rising
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US Airlines To Spend Over $2b On Elites, Perks

Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:36 am

After years of financial hardship, US carriers at last have the cash and stability to invest back into their products. Airlines plan to spend over $2b on upgrades to cabins, lounges, and other improvements in the short-term. While for most of us on here this is not news in itself, as we all know about a lot of these improvements, it's an important step for US carriers, who have fallen behind during the last decade.


Personally, I'd like to see Delta's new Seattle lounge with the "floor to ceiling" windows. My guess is American's fireplace in San Fransisco is not wood, but gas?  

Besides what's mentioned in the story, what other surprising improvements have you seen flying around the country?

http://newssun.suntimes.com/business...-but-its-sundae-time-up-front.html
If it doesn't make sense, it's because it's not true.
 
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atcsundevil
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RE: US Airlines To Spend Over $2b On Elites, Perks

Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:18 am

Quoting rising (Thread starter):
Besides what's mentioned in the story, what other surprising improvements have you seen flying around the country?

I don't know about anyone else, but I haven't seen much other than cuts. I'm elite on CO/UA and had to go for a higher status this year so I don't lose benefits in the new Mileage Plus program next year. I feel bad for Silver Elites for 2012 on UA because it won't even be worth it ... they're losing E+ at the time of booking, less baggage allowances, and I can only imagine a very difficult time with free domestic upgrades, just to name a few things.

Sure, comfy new seats and fancy new AVOD/WiFi systems are all well and good, but I'd rather have less tangible benefits. Those less tangible benefits are getting in shorter supply these days. I also haven't seen any improvement in lounges; they've only gotten far more crowded.

Maybe frequent fliers on other carriers are seeing different things, but aside from pretty new interiors and fancy sounding technologies they can charge money for, I have a really hard time believing this is out of generosity or even improving their product overall ... they're making their cuts from other places and really just focusing their energy on more visible improvements. These improvements, in most ways, still won't even put US carriers in the same league as Asian, European, or Middle Eastern carriers.
 
BD338
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RE: US Airlines To Spend Over $2b On Elites, Perks

Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:47 pm

I'm not sure who wrote the original article but a variation of it has been in several newspapers and websites over the past few days, basically saying if you've got the money you can pay for a decent flight. The NYT even had a simplistic model showing how much revenue each cabin made in relation to the number of seats on some sample international routes. AF coach JFK-CDG 70% of the seats but only a third of the revenue.(i know it varies, the model was simple but it demonstrates the point of why airlines treat Y customers as areas to cutback service and add fees, as the business is competitve the model is probably similar on BA or CO to London etc.)

US airlines are now starting to focus on the real revenue generators, the F C paying traveler and the 50,000 mile + a year traveler. They are cutting back on giving away their best product. The mileage gravy train of the past ten years is screeching to a halt, and we've enjoyed the ride. Now there's a new reality, we're going to have to pay! I don't know another industry where the customers get (and in some cases now expect) upgrades and freebies on such a scale as the US airline industry. European or Asian carriers don't give away so much in upgrades etc. Audi didn't upgrade my A4 to an A6 just because i bought my last 3 cars from them  
 
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United_fan
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RE: US Airlines To Spend Over $2b On Elites, Perks

Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:04 pm

Quoting rising (Thread starter):
My guess is American's fireplace in San Fransisco is not wood, but gas?

I'm sure it is . Wood would be too much of a pain to maintain and clean up after.
Champagne For My Real Friends,and Real Pain For My Sham Friends
 
usairways85
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RE: US Airlines To Spend Over $2b On Elites, Perks

Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:47 pm

Quoting atcsundevil (Reply 1):
Sure, comfy new seats and fancy new AVOD/WiFi systems are all well and good, but I'd rather have less tangible benefits. Those less tangible benefits are getting in shorter supply these days. I also haven't seen any improvement in lounges; they've only gotten far more crowded.

Yes, SWU's are harder to come by and are more restrictive. Miles are harder and costlier to use. Now anyone with a specific credit card can board with elites. The clubs provide snacks at best and not a wide variety of them.

Quoting BD338 (Reply 2):
European or Asian carriers don't give away so much in upgrades etc.

