lightmac
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Why do people choose one airline over another?

Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:48 am

This may seem like a simple question, but actually, there are many layers to the answer:
First, "good service for a good price" seems obvious. But what is "good service"? I think it means
- geography (airline needs to be going where you want to go, have hubs in the right direction etc.)
- frequency
- price
- gastronomy (food and drink, ameneties)
- design (everything from lounge to on-board magazines, uniforms, cutlery, anything)
- quality/friendlyness of staff
- loyalty/rewards
- cabin interior/seating/layout
- technical performance/safety
- ease of booking/proceeding
- choice of aircraft/fleet also play a role for some passengers regardless of its implications on the seating layout
What else?
 
mchei
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:08 pm

I would add a certain type of pride like “this is my national carrier” or “they have been around ever since”.
To me, hubs play an important role. How likely am I to miss connections when my plane comes in a bit late, what’s the service when I’m stuck, what’s the lounge like at peak hours and so forth. That for example made me leave KLM as I had constant issues with connections in AMS and I’m not a big fan of Shiphol either. I do like SAS with their CPH hub and I always try to avoid LH with FRA and go through MUC whenever I can. As I wrote yesterday in another thread, LX really does a great job. LH is okayish and even though I feel connected to them, I’m not a total fan boy.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:16 pm

lightmac wrote:
- price


That says it all for me. As long as they're cheap and it's in their culture to avoid unnecessary costs, that's my airline of choice.
 
ATLFlyer1234
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Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:32 am

Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:32 pm

Other than just choosing the local hub carrier (because nothing really beats a non-stop), reliability is important if making connections. For those that are going to have to connect anyway, DL often seems to be the most favored on the basis of its superior reliability (fewer mis-connects), nicer hubs (ATL, DTW, MSP, etc are efficient and not crumbling like ORD, PHL, EWR, etc), better IRROPs handling (many options to rebook via website, app, kiosks which allow you to act quickly and avoid lines), and nicer, less toxic employees who mostly seem to take an interest and pride in the success of their employer. In spite of complains about the SkyMiles program, they get the basics of running an effective airline right in a way that AA and UA fail to do.
 
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N776AU
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:00 pm

It's different for everyone. Most people I know shop on price and that's it. That's a component for me, but I have a bit of a step by step when selecting for me:

1. Is the airline flying named Spirit, or is the ticket being booked in basic economy? If yes, start over. If no, move on to step 2.

2. Is it essential my companions or I check a bag? If so, give preference to Delta or Southwest.

3. When comparing other airlines is Delta or JetBlue reasonably close in price (within $50-$75)? If yes move on to step 4. If no move to step 5.

4. Is the only option flying Delta on an MD-80 or MD-90? If yes go back to step 3 and search for another aircraft. If this is not possible move to step 5. If no, or you're choosing JetBlue move to step 7.

5. If Delta or JetBlue don't work look at other airlines and shop based mostly on price. Move to step 6.

6. Does this itinerary on another airline involve any segments on CRJs or ERJ-145s? If no, move to step 7. If yes go back to step 5.

7. Can this other itinerary offer any cool new aircraft, connecting points, or anything else? Give preference to this if possible, but in any case, move to step 8.

8. Book ticket
Careful, doors are closing, will not reopen. Please wait for the next train.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:49 pm

ATLFlyer1234 wrote:
(because nothing really beats a non-stop)


That depends. For some people, a non-stop can be beaten by a lower price.

Take for example a trip I've booked for october this year. I've paid € 432 for a return ticket with a transfer. A direct flight was also available but would have cost me € 936 on the same dates. No way I'm going to pay that much more if it can be done so much cheaper. A little bit more, allright, I can understand. But more than twice as much just to have a direct flight? No thanks.
 
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angusjt
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:40 am

I favour Qantas on domestic flights as i'm tied in with their frequen flier program.
 
MartijnNL
Posts: 352
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:36 pm

N776AU wrote:
It's different for everyone. Most people I know shop on price and that's it. That's a component for me, but I have a bit of a step by step when selecting for me: (...).

Very nice decision making scheme! :thumbsup:

For me the opposite is true: any segment available on an MD-80, MD-90 or ERJ-145? Book it immediately! ;)
 
MartijnNL
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:42 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
I've paid € 432 for a return ticket with a transfer. A direct flight was also available but would have cost me € 936 on the same dates.

Swiss to Shanghai? Or North America maybe?

