The Best Airlines For Business Travelers In 2014

Dec 24 2013, 2:16pm CST | by

The Best Airlines For Business Travelers In 2014
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

2014 brings with it major changes in the airline industry, including the merger between American Airlines and US Airways and tectonic shifts to multiple mileage programs. The impact of these changes will shape the way that business travelers fly, leading some to earn fewer miles over the course of the year and others to change their travel patterns.

To get an idea of what airlines will work best for business travelers in 2014, we turned to a few experts in the industry to get their opinions. Before we begin though, it’s important to place this discussion within the context of your personal location and travel flexibility. Living in Chicago, I’m fortunate to have United Airlines and American Airlines calling O’Hare a hub, meaning I can get almost anywhere on those carriers without taking a connection. Were I to fly on US Airways though, I’d likely have to connect through Charlotte, Philadelphia or Phoenix, and while I don’t mind connecting, many do. If you live in a city like Pittsburgh with one major airline and you don’t like to connect, then your answer is simple. But if you want to really maximize the impact of those earned miles, then other options are on the table.

One of the most important things to keep in mind for the coming year is that the mileage programs for Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are drastically changing. While the specifics of each program are slightly different, two main changes stand out across programs: there is less flexibility to earn miles on partners and elite status for the 2015 year is based on how much you spend on the airline. If you barely earn elite status with either airline and you do a lot of flying on partner carriers, it pays to look up what sort of mileage you’ll earn. Similarly, if you earn your status by frequently booking low cost tickets, you may be at risk for not reaching the minimum spend requirements. Take a look at Delta’s mileage program updates here and United’s updates here to get an idea of the new constraints.

American Airlines, US Airways and Southwest Airlines, on the other hand, have refrained from major changes to their mileage program structure, though once its merger is complete, the new American Airlines may follow suit with competitors.

The Best Airlines For Business Travelers In 2014

Back to the issue of flexibility in connecting, airlines made deep investments in expanded route networks in 2013, and that may influence who you fly with in 2014. “A good business airline gets you where you want to go with multiple fight options a day, and lets you be productive while getting there,” Gary Leff, head of the popular View from The Wing blog tells me. “That means the major network (legacy) airlines are the better business airlines. The two best are American Airlines and Delta Airlines for letting you stay connected with inflight wireless internet while offering frequent schedules across their broad networks.”

Brian Kelly, founder of ThePointsGuy.com agrees. “Business travelers require good route networks, solid in-flight products and strong customer service. In those categories, I feel American Airlines is a top all-around pick. They are in the process of updating their fleet with a top lie-flat longhaul product, have not devalued their frequent flyer program (like United and Delta) and still offer top frequent flyers complimentary upgrades–even on transcontinental routes.”

Outside of the legacy carriers, there are a few great options for casual business travelers not looking for an expansive route network or partner benefits. “JetBlue, will launch their Mint business class transcontinental service in summer of 2014,” Mr. Kelly continues. “The pricing allows small and large business alike to buy premium transcontinental seats at a fraction of the regular price that the major legacy airlines charge.” Virgin America, the darling of inflight passenger experience, will also play a bigger role in the business travel world in 2014 as it expands its presence in New York City.

At the end of the day, however, the best business airline for each traveler boils down to a careful match between traveler flexibility and a robust mileage program. The traveler in Fargo can be just as empowered as one in New York with the right planning and time commitment–it’s simply a matter of investment.

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Korea Ship Tragedy: Parents Go From Anger To Acceptance While Nation Wallows In Shame
On the crowded floor of the gymnasium in the incredibly pleasant town of Jindo, on the southwestern Korean coast, hundreds of people are going through all the stages of grief. There has been anger, denial, bargaining...
 
 
How To Choose The Right Medium For Your Message
From music streaming services to magazine mobile apps, the last few years have brought us an array of options when it comes to choosing a message’s medium. New platforms, like Vine, have even reinvented publishing...
 
 
New Medicare Data Reveal Startling $496 Million Wasted On Chiropractors
Ten days ago, the federal government released a huge data set detailing how it spent $77 billion in Medicare funds in 2012 to over 880,000 health care providers. The release of this data is part of a new transparency...
 
 
Vault-Like Services Could Be Next Fantasy Sports Success Stories
Billions of dollars are being exchanged among fantasy sports participants, which has led to the rise of subsectors within the fantasy gaming industry.  The most well-known subsector is the rapidly rising daily fantasy...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Korea Ship Tragedy: Parents Go From Anger To Acceptance While Nation Wallows In Shame
On the crowded floor of the gymnasium in the incredibly pleasant town of Jindo, on the southwestern Korean coast, hundreds of people are going through all the stages of grief. There has been anger, denial, bargaining...
Read more on Business Balla
 
What's Japan's Guiltiest Secret?: (Hint) It's Not The Comfort Women
For anyone who follows East Asia, here’s a question: what is Japan’s guiltiest secret? The “comfort women” scandal? The Nanking massacre? Official homage to war criminals at the Yasukuni shrine? No, no, and no. If by a...
Read more on Auto Balla
 
How To Choose The Right Medium For Your Message
From music streaming services to magazine mobile apps, the last few years have brought us an array of options when it comes to choosing a message’s medium. New platforms, like Vine, have even reinvented publishing...
Read more on Business Balla
 
New Medicare Data Reveal Startling $496 Million Wasted On Chiropractors
Ten days ago, the federal government released a huge data set detailing how it spent $77 billion in Medicare funds in 2012 to over 880,000 health care providers. The release of this data is part of a new transparency...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Vault-Like Services Could Be Next Fantasy Sports Success Stories
Billions of dollars are being exchanged among fantasy sports participants, which has led to the rise of subsectors within the fantasy gaming industry.  The most well-known subsector is the rapidly rising daily fantasy...
Read more on Business Balla
 
The Pain & Pleasure Of Branded Social Media
During a recent Bulldog webinar on the subject of media relations 2.0, a senior communications professional from the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) noted that when the organization wanted to announce news, it simply...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Counting Jack Ma's $5 Billion Shopping Spree In 2014
So, how is your 2014 going? For Jack Ma, the past five months were one crazy shopping spree. The 49-year-old billionaire founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group has been involved in eight major deals with a...
Read more on Business Balla
 
The Weekly Oil & Gas Follies
The Weekly Oil and Gas Follies – Volume 42, April 21, 2014 In which we drill down into the @GDBlackmon Twitter feed to briefly chronicle the week’s silliness, shenanigans, fake news and real news related to the oil and...
Read more on Business Balla
 
The Challenges Of Remote Management: One Manager's Perspective
Sometimes it seems you can learn more about management from sitting at a bar than from reading a textbook. I was recently sitting at a bar at a resort with my wife, and began to chat with the man sitting next to me. ...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Weekend Box Office: Johnny Depp's 'Transcendence' Flops, 'Heaven Is For Real' Soars
Heaven Is For Real is to The Grudge as God’s Not Dead is to The Ring. As the first major Christian-centric film to drop after the surprisingly successful God’s Not Dead, Heaven Is For Real got to capitalize on being the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
 
Auto Balla Sexy Balla Sport Balla TV Balla Politics Balla Movie Balla Apple Balla Business Balla Ad Balla Celebrity Balla