A Positive (And Expected) Start To The Year On American Airlines

My struggles on United Airlines last year were well-chronicled (here and here) and I wasn’t alone.  After the March reservation system switch-over a good number of people saw a dramatic change in their upgrade percentage.

So, until Doug Parker ruins my favorite airline, American Airlines will be my primary carrier this year.  When I received an e-mail this morning from AA, it showed that all 4 of my flights this week had already been upgraded, including my return flights home this Thursday.  While I did have plenty of upgrades on United last year, I don’t think any of them were at the 96-hour upgrade window for 1K members.  Alternatively, I’m now officially 4 for 4 at the 100-hour window AA maintains for it’s Exec Plat members.  This isn’t all that surprising, since I maintained a 99% upgrade percentage on AA since 2008.

It’s a refreshing start to the year!

ETA:  Oh, and both my flights tomorrow have wi-fi.  The single best innovation on airplanes since the lie-flat bed.


  1. It would seem that there’s a mismatch of supply and demand on UA. Here’s to hoping that AA works out this year as the AA-US merger continues to be considered….

  2. My flight to ORD already cleared for Wed. Now just waiting for my Thurs and Friday flights to clear. Looking at expert flyer my other 2 flights this week should clear too. Just curious Pizzaman if you have ever sacrificed an upgrade to in order to get to your destination faster or to come home quicker?

    1. PerryPlatypus, plenty of times so I could get home to the family early. That being said, this is where I think AA excels. Though they charge a $75 same-day confirmed change fee, that almost always yields an upgrade, where UA doesn’t charge you to change but all the F seats are gone to lower elites by then.

      Regards, Edward Pizzarello

      Sent from my iPhone

  3. I’m just hoping, as you are for AA, that US is not hurt by te merger either. Some of us really do like that airline as is. I hope if/when it happens, they keep the best of both.

  4. I know people love to slag off US and focus on any negative aspect of the airline, but US has been good to me.
    I enjoy having top tier status….and even Platinum is not so bad. The routes work best for me of all airlines. Last year I was 100% on upgrades – this year I missed only two (CLT-LAX/LAX-CLT) out of around 30 possile. However, that was made up for by my scoring one on the PHX-SJD leg at Thanksgiving.
    The staff and operations at Charlotte are some of the best I have seen anywhere. I believe I receive excellent service from the Chairman’s line – better even than some of the 1K service I have witnessed. US is very proactive in handling irrops for me. If there is a delay in my schedule, I can depend on being rebooked before I even land if necessary. Yes, the product may not be up to par with American, but I can provide my own entertainment on a flight – reading works for me. The flight attendants, I admit, can vary according to route flown…and here, you may hear different points of view. I prefer the East Coast based crews, while those who flew America West tend to prefer the West Coast crews. But when they are on, the flight attendants are spot on and outstanding. The Envoy Suites on the A330-300 are right up among the best lie flats for comfort.
    I like the promotions that US runs for mileage accrual and I like what I can do with my dividend miles in Star Alliance
    As I have been flying US Since the late 80’s it has been interesting to see its growth and evolution. Has it had rough bits along the way. Most certainly. Am I a fan of Doug Parker? No. I don’t believe accountants (or CFO’s) should run companies….but that’s another story.

    1. Susan, a great summary of why you like US. I think you reference a bunch of good reasons why you’re loyalty to US is well-founded. For me, upgrades is a huge part of why I patronize AA, so I’m glad to hear US takes care of it’s Chairmen/women.

      Where I think US is lacking is in the loyalty part of the equation. While their miles can be had cheaply, I find I get much more value out of my AAdvantage miles.

      You and I sound like we have similar experiences with our favorite airlines. Let’s hope that stays the same 6 months or a year from now.

  5. I just learned the hard way..w/ AA..on a one way DFW/LAX, only seat avail had me use FC pts (50,000) ..and had to change planes in SLC. When I got to the airport I asked if I could go on a non-stop, and they said, YES, but the only seat avail was in YC. I said “great, I’ll call to refund 25,000 pts.” Long story short…after several phone calls, they said I could NOT get a pts refund, because I was the one to request the non-stop in YC. Doesn’t seem right! I had requested YC to begin with! Customer service supv was quite rude too! She finally told me she would split the diff and refund me 12,500. go figure!

  6. That’s awesome! This is one of those examples of gaining a loyal following due to strong customer service. I wish more companies realized that if they treat you a little better they actually get repeat business and great word-of-mouth advertising that you just can’t buy.

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