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UA Vs F9.. Are They Really All That Different?  
User currently offlineAzstar From United States of America, joined May 2005, 620 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3751 times:

I fly a lot for business, and my preferred connection airport is DEN. I've flown UA and F9 about equally. They seem to be pretty much the same, except for the aircraft... same business model (hub and spoke), complicated and cumbersome fare structure, some good employees, some not so good, etc. The real criteria for judging their service is how they perform during a crisis, such as extremely late flight, or a cancellation. I think UA has their act together much more than F9 under those circumstances. Anyone care to share their experiences?

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26499 posts, RR: 75
Reply 1, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3701 times:

Quoting Azstar (Thread starter):
They seem to be pretty much the same, except for the aircraft...

How about F9's superior IFE, higher service levels, and lack of a forward cabin? What about UA's massive international network and partnerships? Oh, and UA flies a lot of Airbus narrowbodies, as does F9.

Quoting Azstar (Thread starter):
complicated and cumbersome fare structure

F9's fare structure is far less complex than UA's



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlinePanaman From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 439 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3697 times:

You must prefer UA a little more. I have witnessed first hand a crisis at UA in which the employees were of no help at all..none of them could make a decision and all of them had different answers for the same question. Ever wonder how when a flight cancels it is usually always weather? I think I'll stick with F9 at least their F/A seem to care.


Sorry I moved from SXM, looking for a new house on Anguilla now!
User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 84
Reply 3, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3694 times:

UA can perform better under duress because of their massive amount of flights and alternatives.

I think given what they have available, F9 does a great job.

There is no comparison between the two, IMHO, in terms of experience. F9 serves quality meals and snacks, the seats are comfortable, the IFE is massively superior, and most importantly the F9 employees make me feel like I'm not a nuisance.

N


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26499 posts, RR: 75
Reply 4, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3688 times:

Quoting Gigneil (Reply 3):
F9 employees make me feel like I'm not a nuisance.

Well, they don't know you very well do they Neil??  Big grin



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineAirFrnt From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 2826 posts, RR: 42
Reply 5, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3601 times:

Quoting Azstar (Thread starter):


I fly a lot for business, and my preferred connection airport is DEN. I've flown UA and F9 about equally. They seem to be pretty much the same, except for the aircraft... same business model (hub and spoke), complicated and cumbersome fare structure, some good employees, some not so good, etc. The real criteria for judging their service is how they perform during a crisis, such as extremely late flight, or a cancellation. I think UA has their act together much more than F9 under those circumstances. Anyone care to share their experiences?

I have never gotten off of a plane disappointed that I flew F9, or unhappy with the service. The same can not be said of UA. Like you, I tend to fly them almost equally (More F9 if I had my druthers, but corporate books the flights, I fly them).

Thankfully it's a lot nicer flying UA out of DEN then LAX.


User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17511 posts, RR: 45
Reply 6, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3551 times:

"I think UA has their act together much more than F9 under those circumstances. "

UA got donkey punched, or rather their customers did, in the last blizzard whereas F9 was mostly unscathed. The local media ran oodles of dire stories of long lines and complete disaster at the UA operation but only mentioned 45+ minute lines at F9.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25279 posts, RR: 85
Reply 7, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3526 times:
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Quoting Azstar (Thread starter):
I fly a lot for business, and my preferred connection airport is DEN

As a CSA? From Tuscon? Interesting.

However, I note this, posted by you in another thread

"Frontier is an insifignificant airline, size wise"

So why would you compare an "insignifcant airline" like Frontier to a giant airline like United?

cheers

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineFlashmeister From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2900 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3512 times:
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The biggest difference that I've seen between the two is this:

F9 management has created a culture where pretty much every employee is empowered to solve customer problems and is expected to do so to the best of their ability, and in every case that I've had the opportunity to fly F9, they've performed well.

UA management has created a culture where, in the event of a customer service problem, the employee is to smile, point at anyone else, and calmly explain that it's not their problem and that they're not allowed to help, then walk away.

Which do you prefer?

My point here is that the people are largely the same -- both UA and F9 have great, good, fair, and not so great people. It's the company's culture, which is 100% the responsibility of management, that sets a completely different tone at F9.


User currently offlineUAalltheway From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3504 times:

I like UA better because of their HUGE worldwide route network, bigger aircraft fleets, they're mainline, etc.

Oh and yes, I find UA's and F9's service to be wayyyy different.


