My United loyalty started when I lived in Wyoming, with a teensy airport that had commuter flights that partnered with United. Back in the day, it was much more difficult to book flights on unconnected airlines, so we ended up flying United.
I stuck with United, more or less, across the years as they consistently had service where I needed to go. Including Wyoming. But as I traveled to Wyoming less and less, I realized my loyalty was habit rather than function. Plus, I’m still feeling the nostalgia for the amazing McDonald’s happy meals, complete with awesome airline-themed toys, they used to serve. Those were the days.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was the US Air and American merger. Living in DC, and flying frequently out of DCA, we almost always were on US Air, so it’s switch from Star Alliance to OneWorld made me really reconsider our Star Alliance loyalty.
While flying based on “which carrier I like better” is nice in theory, I’ve had SO many problems over the years on SO many different carriers, that I really am not convinced one is OMGsomuchworse than all the rest. So there is no reason to favor a specific domestic carrier based on quality alone.
Yup, most legacy American carriers are inferior to their international counterparts. I can’t change that, and I can’t fly international carriers all of the time. [However, if you tell me to fly Southwest/AirTran (which I suggest you do not), I will tell you our horror story with them that made me hate them (mainly AirTran) forever.] Anyhoo…
Fast forward to 2015, when United changes mileage accrual to a revenue based system. Barf. Cringe. Gag. Sorry United, but my loyalty to you has come to a close.
But I don’t think I’m all about OneWorld, either. Sure, US Air is awesome for domestic flights from DCA. But I’m not ready to be totally loyal to a single alliance again. Maybe ever. I mean, seriously…what’s the point? I can’t ever seem to fly enough on a single airline to get meaningful status, particularly as the lowest rung of airline status is pretty (pretty? who am I kidding…) totally useless these days anyway. Particularly out of DCA.
So I’m a free agent. I’m ready to be lured by cushy credit card offers for 80,000 miles and lounge passes. I’m ready to hop on the cheapest flights I can find, and know that my credit card offers me early boarding regardless of fare class or status. I’m ready to go with convenience rather than some nostalgic feeling of silly loyalty. I’m ready to fly on airlines where I can actually redeem those miles I’ve earned for good flights, hopefully in business class (not 10 leggers with sh*tty connection times).
Bye bye, loyalty. Hello, flexibility.
Are you still loyal to a single alliance, particularly if you fly <50,000 miles a year?