How do you decide which is the best airline? What criteria do you use to figure out who the best is? What’s your favorite airline? I started wondering this a couple of weeks ago and decided to ask a bunch of my fellow bloggers to give me their answers.
I got a pretty wide set of answers. They’re all over the board. These are people who collectively travel over a million miles a year on dozens of different airlines. At the end, I included my own thoughts on my favorites. Yes, I picked more than one. Because, well, I couldn’t pick just one. Let’s get started:
Cathay Pacific is my favourite airline. It is the little things that stand out, such as providing Tabasco sauce on request when I have a Bloody Mary. The business class greeting and chat from the head of the crew who then also remembers your name throughout the flight. The noodle bars in the business class lounges and the spectacular first class lounges (The Pier in Hong Kong and its unnamed counterpart at London Heathrow) with lush decor, delicious dining and decent Champagne. Plus, their premium economy class product is quite underrated too! Never a bad experience on CX.
My favorite airline is the one that gets me to the place I want to go for the cheapest amount. I am a true “status free agent” in that I don’t have status with any airline, and I frankly have not found any meaningful difference between airlines when you fly in the back!
I am currently located in Greece so this makes for a natural choice but it is also an airline with other great things going for it. The requalification process for Aegean Gold is very simple and easy to attain and it carries Star Alliance Gold that gives me lounge access in the US when flying domestic on United as well as priority boarding and access. Aegean has also been great about offering special perks for benefits in Greece like restaurant discounts, hotel perks (even at SPG properties in Greece) and luxury rental cars at intermediate prices. Finally, they have incredible customer service on their flights as well.
Although there are many other airlines that have a better reputation, there’s something about ‘your first airline’ that drives an innate sense of favoritism towards it. I first flew American Airlines when I was about 3 years old, back then they had a hub in Puerto Rico, and strongly supported the local economy. Since then, the airline has eliminated their hub, gone from “the best in the US” to chasing the others on the race to the bottom, and cut back on its elite program. Yet, in spite of all this, I still am a loyal American flyer, not because of what they are now, but because of the nostalgia they bring about what they once were.
My favorite airline is Southwest Airlines. I’m totally fine with their no-frills approach and lack of premium cabin space because they have the best airline perk of them all… the Companion Pass. A few airlines offer a one-time companion pass, but Southwest’s Companion Pass allows your companion to fly for free wherever you are going – on both cash and points tickets!
And now that Southwest has been expanding to the Caribbean, Central America, and (soon) Hawaii, that perk becomes more and more valuable. I’ve held the Companion Pass for 12 straight years and we’ve saved $1000s every year thanks to all of the free flights.
Favorite airline? Hmmm, as a travel writer, my assignments usually dictate which airline I fly. When I have the option, I prefer a fun airline like JetBlue or Virgin America (RIP). The only airline branded credit card I carry, though, is for American Airlines and when I fly them, it usually means going to Miami or the Caribbean—so cool, happy, and fun places.
One of my favorite airlines is Qantas. I was lucky to find a first class seat to Sydney after checking daily for probably a year. The captain invited me up to take a photo sitting in the cockpit of the A380. The service – impeccable. Food excellent. Plenty of time to enjoy everything and get plenty of sleep (without feeling guilty for sleeping). This was particularly memorable because I was only able to get 1 seat, which I would have gladly switched to Mrs Rewardboss’ name if I could. Her flights were on another airline with a different routing which started out including 1 overnight in Vegas and 1 overnight in Hawaii but were improved to no overnights required (phew!).
Delta Air Lines would still be my airline of choice today mainly because of the following reasons:
- Legendary good service from front-line employees
- As I am based in Atlanta, their flight schedules are the most convenient when compared to other airlines
- SkyMiles do not expire
- I am a Million Miler with lifetime status
However, I am more airline agnostic these days due to such developments as higher airfares, increased difficulty of earning elite status, and the scourge of basic economy and fees galore; so I seek out the best value overall as the primary factor in deciding which airline to choose.
My favorite airline is American Airlines. I’m a Philadelphia based flyer and legacy US Airways flyer so it’s a familiar face and the network out of PHL is more than any other airline. I’ve honestly never had a problem with American, but your mileage may vary. The issue I do have with American is the severe lack of saver award space — it’s infuriating! With that said, I’m handcuffed because American owns PHL and it makes life a lot easier.
Jet Airways flies to almost all the destinations I usually fly in India and abroad. For places they don’t go, they have partners in Etihad and Delta/KLM/AF to take me there. I do like transiting from Abu Dhabi when onwards to the US using Etihad’s pre-clearance there. And their loyalty program in JetPrivilege fits my needs with all the requirements of earn and burn and status!
Now, It’s My Turn
I’ve got 3 favorites, for different reasons:
American Airlines: This was the first airline I can recall flying. I don’t think it was my first flight, but we flew them quite a bit when I was a kid. I really loved the unpainted, polished look of those MD-80s. And, I loved the staff. The employees made the experience. A lot has changed since those early days. Like Conrado said above, they’re still a favorite for me. It’s more about the memories than the current airline, but there’s still good things to love.
Independence Air: Call this my airline of yesteryear. Haven’t heard of Independence Air? There’s a good reason. They haven’t flown a flight in over a decade. This was the regional carrier that morphed into a discount carrier based at my home airport of Washington-Dulles. They had smiling, eager staff and an unrealistic business plan. But, they sure knew how to take care of customers.
Norwegian Air is my airline of tomorrow. Some might have expected me to pick an airline with luxurious cabins and $500 bottles of champagne. Don’t get me wrong, those are great. But, Norwegian represents where I think airlines are heading, and in a good way. They offer plenty of cheap seats in the back and a reasonably-priced (and surprisingly comfortable) premium product
. We’re in an era of shrinking seats and benefits when it comes to air travel. I really like Norwegian’s approach.
The Final Two Pennies
There you have it. I had fun reading the different thoughts from other bloggers. I hope you did as well. And, I hope you’ll take a moment to tell me why I’m wrong.
Share your favorite airline thoughts in the comments for a chance to win a Starbucks gift card!
The post What’s Your Favorite Airline? I Asked The Experts was published first on Pizza in Motion