventually boarded the flight, I was startled by the flight attendant when she greeted me at the door... Why? Because she gave me a genuinely enthusiastic smile while eagerly welcoming me aboard. That was the first moment I realized that none of the 10 or so AA employees I had interacted with up to that point had smiled. Not even once. When I spoke with the FA during the flight, I discovered that she was smiling because it was her first day after 2.5 years of waiting due to the pandemic. I couldn't help but wonder how long she would be able to maintain that level of enthusiasm.

    At the same time, a lot of it is just poor training and customer service. For example, I'm not exaggerating when I say that the bartender at the new Admiral's Club could barely mutter incomplete sentences, but eventually told me that the "champagne" was complimentary. After I handed him his tip, he let me know that the Prosecco was $7.00. Next, he spilled the prosecco as he handed me the check for $11.00. After I paid, he refilled the same glass 2/3 of the way so that he wouldn't have to open up another bottle... I worked in restaurant management through six years of college, and I don't know how you even begin to correct those kinds of issues with someone who doesn't know how to provide customer service *and* doesn't want to provide good customer service. You can address one or the other, but both?

    AA has never really been a "great" airline in the 8ish years I've been a frequent flyer, but it seems like the pandemic and poor management has really taken a toll on their workforce. I genuinely feel terrible for most of them, which is why I chose not to provide feedback to AA directly after my journey. I'm not confident that they would actually address the problems beyond penalizing the individuals involved...

  44. XPL Diamond

    Like some other commenters here, and most flyers overall, I'm usually in economy when it's on my own dime, so I'm more concerned with the economy class experience. From that perspective, American's Jekyll-and-Hyde personality makes it a total non starter for me. Even ULCCs are merely thoughtless, not gratuitously rude.

  45. Justsaying Guest

    EWR and JFK are simply ghetto. I had a gate agent yell at me at Delta in Nyc once and was extremely nasty to me. You using EWR or me using JFK as an example aren’t exactly accurate examples for an airline overall because it’s a sport for them to be mean there and the culture that exists there.

    1. Donna Diamond

      I agree, across all airlines, JFK and EWR get the award for the rudest treatment of the public. And the friendliest airport is ATL.

  46. Eric Guest

    I find Delta's business class fares to be much better priced than either AA or UA in large part due to their mileage program.

    Far less people on DL buy business class with points, thus enabling DL to actually sell MORE business class seats at a better price than AA / UA. Both AA / UA have less business class seats to sell, in part due to people using miles to get a business class seat, and therefore have to sell what remaining seats they have at a higher price.

    1. Donna Diamond

      Eric - I’m not sure which J destinations are better priced, but if DL was priced consistently lower, I’d be flying them instead of AA booking 8 to 10 international J flights per year. I’m always looking for a great deal.

  47. Evan Guest

    As a DL captive for the most part (DTW), my big beef is Delta One's inconsistency. You have the A350s and A330neos with the suites and the 764's refurbished with the mini-suites (lack of a better term). Then, you have the A330s with the old herringbone pattern and the 763's with the coffins, so to speak. Oh yeah, then add on the ex-LATAM A350s with the 2-2-2 arrangement.

    Even more, DL has been mum about...

    As a DL captive for the most part (DTW), my big beef is Delta One's inconsistency. You have the A350s and A330neos with the suites and the 764's refurbished with the mini-suites (lack of a better term). Then, you have the A330s with the old herringbone pattern and the 763's with the coffins, so to speak. Oh yeah, then add on the ex-LATAM A350s with the 2-2-2 arrangement.

    Even more, DL has been mum about all these aircraft going forward (except the 763s). Are the current A330s and ex-LATAM A350's going to be refurbished with suites? Or, is this product inconsistency going to continue?

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Evan
      actually Delta's press releases when they put part of the Latam A350s in service were pretty clear that they would reconfigure those aircraft later. They are clearly waiting for seat manufacturers to build enough ship sets of their premium cabin products which has to include not just Delta's brand new, on order aircraft but also their aircraft that have been acquired used.
      And Delta doesn't have any less consistency in its premium...

      Evan
      actually Delta's press releases when they put part of the Latam A350s in service were pretty clear that they would reconfigure those aircraft later. They are clearly waiting for seat manufacturers to build enough ship sets of their premium cabin products which has to include not just Delta's brand new, on order aircraft but also their aircraft that have been acquired used.
      And Delta doesn't have any less consistency in its premium cabins (including premium economy) that United and a larger widebody fleet than American which gave up and got rid of its 767 and 330 fleets which is one way to get product consistency but at a pretty high cost.
      Not even the largest non-US carriers have a consistent premium cabin product across their entire fleet. Delta is still the only US airline that has doors on business class seats - if that matters - but it is an attribute that is just as worthy as being noted as the slightly narrower business class seat on 767s.
      DL might or might not put a business class cabin with doors on its A330CEOs but they use the A330NEOs on routes where they think the "better" premium cabin product on that aircraft matters vs. the A330-300/200.

