Being from Chicago, I have extensive experience on both AA
as most of my friends and family are loyal to one or the other... UA
is the clear winner for me for the following reasons:
1. Route Network & Alliance - Bigger is Better! Post merger, UA
/CO has a much larger domestic and international route system. When you add in the alliance, UA
/CO combined with the Star Alliance blows AA
and One World away! If you are going to be loyal to an airline, then you want to know that the airline will reward your loyalty and take you where you want to go. My miles on United have taken me to Italy, Brazil, Turkey, Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, Greece, Australia, usually with several options to choose from, minimal stops and on great airlines... It is much more limiting with AA
, the choices are few.
2. Hubs - Bigger is Better! UA
/CO, in combination with their regionals, have the largest presence in the three largest markets in the US with their hubs at EWR
. Their hubs at IAH
are also in the top ten largest metro areas in the US. That means more frequency to more destinations. Also, ORD
's terminal 3 is far superior to terminal 1. DEN
is a fantastic newer airport. MIA
, although a geographic gold mine, is a terrible airport to connect, IAH
is much better if you are headed south. UA
is the only carrier with SFO
has a hub, the superior hub to Asia!
3. E+ - UA
has it and AA
doesn't. Loyal passengers are rewarded with this simple but incredible perk, otherwise if you have to pay for it, it pays for itself on longer flights.
4. International Business Class Seats - UA
's seats and IFE are regarded as superior with their true lie flat seats, AA
is angled lie flat. I have also heard that UA
's first class seats are superior.
5. On-time - United has been ranked first for on-time performance several times in recent memory.
6. Aircraft - IM
not so HO
with their A320 over the MD
-80. The newer CO
737s are a wash except that CO
has the TVs. UA
has the queen of the skies, the 744. UA
's 763s have personal IFE in economy, AA
's don't. UA
's 772 have better personal IFE in economy than AA
. Now with the CO
standard's being brought to UA
, it will get even better. Also , UA
's regionals have the ERJ-170, the most comfortable regional aircraft, I prefer it to the A320 or 737.
7. Channel 9 - UA
has it and AA
doesn't...need I say more.
8. Service - I have good and bad experiences with both AA
, mostly good. I have only flown on UA
's business and first classes domestic and international and can say the service has been exceptional. I can't comment on AA
's upper classes.