This comparison is made a lot but many of the Asian carriers are vastly different than the US carriers from a route structure perspective. Take Singapore, they don't have a domestic network. If they were to offer upgrades as much as US carriers they would be giving away First and Business lie flat class seats. So in benefits they may lack they make up with on board service and lounges.
 
aaexecplat
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RE: US Airlines To Spend Over $2b On Elites, Perks

Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:01 pm

Quoting atcsundevil (Reply 1):
I don't know about anyone else, but I haven't seen much other than cuts. I'm elite on CO/UA and had to go for a higher status this year so I don't lose benefits in the new Mileage Plus program next year.

Bingo. On CO, I have been Platinum for years, and the benefits have continuously declined. As a Plat, I have gone from 125% RDM bonus to 75% RDM bonus as of this year, many fare classes on ATI/JV partners are now non-mileage earning, redemption rates have gone through the roof (60k miles RT in Y for a TATL award), and upgrade rates have plummeted. In 2003, 2004, and 2005, I was over 90% (flying mainly between SFO and AUS), and today I am barely at 60% and the last month or two have been substantially lower than 50%.

On AA, I have been EXP for going on 10 years and upgrade benefits on AA are better than ever. Yet, they have diluted the value of AAdvantage miles by instating crazy fuel surcharges on partner awards (particularly BA), while simultaneously hiking up the redemption rates. A roundtrip from the US to Africa is now 85k miles in Y + $450 in fuel surcharges and taxes. That's 340k miles and nearly $2k for a family of four. Completely absurd.

Based on what we are seeing from UA and DL, and given that A is weak financially, I suspect the industry will continue to move toward hinning benefits for Elites (by making the purchaseable for kettle) and by hiking redemption rates and implementing fuel surcharges. That's a guarantee.
 
panamair
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RE: US Airlines To Spend Over $2b On Elites, Perks

Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:03 pm

Quoting rising (Thread starter):
Personally, I'd like to see Delta's new Seattle lounge with the "floor to ceiling" windows.

Someone took the following photos at DL's renovated SEA SkyClub when it first reopened:

http://s1093.photobucket.com/albums/i424/hobart22/?start=all
 
MoltenRock
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RE: US Airlines To Spend Over $2b On Elites, Perks

Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:46 am

Quoting atcsundevil (Reply 1):
I don't know about anyone else, but I haven't seen much other than cuts. I'm elite on CO/UA and had to go for a higher status this year so I don't lose benefits in the new Mileage Plus program next year. I feel bad for Silver Elites for 2012 on UA because it won't even be worth it .

And that's the thing.....

I've learned that worrying about getting a few more miles / perks on one of the legacy carriers is a waste of time. Your time and money is best spent booking one of the LCCs like VX, Sun Country, AirTran, etc... and then just buying the first class upgrade, or flying B6 with 36" pitch seats and be done with it.

Anymore the Delta / United / AA programs are worthless. I only track my *A points given my overwhelming flights on SQ. I also keep track of my QR points, as I fly nearly every week back / forth between my homes in Singapore vs. Ubud.
 
chrisair
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RE: US Airlines To Spend Over $2b On Elites, Perks

Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:19 am

Quoting rising (Thread starter):
Personally, I'd like to see Delta's new Seattle lounge with the "floor to ceiling" windows.

It's a nice lounge. I go over there when the Alaska BR is too crowded. The shower would have been a welcome thing this September when my hotel's hot water stopped working at 4am. I just didn't have enough time before my connecting flight.

Quoting United_fan (Reply 3):
Wood would be too much of a pain to maintain and clean up after.

Not to mention on certain days in the winter, they'd be banned from burning wood in fireplaces due to the Bay Area's stupid "winter spare the air" days.  
 
dfambro
Posts: 325
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RE: US Airlines To Spend Over $2b On Elites, Perks

Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:44 pm

Quoting MoltenRock (Reply 7):
Anymore the Delta / United / AA programs are worthless.

YMMV. The UA SWUs have been great for me, and they alone make the Mileage Plus program worthwhile. I've been using them for J to F upgrades on LH transatlantic flights, which means I get to spend the trip upstairs on their 744s, eating caviar.

In general, being a 1K makes my life as a frequent UA traveller a lot more pleasant.

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