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 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

UN warns of worsening food crisis in Somalia
United Nations, Nov 1 (IANS) A UN food agency Friday warned that poor rains in Somalia may worsen the country's food crisis, a spokesperson said.
Canada suspends issuance of visas to Ebola-hit African countries
Ottawa, Nov 1 (IANS) Canada has suspended issuance of visas to residents of West African countries with "widespread and persistent-intense transmission" of Ebola virus disease, a media report said Friday.
Chinese unmanned lunar orbiter returns home
Beijing, Nov 1 (IANS) China succeeded Saturday in the world's first mission to the Moon and back, becoming the third nation to do so after the former Soviet Union and the US.
China pledges $81 mn financial assistance for Afghanistan
Beijing, Oct 31 (IANS) China Friday pledged to provide non-reimbursable assistance of 500 million yuan (about 81 million dollars) to Afghanistan this year at an international meeting on Afghanistan held here.

Latest from the Network

BCCI demands multi-million dollar settlement from WICB
Bridgetown (Barbados), Nov 1 (IANS/CMC) The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) will have to cough up nearly $42 million in order to stave off a lawsuit from the Board Of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI), stemming from...
Read more on Sport Balla
Garth Brooks feels like 'arm candy'
Garth Brooks feels like Trisha Yearwood's ''arm candy.'' The country singer, who has been married to the 'Woman Before Me' hitmaker for 19 years, claims she is much more popular with their fans. The 52-year-old star,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Kourtney Kardashian is so proud of Kendall Jenner
Kourtney Kardashian says Kendall Jenner is her ''favorite family member.'' The 35-year-old reality TV star, who is set to give birth to her third child with Scott Disick in December, is extremely proud of her 18-year-...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
German Bundesliga standings
Berlin, Nov 1 (IANS) Following are the German Bundesliga standings after Friday's match (tabulated under matches played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points), according to Xinhua. Bayern Munich...
Read more on Sport Balla
Indian appointed to UN peacekeeping panel
United Nations, Nov 1 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has appointed Abhijit Guha, a retired Indian Army Lieutenant General, to a high-level panel to assess UN peace operations. Announcing the formation of the...
Read more on Politics Balla
Kim Kardashian wants to loose 10lb
Los Angeles, Nov 1 (IANS) Reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who shed weight after the birth of her daughter last year, is keen to loose 10lb (about 4.5 kg) more. She talked about loosing weight while talking to Grazia...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
US, EU to meet Iran over nuke talks
Washington, Nov 1 (IANS) US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Oman early next month for meetings with his Iranian and EU counterparts to push for a comprehensive deal over Tehran's nuclear programme by Nov...
Read more on Politics Balla
Amanda Bynes to remain under conservatorship
Amanda Bynes is set to remain under a conservatorship. A lawyer claiming to represent the 28-year-old actress, who was released from a psychiatric treatment facility in Pasadena, California on Thursday (10.30.14) after...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Ben Affleck broke Jennifer Lopez's heart
Jennifer Lopez says Ben Affleck was the first guy who broke her heart. The 'Booty' hitmaker, who got divorced twice before she started dating the 'Gone Girl' actor in 2002, was completely devastated when they ended...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Alicia Key's son is ready to be a big brother
Alicia Keys' son is ''so ready'' to be a big brother. The 33-year-old singer and husband Swizz Beatz are set to welcome their second child into the world on New Year's Eve (12.31.14) and says their four-year-old Egypt...
Read more on Celebrity Balla