That’s a rhetorical question, I suppose. Who do I fly? Well, aside from whoever has the GSA contract for a citypair at work, I do have a few particulars. And since Lady Astrojets and I are both typing on our laptops and watching what’s on TiVo at the same time, I thought I’d post my thoughts. I should add that this is nothing but my opinion, you may disagree, and that’s fine. But the following has worked for me since exiting the airline business and becoming an honest to goodness paying Customer.
My airline picks are as follows:
3) US Airways (Star Alliance partner with United (more on this later))
4) Whoever else can get me there.
Yes, I’m a little biased towards American. I mean…I worked there, I know (or think I know) the good, the bad and the ugly about AA’s operation. AA ain’t perfect, but they have not filed for bankruptcy (yet), perform the overwhelming majority of their own aircraft maintenance and have the world’s oldest and largest frequent flyer program which by some fluke of nature still seems to have a seat available from time to time unlike some of their bretheren that shall remain nameless. I wish I could fly American more than I do. I’m currently a Platinum status frequent flyer with them, but that won’t last past this year. I just don’t fly them enough anymore. Not by choice, but by their lack of routes in and out of the Washington, DC area.
United, on the otherhand, has a plethora of routes from the area given that they operate a hub at Washington Dulles. They have a lot of contracts with the government for routes I fly with work, and if I direct my personal travel to them, I can come up with enough miles to maintain elite status on them. And it just so happens that I can collect United Mileage Plus miles (including elite qualifying miles/segments) when I fly the other big DC airline, US Airways. So, for better or for worse, I fly United and my primary mileage program is United’s Mileage Plus. I’m clawing my way up to some elite status on United as I spent most of the last 18 months crediting my United flights to my US Airways Dividend Miles account out of habit more than anything else. Dividend Miles has undergone quite a few changes since US Airways’ merger with America West. Enough change that I’ve elected to spend down all my Dividend Miles and go with Mileage Plus when I’m flying US Airways. As much as I’m going to miss the Chairman’s Preferred Desk, I think I’m doing the right thing. But if something happens to convince me I’m wrong, I’ll admit it here first. Right now, I think the jury is still out on whether or not the new US Airways has it right with the changes they are making to their frequent flyer program. (OK…I’m teetering on the edge of pontificating now…. While I’m sure to do some of that on this blog, that’s not what I want to do in this post.)
Now, none of this is meant to say that you shouldn’t fly some other airline. Hey…if I lived in Houston, I’d be a Continental kind of guy for sure, and you could bet I’d be all over Delta if I lived in Atlanta. But right now, and right here in DC, United and American, along with their alliance partners provide what I need.