    2. Leo Guam Guest

      "And Delta doesn't have any less consistency in its premium cabins (including premium economy) that United."

      Well, let's look.

      DL J
      767-300ER: Infamous Staggered
      767-400ER: Delta One Suite no Door
      A330ceo: Reverse Herringbone
      A330neo/A350: Delta Suite with Door
      A350 x-LA: 2-2-2

      UA J
      767-300ER/787/777-200ER/777-300ER: Polaris
      767-400ER: 2-2-2
      777-200 Domestic: 2-4-2

    3. Tim Dunn Diamond

      first, Leo, you did not include premium economy cabins in your comparison. DL, I am pretty sure, has a higher percentage of widebody aircraft with premium economy than UA.
      second, even if look at just business class, my statement was that DL had NO LESS consistency - both DL and UA have inconsistent business class products. as I have noted, there are virtually no large, multi-fleet global airlines that have a consistent business class...

      first, Leo, you did not include premium economy cabins in your comparison. DL, I am pretty sure, has a higher percentage of widebody aircraft with premium economy than UA.
      second, even if look at just business class, my statement was that DL had NO LESS consistency - both DL and UA have inconsistent business class products. as I have noted, there are virtually no large, multi-fleet global airlines that have a consistent business class product.
      third, we are all free to subjectively call what is more premium vs not but DL has about 3 dozen aircraft with business class suites while UA has almost as many aircraft that still do not have direct aisle business class cabins. DL has 4 ex-Latam A350s without direct aisle access and all of those aircraft have been flying for less than a year.
      fourth, American has the most consistent business class cabins but they get rid of dozens of widebody aircraft during the pandemic so there is less for them to offer.

    4. Leo Guam Guest

      DL J
      767-300ER: Infamous Staggered
      767-400ER: Delta One Suite no Door
      A330ceo: Reverse Herringbone
      A330neo/A350: Delta Suite with Door
      A350 x-LA: 2-2-2

      UA J
      767-300ER/777-200ER/777-300ER: Polaris
      767-400ER: 2-2-2
      777-200 Domestic: 2-4-2

      DL W
      767-400ER/A330Neo/A350: All
      767-300ER/A330-300: Mixed
      A350 x-LA: None

      UA W
      787/777-200ER/777-300ER: All
      767: Mixed
      777-200 Domestic: None

      Still looks like DL has less consistency in premium cabins to me...

      DL J
      767-300ER: Infamous Staggered
      767-400ER: Delta One Suite no Door
      A330ceo: Reverse Herringbone
      A330neo/A350: Delta Suite with Door
      A350 x-LA: 2-2-2

      UA J
      767-300ER/777-200ER/777-300ER: Polaris
      767-400ER: 2-2-2
      777-200 Domestic: 2-4-2

      DL W
      767-400ER/A330Neo/A350: All
      767-300ER/A330-300: Mixed
      A350 x-LA: None

      UA W
      787/777-200ER/777-300ER: All
      767: Mixed
      777-200 Domestic: None

      Still looks like DL has less consistency in premium cabins to me and I'm sure most readers will agree. Once UA reconfigures 767-400ER, the Polaris and PE seat will be uniform all international wide bodies and only a subset of 767-300ER will have no PE.

      I'm not addressing 3 or 4. Raincheck for another day.

    5. Tim Dunn Diamond

      DL has fewer aircraft operating international routes without premium economy than United. DL is down to a couple 767s and 330s that don't have it as well as the 4 ex-Latam A350s.
      The lack of premium economy on DL 767s is heavily due to the aircraft DL uses on the JFK transcon routes.

      And, of course you don't address the difference in gap between DL's best business product - a sweet with doors...

      DL has fewer aircraft operating international routes without premium economy than United. DL is down to a couple 767s and 330s that don't have it as well as the 4 ex-Latam A350s.
      The lack of premium economy on DL 767s is heavily due to the aircraft DL uses on the JFK transcon routes.

      And, of course you don't address the difference in gap between DL's best business product - a sweet with doors - and precisely FOUR aircraft - all ex-Latam that don't have direct aisle access while somehow thinking that Polaris aircraft should offset none having doors and a much larger number of aircraft that don't even have direct aisle business class - and none of the aircraft in question just joined the UA fleet within the past year.

    6. Leo Guam Guest

      "And, of course you don't address the difference in gap between DL's best business product - a sweet with doors"

      Sure, I'll just borrow one of my earlier points.

      DL J
      767-300ER: Infamous Staggered aka No Door
      767-400ER: Delta One Suite no Door
      A330ceo: Reverse Herringbone aka No Door
      A330neo/A350: Delta Suite with Door
      A350 x-LA: 2-2-2 aka No Door

      UA J
      767-300ER/777-200ER/777-300ER/787: Polaris
      767-400ER: 2-2-2 aka Not...

      "And, of course you don't address the difference in gap between DL's best business product - a sweet with doors"

      Sure, I'll just borrow one of my earlier points.

