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Your favorite airline

Looking for feedback on airlines to use to fly to Paris..
We will be flying from Newark/New York to CDG.
I like United - but would like to hear your feedback on different carriers.
And, do you book directly with the carrier or use a site like Kayak.
The research never ends!
Many thanks!

Posted by
201 posts

We like United and Delta but last fall's experience with delays and cancellations has soured American for us. We have found that booking with the carrier has been more flexible in terms of changes, especially during the pandemic.
You are flying out of one of our least favorite airports into the airport that we try to avoid at all cost. Hopefully since you won't have any connecting flights from CDG you will have a good experience.

Posted by
16104 posts

Can't answer the question about a favorite - probably Delta as we live in one of their hubs - but I'd definitely book with the airline itself versus a third party. If something goes awry, you want to be dealing with the carrier versus a middleman, especially during these rather, er, interesting times.

Posted by
195 posts

I am not a fan of American Airlines.

In agreement with the airports - unfortunately, Newark is our go to airport in this area - unless I drive to PA - not sure I want to do that.

I have read that CDG is a bit of a nightmare. We will not have a connecting flight.

Our trip will concentrate in Paris - so again no options over CDG ..

Hoping for the best ...

Thank you for your feedback ...

Posted by
510 posts

What are you looking for? Best price, most luxurious, easiest to deal with, flier miles, reliability?
Newark to CDG is a pretty short flight. It really does not matter much which airline you pick as long as it meets your price expectations and offers you the seating comfort you are willing to pay for.
I also lean towards UA since I have lifetime mileage privileges with them. But if I look at their pricing, they tend to be more expensive. Why? Who knows? It's certainly not the food or the comforts.
I have used almost all of the typical airlines that cover that route and on any given day, I would not hesitate to book whichever one offers the best price for my window seat. Yes, I will be the one who limbs over you, not the other way around.
LH, BA, AF, Delta, American, all just fine. I prefer the European based airlines because they are more generous with the wine. even for baggage class fare.
I always book directly with the airline. You will understand why if you ever encounter a reservation or cancellation problem. The bundlers offer mediocre service and have no skin in the game or clout if the airline encounters a problem.

Newark is actually a fine airport. It's a PITA if you are there on a Friday for a domestic flight (American, OMG). It's become more reliable that Dulles. CDG was a total nightmare 25-30 years ago. It's really not all that bad now.

Posted by
195 posts

I suspected it was not a good idea to book with a third party.

Posted by
674 posts

Nonstop flights with the best inflight experience is primarily my goal, closely followed by price. Delta and it’s Skyteam partners are my first choice. However I’ve had great success with many European based carriers. That has not been my experience with a couple of U.S. based ones. Booking directly with the carrier is preferred over using a third party service. I’ve not had an opportunity to use United.

Posted by
195 posts

Interested in hearing that you like Delta.

What are the advantages of flying with this airline?

I can fly any airline out of Newark.

I, guess, my experiences with United - even with a massive delay due to a snow storm in Kansas City, MO - have been positive.

I trust them ..but I am always open to hearing about peoples' experiences with other carriers.. and why these airlines lie in their comfort zone.

Posted by
3260 posts

Precovid I mostly flew British Airways because they are a little more upscale than others and, most important, they have a day flight. I don’t know how Brexit will affect them. I see Virgin airlines has a day flight now so that’s good backup, but I would need more details. So BA is it unless something changes.

I always book with the carrier and join their frequent flyer club.

Posted by
4474 posts

Many European airlines, and I think Air France is one of them, have a smaller carryon size than the American carriers.

Posted by
8640 posts

I don’t know how much this would be a factor in your airline choice, but do remember that only European airlines give you the EU 261 protections on your flights from the US to the EU. All airlines give this from EU to the US.

Posted by
8065 posts

Any one with the direct flight from Newark that you can afford. Stick with direct flights. All airline food is bad but I think United in coach has some of the worse so skip it but not the drinks and eat before you get on board; just eat snacks you bring with you when they are serving those salt laden tv dinners to everyone else on board.

