WHINE AND CHEEZ
Guest Article by Charles M. Kunz
Flying the CapitAAlist Way
31 August 2003
I consider myself a loyal American flyer from a loyal American family. This year I've flown 25 times on AA, could I have taken the same trips on Low Cost Carriers? Some. I could have driven to Islip and flown to Providence on Southwest, that's similar to Boston or I could take a $115 round trip with AA. Same for Washington. Could I have gone to Los Angeles with jetBlue? Close, I'd have gone into Long Beach and I wouldn't have had a three course meal in Business Class and I wouldn't have sat in an Admirals Club at each end. Could I have taken a LCC to Tokyo this month? I could have gone to Oakland and squinted at the Pacific Ocean and maybe picked out a dot on the horizon.
I don't have a problem with LCC's, hell I flew Delta Express this year to Orlando but I'd rather fly American. I don't have problems getting cheap tickets with them, in fact this year I flew roundtrip to London for only $392. Earning Frequent Flyer Miles with them entitles me to trips anywhere in the world basically, not just Memphis or Oakland. Southwest doesn't serve the New York area, Jetblue does a decent job there but I cant take them to Phoenix. I don't plan to go to Atlanta so AirTran doesn't do anything for me. I like American and I believe they like me as they reward my business with 100% mileage bonuses. Besides, the agents at LaGuardia remember me.
People are saying that Low Cost Carriers are the way the airline industry is going to end up, but I hope not. I want to be able to fly to International Destinations, to be able to sit in a better class of service and get a meal served on real plates with an appetizer, main course with sides, warmed rolls and a dessert. Not just being able to pick out unlimited bags of blue potato chips or a couple of individual biscotti. I want to be able to sit in a forward cabin that not only has a bigger seat but also a footrest, lumbar support and multiple Flight Attendants that know that the reason I’m there is because I am very loyal to their airline so they make sure that my actual glass (not plastic) is kept topped up at all times. I don’t want them to disappear after flinging a bag of pretzels at me expecting me to stick these stethoscope headphones into my ears and watch “Horizons.”
I hear people complain that they don’t receive a meal on their three hour flight from Chicago to Phoenix so they’d rather drive over to Midway and take ATA. Understandable, but if they offered American more then four segments a year they’d learn that the more you fly the airline the better everything becomes. I’ve sat on flights without a meal but they’ve been made special for me because American has some of the best flight attendants in the air (and they don’t have to repeat hackneyed jokes over the PA system to make me think that). Just by coming by every twenty minutes (in coach) and offering me more Orange Juice or a cup of water makes the flight fine to me. Maybe American doesn’t have in-seat DirecTV but I’d rather read their In-flight Magazine and do its crossword and then take out a good book then watch the Game Show Network with a pair of crappy headphones. Plus the more I fly the more upgrades I receive and the more times I can sit in a cabin which does get a meal.
Right now I have well over 120,000 miles with American's AAdvantage program. That is enough for a round trip Business Class ticket to Europe and then some. Had I flown my twenty-five segments with Southwest, I could have earned some round trips in their coach cabin to such exotic destinations as Lubbock, Texas or Boise, Idaho.
I am not the kind of flyer who spends $180 a year on an airline and gets mad that my deeply discounted fare doesn’t entitle me to an eight course meal with caviar. Take your pick, loyalty to a low cost carrier or loyal to the AAnti-Christ. I’ll take American.
Charles M. Kunz, a native New Yorker, is a freshman history major at Arizona State University and is a frequent flyer. He is a regular contributor to to www.airwhiners.net and his travel reports can also be found at www.flyertalk.com
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