User currently onlineMSYtristar From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 6570 posts, RR: 50
Reply 10, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3483 times:

As an employee of F9, I am constantly impressed by the overall operation of this airline. Every person I have met, from the CEO himself down, has a true passion for the industry and for F9 in particular. The corporate culture at F9 is far better that what I personally witnessed with both NW and NJ. You get the feeling that this airline really cares for its employees, so why not go the extra mile to give as much as you can back to the airline by showing excellent customer service? Now of course, i'm sure some poeple will say i'm biased becuase I work for the airline, but let me say this. My whole life practically has been devoted to commercial aviation in some form or the other...I have flown on over twenty five airlines the world over, all across the nation and the world...and to this day, I dare say that I have NEVER received better service for an economy class product than what I get on F9. It's just flat out excellent.

User currently offlineAzstar From United States of America, joined May 2005, 620 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3429 times:

"As a CSA? From Tuscon? Interesting"

FYI, Mariner, I'm a Communications Services Analyst, not a Customer Service Advisor (or whatever airlines call their airport personnel).

As for MSYtristar, I was a passenger on F9 flight which was delayed 5 hours due to a combination of bad weather and bad luck during last winter. The "manager" was at the gate telling people "you don't know what you're talking about" (literally) when they were questioning the dozens of different answers being given to people who were understandably upset about whether or not they were going to get to their destinations that evening. It left me with kind of a bad taste for the company, but I still fly them.


Gigneil has a valid point:

"UA can perform better under duress because of their massive amount of flights and alternatives."


User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25279 posts, RR: 85
Reply 12, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3417 times:
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Quoting Azstar (Reply 11):
FYI, Mariner, I'm a Communications Services Analyst, not a Customer Service Advisor (or whatever airlines call their airport personnel).

Did I say otherwise?

But now I am really confused. If you have "a bad taste" for the company, why do you still fly them?

cheers

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineAzstar From United States of America, joined May 2005, 620 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3388 times:

I guess my point was, when you fly frequently, you have good experiences and bad experiences. It isn't fair to say one airline is consistently awful, or wonderful, 100% of the time.

User currently onlineMSYtristar From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 6570 posts, RR: 50
Reply 14, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3385 times:

Quoting Azstar (Reply 11):
The "manager" was at the gate telling people "you don't know what you're talking about" (literally) when they were questioning the dozens of different answers being given to people who were understandably upset about whether or not they were going to get to their destinations that evening. It left me with kind of a bad taste for the company, but I still fly them.

Sorry to hear about your experience, but I'm glad you've decided to continue to fly with F9. Of course there are managers and what not out there who don't exactly have the best communication/customer service skills, but the good ones outweigh the bad ones from my expeirence. People like the manger you mentioned have no business working in the airline industry, period. Flight delays/cancellations are annoying for everyone involved. The trick from an airline employee's perspective is to keep a level head and stay calm. Easier said then done at times, but it can be done with patience.


User currently offlineCBERFlyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 134 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3342 times:

I fly between Washington and Denver fairly often, and much prefer F9 over UA. Of course, I havta admit that I'm biased by the fact that F9 has three daily nonstops between DCA and DEN, versus the one daily nonstop UA has. I know that UA has numerous nonstops to DEN from IAD and BWI, but DCA is way (way!) more convenient to downtown DC than either IAD or BWI, due to the Metro subway station attached to the Terminal B/C building... but that is beside the point.

I find the level of service on F9 to be substantially higher that what UA currently offers. Extensive IFE, unusually comfortable seats, multiple beverage services (2-3 on each flight!), and generally tasty and good quality food. The FAs, and CSAs (at DEN only... DCA has been run by CO up until recently) have always been notably friendly and helpful, in my experience. All this at fares that are always competitive and usually a bit lower than UA's.

Now, I don't find UA to by any worse than any other legacy carrier I've flown, or even WN... but they are just average and unremarkable as compared to everyone else.

My partner has also started flying frequently between Washington and Denver for fed govt work, and has been choosing to fly F9 whenever possible over the regular federal contract carrier between DCA and DEN (AA!) whenever possible, for the same reasons as above. F9's liberal freq flyer program is also a plus.

There's my 2+ cents worth. Go F9!


User currently offlineCBERFlyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 134 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3325 times:

Quoting Azstar (Reply 11):
As for MSYtristar, I was a passenger on F9 flight which was delayed 5 hours due to a combination of bad weather and bad luck during last winter. The "manager" was at the gate telling people "you don't know what you're talking about" (literally) when they were questioning the dozens of different answers being given to people who were understandably upset about whether or not they were going to get to their destinations that evening. It left me with kind of a bad taste for the company, but I still fly them.

