Wednesday, July 16, 2008

4 Reasons Why Alaska Rocks the Socks Off United

Luke and my recent travel to the east coast has got me thinking about flying. In this day of airlines that are expensive, limiting on your baggage, and charging you for any "real" food, I think it's ok to play favorites. You've gotta hold on to those few things that still make flying a good experience (i.e. being happy that you're not flying another airline).

(1) Baggage.
  • United: It's surprising how often they lose them. Once when my family was traveling back to Seattle from Florida our bags ended up in New Jersey. New Jersey!!! I've also had to physically GO to the baggage office to pick my bag out of a pile because they couldn't seem to find it there.
  • Alaska: Has never lost my bags. (Knock on wood)
(2) Food.
  • United: There is none and when there was, it wasn't very good. Although this seems like an airline standard these days.
  • Alaska: When they gave real food, it was great (like a piece of good coffee cake on a 1hr flight from Seattle to Portland). Now, even though you don't get much, they do give you milk and a warm (yes, warm) cookie on later flights.
(3) Lateness.
  • United: Although the occasional flight is on time, everything else is almost always late. Flying through Chicago generally guarantees you will be late.
  • Alaska: More often than not, I arrive early. (Although I'm usually flying between SoCal and Seattle, which makes things a little easier.)
(4) Mechanical problems.
  • United: Over 50% of the United planes I get on are delayed at least a little by them fixing some mechanical problem. More than once I've had to get on and off multiple planes as they change their minds about whether or not they could fix them.
  • Alaska: Maybe once or twice. I've never had to get off a plane to use another one because they just couldn't fix it.
Moral to the story? When flying on the west coast, fly Alaska. When flying across the country, expect suffering. When flying to Australia, fly Qantas - you get your own video screen (in coach) with tons of movies, TV, and games; they feed you a LOT, including yummy things like chicken curry and a little snack bag for overnight; and the flight attendants have Aussie accents.



Kate T-C said...

Hee hee! Nice post!

Being based out of Denver, we really only have two choices: United or Frontier. So far, we've flown almost exclusively United because they seem to have many more direct flights. I've never had to switch planes after boarding on United, and I've never had them loose my luggage, yet (knock on wood). I suppose everybody is going to have different experiences.

I really think the plane you're flying on makes a big difference. United flies Boeings, and Frontier flies Airbuses. I really think the Boeing planes give a smoother, quieter flight. This makes me feel safer and happier, even if it is just extra insulation in the cabin or something. :)

lizzy said...

I'm glad you haven't had such bad experiences on United - I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I guess part of my problem is that I have probably traveled (via plane) a bit more than average - a lot of cross-country flights and a lot of flights to Hawaii, which are probably the ones most susceptible to having flight issues.

My grandfather was a Boeing engineer, so I'm definitely partial to a Boeing plane over an Airbus, too.