      DL J
      767-300ER: Infamous Staggered aka No Door
      767-400ER: Delta One Suite no Door
      A330ceo: Reverse Herringbone aka No Door
      A330neo/A350: Delta Suite with Door
      A350 x-LA: 2-2-2 aka No Door

      UA J
      767-300ER/777-200ER/777-300ER/787: Polaris
      767-400ER: 2-2-2 aka Not Polaris
      777-200 Domestic: 2-4-2 Not Polaris

      UA has two aircraft types that aren't Polaris. DL has 4 (or 5 if you subtype the A330ceo) aircraft types that don't have DL Suites with doors. You tend to get that with inconsistency in premium cabins. Guess the Polaris cabin has seats that pay for themselves unlike the doorless Delta One seats.

    7. Leo Guam Guest

      Sorry Tim, missed one aircraft under DL.

      A330-200 W: All

      Easy to miss given the inconsistency in DL's Premium Cabins. Regarding your 4th point. AA has inconsistent business cabins though not as bad as DL. Almost one for each aircraft type, as for the retired A330s and 767s.

      777-300ER: Zodiac Cirrus
      787-9/Some 777-200ER: Super Diamond
      787-8/Some 777-200ER: Zodiac Alternating

    8. Chris Guest

      I would say Delta is the most overrated airline in the US. I live in Chicago, so I mainly took American for the last two years. I have never had a problem, except for a slight delay or grumpy gate agent.
      - flight attendants at AA are far superior to flight attendants at UA or DL combined.
      - DL is very good at marketing its products and setting expectations. But their airplanes are...

      I would say Delta is the most overrated airline in the US. I live in Chicago, so I mainly took American for the last two years. I have never had a problem, except for a slight delay or grumpy gate agent.
      - flight attendants at AA are far superior to flight attendants at UA or DL combined.
      - DL is very good at marketing its products and setting expectations. But their airplanes are outdated. Yet, American has the most modern planes in the US. Forget about UA. Wifi is far superior to any other airlines
      - Schedule time, Hub connections are very efficient, and I always get to my destination without a prob, from Chicago to S.Korea

  48. Courtney Guest

    I don't think Ben gets it: Delta doesn't need a competitive SkyMiles program when the service and performance are better than American and United. I've had top-tier status, too, on each of the US domestic carriers, and I'll prefer Delta each time despite the below mileage program. I'd rather arrive on time with a better onboard experience than deal with American and United.

    1. Jason Guest

      It would make them more compelling. I refuse to fly Delta as their program simply is horrible. That, of course, and I live in a city (DC) where Delta doesnt fly nonstop to the cities I need, so flying them would require a connection. Which is an absolute non-starter in most circumstances. I fly a combination of AA and UA, with a slight preference for UA due to their loyalty program and Star Alliance network....

      It would make them more compelling. I refuse to fly Delta as their program simply is horrible. That, of course, and I live in a city (DC) where Delta doesnt fly nonstop to the cities I need, so flying them would require a connection. Which is an absolute non-starter in most circumstances. I fly a combination of AA and UA, with a slight preference for UA due to their loyalty program and Star Alliance network. If I lived in NYC I'd probably still stick with UA,but cant be sure. Delta is great and overall has a great product. If I lived in Atlanta or Minneapolis I'd fly them all the time. BUt I dont and even in a city where I did have a choice, I probably wouldnt fly them. But that's debatable.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      thanks for sharing your bias.
      If you are in someone else's hub or strength market, just as Ben is, then schedule is the primary factor. Trying to sugar coat and layer on a million other reasons doesn't matter because you made your decision the way the vast majority of passengers do - by either schedule or price depending on whether you are a business or leisure traveler.

    3. DCAWABN Guest

      The road to help goes through Atlanta.

    4. Chris_ Member

      The title of the article is "What I like least about American, Delta, and United." I would agree with Ben - I like Delta, but the SkyMiles program is what I like least. That doesn't mean it's not the right business move for DL - I still don't like it.

  49. michael Guest

    I would also argue that United has de-valued its loyalty program. As a 1K, its next to impossible to use most of my Pointsplus. We could also throw in that United wins for worst food.

  50. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Ben,
    I like your site, but with all due respect the hubris is yours,
    All of it.
    All US airlines are not just for-public but they are also publicly traded which means they have a requirement, not just a responsibility, to do what is the best interest of their owners, which is their stockholders.

    You seem completely incapable of reconciling the fact that airlines are BOTH service companies and also legitimate businesses.

    ...

    Ben,
    I like your site, but with all due respect the hubris is yours,
    All of it.
    All US airlines are not just for-public but they are also publicly traded which means they have a requirement, not just a responsibility, to do what is the best interest of their owners, which is their stockholders.

    You seem completely incapable of reconciling the fact that airlines are BOTH service companies and also legitimate businesses.

