I am a status flyer. I am loyal (with split loyalties) to my programs and cost and schedule being equal I will choose Delta or US Airways. Why? Because of status…upgrades, boarding early, trip interruption service, free checked bags if I need it and “priority” handling on those, access to lounges without airport announcements every 5 seconds. I really enjoy the travel experience I have as an elite traveler. I like knowing I get to go through security faster and I can knock people off the standby list. Who that travels more than a few times a year wouldn’t like this?
I talked to a couple of my new coworkers who have traveled before and 1 is loyal to a frequent travel program and is climbing the ranks quickly. The other prefers Southwest. Soon even Southwest will allow certain flyers to use PreCheck, and Southwest does have some perks for frequent flyers, but doesn’t even have First class or many of the perks I enjoy. Another coworker told me he likes AirTran. I purposely find a reason to arrive at a different time so I accounting doesn’t wonder why I didn’t take the same flight. I used to fly AirTran quite a bit (around 10 times a year) and only when Delta was just too expensive to justify. Whenever I had irrops I would usually just be told to call a number. It got to where if I misconnected from ATL-CLT I’d just rent a car and drive home because AirTran didn’t make it easy to get on the next flight.
I enjoy the service I get from Delta and I enjoy the direct flights with few delays I get from US Airways. The fares in Charlotte usually resemble price fixing so why would I fly on a discount carrier? Did I just drink the Kool-Aid, or is status worth it?