Looking for suggestions for what airline to book for flight to Vietnam in regards to comfort and cost. I've been looking at American airlines but we have had luck with foreign airlines on trips to Europe, and am looking for input about foreign airlines that fly from a Midwest international airport to Asia. Welcoming any and all input especially personal experiences. Thanks!
It's a long way to Southeast Asia. So you will need to plan on at least a stop or two, since (of course) there will be no direct flights from most of "the midwest" to Vietnam.
That said, if you're near Chicago, you can get to Vietnam from there in one hop - look at EVA, ANA, JAL or Korean. All have good reputations for service. Prices can be surprisingly reasonable, too.
Or, fly via a west coast gateway (usually LAX or SFO, maybe OAK, SEA or YVR), which gives you many, many more options. Give EVA Air (Taiwan's national carrier) a good look. Very good service, very reasonable prices, decent connections via Taipei (FWIW, my highly price-sensitive ethnic Asian friends generally see EVA as their go-to airline).
Your instinct to avoid the major US airlines (in favor of Asian carriers) is a good one - trust that. IME, flying on major Asian airlines gives you an experience that's much better than what you usually get from the US legacy carriers. It's still coach, and most of the major Asian carriers have done the same squeeze on their seats as the US majors, but the "soft product" (service and attitude) they offer is head and shoulders above what you typically get with the US airlines.
Hope that helps.
Your profile suggests your closest major international airport is ORD.
Try skyscanner.com to see what pricing is for various airlines from there or wherever you plan to fly from
I prefer to let on-line agencies search for complicated itineraries. Cheapoair, matrix.itasoftware.com, and Expedia are my first choices but there are plenty of others (skyscanner is useful for low-cost lines in Europe and, to a lesser extent, Asia.) Enter your departure port and destination, then inspect prices, transfers and flight duration. You can then go directly to the airline sites. This approach is more efficient than piecing together the itinerary yourself. If the route you choose involves several airlines that don't sell connecting tickets, the agencies will be your easiest solution.
I can only offer my experience flying Korean Air to Thailand/Vietnam. I flew cattle class Portland - Seattle - Seoul - Bangkok on the way and Hanoi - Seoul - Vancouver BC - Portland on the way home. That's way more stops than I prefer making, but it was what was available in my price range. Even in the cheap seats, the flight crew very friendly and attentive to keeping the plane tidy. I might even dare (!) to say the Korean food selections were pretty tasty for airline fare. They are a Sky Miles partner with Delta and I believe they recently beefed up their codeshare flights. I will suggest if you fly through Seoul to make sure your layover is more than one hour (that is not enough time, especially incoming to Asia).
Some of my friends who are first/business class fliers prefer Cathay Pacific. It's usually in the top 10 in the airline reviews. I believe they are in the same alliance as American.
I have flown EVA for many years and they are one airline that can get you to a variety of Asian, SE Asian destinations with ONE STOP in Taipei. Seattle to Bali? One stop on EVA. Seattle to Phnom Penh? One stop on EVA and same for Vietnam.
Keep in mind the Chicago flight on EVA MAY stop in Seattle or SF on the way...but I have no looked it up.
They also have a Evergreen Deluxe Class between Cattle and Business Class which is quite good and reasonable. I have flown Business and Evergreen Deluxe with them and have been very happy.
My only tip is that whatever airline and route you choose, you will accrue a lot of miles. Make sure you are enrolled in a mileage program and that you collect the miles for these flights. Remember that you can use a partner for the miles, so you can use them later. For instance, if you do fly Eva Air, you can accrue points on United.
All great tips! Thanks to all for the advice.