    While there are legitimate arguments that can be made as to whether one airline's decision is really profit maximizing, your inability to see EVERYTHING an airline does in light of their requirements to run good operations and good businesses reduces you to a petulent fanboy rather than a legitimate, objective industry observer and critic.
    The reality is that EVERY investment that airlines make in their businesses touches the customer and they should be able to demonstrate that those investments make sense financially not just today but ten years from now.
    As much as you and other "premium" bloggers focus on the premium cabins, the vast majority of customers do not fly them and the vast majority of revenue does not come from the premium international cabin. Delta's financial statements, the first US airline to break down and track premium cabin vs. economy cabin financials, and also the airline that gets the highest revenue premium to the industry show that.
    an extra inch or two inches simply does not move the needle financially for the majority of passengers that PAY for premium cabin service - not travel bloggers that promote how to get it with miles and points.
    No company gives away more of its service than it has to; give that Delta has the most valuable loyalty program in the world and gets the most revenue from its credit card partner, and still generate the highest revenue per seat mile in the industry - they are achieving at THEIR GOALS. If yours don't line up with theirs, the problem is your perspective.

    And United's fleet is older than Delta's. Period. The majority of Delta aircraft are YOUNGER than United's.
    When you repeat the same, wrong incorrect information you prove that you are really more interested in pushing your own opinions that drawing factual conclusions.

    You can do better, Ben. Much better.

    1. Jason Guest

      He's simply talking about what he likes and what he doesnt like. Why do you have to ruin the fun? ALL THE TIME. That's great that you just love Delta and that you are willing to overlook whatever issues they may have or whatever items are not comfortable for the traveler. Ben's perspective is different than yours. Your perspective is that no matter what Delta is always right. That's not Ben's, and there's nothing wrong with that.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Nobody is ruining any fun, Jason.
      It isn't too much to ask someone who tries to paint himself as an industry expert and gets millions of page views per year for what he writes to not just be objective but also accurate.
      A narrowminded perspective that embraces "what is in my best interest to the exclusion of everybody else" is childish.
      If someone can't understand that airlines are businesses and they run...

      Nobody is ruining any fun, Jason.
      It isn't too much to ask someone who tries to paint himself as an industry expert and gets millions of page views per year for what he writes to not just be objective but also accurate.
      A narrowminded perspective that embraces "what is in my best interest to the exclusion of everybody else" is childish.
      If someone can't understand that airlines are businesses and they run their operations based on what they believe is a balanced approach to achieving all of their goals, then they prove they don't reflect real life at all.
      And, no, I don't think Delta does everything right but I've watched the airline industry for 1.5X times -far longer than I could have ever been employed at any airline - as long as Ben has been alive and am capable of seeing the big picture.
      If United thinks it can get by with "devaluing" its mileage program and renegging on its commitment that change fees would be gone "permanently," they are doing it as a business decision. Much harder for anyone to quantify but their results say they are in a position of strength to do those things right now.
      If American says that getting rid of their 767 fleet for fleet commonality (really driven as much because those planes had horrible reliability compared not just to AA's other fleet types as well as to DL and UA's 767 fleets), then the cost/benefit can be seen eventually - because alot of the data is public.
      The 767 business class is narrower but it has a wider coach seat for the majority of passengers; why is it so hard to acknowledge that AA and UA's 10 abreast coach 777s and 9 abreast 787s produce a tighter seat than other widebody aircraft types, including DL and UA's 767s?
      And nobody that repeats patently incorrect and verifiable information should be given a pass. UA's fleet age - if it even matters at all - is the oldest among US carriers. Period. End of story. If you want to cite data, get it right.

      And terms like "least" and "best" ARE comparative. If Ben doesn't want to be challenged that his perspective is not complete or accurate either for the way the businesses themselves operate or for other passengers, then he could shut off the comments.
      not sure why you get so worked up about a rebuttal.

    3. Jason Guest

      You're ruining the fun.

      He knows they're a business.

      This is simply his view of what he likes/ doesnt like.

      Sorry that he has some criticism of Delta.

    4. Robert J Fahr Guest

      OMAAT is a blog not held to any journalistic standard. OMAAT is 100% Ben's POV. Agree with Jason.

    5. Tim Dunn Diamond

      and Jason,
      I'm not sure why Ben hasn't followed up with his analyses of Alaska, JetBlue and Southwest which very much compete with American, Delta and United for the domestic market. And if he really wants to just talk about premium, long haul airline service even to/from the US, then compare British Airways, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa and its sister airlines etc.
      By the very same arguments I have used regarding AA, DL...

      and Jason,
      I'm not sure why Ben hasn't followed up with his analyses of Alaska, JetBlue and Southwest which very much compete with American, Delta and United for the domestic market. And if he really wants to just talk about premium, long haul airline service even to/from the US, then compare British Airways, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa and its sister airlines etc.
      By the very same arguments I have used regarding AA, DL and UA, I would easily rank Southwest as the best ranked business in the global airline industry. They don't do premium cabins, lounges or longhaul networks but they run a very good business. Much of the same can be said about Alaska. JetBlue right now is not doing near as good of a job of running a good business but they have a number of product and service attributes - not unlike where AS was just a few years ago.
      So, if Ben or anyone wants to look at something in time and with a narrow focus, then he is entitled to his opinion but he should be able to say what his comparative set is and then make valid comparisons based on those limitations.

