Changing Airlines

Posted by on Dec 6, 2011 in Daily Blog | Comments Off

United Airlines has had my business exclusively since 1999.  Denver is a primary hub for United, and offers the most flights with the most diverse routes from DIA.  When I lived in NY, I would fly Continental.  First I flew with them because they served Newark, which was much easier to access than Laguardia or JFK.  Secondly, they flew newer, quieter plances, and thirdly, they would send me free First Class upgrade certificates frequently.  I missed Continental when I moved to Denver, but won’t miss United at all now.

Gripe #1
Baggage Fees! $25 for each bag you check.  Not only do the baggage fees mean that you’re paying $50 more per ticket, but it means the overheads are overcrowded. Before people can haul the luggage overhead, they are of course blocking the aisles. If you fly frequently, these annoyances add up.  Add nail to United’s coffin.

Gripe #2 
Lost Luggage.  Now I’ve paid to check my bag, I expect it to arrive on time. However, the reality is quite the opposite.  After flying multiple trips to Charleston, SC, I can now be assured that my bags will never arrive there with me.  And they arrive just over half the time anywhere else.  One year, the bag containing Christmas gifts didn’t arrive until Christmas was over.  One more nail in United’s coffin.

Gripe #3
Reward Miles: Chase partnered with United, meaning that I got points any time I used my Chase Debit card, using the Credit option.  I loved racking up those miles.  But using them was quite difficult, as I was hardly ever able to get a flight to the destination I wanted using miles.  And if I did, I always ended up on flights with 3 or more stops, effectively making a few hours of travel an all day nightmare.  The last time I flew United, a flight somewhere in my string of flights was cancelled due to weather.  I tried calling customer service to get a new flight and was told to go directly to customer service in the concourse.  The snaking line was three hours long, and manned by only two agents.  Another time, the last flight of the night left without me, which I missed by just a few minutes.  I spent the night on a comfortable chair in the departure lounge.  There wasn’t time to get to a hotel before taking the first flight in the morning.  I wonder why planes wait for some people and not others.  Nail #3.

A New Airline Choice
I was looking for a way out of United and for a new airline to try.  About 2 months ago United cancelled their miles program with Chase.  Now I had an excuse not to fly United, but I needed an alternative.  I’ve heard good things about Southwest, so I’ve decided to give them a try.  Today I booked two roundtrip flights, and not only were the flights cheaper than United, but I have saved $100 in baggage fees already!

Only time will tell if I made the right choice.  I will update this page after my first flight.  So far so good, as the booking process was quick, easy and enjoyable.  Onward!