You might remember that I signed up for the US Airways Trial Preferred program back in September. My purpose was two-fold. One, I would get a hit in the Grand Slam promotion, and two, I was really interested in US Airways elite status since I live so close to DCA. I’ve been dithering with the idea of moving to Dividend Miles for a year or so rather than crediting my US Airways flights to Mileage Plus. In truth, the overwhelming majority of my flights are short hops up and down the east coast and I spent the majority of my time flying US Airways. I was missing out on upgrades (granted, to US First), and the pending US-DL slot swap at DCA just made the idea of going for elite with US too compelling. Here’s an update on how it’s going.
DCA-PHL, First Class
LAX-PHX, First Class
DCA-BOS, First Class
BOS-DCA, First Class
CLT-FLL, First Class (plus companion upgrade)
Success rate to date: 55 percent
Let’s face it, US Airways is basic air transportation between points on a map, but the on-time rate for those 9 segments is 100 percent. I tend to travel light, so I don’t waste a lot of time at the counter checking bags. However, on the 2 segments that I have done so, the personnel assisting me have been polite and helpful. In all cases, the inflight service personnel have been at least pleasant, and some, downright nice. I know 9 segments does not make a trend, but so far I have been pleased. I’ve yet to need to call the 800 number about anything, so I am not able to speak to the performance of their reservations personnel.
The 737s I’ve ridden on have had that long-in-tooth look about them, and the pitch seems tighter than others. The exit row seat on the 737-400 I took from FLL to DCA yesterday was supremely uncomfortable. The seat bottom cushion seemed “off” and I could not find a way to get comfortable. The other 737 coach seats I’ve ridden on have been comfortable enough, but lacking in pitch. The Airbus seats, are slightly wider and more comfortable, even the exit row seat I had in the A319 from PHX to DCA. The First Class seats I’ve tried have all been wide and comfortable, but some did look a little worn around the edges. My shorter flights have not included meals, so I can’t comment on that.
Of course, the lack of in-seat power, wi-fi (only available on A321 aircraft), and inflight entertainment are common complaints that I will agree with, especially on transcon flights. Since most of my flights are shorter, these aren’t big complaints for me, but nonetheless are things that I think the airline needs to reconsider its approach to going forward.
So far, so good with my switch. Like I said, US Airways is basic transportation. They happen to provide a lot of it to the places I want to go fairly reliably. Their membership in Star Alliance seals the deal. I don’t regret making the move, but will keep you posted over the next few months.