    6. Jason Guest

      None of this is about who runs a good business. It's about what is the experience and what do I like and not like about it. The business question is a good question, but it's not the point of this thread, not the point of Ben's web site, and it doesnt have to be, and that's okay. There are other places on the web with that focus. It's okay just to discuss the service and...

      None of this is about who runs a good business. It's about what is the experience and what do I like and not like about it. The business question is a good question, but it's not the point of this thread, not the point of Ben's web site, and it doesnt have to be, and that's okay. There are other places on the web with that focus. It's okay just to discuss the service and what one does / doesnt like, and one doesnt need to tie that in with a discussion of how that impacts the business. It's okay that it doesnt. You're ruining the fun of this.

    7. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Jason,
      understanding that you are dealing with a business and not a charity or the government absolutely shapes EVERYTHING about how you interact with them.
      Why don't people argue about how many free gallons of milk/loaves of bread or bags of apples grocery stores give away? Because people understand that nearly every grocery store in the world is a business and they base their expectations around what businesses would do.
      Even if...

      Jason,
      understanding that you are dealing with a business and not a charity or the government absolutely shapes EVERYTHING about how you interact with them.
      Why don't people argue about how many free gallons of milk/loaves of bread or bags of apples grocery stores give away? Because people understand that nearly every grocery store in the world is a business and they base their expectations around what businesses would do.
      Even if Ben (or Gary) or any other aviation blogger didn't bother to consider the business perspectives, there is still a glaring lack of objectivity even in talking about the 767 which offers wider seats for the majority of passengers than the 787 as it is configured by AA and UA.
      If Ben wants to say "I only write about the most premium of cabins and services so I don't factor in the benefit/loss for coach cabins in comparing the 787 vs the 767," then I get it. But he doesn't put those qualifiers on what he writes and objections should very much be in line with what he actually writes and doesn't write - just as it does whether he fails to see the business with which he interacts as businesses that serve a wide spectrum of passengers and not just his narrow focus - which sure appears to be premium cabins at the cheapest cost including mileage redemptions.
      Anybody can have a bias - just note it.

    8. Jason Guest

      This article is literally titled "what I like..." Bias is implicit when one is talking about what they like. It's personal preference.

    9. Leo Guam Guest

      So you're saying Delta has more a younger and more fuel efficient fleet, fuel savings through the refinery, advantage with MRO, strong core hub with minimal competition, high revenue premium and the most valuable loyalty program in the world?

      Seems like a huge advantage only for Delta to fall behind United in Q3 in overall profitability, profitability across all international regions, and combined profitability across all regions. Especially when United seems to constantly launch...

      So you're saying Delta has more a younger and more fuel efficient fleet, fuel savings through the refinery, advantage with MRO, strong core hub with minimal competition, high revenue premium and the most valuable loyalty program in the world?

      Seems like a huge advantage only for Delta to fall behind United in Q3 in overall profitability, profitability across all international regions, and combined profitability across all regions. Especially when United seems to constantly launch unprofitable routes to protect market share, save for two launched TATL routes that were incredibly profitable..?

    10. DavidW Guest

      Wow, can't you make your points without being so insulting to Ben? You have a right to disagree and share your perspective, indeed it is welcome. However, can't that be done in a more pleasant manner?

      The article is written from the point of view of a traveller, not a stock holder. As someone currently loyal to AA but contemplating a switch to UA, I appreciate this series of articles. FYI, my home base is...

      Wow, can't you make your points without being so insulting to Ben? You have a right to disagree and share your perspective, indeed it is welcome. However, can't that be done in a more pleasant manner?

      The article is written from the point of view of a traveller, not a stock holder. As someone currently loyal to AA but contemplating a switch to UA, I appreciate this series of articles. FYI, my home base is Washington, DC, so choices are AA out of DCA or United out of IAD. My family has been loyal to AA for several generations, but I recently flee AA first class on a redone 737-800 and found it less comfortable than not only the d first class but even the old coach, and I'm short.

    11. Tim Dunn Diamond

      David et al,
      if this was really written from a customer perspective, then what does "management hubris" - even if there were adequate examples or even fleet age - have anything to do with the customer experience?
      The reason why I have come out as forcefully as I have is because some of the same factually based statements have been repeated - even though they are still wrong and without citation.
      If...

      David et al,
      if this was really written from a customer perspective, then what does "management hubris" - even if there were adequate examples or even fleet age - have anything to do with the customer experience?
      The reason why I have come out as forcefully as I have is because some of the same factually based statements have been repeated - even though they are still wrong and without citation.
      If fleet age matters from a customer perspective, then the benefit of newer aircraft should be demonstrated. UA has come to the same conclusion that B6 and DL reached a long time ago - that older aircraft with technology-infused cabins and updated furnishings look more modern than newer aircraft that lack those features. And customers like those features and not a number that 99% of airline passengers even know - the age of the aircraft they are on or the fleet age for that airline at all.
      I am more than happy to admit that this IS a customer experience related blog - but then, unless someone can justify that they are using true customer perspectives and only that - then there is justification for challenging what has been written.

