Observations After Two US Airways Roundtrips Over the Past Week

… as captured by the camera on my blackberry.

This was the biggest ‘under 2 years old’ lap infant I’ve ever seen:

It’s time for US Airways to update their interiors to, umm, their own logos. They aren’t America West anymore.

This was my post-takeoff beverage, water:

Wine with dinner is served in the same plastic cups.

But then perhaps that’s appropriate, considering US Airways’ classy passengers up front.

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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  1. You REALLY have to lower your expectations on USAir. Did you notice the wireless Ad sticky on the tray tables ?

  2. I’m a Star Alliance elite, mainly flying Air Canada. Last year on business we took US Airways from Philadelphia to Venice and I was shocked. It was one of the worst experiences I have ever had. Most intra-African airlines have newer planes, certainly they’re cleaner.

    With the exception of Royal Air Maroc, I have never had a more bus-like experience. Terrible food, horrible service, ancient equipment, rude check-in staff, an inferior product all around. I cannot believe Star Alliance hasn’t booted them yet. Though according to the rumour mills that’s coming.

    Clearly US Airways can’t compete with what they have on offer. They’ll either become a regional discounter or just go bankrupt. I couldn’t imagine the value of updating their equipment or training of staff. They’re a dinosaur.

  3. My biggest concern is no other airline will touch US as a buy-out or merger as a whole. Like the old PanAm, it’ll probably be dissolved with others buying pieces in dissolution sale. Dividend Miles worthless, as will be pensions.

    US has some incredibly valuable pieces. It’s a case of the pieces being worth much more than the whole.

  4. My US Airways flight to Las Vegas on a former America West 737 had ash trays still in the arm. Either the seats have never been upgraded or US is too cheap to upgrade the seat arms. Either way…

  5. I’m CO Gold. I fly USAir about 15K miles a year out of my 60K. Without any way to verify this, I’d bet US has fewer Chairman’s elite per F seat than the other *A carriers. I base this guess on the fact that I nearly always get an upgrade to F, which while clearly a sub-par F, beats coach pretty much anywhere else. (Wider seats, more legroom). When on UA/CO, clearing to F is an unexpected treat.

  6. Where were you flying? I flew over 90K miles on US last year, many through Phoenix (the old AW hub), and don’t think I was on a single plane with that interior.

  7. You are SO right Gary ! I took US Airways for the first time (Paris-Philidelphia-Las Vegas return). The flights to Las Vegas were fine although there were issues including an exposed electrical wire at the floor of my seat) but everyone was fine. The return flights, however, were another story. The bulk of the attendants were unpleasant and unaccommodating.

    I am glad you explained the thing about the logo- I saw it on all of my flights and could not figure out how it was supposed to be a logo for US Airways !!

    I almost always fly Air France and I think I will stick with them from now on !

  8. Sounds like typical US-West service. US-East is significantly, above and beyond better. Granted, all beverages, including wine, are still served in plastic cups, and there are no in-flight AV, but the service is great in first class.

  9. US had a great F fare from LAX to FLL at the end of last year – $725 all in. I was going post the miles to United and do it as a mileage run to keep United 1P status. Every time I was close to pulling the trigger I kept thinking – US Air…through Philly. Can’t do it! So now as a 2P I’ll have to pray to get upgraded!

  10. US is only good for its DCA-BOS shuttle service. Superior product to, say, a Delta or AA. But everything else is horrible.

  11. kinda petty, really giving grief to parents who are trying to save money, and recycling of plastic cups to serve wine….
    i love ua and fly them often (1K) but their seats are old, very old and sometimes u get unfortunate to have to deal with the outsourced cs.
    delta has new planes and seats but sometimes those old seats are soo much more comfortable than the newer stuff. oh and then all the outsourced cs-really makes u miss NWA:(
    plus look at VA, is all flash and glam with the electronics like so much of the virgin marketing empire but so much else stinks.
    AF, I have never seen a carrier fall so far so fast, what a shame/scam opertation that is today with the garbage food and numerious lost bags mixed in with a we really wont do anyting for you attitude from corporate learned via – a la delta…

  12. Sometimes I think the only thing keeping US Airways in business is federal government contract flights. I have to fly a lot to the western half of the country and US Airways is the contract carrier on almost all of the routes. Of course, I do everything I can to NOT fly US Airways, including once making a 3-leg, overnight return trip to DC from Reno through Salt Lake and NYC just to not fly US Airways. The few times I’ve been stuck taking their buses have all been really horrible experiences. I get off the plane looking for the first shower I can find.

  13. I flew US Airways last night from FLL-DCA. It was an evening flight and running late due to nasty weather in the DC area. After beverage service was complete, lights were dimmed and the cabin quieted as many took a nap.

    Of course, this is when the flight attendant gets on the PA, uses top volume and blabs about their credit card promotion for a solid 4 minutes!

    I understand the need to promote their services but using some common sense and omitting this procedure from late evening flights seems like it would be a good move to improve customer service.

  14. US’s new A321 have the nicest looking interiors I’ve seen on any major US airline (alas, there are no TVs, only wifi). Some of the aircraft are very old. Of course, I’ve found the same on all the USA carriers, except CO, which seems to have retired all their ancient aircraft.

    Infrequent US flyers who want to generalize don’t have all the facts on this.

  15. I agree with the poster above about the new A321s, these are nice clean planes and even have internet. I frequently find well-priced A fares on US (great for 3x miles on BD and LH plans) and then carefully chose to get the A321. It’s pretty much equivalent to the front cabin DL experience if you ask me. Most domestic carriers have some crappy planes, I think US is actually on the way up from admittedly being very near the bottom.

  16. say what you want, US is just like any typical domestic carrier. the best part about it is A) star alliance B) they have ideal hubs. moving their Int operations to CLT was a great idea. DC couldnt be an easier airport to get in-get out. if you were on delta you’re prob be 696 in line for take off and on AA youre prob flying a refurbished b-52 bomber

  17. Agree interiors on some planes are pretty beat, but got to love the easy upgrades on US. I’m only Silver Preferred but get upgraded on about 75% of my US flights. Agree also you have to pick and choose your aircraft. The Embraers are nice if you don’t have a prayer of getting an upgrade. And US has the only direct flights to DCA for me– strong reason to choose it.

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