Low Cost Carriers — Better Amenities Than Their Full Service Rivals?

Amenities on low cost airlines are improving, even as mainline “full service” carriers cut back.

For the average traveler, that will make JetBlue more attractive than Delta. This change has already entered the public’s consciousness. My boss’s assistant was excited that she was able to book him on JetBlue for an upcoming trip to the West Coast because “it’s supposed to be better.”

Only my boss wasn’t excited. And this is why the full service airlines, while becoming less attractive to the infrequent flyer, are still more attractive to the road warrior. Two words: elite upgrades.

While JetBlue’s coach product is probably superior to Delta’s, it’s frequent flyer program isn’t as generous and won’t take you nearly as far. Most importantly, though, frequent flyers get upgrades. Among the low cost carriers Airtran is unique in offering a first class cabin. There’s no such thing as an upgrade on JetBlue or Southwest.

That upgrade means comfort and it also means more space to work on a long flight. Personally, I find that it also means greater rest and relaxation. Scrunching into a coach cabin — even one with leather seating and satellite television — is exhausting. I’m a whole lot more prepared to dive into my destination after getting off of a first class flight.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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