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Dakota 400

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I still maintain that flying was better overall, in the regulated era.
I agree with you. Coach passengers were treated as guests and not as cattle. A very good dinner could be enjoyed in Coach on flights from DAY to LGA on AA. Or a very good breakfast on TWA from DCA to CMH and DAY.
 

willem

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Luckily, DTW has a SkyClub, so I got some food (and not just snacks either)!
I thought that Delta only allowed first class passengers access to its lounges if the customers were flying either international or transcontinental. Did I misunderstand?
 

jebr

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I thought that Delta only allowed first class passengers access to its lounges if the customers were flying either international or transcontinental. Did I misunderstand?
There's also access available with some credit cards, a paid membership, or a benefit after reaching certain frequent flyer status levels. I'm guessing most people use one of those options to enter into the Sky Clubs.
 

saxman

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I thought that Delta only allowed first class passengers access to its lounges if the customers were flying either international or transcontinental. Did I misunderstand?
🤷‍♂️

Of the US Legacy carriers, their respective lounges are actually paid memberships. You just had to be a member of the club to get in or have the right high fee credit card to get in. Domestic first class alone does not get you in the clubs. You still have to be a member or certain credit card holder.

Long-haul international first or business does grant you access to a club though. If in a major hub, you definitely want to head to the international lounges though. American offers the Flagship Lounge and United now offers the Polaris Lounges. Both are very nice and a step above the normal airline clubs.

This differs from many foreign airlines clubs. Simply being in first class or having status grants you access to their clubs. My GF has One World Sapphire from being Platinum on AA. When we went to Australia on Qantas, we were allowed to enter the Qantas lounges, even on a domestic itinerary. I just made 1K Premier status on United. I can enter any Star Alliance lounge (Lufthansa, ANA, Turkish, etc) when traveling in international coach, but I can't enter a United Club lounge. Go figure.🤷‍♂️ I would still need to buy the United Club membership, though at a discount.
 

Willbridge

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In Amtrak's history, which of their presidents are widely considered their "best", and what was their particular background? Any things in common?
I've been thinking about that. Even the "best" had disappointments and some ordinary ones shone brightly on one issue or another. I'll put forward Paul Reistrup (1975-78), Graham Claytor (1982-93), and David Gunn (2002-2005).
 

MARC Rider

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I agree with you. Coach passengers were treated as guests and not as cattle. A very good dinner could be enjoyed in Coach on flights from DAY to LGA on AA. Or a very good breakfast on TWA from DCA to CMH and DAY.
For flights 4 hours or less (and maybe even the 5-6 hour transcontinental flights), I'm not sure meal service is necessary. That's one thing that the budget airlines have demonstrated -- that passengers will fly without the meal service. I myself have adapted quite well to not being served a meal. Sure, if you offer me one, I'll eat it, but lack of one is not a deal-breaker for me in terms of choosing an airline to fly.

The longer overseas 8 hour plus flights probably still need to serve something to keep the passengers' blood sugar in balance. The shorter flights can deal with this by handing out prepackaged snacks. (The snacks could be a bit more protein-rich, like energy bars or beef jerky/beef sticks, though.)

An airplane with it's lack of humidity and low-pressure high altitude conditions is the last place you'd want to enjoy a gourmet meal. Where you're served crammed into a small seat and tray table, and you could hit turbulence at any moment. Why should the airlines have to go through all the trouble to prepare and serve one, especially if the flight is short?

Now there are some service upgrades, even for the passengers in the cheap seats, that would be nice to revive. Checked luggage being included in all fares is my top priority. Sufficient staffing to eliminate cattle lines at check-in is another. Pillows and blankets. A reasonable minimum seat pitch and seat width. Reasonable change/cancellation/refund policies. The most important thing for me, however, is that they fly planes in good mechanical condition that safely get me to my destination on schedule (although I have no problem with an early arrival.)
 

the_traveler

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I accessed the airline club by being a same day flyer to get a day pass. If I regularly flew out of (or thru) a club location, I would get a lounge membership. But for me, with connections usually within an hour or so, it’s not worth it.
 