    12. LK Guest

      why don't you go to a remote island with Hilton fan DCS and adamantly shout at each other for a month

    13. Mike C Diamond

      Some of the comments in the thread focus too much on the fact that airlines are (mostly) publicly traded companies with obligations to their shareholders. The numbers matter but so does what the passengers think. This forum represents one slice of those passengers. The US3 have TATL joint ventures, so they still make money if passengers desert them for their JV partners but for the most part they live and die on what they themselves...

      Some of the comments in the thread focus too much on the fact that airlines are (mostly) publicly traded companies with obligations to their shareholders. The numbers matter but so does what the passengers think. This forum represents one slice of those passengers. The US3 have TATL joint ventures, so they still make money if passengers desert them for their JV partners but for the most part they live and die on what they themselves deliver. That includes both price and 'experience'. Airlines executives can disregard what their customers think of the service and use only the bottom-line to guide how they run the company and the airline.

      Most readers here are interested in the quality of the experience and that is what Ben is talking about here. We may disagree with his opinions but I suspect most of us think he is answering the right questions. Most of us are only interested in how the company is run to the extent that it affects what we see when contacting them, booking and travelling, and what we get from their loyalty program, and if we don't like what we get then, we'll walk not matter how much Wall Street likes the company.

    14. Tim Dunn Diamond

      then, quite frankly, what does "executive hubris" have to do with the way the airline is run from a customer perspective?
      Seriously?
      and why this incessant focus - not just here - on getting the tiniest gain in the width of the business class seat without recognizing that some aircraft - like the 767 - has a better coach seat than much more modern aircraft like the 787 the way the vast majority...

      then, quite frankly, what does "executive hubris" have to do with the way the airline is run from a customer perspective?
      Seriously?
      and why this incessant focus - not just here - on getting the tiniest gain in the width of the business class seat without recognizing that some aircraft - like the 767 - has a better coach seat than much more modern aircraft like the 787 the way the vast majority of airlines configure them, including AA and UA?
      Lack of perspective is not just about the lack of ability to recognize how a business is run but how a single product or service attribute fits in with the experience for everyone.

  51. John T Guest

    What about the food on United??

    1. Jason Guest

      I wrote about that in my response below...

  52. D3kingg Guest

    I dunno about this Ben. What you least like about these airlines has little to no impact on their bottom lines. A bit of a tangent bringing up the Dr Dao incident.

    Big changes happening at American since Lord Dougie left.

    My only 3 flights ever on the Delta a220 between NY and Houston were notably better experiences in the main cabin than with American and United.

    1. Chris_ Member

      He's not a business journalist. This is a blog post about what he dislikes. It's not his job to analyze the bottom line.

    2. Jacob Guest

      This was a fantastic series, I really enjoyed reading it and think it’s pretty spot on.

      United has definitely experienced the biggest transformation over the last couple years; in my experience it’s the only one of the three where I haven’t experienced a flight cancellation or significant delay over the last 2 years.

      That being said, their food in long haul is AWFUL, like barely edible. They need a new head chef.

      ...

      This was a fantastic series, I really enjoyed reading it and think it’s pretty spot on.

      United has definitely experienced the biggest transformation over the last couple years; in my experience it’s the only one of the three where I haven’t experienced a flight cancellation or significant delay over the last 2 years.

      That being said, their food in long haul is AWFUL, like barely edible. They need a new head chef.

      The other thing I can’t help but notice is how dirty their hubs feel to me vs. those of Delta and American.

      Additionally, while I’ve noticed United’s recently upgraded cabins, I still find them extremely uncomfortable especially in long haul economy when compared to the likes of Delta.

      At the end of the day, for me, American is un-flyable due to so many terrible experiences in the last 2 years.

      Delta is the best overall experience when it works, but their on time rates and cancellations seem to be getting worse.

      And United is currently the most reliable of the bunch. Feels very far from a “premium” experience still though.

  53. khatl Guest

    Think the pic of Dom Perignon for Delta is misplaced as they've stopped doing it

    1. David B Guest

      Isn’t the Dom still available in the lounge? I could have sworn I just saw it last month.

  54. Jason Guest

    I was pleasantly surprised by my experience this past Sunday flying from Frankfurt to Washington on United in Polaris. The service really shone. The purser walked around and introduced himself/ welcomed all passengers by name (I'm not sure if it was just elite pax or all pax, as it was a full cabin), then the agents working my area consistently referred to me by my name and asked me my meal preferences, etc. Service throughout...

