I would have to agree with the posts regarding CO still having superior service for a major carrier. I have had, as with all carriers, employees that didn't necessarily astound me with their customer service skills, but if I have to pay to fly (which is hardly ever) I'd put my money on Continental. They have always been (since the late 90s) a safe, reliable, friendly and professional carrier.
I use the same philosophies in caring for my customers at MSP, as well. When irregular operations hit and we are forced to delay/cancel flights and I must reprotect customers on other airlines, I usually reprotect my passengers on the airlines I believe will treat them the best, and get them to their destination quickly and safely. When I rule 120.20/240.40/FIM a passenger over to another airline, typically my preferences are:
1. CO (great employees, good service, nice planes, nice routes)
2. US (fantastic employees at MSP, nice planes, good for east coast connex)
3. DL (friendly, plenty of frequency)
4. NW (great for non-stop connex, but some MNsotans prefer to avoid NW)
5. UA (they need the money, but if weather hits MDW, its not nice @ ORD)
6. F9 (good for west coast connex, handled by CO at MSP)
7. YX (great service, planes, limited options, but good for florida flts)
8. HP (HP offers few options out of MSP, except to the west coast)
9. AA (lousy service at MSP, and again, weather at MDW and ORD similar)
So yeah, the point was to stand behind CO. But I thought I'd also share one gate agents' personal system for reprotecting passengers. It's not only how airline employees treat customers/pax, but also how well the interact with their colleagues at the airport. I do my best to reward carriers with professional employees and outstanding service.