I fly a lot for business, and end up on a lot of airlines as a result.
My co-worker is a multi-million-miler on former Continental Airlines and he and most of his other brethren have been very crabby since the United merger.
I'm tied most deeply into Delta simply on location and their metal is aging rapidamente.
I love US Airways for a lot of reasons but I always donate all of my miles to their program "Hero Flight" which flies US WWII veterans to Washington DC to visit the WWII memorial. I am concerned about their merger with AA for safety reasons.
Essentially -and forgive me if this sounds snobbish - airlines simply don't care about non-status passengers. They make a tremendous amount of money on their cargo/shipping in the belly of their planes which was one of the factors that led all to start charging to check bags; they knew it would free up more space in the cargo hold for materials that they could profit from, rather than fly your bags for free. Unless you are a status flyer, you are frankly viewed as cargo that has to be pressurized or, as it was said of movie extras when I was in that business, furniture that eats.
I second the person who said, pay the extra money for the upgrades. In your position, I would get the cheapest upgraded (business or first) class ticket that you can buy, no matter the carrier (airline.)
Try this site as well: www.flyertalk.com
, and www.seatguru.com
to pinpoint your exact seats. Subject, of course, to equipment change which happens more often than not.