Last week I shared about my decision to redirect much of my travel to American Airlines this fall. That remains my goal, but I quickly realized today that old habits die hard.
I had a United e-certificate set to expire and was looking for a flight to use it on. Many destinations were running through my mind--Toronto? Cancun? Lima? Maui? Ultimately, I decided on a more practical trip--my Thanksgiving trip home from Philadelphia.
Off to ITA Software, where I ran my search, and was pleased to find this--
The United flight schedule was perfect and I even used a regional upgrade to confirm first class on the outbound trip. Generally, upgrades are not too bad around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I was not going to risk it on a 6.5hr flight on an A319, with only eight seats in first class.
United.com was not pricing the itinerary I wanted correctly, so I had to call reservations to book the flight. Surprisingly, I reached a gem of an agent in Salt Lake City, an ex-Con who was quite jovial. Not surprisingly, it took her about 25 minutes to complete the reservation, but it honestly did not bother me, for she ended the call in this way--
AGENT: Sir, I don't know if it has been said before, but we truly appreciate your business and don't take it for granted. We thank you for your loyalty.
ME (after a long pause): Thanks...that means a lot. Thank you.
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Hallelujah! What a refreshing attitude, especially when compared to the irresponsible remarks of United CFO John Rainey last week. As sad as it is that I would get impressed over something like that (which should happen every call), I found myself shaking my head with a big smile on my face after the call.
That's only one phone call, but this whole story illustrates that my transition to American Airlines, even if just for the remainder of the year, will be more difficult than I thought. The great phone call aside, look at the difference in price above between United and American. As much as I look forward to trying American, I won't pay an extra $300 per flight for the pleasure...