Deciding between four airlines

Nov 4th, 2013, 07:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 1
Deciding between four airlines

I just moved away from my hometown and will be traveling back and forth a lot, I'd like to start collecting some miles consistently by choosing one airline and getting their frequent flyer credit card. I don't always need the cheapest flight, but I want the flights to go as smoothly as possible. What are your opinions between these airlines, based on delays, customer service, ticket prices, and frequent flyer program? I'm choosing between Delta Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, Frontier, and Virgin America.
RHStern is offline  
Nov 4th, 2013, 08:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,600
I'll comment on Southwest which is my airline of choice whenever possible within the US. But I use it because of it's business model, not because of the FF program. I don't use it enough to accrue benefits as most of my travel is to Europe and Asia. If I was more concerned about the FF benefits I'd do it on an airline that has useful program alliances. So if you wish to accrue miles to use for flights within the US or hotels then Southwest may be a contender. If your desire for the miles is likely to take you farther afield then look into the ones with other airline partners.
MmePerdu is offline  
Nov 4th, 2013, 09:22 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,501
If your travel will mostly be domestic, I'd stick with southwest and jet blue. Southwest's ff program is terrific.

But if you want to use your miles to travel overseas, then you'll want one of the legacy airlines in one of the alliances.
janisj is online now  
Nov 4th, 2013, 10:07 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7,763
janisj nailed it.
sparkchaser is offline  
Nov 4th, 2013, 10:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
What route of routes are you flying? I can't think of a market where all those 5 airlines you mention offer non-stops. Where you connect is a big thing too.
rkkwan is offline  
Nov 5th, 2013, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,501
When comparing loyalty rewards programs, one consideration is whether there is an expiry date for using points earned. As well, some airlines in alliances will book points flights with their partners.
Southam is offline  
Nov 5th, 2013, 08:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,600
Extending the expiry date for miles is as easy as buying something on a shopping site linked to the airline FF program page. I'm guessing most of the ones you're considering has such a link.
MmePerdu is offline  
Nov 5th, 2013, 01:19 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 614
You should also consider whether you are checking a bag. Bags go at no charge on Southwest.
Goldens is offline  
Nov 5th, 2013, 03:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Bags go at no charge on Southwest.

from what I hear, not much longer..... Southworst is considering charging for bags.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Nov 7th, 2013, 01:13 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,107
A little late to the party, but I'll offer my advice...

First off, I'd say ditch Virgin America and Frontier from the discussion if you are looking to find a carrier and stick with them. Both are financial basket-cases and it is simply too difficult to know whether they will be around tomorrow or what they may look like. Frontier, in particular, seems to be trying to morph into an ultra-low-cost-carrier. You don't want to fly an ultra-low-cost-carrier with any frequency. Virgin America is great, but they are in pretty bad shape.

With regards to the FF program, I disagree that Southwest has the best. Indeed, Southwest and JetBlue have switched to revenue-based models that severely limit the value of those programs. Additionally, you cannot use their miles for redemptions for long-haul flights or premium cabins, which is where you get the most "value". Both programs should be viewed as more of a rebate program than a true frequent flyer program.

That being said... I think you should assess what you value out of the FF program and just how much you are going to fly. For example, will you fly enough to reach elite status with Delta (minimum 25k miles and $2,500 in spend on flights)? If so, there are benefits to that status that are valuable on their own. If not, then not only do you not get those benefits, but you may have difficulty reaching the high mileage values needed for those long-haul premium awards.

So... short answer is that I would do the following:

- If I was going to fly over 25k miles (and meet the spend), then I would go Delta. Operationally, Delta has been kicking butt and they have transformed into what is, frankly, a darn good airline. If you have elite status with them, the experience is almost pleasant.

- If you weren't going to fly over 25k miles, I'd fly Jetblue. I think they are simply better than Southwest. In particular, the lack of assigned seats and the nonsense around that makes Southwest a non-starter for me.

The one reason to consider Southwest would be if you plan to often change your flights, since their change policy is exceptionally liberal.
travelgourmet is online now  
Nov 7th, 2013, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,107
from what I hear, not much longer..... Southworst is considering charging for bags.

It was a bit more nuanced than that. The CEO said: 1) that customers seem to be more accepting of the charges, 2) that customers may even prefer it, and 3) that they would consider it in the future. He did say that it won't happen during 2014, so there is no immediate concern.
travelgourmet is online now  
Nov 8th, 2013, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,044
The OP seems to be a one-and-done poster; without knowing where he/she lives/flies, it's very hard to make a suggestion.
Gardyloo is online now  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:28 AM.