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May 11, 2006


Your theory is absolutely correct. Both carriers are awful (really in all classes of service). Everything just seems so old and run down (including many US airports).

Yes it is awful flying in economy today and yes AA is the worst airline in the entire world, even worse that LIAT!!!!

AA is way worse than UAL. At least UAL has a palatable international product on Pacific routes, and their transcon PS service is the best in the US hands down. Sadly neither one can hold a candle to any of the foreign carriers. Flying in the US is like taking the bus.

It's definitely American. Witness: I checked into AA at Kennedy last week an hour before my flight, used the automated kiosk, got my boarding pass but when I went to the counter to check my bag, the baggage tag printer was broken. They fixed it after about 5 minutes, at which point my tag didn't print. They then told me that I had "arrived too late" and my bag could no longer be checked. They refused to manually tag it, and said that if the system didn't print a tag obviously I was too late to check in. When I countered by showing them the actual boarding pass which indicated I was indeed checked in, they sent me to a manager who rather than helping, refused to let me fly (TSA regulations, yada yada...). In the end they made me wait 2.5 hours for the next LA flight whereupon I was late for the dinner which was the entire point of my trip. Not a single employee in that entire experience offered to help in any way.

Now, United. When I checked in online two weeks ago for a trip from Chicago, I was offered (for an additional $30.00) to upgrade to United Plus for 6 more inches of legroom. For me this is nirvana becuase 31" is just not enough for someone who is 6' tall. I would book this all the time if all the airlines offered this.

So there you have it. Let's all just fly JetBlue, huh?

AA is definitely worse in ANY class of service, even baggage. On a recent redeye from LA to New York, I was travelling with my film-friendly large dog. When I got to the gate, I looked out toward the plane only to see my prized companion's crate upended on his side on the tarmac with noone to talk to about righting him.

United, on the other hand, on a similar jaunt, upgraded me to Business and the Captain announced (yes, this was embarrassing but comforting)just before take-off that "Buddy has been boarded; we're on our way to the Big Apple.")

United takes its celebrities seriously!

Having just yesterday returned from Kentucky on AA, I have to concur. We got good and fed up with United last year and began to switch allegiances, but a couple of AA flights later, we're not so sure. Almost all domestic flights have no entertainment whatsoever (not that I generally avail myself of it, but it's the principle); all snacks are purchased (increasingly the standard); and yes, the fleet is getting long in the tooth. I will say, though, that generally the people we interact with on AA have been nicer than UAL but only in minor increments.

On the upside: Horizon Airlines was surprisingly pleasant. Decent snacks, quality local wine and microbrews (free!) and extremely courteous service. For such short haul flights, you wouldn't think they have to try so hard, but I'm glad they do.

Chicago O'Hare is one of the world's busiest airports, and both United and American have major hubs there. I have to agree that United is better than American. They have a newer fleet, compared to American's old MD80s, and they're better at adding flights in the well-traveled routes. They have employees that care more about your travel experience than AA.

Hey David, first the short story. I remember meeting you when I was working for UA in NYC and you were doing Out & About. Then saw you in SF for a bit. Glad to know you are back in NYC and enjoying life.

I agree with all the comments about the way the US flag carriers treat their passengers. My partner Is Global Services at UA and they have treated us well. But it all depends on the attitude of the person working. Both on the ground and inflight. Fractional Ownership of an airplane begins to make sense. Go figure.

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