You can't beat two for the price of one! :old:
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:57 pm

Price, convenience, ammenities, rewards programs, where does one need to fly most often, proximity to a major alliance hub.

I live in a poorly served city in south Texas, so I usually have to drive to SAT, AUS, HOU, or IAH to catch flights at reasonably prices, even though 2 of 3 alliances plus WN have service to my city. I seriously can't fly to many of WN's destinations from my home airport that are listed from the 3 other previously listed airports WN serves.

My wife is not a US citizen but travels back home once a year. Since TK has the best travel iteneraries and prices between IAH and her home city, we drive to IAH to catch her flights. It's not worth $1,000 per ticket to have UA fly her 200 miles each way added to the cost of a round trip ticket on TK. Also TK gives 2 free checked bags from North America to IST plus onward European connection. UA charges $100 for a second international bag. Because TK is Star Alliance, and each round trip is the equivalent to half the way around the world, I have a preference for Star Alliance carriers if possible, because that's where the frequent flyers miles are accumulating.

For traveling around the US, I find WN is a good deal if I use one of the previously mentioned airports as the departure point. When my wife's parents travel to the US, I prefer to keep intra US tickets separate from their return international tickets, because I don't want any possibility of the return tickets getting canceled due to a foul up in intra US travel. Due to currency exchange issues, I usually buy their tickets for intra US travel. The 2 free bags rule makes for much better value for them.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:57 pm

MartijnNL wrote:
Swiss to Shanghai? Or North America maybe?

You can't beat two for the price of one! :old:


Actually I'm going to Los Angeles. € 432 is a combi of Transavia and Norwegian, € 936 is KLM. Allright, there's a difference in service level but do I need the KLM service level? No, I don't.
 
directorguy
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:09 pm

I would also add that some people are not so much selecting an airline as they are making a selection against a specific carrier.
Example:
"Alitalia sucks so I'll fly BA" or "Air India is the worst company ever I'd rather fly anyone else"
 
JayBCNLON
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:36 pm

Some fly the A380, so i fly with them :)
 
Freshside3
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Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:11 am

Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:18 pm

Taxes. There are some people that avoid using BA, because of the excessive departure taxes in Heathrow. In fact, not to use any carrier via the UK, if your destination is not in the UK. These people don't hate BA(and may otherwise like them).....but the taxes certainly add up, on repeat trips.

Seating fits in, too. UA and NH are partners, but there are some people in SEA that will still transit SFO to get to Japan, instead of taking the NH nonstop to NRT. Because of the seating(no E-plus on NH, and next to impossible to use UA miles to upgrade to business on NH metal).
 
Freshside3
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:23 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
ATLFlyer1234 wrote:
(because nothing really beats a non-stop)


That depends. For some people, a non-stop can be beaten by a lower price.

Take for example a trip I've booked for october this year. I've paid € 432 for a return ticket with a transfer. A direct flight was also available but would have cost me € 936 on the same dates. No way I'm going to pay that much more if it can be done so much cheaper. A little bit more, allright, I can understand. But more than twice as much just to have a direct flight? No thanks.


Especially from NYC airports to certain European markets. In New York, you have just about every carrier imaginable that's going in that direction. One stop is not a big deal for New Yorkers who want to save some cash. But adding an extra stop is not as enticing to those further west, and especially those who are originating at smaller airports.
 
spacecadet
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:06 am

Domestically, my narrowing criteria are:

1) Flying out of my preferred airport on my preferred route
2) Economy Plus product availability and/or available legroom
3) Flight schedule
4) Whether I'm in a frequent flier program
5) Onboard services/amenities
6) Whether I'm going to be nickle and dimed with added fees
7) Price

More often than not my options are narrowed to only one or two airlines by #2 on that list. This is starting to improve but up to now, on most domestic routes there were only two airlines - Delta and JetBlue - offering E+ on the routes I wanted to fly. JetBlue's offering has more legroom so I usually picked that. The exception was when their schedule was weird or just didn't match mine, which happens pretty often. For example, their JFK-PDX flight gets in at like 10PM, which just doesn't really work for me. So in that case, I pick between the two based on the schedule.

AA now has E+ on some routes I frequent so it's probably going to be between those 3 a lot of the time from now on.

Price would be more important to me if there was a bigger delta (no pun intended) between airlines, but all else being equal the price difference between airlines is usually very small. And all else is never equal anyway, so you may as well choose based on the things that are not equal and that are leading to those price differences. That's what I do.