Palmetto

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I accessed the airline club by being a same day flyer to get a day pass. If I regularly flew out of (or thru) a club location, I would get a lounge membership. But for me, with connections usually within an hour or so, it’s not worth it.
Good point, which is one reason I book longer connections, if available. I'm in no hurry these days. And the credit card I have with CitiBank gets me plus 10 authorized users into the Admiral's Clubs on American Airlines. But because I am the primary member, I also have access to many clubs in the One World Alliance airlines on most continents.
 

jiml

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Airlines have some widely different rules governing their clubs. Both Delta and AA consider Canada as a domestic destination, so no club access, however UA considers Canada as international so a flyer in Business can get access for a one-hour flight between Toronto and Chicago at both ends. Some also offer a discount package of seat selection, checked bag and club access for one low price - usually cheaper than a day pass alone.
 

sttom

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In my opinion Frontier and Spirit are the "City Buses" of the sky. I will fly them if it's convenient to my destination but neither are my first choice. If you remember what you pay for on Spirit and aren't expecting anything above that it usually isn't bad.
Frontier and Spirit also have weird schedules and even out of Oakland, which is basically a budget hub at this point, Spirit is never the cheapest option or most convenient option when compared to any other domestic airline. I guess that is a good thing for Southwest since it is one of their hubs and Alaska has made it a priority to expand service there.

I know I am way to young to have been alive during the regulated era, but not serving the East Bay and other mid sized cities seems to be shortsighted and was something the old regulations at least made sure mid sized cities had halfway useful schedules. Now, even in the East Bay, if you want a direct or semi direct flight anywhere in the US your options are Southwest, Alaska or go to SFO. Pretty much every other airline has a limited and indirect service to the rest of the country out of Oakland, if it even has one at all.
 

Dakota 400

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you'd want to enjoy a gourmet meal. Where you're served crammed into a small seat and tray table, and you could hit turbulence at any moment.
The strangest meal that I have experienced on a flight was on a Piedmont Airlines lunch flight from DAY to BOS. The entree was a bowl of vegetable beef soup. It was good, but trying to eat it, sitting in a coach seat with the tray table lower than a normal table and hoping that there would be no turbulence: well, I don't want to repeat that experience again!
 

me_little_me

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I tend to agree with you, but I also remembered that we all complained a lot back then, too. The best thing I liked was that my standby ticket was honored by all the airlines, and if I couldn't get a seat on one, I just went over to another counter, and eventually I found something. The meals on the PHL-ORD flights were convenient, even if we complained about the food, because if you took a no-meal flight, you would be in the airport during meal time, and the only thing worse than airline food at the time was airport food.

But they also had better bus service back then, so if the short-haul flights were too expensive, you could always take a bus, or even Amtrak if you happened to be traveling somewhere served by Amtrak. So the expensive air fares back in the regulated era weren't as much of a burden as they might be today if they reregulated airlines.
And more ...
They interlined your bags and if they were misplaced (no computer control in those days), no problem on them putting your bags on the competitor's next flight out.

If they screwed up on your reservations, they took care of putting you on a competitor's plane even if it meant having to upgrade you.

At the lounges, and even at the counter if you were really nice, they'd see if they could upgrade you.

First Class had first class distances between rows, not as they do now, make them as short as coach used to be.

Continental used to advertise "we never crowd you in six across" with their 2x3 seating in those older, smaller 727 jets.
 

Devil's Advocate

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This differs from many foreign airlines clubs. Simply being in first class or having status grants you access to their clubs. My GF has One World Sapphire from being Platinum on AA. When we went to Australia on Qantas, we were allowed to enter the Qantas lounges, even on a domestic itinerary. I just made 1K Premier status on United. I can enter any Star Alliance lounge (Lufthansa, ANA, Turkish, etc) when traveling in international coach, but I can't enter a United Club lounge.
To the best of my understanding you were most likely granted reciprocal lounge access because it was a foreign flight for you. Local passengers flying domestic First/Business would most likely not enjoy the same lounge access with a domestic ticket and status alone. Those passengers would be granted lounge status when traveling in countries foreign to them, such as with a domestic flight here in the US. I'm no expert on Qantas or Australia specifically but that's generally how foreign lounge access works in my experience.

