Last week a travel blogger for Forbes asked me to comment on what I feel are the two best U.S. airlines for business travelers.
So here’s what I wrote about my two current faves (which I’m sure will change over time):
Over the last 5-10 years, Delta has worked really hard to be the best US airline for business travelers and I think that it has succeeded. It finally has a world class terminal in New York City at JFK…. that old Worldport was something that was really holding Delta back from being world class.
It has upgraded and standardized Sky Clubs. Nearly all Delta jets have wi-fi– something near and dear to most business travelers and being able to count on having it on your flight (instead of wishing or wondering) is key. (Related: Delta’s progress on international fleet wi-fi)
Plus, it’s pretty easy to get into Economy Comfort with miles or dollars, which makes the economy flying experience better.
And even though everyone is groaning about new spend requirements for elite status, I think it’s going to make the experience better for frequent business travelers in the long run.
Those business travelers lucky enough to be based in a city with service from Virgin America should take advantage of the carrier’s stellar inflight product and outstanding service. It has nice new planes, decent legroom, good inflight entertainment, 100% wi-fi, all of which is now Gogo’s faster ATG-4 variety.
Something about flying Virgin America makes you feel good– not worn out or abused like you might feel on other carriers. Its terminal facilities at SFO, JFK and Dallas Love are state of the art– really nice, bright, modern, etc.
The problem is that most business travelers are hesitant to fly Virgin because they don’t want to give up on earning their legacy airline frequent flyer program miles, and they don’t see Virgin’s Elevate program as overly generous.
Another drawback is lack of frequency between some key city pairs (hello SFO-ORD currently 1x per day!) but that could be fixed with a slew of new planes coming over the next few years bought with IPO money.
I spread my airline business around quite a lot, so even though I have favorites, I don’t get to fly them all the time.
For example, I was super impressed on a recent JetBlue Mint flight to New York (Trip Report coming soon), and would love to fly JetBlue more if it had more Bay Area flights. (It would likely be one of my favorites if I lived in NYC.)
United is the largest airline at my hometown airport (SFO) and I fly it a lot but my experiences, and those of many of my readers, have been uneven. Over the last year, I must say that my positive experiences have tipped in United’s favor, and I’m a fan of its lie-flat international business class product- especially upstairs on a 747. I’m also a fan of its new terminal at SFO.
I’m excited to see what American/US Airways are doing, but I barely fly them at all. I used to fly AirTran quite a lot when it was cheap and easy to upgrade to their business class seats. But now that upgrades are no longer possible on Southwest, I’ve shied away from the carrier, especially on long haul flights.
Everyone has an opinion about which U.S. airline is best. What’s yours? Why? Please leave your comments below.
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