Delta Improves International Upgrades and US Temporarily Bans Turkish Airlines

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The AA commercial is total crock. Maybe it will appeal to people who haven’t flown AA post merger, but millions have and they know better. As a stock holder, I have lost all hope for AA to return to anything close to the airline that AA used to be.

  2. People seem predisposed to hate on airlines and — since stuff is sometimes going to go wrong when you fly –, you’re always going to get horror stories. That said, it seems pretty obvious that the experience on the USA airlines has significantly improved the past couple of years. The billions they’re making has undoubtedly helped: there’s no need for extreme penny-pinching. That said, they will never be as good as less-profit-motivated foreign airlines. At least when it comes to frills.

    From a customer standpoint, I can’t say that American has improved more than United or Delta in the past 2 years. It seems like they’ve all improved. The big cultural change at AA is that the company is going to be more entrepreneurial under Doug Parker’s team than it had been before. I’m not sure how noticeable that is to customers. Over time, it will make AA a more successful airline, so that’s good for customers, but that’s a long game.

    I also think Elites have it better than regular customers. Elites get a lot of little perks for free, while ordinary travelers get nickeled and dimed: and since they try to avoid these nuisance fees, their experience suffers (like trying to bring their carry-on while in Zone 5). Unfortunately, the USA airline business model is to charge attractive prices, but then nickel-and-dime. All customer satisfaction surveys show customers are happier when they pay one price (even a high price), but feel they’re getting the little perks for free.

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