Do you shop airline fares with more than one airline or are you more of the stay with your favorite carrier/frequent flyer program?
My wife and I are heading to Puerto Vallarta sometime in May for about a week stay. Living in the north part of Houston much closer to Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) than Hobby Airport (HOU) which Southwest uses. Having flown more than 1 million miles on Continental now United we usually do not compare fares with other airlines, but once in a while I will check Southwest just to compare and normally do not find them with low fares. So the norm is just to swallow the fare on United and go.
However, today while looking at different dates of travel I decided to check out the new Southwest flights from HOU to Puerto Vallarta (PVR) since everyone knows Southwest has some of the lowest fares around (maybe for one seat) and everyone who flies them loves them. This must be a low fare to get me to drive the almost 60 miles across town to HOU and fly Southwest.
Checking the same day with similar arrival times all round trip fares..........So here goes!!
Sure hope that is one expensive premium drink!
Now which would you select?
We want assigned seats so that puts us above the United Business Class fare already. Since we don't check luggage I don't care about "Bags Fly Free". We like the First Class seats and perks, plus we get our MileagePlus miles, segments and dollar amounts credited. I can drive to the airport in 25 minutes rather than almost an hour....AND....all the drinks we want plus a much improved United Business Class meal options.
Sorry Southwest, I gave you another try and you cannot beat the United offering.
Firstly let me welcome you to the forum, it's always nice to hear a new voice on this site
IAH, I have been quite surprised at the competitive fares UA has on routes that I travel frequently.
I also love some of their first class fares that I find quite affordable on some routes.
On routes from Los Angeles area airports that compete with Southwest they meet and in some cases beat the fares SW is offering.
Consequently I had very little effort to maintain Gold even though I was going to have it renewed by being a Plat Prem.
Thank you for the kind and warm welcome, maybe we should get a gathering together in Houston and meet!!!
You're right, we have been finding some stupid First Class fares on UA and even from their largest HUB IAH, or maybe second largest now. Plus you get the higher end bonus miles as well.
We scored a fare from IAH-SEA recently that was $557 in First while the lowest Econ fare was $436ish. So First Class is not always for the rich and famous, often times for the "dark side" kids who may be able to drink the cost of the ticket on flights of three hours or more.
Not having the pleasure of flying FC with anyone except US Air () a few years ago, I'm not familiar with the FC offerings on UA. Do they offer top shelf liquor to FC? I think I would have difficulty exceeding $100/hr consumption rate in the normal cheap liquor available to peons in Economy, but premium liquor could increase that rate significantly!
Great post. To be honest, and some here might not like it. For someone who flies infrequently, and only for pleasure, I like the fact airlines are selling FC seats are reduced rates. If the trip length and flight time are long enough, I am sometimes willing to pay extra for a better flight experience. If you told me I can fly a 1,500 mile trip for $350 in coach but $550 in FC, I might just spring for the FC. The days of having only elites fill those seats are gone. The airline figures, why have an empty seat or give an upgrade for "free" if someone is willing to pay for it. (either in cash or mile upgrade). As I mentioned recently, my SIL purchased tickets on DL for her husband and two kids to fly DTW-SAT and went for the FC seats as they weren't much more $ and it made the trip more comfortable.
Agreed. My only FC experience was on US Air a few years ago, paying about $100/ticket on 3 tickets to upgrade MIA-PHL. We were returning from a cruise with our young daughter, and had several bags to check. Accounting for the bag fees in Economy, overall cost was less than $100 for 3 upgrades since bags were then free. It was a no-brainer.
Now if only international flights had such small difference in cost to upgrade to Business or FC, I'd be loving it! My first international business trip was an emergency booking, same day flight, business was the only option and company paid for it! Spoiled me for life!
I would fly from HOU to PVR for $80 and my wife would fly for free with just the taxes on the Companion Pass We just used 235,000 Marriott points and got the 5-day travel package that put a 5 day cat 1-5 stay coupon in our account (have to call customer service and ask for the 5-day travel package instead of the 7-day package that you see on the website), and transferred 120,000 miles to Southwest Airlines.
This only took 2 days and we instantly got the Southwest Companion Pass that is good until the end of 2018! Now we not only have 120,000 miles to fly free on, but my wife gets to fly free on any flights (paid or traveling on only miles) that I go on. There are a lot of days in May that would work nicely for 6,860 miles each way. You can take a lot of cheap trips at the drop of the hat with this setup. I was really excited to get this, when I found out they service Mexico and the Caribbean and Central America now.
I get ya tryt53, but we are staying across the street at the Villas for this trip not at the resort. Plus, I am not a fan of driving across town at all, let alone on the way home.
Your companion pass is a great perk for sure, just not sure I'm willing to use Southwest for all or most of our travels.
I shop fares for 4 airlines (AA, DL, AS and UA) on which I can earn mileage, the first two as AS partners. Given that I don't live in a hub, fares are reasonably competitive. Having Silver on UA and now MVP on AS, means I'll stick with my mileage earning options even more.
On your particulars, I agree that UA is the way to go.
I too note the improvement in United.
Being from Toronto, UA is code shared with Air Canada. For many years I was able to maintain top tier status with Air Canada. This came with many perks and I would say that I would fly business class on an upgrade almost every time. Three or four years ago, all of the airlines made getting the top tier status harder to attain while making the perks far fewer, especially upgrades.
Similar to your post, I am finding excellent fares in business class. For example we flew return to Vienna recently for 1400 C$ in first class (about 1000 US). Only the Toronto to LHR portion was really first class but that is all that mattered (Flat bed for overnight portion). I also found one from Toronto to DFW that was actually cheaper to go business when you factored in the extra perks.
I have not checked into an European fares recently, last time we flew to Italy it actually made more sense to use an award ticket in Business all the way (four flights) due to the cost of the Business tickets. Upgrading to Europe or Asia is a craaappppp (only way to spell it so the CENSORS don't **** it) shoot as you must wait usually until 72 hours before departure before you know if the upgrade cleared or not. Of course your status in the mileage programs help a bit, but I'm not a gambler and want that Business seat confirmed when I make the reservation.
Message was CENSORED by: MARRIOTT
IAHFLYR, as you know, I split my business among AA, DL and UA and occasionally in situations of extreme desperation, Allegiant (although after the last Allegiant flight, Spouse has issued a "No Allegiant" mandate). I also have access to Frontier, but their schedule is so forked up that I've only flown Frontier one time. My last 3 flights booked (none flown yet) have all been on UA because UA has had some very, very reasonable fares. For example, I just booked a multi-city involving MCO and RSW, and UA had a $380 round trip fare, while AA was in the $500 - 600 range, and DL was in the $700 - 800 range. So UA was a no-brainer. I am still skeptical of UA's ability to get anywhere on time, and I'm not super enthusiastic about UA always wanting to route me through DEN which is not my favorite airport, but I suppose it's better than the evil black hole of aviation, ORD. And UA is still the leader in lost and delayed baggage, although AA is a close second. But I guess the stroopwafels will make up for it
LOL, a "No Allegiant" mandate, awesome.
I tried like the dickens last Wednesday on our flight to LAX to find one of those stroopwafels, but it appears by the time I asked to see one of them all the Economy passengers had eaten them. The FA did tell me that she would not give it to her dog if that tells us anything.