Azstar, my first thought is to whether or not you were at the Denver hub or another F9-manned station, or if you were at one of the stations that is manned by contract crew (usually CO staff, I believe). I do realize that it shouldn't make a difference one way or the other, but perhaps the "manager" in your situation was not actually an F9 employee. Did you ever contact F9 afterwards about your negative experience, and if so, what kind of response or follow-up did you receive?


User currently offlineUAcsOKC From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 107 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3249 times:

Quoting Panaman (Reply 2):
Ever wonder how when a flight cancels it is usually always weather?

Thats becuase it's usually the weather that causes the most problems. Maintenance usually just causes a delay, which varies due to severity or availability of parts. But when ORD is in bad shape and theres a lot of ATC flow control, theres nothing you can do. Flights often cancel in this situation to allow aircraft to be in position for the next day- thus relieving ATC and preventing ferry flights.  taekwondo 



I love the rumble of a 727 takeoff in the morning!
User currently offlineTxAgKuwait From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1803 posts, RR: 42
Reply 18, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3216 times:

>> My partner has also started flying frequently between Washington and Denver for fed govt work, and has been choosing to fly F9 whenever possible over the regular federal contract carrier between DCA and DEN (AA!) whenever possible, for the same reasons as above. F9's liberal freq flyer program is also a plus. <<

As a federal govt guy, let me post this for your parnter's benefit:

----->Do I have to use the contract carrier? Won't any airline do?

Federal and military travelers on official business are required to use the contract carrier unless a specific exception applies. This required use is the incentive necessary to obtain airline participation in the city pair program and allows the airlines the business volume necessary to offer discounted rates. Choosing not to use the contract carrier because of personal preference, frequent flyer clubs, etc., is a violation of the contract. <-------

There are significant penalties if and when an audit of folks' travel habits comes around.....and it is much worse then the "significant penalty for earlt withdrawal" on a CD down at the Savings & Loan or Credit Union.

Trust me on this. I know. I would rather eat broken light bulbs than fly on a carrier other than WN. But I do. Because I'm supposed to. However, riding the contract carriers makes me appreciate it that much more when I take a trip where WN is the contract carrier.


User currently offlineMcg From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 813 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 3148 times:

I fly from Denver 3 or 4 times a month a the difference between F9 and UA boils down to UA gives you the opportunity to upgrade while F9 sometimes offers slightly better service (i.e. early morning flights ususally feature a bagel on F9 while UA sticks with the bag of "chips").

I personally don't use F9's IFE as I prefer to use flight time reading; I do occasionally enjoy channel 9 on UA.

Based on the above I'll choose UA, assuming the fare is about the same.


User currently offlineMcg From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 813 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 3146 times:

I should have added that I find the service provided by the employees of each airline to be quite similar. Despite what is regularly offered on this site, I've found UA employees to be quite helpful over the years. The F9 staff is significantly younger and sometimes seems a little more enthusiastic.

User currently offlineCBERFlyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 134 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3050 times:

Quoting TxAgKuwait (Reply 18):
As a federal govt guy, let me post this for your parnter's benefit:

----->Do I have to use the contract carrier? Won't any airline do?

Federal and military travelers on official business are required to use the contract carrier unless a specific exception applies. This required use is the incentive necessary to obtain airline participation in the city pair program and allows the airlines the business volume necessary to offer discounted rates. Choosing not to use the contract carrier because of personal preference, frequent flyer clubs, etc., is a violation of the contract. <-------

There are significant penalties if and when an audit of folks' travel habits comes around.....and it is much worse then the "significant penalty for earlt withdrawal" on a CD down at the Savings & Loan or Credit Union.

I should have clarified my post further. The actual *primary* reason for his choosing the F9 flights over the regular contract carrier is the nonstop service.

I'm a federal employee as well, and am very familar with the FTRs. There is a bit of leeway granted to individual federal departments and agencies on contract carrier rules, i.e. the specific exceptions you mention. GSA sets the FTRs, then agencies can enforce them "as is", or make their own rules that are more strict.

In this case, the nonstop flight (vs. one-stop or plane change) at lower cost than the federal contract rate does qualify as an exception at his particular agency (justification: decreased travel time and decreased cost of travel). However, the same would not apply at my agency, as those reasons alone wouldn't be enough justification (the cost of the non-contract fare has to be at least 40% lower than contract).


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