    I was pleasantly surprised by my experience this past Sunday flying from Frankfurt to Washington on United in Polaris. The service really shone. The purser walked around and introduced himself/ welcomed all passengers by name (I'm not sure if it was just elite pax or all pax, as it was a full cabin), then the agents working my area consistently referred to me by my name and asked me my meal preferences, etc. Service throughout was friendly and anticipatory. I was pretty surprised. My drinks were never empty the entire time. What was lacking, and what this great service made up for, was the catering. The food was okay, but several items on the menu were missing (the sundae was just ice cream, for example), and I got my second rather than first choice for my main meal. That said, the flight attendants in my aisle handled it well so I dealt with it. It was good to see this service. Perhaps it was just a one off, but I was happy - I'd say fix and get the food service up to snuff - that'll help. Otherwise, I was happy with the comfort of the seat, the entertainment options, and of course, the friendly flight attendants.

    1. snic Diamond

      Sounds more or less like a typical United business class flight IF you get a good crew. The problem is that there are so many instances when the crew (or some fraction of the crew) is just phoning it in. I've always found this inconsistency very bizarre. Surely there are ways of using the "good apples" as examples for training the ones who don't yet get it, and surely there are ways of incentivizing good service.

  55. Ivan Guest

    @Ben “If you ask me, United is in the same league as American when it comes to service, and not in the same league as United.” did you mean they are not in same league as Delta?

  56. David Guest

    UA’s fragment speaking flight attendants really annoys me.

    In any other setting speaking like that would be considered unacceptable, yet somehow they consistently get away with it. I’m not asking you to smile or address me by name, but a sentence should have a subject, verb, and object every time. Two nouns with a proposition in between is not a sentence.

  57. ScottyB Guest

    You missed the boat by not pointing out the massive lines to enter Delta SkyClubs.

  58. chris Guest

    I moved most of my trips from Delta to AA.

    The thing I like the least of Delta:
    1. Skymiles, aweful, simply aweful
    2. Lack of humility, I am tired of delta's app cheerfully declaring "you are one minute early!", while saying nothing when my next leg is 1 hr late.
    3. Price gouging, for my travels, delta flights were the first to boost price by close to 100%, I can't help but wonder if this level of greed inspired AA and UA to do the same.

  59. Eric Guest

    I disagree that American lacks a strategy. It's generally the business traveller's airline. Short haul, it's lowest logical airfare. Cheap product, good wifi and good schedule. Long haul is competitive and priced at a premium which is why you have flagship lounges. Flagship first dining is a nice aspirational concept.
    America's strategy is schedule. Live in a small town that pays a big revenue premium, American is likely the best schedule to NYC and...

    I disagree that American lacks a strategy. It's generally the business traveller's airline. Short haul, it's lowest logical airfare. Cheap product, good wifi and good schedule. Long haul is competitive and priced at a premium which is why you have flagship lounges. Flagship first dining is a nice aspirational concept.
    America's strategy is schedule. Live in a small town that pays a big revenue premium, American is likely the best schedule to NYC and other places you need to go. Finance works well with American and Oneworld, with hubs in NY, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney. If you work for Wells Fargo and flying between San Francisco and Charlotte, American is your airline.

  60. Birny Guest

    On Delta: While Delta used to better in terms of operations than competitors, that hasn't been the case -- or my experience -- over the past six months. My recent travels to and from JFK -- domestic and international -- have been uniformly miserable. And the changes in Skymiles -- already a distant third -- make seeking Diamond status a big what for? They've increased the spend by over $5,000 (since you need to spend...

    On Delta: While Delta used to better in terms of operations than competitors, that hasn't been the case -- or my experience -- over the past six months. My recent travels to and from JFK -- domestic and international -- have been uniformly miserable. And the changes in Skymiles -- already a distant third -- make seeking Diamond status a big what for? They've increased the spend by over $5,000 (since you need to spend more than $1 to get $1 in MQD), while devaluing Diamond by twice that amount (assume the average difference in price between premium economy and business is $2,500, then the four global upgrades have been devalued by $10,000). The sky club experience has been devalued by crowds. So with mediocre operations (that's generous) and lost value everywhere else, Delta has some major climbing to do. Last, I like the 767s -- because I don't routinely fly business class. The Delta comfort (and premium economy) are really comfortable on the 767s.

  61. Amish P Guest

    Spot on about the points made. I would say United and especially AA has far superior customer service and hold times compared to Delta. I would also add in the evaluation of partners and award space availability (AA way ahead in both)

  62. Anthony Diamond

    1) While "aspirational" SkyMiles redemptions are more difficult on Delta, there aren't a lack of them. The best way to book them are Flash Sales, and via upgrade through GUC (though you have to book Premium Select for this now).

    2) Ben, have you flown the refurbished 767-400? While the seats are somewhat narrow it is a very nice cabin. Premium Select is nice. Also, the 767-300 is fine for day time transcons, which are what those planes are mostly used for.

  63. TB Guest

    I think you’re right on AA not having a core strategy, but I think that starts at the top. Remember that, even almost 10 years after the merger, you have two management groups with very different styles. In my opinion, that’s still resulting in the airline pulling in different directions.

    But I wouldn’t go as far as to say its international network isn’t competitive. The airline is richly competitive in Latin America and London,...

