Hate Flying United Airlines and American Airlines?

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Hate Flying United Airlines and American Airlines? You’re not alone, as both these airlines continue to struggle to compete with Delta Air Lines both operationally as well as on the customer service side.

In a recent JD Power survey, Delta beat both competitors in all seven areas which include in-flight service; cost & fees; aircraft; boarding/deplaning/baggage; flight crew; check-in; and reservation

Per the Motley Fool,

Executives at American Airlines and United Airlines recognize the need to deliver top-notch operational performance and better customer service to remain competitive with Delta. Both carriers have improved across many objective metrics in the past couple of years. Unfortunately, a recently released J.D. Power survey shows that American and United remain far behind Delta in their customers’ eyes.

Delta continues to lead the pack both on operational performance as well as customer service. Delta’s scores continue to climb, whereas American and United both continue to lag.

Delta Air Lines has routinely beaten both of its major rivals, and it extended its lead in this year’s survey. Delta received a score of 767 on J.D. Power’s 1,000-point scale, while American Airlines scored 729 and United Airlines brought up the rear with a score of 708. Delta’s score improved by nine points relative to the 2017 survey, whereas American and United saw their scores decline.

As long as travelers continue to see a wide gulf between the customer experience offered by Delta and that offered by American and United, it will be virtually impossible for the latter pair of carriers to match Delta in terms of unit revenue. Meanwhile, deep cost cuts would degrade the passenger experience and drive further unit revenue weakness in the long run. Thus, Delta’s margin superiority appears to be safe for the foreseeable future.

It’s not only Delta’s operational performance and customer service that keeps Delta ahead. Unit revenue of Delta is much higher than the other carriers.

This doesn’t take into account the airlines loyalty programs, which I think could have the results shifted if this was to compare Delta’s SkyMiles program.

What are your thoughts on flying United and American? Do you “hate” flying them, or do you disagree with this article? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. For details on current offers visit the card issuer’s site.

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  1. that’s how one can tell when JD Power know absolutely nothing, and imposing their personal feelings as a way to corroborate with the data, and god knows how the data is actually compiled at all. DL’s 3 weakest airports in terms of financial performance are SEA LAX JFK (in that order), which just happens to be places where they face the most stringent competition and where customers actually have a choice. Their 2 strongest airports financially, ATL DTW, are sans any meaningful competition relative to their presence there.

    DL isn’t doing well because customers are choosing them at places where they actually have a choice. They’re doing well because they’re masters are gouging small or rural town airports where the customers’ choices are paying the king’s ransom or long distance driving.

  2. @HenryLAX and now you are imposing *your* personal feelings. I am out of JFK, and always choose to fly on DL rather than AA or UA when a choice is available – their product is consistently better, priced competitively, and their ops are second-to-none.

  3. I used to travel a lot more (never platinum but close) – I hated AA, UA & Delta then – they just went thru the motions. It’s one thing like when SWA was strictly budget, they basically said, look, we’ll get there fast, just don’t expect too much and they delivered while the then big three talked and proised you the 1968 legacy service but delivered a 199 Chevy. That’s heir main problem – they keep talking up the service but that time is gone in the US … they ought to get a clue. So, while I’m just an average biz traveler now, I try never to fly AA/UA/Delta.

  4. So, Delta’s arrogance is safe for now. Greed will level the playing field. Always does….

  5. JD Power means about as much as a Nobel Prize to me. Even if their research was accurate the average customer doesn’t compare the big 3 very often. Most flyers are either hub captive or at least partially loyal to a primary airline. I fly UA and AA mostly based on my needs but I fly Delta a few times a year. I like their boarding process it’s about like United in my experience and Delta has too many uncomfortable slimline seats. Delta is Ok and I’ve had good experience with them but I’ve had as good or better on Spirit as well. Even if Delta was the best airline in the world it wouldn’t matter if I need a non-stop that they don’t happen to service.

  6. I hate flying DL! Antique planes, terrible customer service, and what seems like an arrogant corporate culture.

  7. JD Power is an absolute joke. Not just here but in most industries where they hand out ‘awards’ all based on flawed, severely limited survey data. The big3 are all more or less equal. All have great FAs and terrible ones. All have basically the same seats and food which can sometimes be good and sometimes inedible. They all kill dogs, DL did just the other day and tried to cover it up. DL flies ancient equipment with a bunch of lipstick. DL is awful at recovering from, operational meltdowns and their operational stats are skewed because of the way they manipulate cancellations and delays. If I’m in ATL or DFW I’m taking DL, if I’m in Chicago or Houston I’m flying UA and in Dallas or Miami I’m going AA…same same same. And that’s just fine, but don’t try to tell me that there is any real discernible difference here.

  8. JD Power is about as relevant as Consumer Reports. Consumers choose an airline based upon multiple factors. For example, if faced with selecting one of the three major domestic carriers in the NY Metro area, I would choose DL or AA if flying out of LGA, DL or AA out of JFK, and United out of EWR. Fortunately, there are other choices such as Jet Blue and Southwest as well. It all depends upon location, price, schedule, etc.

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