Internationally, the list would be similar except that the price differences are usually bigger so it's a little more important, and since there are both more miles to get and more value in *using* the miles I have, my use of frequent flier programs is a lot more important. I think it would take a smokin' deal to get me to fly an airline I'm not a member of internationally, or that's not linked to my AMEX card so I can use its points for miles. Give me a business class ticket to Japan for under $1,000 on American, and sure, I'll fly them. But that's about what it would take.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
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ricport
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:34 pm

As others have said, everyone has their own criteria. For me, one cardinal rule is no WN. I know they have their fan base, but I have never understood their appeal. It's like a city bus with wings. I'd also add NK and F9 to that list, as they don't interline, and thus, if anything happens to delay your flight, you'll be SOL. Time of departure is probably next in terms of criticality.

Onward, price is an important factor, but as I get older, comfort is becoming more and more key. I try to go F, but if it's exorbitantly expensive, the minimum I'll settle for is Y+. Also, nonstops are pretty important, as I'd rather pay a little more to go nonstop vs. connecting. Next would be on-time record. I've had horrible luck with AA, while UA and DL have been much better in that regard.

I'm also pretty tied to Star Alliance, and so, I generally try to take those carriers, as it's always nice to rack up those miles.
 
Redwood839
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:18 pm

A lot of people are tied with airlines because of their FF programs. I for one fly United about 85% of the time because I'm Mileage Plus gold and I get certain small benefits which I like, plus I've never really had any issues with them, crews that fly out of my airport (SJO) are nice and friendly and their hubs don't have terrible customs in the US, if the best really.

A lot of times the price carries the weight. I for one, fly a lot of weekend trips on Spirit into the US because they're probably cheaper than me travelling by road to a beach resort near by. I know very well the type of carrier they are, what the rules are and what I'm getting and set up my expectations for that, and I've NEVER had an issue in about 60> with them.

I do agree with @ricport on the whole being SOL if your flight is delayed. Once delayed by United due to a blizzard from DEN-FLL and was on ward FLL-SJO in NK, and was basically told to take a hike by NK when I arrived 6 hours late lol.
 
MartijnNL
Posts: 352
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:30 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
Actually I'm going to Los Angeles. € 432 is a combi of Transavia and Norwegian, € 936 is KLM. Allright, there's a difference in service level but do I need the KLM service level? No, I don't.

There is another way around this, I recently found out. In April I wanted to experience the KLM 747. A direct flight from Amsterdam to San Francisco cost more than 900 euro. But from Stockholm KLM charged only 300 euro! Total air fare, including a return ticket from Amsterdam to Stockholm, was 400 euro.

So I travelled Amsterdam - Stockholm - Amsterdam - San Francisco - Amsterdam - Stockholm - Amsterdam. Four B737 and two B747 flights, all with KLM service, for less than half of the regular fare. Ridiculous for the average flying public, but well worth the money and experience for me. I might do it again in the future.
 
delta1690
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Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:27 pm

Because they make more money that way. They effectively sell the seat twice. This allows them to cut prices, undercutting their competitors. It is very clear that the biggest reason people choose one airline over another is price. If they annoy one in a hundred by bouncing them, but get ten percent more by lower prices, they win. They also take care not to bounce frequent flyers, so the annoyed ones were probably not going to fly with them for a long while.sites.google.com/view/deltaairlineschangeflights
 
MartijnNL
Posts: 352
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:44 am

Re: Why do people choose one airline over another?

Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:31 pm

delta1690 wrote:
Because they make more money that way. They effectively sell the seat twice. This allows them to cut prices, undercutting their competitors.

Is this your answer to the topic title: Why do people choose one airline over another? Than I don't get it. Or is this your answer to my post above yours? Than I also don't get it. Sorry for not understanding you.

delta1690 wrote:
It is very clear that the biggest reason people choose one airline over another is price.

To me frequency, aircraft type and service in the air and on the ground are more important than price. When KLM operates five times a day to a certain destination and the competition just once I choose frequency over price. If something goes wrong while travelling, I want an airline that helps me out instead of leaving me stranded.

delta1690 wrote:
If they annoy one in a hundred by bouncing them, but get ten percent more by lower prices, they win. They also take care not to bounce frequent flyers, so the annoyed ones were probably not going to fly with them for a long while.

Is this about the practice of overbooking?

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