    I think you’re right on AA not having a core strategy, but I think that starts at the top. Remember that, even almost 10 years after the merger, you have two management groups with very different styles. In my opinion, that’s still resulting in the airline pulling in different directions.

    But I wouldn’t go as far as to say its international network isn’t competitive. The airline is richly competitive in Latin America and London, both of which generate higher yields than say Tahiti. I think AA knows where its customers want to go and rely on partners for the rest.

  64. Mark Guest

    For AA, I’m really surprised that needing to call for just about every damned use of AAdvantage points didn’t beat “a lack strategy.”

    That drives me absolutely crazy, the experience is no different today than it was in 2011.

  65. Jimmy’s Travel Report Diamond

    Years ago I walked away from elite status at Delta after being diamond/platinum for ten years plus. The attitude of upper management, as well as the gutting of the SkyMiles program, were just to much. I’ll fly them when I need to, but really don’t miss the airline beyond that.

    1. DCAWABN Guest

      Agreed. And I think Ed Bastion has been a terrible mouthpiece for the airline throughout COVID. I think that’s where a lot of the “hubris” comes from. They didn’t do very well through Covid and they DID take money from the government but Ed seems to forget that consistently when talking about what a great job they did. He also doesn’t seem to realize that decreasing banks at hubs has led to many, MANY 5-12-hour...

      Agreed. And I think Ed Bastion has been a terrible mouthpiece for the airline throughout COVID. I think that’s where a lot of the “hubris” comes from. They didn’t do very well through Covid and they DID take money from the government but Ed seems to forget that consistently when talking about what a great job they did. He also doesn’t seem to realize that decreasing banks at hubs has led to many, MANY 5-12-hour layovers. That’s inexcusable. Why? Because DL did “such a good job of managing Covid” that now there are woefully understaffed. It’s almost comical how delusional Ed Bastion (and Tim Dunn) is about how “well” the airline has fared the last two years. I fly DL when I have to and because my partner is a DM - though it has literally done nothing for him this year aside from two upgrades, middle of the week, on unpopular routes. Anymore DL is just a shitshow with a halo effect of great customer service overshadowing their otherwise pisspoor management.

    2. Seth Guest

      Long term delta diamond here. I agree with Ben comments and will add a few more:

      1). Blaming every service failure on “Covid”. This was a valid excuse for a while but delta milked this inferior product offering far longer than they had to while jacking up its prices to heretofore unseen levels

      2). Reduced perks in delta one. They finally brought back champagne pre departure but they’ve noticeably scaled back other offerings - bread...

      Long term delta diamond here. I agree with Ben comments and will add a few more:

      1). Blaming every service failure on “Covid”. This was a valid excuse for a while but delta milked this inferior product offering far longer than they had to while jacking up its prices to heretofore unseen levels

      2). Reduced perks in delta one. They finally brought back champagne pre departure but they’ve noticeably scaled back other offerings - bread service, dessert selections, warm cookies between meals etc. also the amenity kits used to come from high end brands like tumi and Molton brown and saks - now we get unknown designers.

      3). Political pandering and hypocrisy. I don’t care about deltas politics. I just want them to offer pleasant in flight experience and land planes safely. For example I don’t need to hear incessant bragging about commitment to “green” when you literally wrapped everything in plastic for two years. Treat all of your customers well, regardless of race, creed, sexuality etc. but enough pandering, especially when you noticeably fall short in these same areas you brag about.

  66. IntlBizTraveler Guest

    I get for you, as someone who flies almost exclusively business internationally, why Delta’s 767s are such a problem. The 767 still has the best wide body main cabin in the business. Only one middle seat per row?! I will look for a 767 anytime I’m having to fly economy.

  67. Jim Guest

    As a long-time DL "medallion," I absolutely agree on the management hubris being a problem. I also have been frustrated with multiple, major schedule changes post-booking.

    That said, I'm not rich enough for biz class, so the quality of the premium product is irrelevant to me. I find the 767s are my favorite aircraft in steerage, other than the CS (which does not cross oceans).

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Daniel Custer Guest

American is not American. It's USAir. Once you recognize that, its complete inefficiency, lack of strategy, and terrible customer service makes sense. "USAir and I don't care." And not only do they treat their customers badly, but they are horrible to their employees. Example: closing the SFO flight attendant base and only giving the options to a) quit; b) move to Dallas, NYC or Chicago; c) commute to another base (but not allow them to park in employee parking if they choose c. Gee, what a wonder that their unhappy employees take it out on customers. If I never had to fly them again, that would be just fine. And for someone with 3.5 million miles on American, that's very sad.

6
Jason Guest

He's simply talking about what he likes and what he doesnt like. Why do you have to ruin the fun? ALL THE TIME. That's great that you just love Delta and that you are willing to overlook whatever issues they may have or whatever items are not comfortable for the traveler. Ben's perspective is different than yours. Your perspective is that no matter what Delta is always right. That's not Ben's, and there's nothing wrong with that.

5
GS Guest

the 767 is one of the most comfortable rides in coach today.

4
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