An airplane with it's lack of humidity and low-pressure high altitude conditions is the last place you'd want to enjoy a gourmet meal. Where you're served crammed into a small seat and tray table, and you could hit turbulence at any moment. Why should the airlines have to go through all the trouble to prepare and serve one, especially if the flight is short?
It's true that elevation and humidity need to be planned around when designing onboard menus but the idea that gourmet food is difficult or impossible to enjoy on an aircraft is a myth. I spent many years living in a location not much different in relative elevation and humidity than the interior of modern aircraft cabins. We had to make adjustments but we still enjoyed quality ingredients and finer foods as much as anyone else. If you've never been able to enjoy a gourmet meal onboard an aircraft you might want to consider choosing a different airline. I've had good experiences with Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and EVA Air.
 
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saxman

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To the best of my understanding you were most likely granted reciprocal lounge access because it was a foreign flight for you. Local passengers flying domestic First/Business would most likely not enjoy the same lounge access with a domestic ticket and status alone. Those passengers would be granted lounge status when traveling in countries foreign to them, such as with a domestic flight here in the US. I'm no expert on Qantas or Australia specifically but that's generally how foreign lounge access works in my experience.
This was not the case though. This was a domestic flight itinerary entirely within Australia. They didn't know we were from outside the country. We just showed our boarding passed that had our One World status on them. That's it.
 

Devil's Advocate

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This was not the case though. This was a domestic flight itinerary entirely within Australia. They didn't know we were from outside the country. We just showed our boarding passed that had our One World status on them. That's it.
It sounds like Qantas is extremely generous with lounge rules. Looking over their recent history this privilege may be related to fending off Virgin Australia's attempts to woo business travelers and further solidifying QF's stranglehold on the corporate contract market. Hopefully QF's lounges are large enough to comfortably accommodate the number of people with access. What did you think of QF's service standards? Did you have an opportunity to compare them with Air New Zealand?

I can enter any Star Alliance lounge (Lufthansa, ANA, Turkish, etc) when traveling in international coach, but I can't enter a United Club lounge. Go figure.🤷‍♂️ I would still need to buy the United Club membership, though at a discount.
I probably should have used this quote as the basis for my previous reply.
 
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Bob Dylan

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When I was a frequent International Traveler back in the day ( 70s/90s), I often went through SFO and was allowed to use the Qantas Lounge when catching CP Air to Canada, and of course Qantas to Australia.

I found the Quantas Lounge @ SFO to be the Best Overall Lounge expierence I ever had, and the Service on CP and Quantas, whether Coach or FC, was among my most pleasant flight memories.
 

me_little_me

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Short airline trips are often not so short. Between delays at the beginning and when changing planes, it could be a long time between meals.
 

MARC Rider

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The meal service on Singapore Airlines is quite good. Their "Book the Cook" program offers a very wide variety of menu options that can be booked prior to one's flight.
That's wonderful, if you are flying from and to someplace served by Singapore Airlines and you can afford first class or business class.
 

Devil's Advocate

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The meal service on Singapore Airlines is quite good. Their "Book the Cook" program offers a very wide variety of menu options that can be booked prior to one's flight.
SQ is one of my favorite airlines and SIN is one of my favorite airports. I've never had a bad experience across several flights. I haven't had a chance to book the cook yet but I plan to do so in the future.

That's wonderful, if you are flying from and to someplace served by Singapore Airlines and you can afford first class or business class.
Even if you aren't traveling through Singapore my advice is to try some other options and get out of your (dis)comfort zone once in a while. In my experience traveler loyalty is overrated and a good airline will treat infrequent passengers better than a bad airline treats routine travelers.
 
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MARC Rider

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Short airline trips are often not so short. Between delays at the beginning and when changing planes, it could be a long time between meals.
One usually changes planes in airports. Airports have all sorts of food outlets where once can buy perfectly acceptable food while waiting for a delayed flight or changing planes. I myself have done this, most recently at Dallas Love Field on a flight between BWI and LAX that involved a plane change in Dallas.
 

railiner

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One usually changes planes in airports. Airports have all sorts of food outlets where once can buy perfectly acceptable food while waiting for a delayed flight or changing planes. I myself have done this, most recently at Dallas Love Field on a flight between BWI and LAX that involved a plane change in Dallas.
Agreed...ever since they eliminated most domestic in-flight service, the airport airside restaurants have really grown to fill that 'vacuum'. At one time, there wasn't much more than newstands and bars on the concourses. You had to exit security, when they started that, to find a decent terminal restaurant.
 
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