For a long time, I was a loyal patron of the Northwest, Continental, America West family of airlines. I started flying with them for my old job (Columbus to Houston maybe 8 times), flew to Japan in 1999, various trips to the east cost on Continental and generally managed to accumulate frequent flyer miles. It was good. I was happy.
I have enough miles now to go anywhere in the US, round-trip. Twice. I should really use them one of these days. But for the last 2 years, all I've flown is American Airlines. Let me tell you why.
American (and American Eagle) flies where I want to go. Most of my flying now is from San Jose to either San Diego (OSCON for 2 years) and Toledo, Ohio (family visits a few times a year). When I used to fly Continental out of San Jose, I had to fly into either Detroit (via Northwest) or Columbus on Continental. That sucks. It means a 1 or 2 hour trek to Toledo from there. By flying into Toledo, my parents can fetch me at the airport in about 10 minutes.
More room in coach. It's not just a gimmick. There really is more room in the coach seats. It makes a difference, especially when you're using a laptop. When you're sitting in the same little seat for more than 3 or 4 hours, it's really nice to be able to stretch your legs a bit.
Laptop power at the seats. Every American flight I've been on has laptop power available (via a standard automotive-style cigarette jack) in most rows. In the front of the plane, nearly every row has them. As you go back they're a bit less frequent. But I never seem to have much trouble getting into a row with power. It has been a problem only once.
With power at the seat, I can work on my book or magazine articles, code, blog, listen to CDs or MP3s, and so on. I could tolerate an 8 hour flight with a decent power supply. I can't imagine why the other airlines haven't caught on yet. This is the only way for a geek to travel.
On a related note, it's supposed to hit 75 degrees today in Santa Clara. I have a feeling it'll be in the 30s or 40s when I land in Chicago and again in Toledo.