Since announcing our 2010 Editors’ Choice Awards last Sunday, we’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from readers agreeing, challenging, and adding to our top picks. Here are some highlights.
JetBlue got our vote as the most customer friendly airline this year, and reader Bilbo82 liked our choice, but didn’t think we were entirely fair to the larger, legacy airlines: “I agree with your rankings but not with your comment that they legacy carriers can’t offer the same quality experience. Of course they can if they learned some lessons from their low fare siblings. Friendly staff and some amenities in the cabin go a long way.”
What airline offers the best value? We said AirTran. Lawguy25 wrote in to support Southwest, saying that even though fares seemed to be on the rise, “with the baggage fee for other airlines and the fact that I can often get a non-stop flight with Southwest, I still prefer using them.” And Capt_Tom asked, “But doesn’t safety enter into the value question? How much does an airline outsource its maintenance to facilities outside the U.S. that the FAA rarely if ever inspects?”
We declared InterContinental’s Priority Club Rewards the best hotel loyalty program. Frequent traveler lucrecianido had a different vote, saying that, after years of disappointment from various loyalty programs, “Finally I found the Kimpton program and for the first time I have been receiving really great customer service, free services and amenities, upgrades, early and late check out free of charge, differential rates and free nights!!” Reader NateSalant had a different pick for the best program, and an opinion of the worst program as well: “I disagree with your selection because I think Marriott gives you a lot more hotel for your money in most instances and in much better locations. However, without question, the WORST is Hilton, which requires an outrageous number of points for free stays … ” And superior1 praised Best Western’s program: “I certainly believe that Best Western rewards is the best. I have gotten free rooms in Europe, Puerto Rico, and North America.” Meanwhile, ritanded pointed out: ” While you mention the Starwood card, you should also mention them for their hotel loyalty program. I’ve never occasioned a blackout date from them as I have from Hilton and some other hotel chains.”
We chose National as the best car rental loyalty program, and pocket agreed, saying “I use National and have been quite satisfied 90% of the time … The only problem I have, is with the little airports. Many have no customer service skills and frankly do not care what perks are offered to those who rent all the time. I have called corporate a few times and asked them to talk to the desk agent on my cell phone. Things are generally resolved quickly but I hate to have to TATTLE on agents who are acting like children.” And gbray1 wrote in to say, “I heartily agree with the ‘honesty in pricing’ comment and recently wrote to Hertz to that effect. An original quote of $283 turned into $566 after all the ‘additional’ fees and taxes, and any other thing they could think of to add on. Last time with Hertz for me.”
I can’t resist quoting Westie_Mom, who agreed with our choice of Alaska Airlines as the most pet friendly airline for checked pets. “I fly Alaska every other month (between Fairbanks and San Diego) with my westie and they are great. (He’s too large to go under the seat!) Their little card that is given to you every time you board a plane is much appreciated and reassuring (it comes to your seat and says, ‘Relax, I’m on board too’). I am not aware of any other airline that does that.”
After a lot of deliberation, we named Las Vegas McCarran the best airport for layovers, and got mixed reactions from readers. Boraxo commented, “Las Vegas is actually a poor choice because many of the ‘benefits’ are located before security which means a potential long wait in line and long walk back to the terminal for your connection … A better choice is SFO where most of the good dining options are after the security checkpoint. This is also true for DEN.” Statguy also disagreed, saying “I find McCarran to be one of the worst experiences with overpriced food and overpriced concessions post-security. I actually wish that the pre-security shops were accessible to post-security passengers.” And Ron71 liked our choice but said, “I agree 100%, but McCarran needs to allow the everyday citizen access to the services the airport offers beyond security.”
Check out all our editors’ choice winners and weigh in on your favorites!