Posted by
674 posts

In over 50 years of flying with Delta and it’s partners there has only been one misstep.(1990s’). They immediately acknowledged their error and corrected it. I am just a regular passenger with occasional gold medallion status. I’m not even a business traveler. Fortunately I’ve never arrived at the airport to a cancelled flight nor received the news the night before. Only once did I miss a connecting flight on a domestic itinerary (last one of the night in 1989] but was given a hotel room and food voucher. I quickly learned that it was best to book early morning flights whenever possible. Yes there have been a handful of late departures due to equipment arriving late or due to a quickly repaired mechanical issue. I’ve never been rebooked away from my original flight if it was still operating. Airline representatives at all points of contact (via phone, at checkin, at gate, onboard, and throughout the terminal points) have always been professional and courteous except in the situation mentioned above. I regularly book international flights about 320 days ahead. In the last twenty years only once has the originally scheduled flight itinerary needed to be changed. Thankfully all of my international itineraries have been executed without hiccups. Finally, I don’t have any friends, family or contacts with Delta or any other airline so no special perks come my way. I’ve just been very happy and perhaps lucky. I live in New England and use JFK or Boston whenever possible for flights to Europe. Hope this answers your direct question Hoping the very best for you.

Edit - I do rack up the miles through flying and credit card purchases but I use them to book flights for my family.

Posted by
4630 posts

Except for a few airports most people have little choice and choose the same airline over and over. Their option is to fly out of the way and connect (in say Newark) and most don't want to do that. Cities in the NE though have the most choices.

The best choice is Google Flights because it deep-searches for cheap fares that you can't find by yourself and then offers airline site choices to buy and rolls over to the airline website for purchase (it also offers non-airline choices, don't click those).

Posted by
111 posts

OP, I might suggest looking at options for flying premium economy, rather than looking at a specific airline. For many airlines, premium economy is a separate section, has quite a bit more room, and comes with other perks like checking extra bags. The cost gap between economy and premium economy widely can vary widely, though. I flew to CDG on United premium economy last fall -- I thought that will all the stress of flying/covid, I'd give myself a better experience. I was much more comfortable.

Posted by
195 posts

We have used premium economy - it is very good.

I will, most likely, book us in premium economy seats.

Posted by
195 posts

What are the Eu 261 protections?

Many thanks for the helpful feedback on your airline experiences.

It will help me in making my decision.

Posted by
195 posts

Thank you for the information on the EU 261.

I visited the Delta AIrlines Website -- impressive -- I think we may book with Delta.

I like the variety of choices in seating.

Posted by
4630 posts

Delta means a trip to JFK I think? Or a connection in Boston? I don't think Delta flies to Europe from the NE except JFK (big hub for them) and Boston, not PHL or Newark or Dulles or BWI.

Posted by
9873 posts

Exactly -- your airport usually almost determines your airline.

To me they are all about the same. On any given day you can have a better or worse experience with any given airline on any given flight.

Posted by
195 posts

Uh, JFK is not going to happen -- looks like we will be flying United.

Posted by
195 posts

It appears that Delta does not fly direct from Newark to CDG ..

Posted by
9873 posts

Exactly. If you want to go Newark to CDG, you’re basically going to be on United (or Lufthansa).

Posted by
195 posts

My mother, god rest her soul - flew Lufthansa - to Paris 30 plus years ago!

She bought me an Hermes scarf -while she was there - and I will wear that same scarf - when I go to Paris.

Posted by
4600 posts

As noted above, the choice of airline isn't really all that important. you board, they fly, you deplane. Unless you're spending big bucks on business or first, econ is pretty much the same. depending on the aircraft more than the airline. If you have miles, consider the different ways to maximize that.

If you're going to splurge on premium econ, you need to google that one separately. There are many sites that just live for that kind of stuff. Spoiler alert - it's worth it. Figure out how to use miles to upgrade.

Posted by
98 posts

We traveled on Delta to Italy in late October and early November 2021, we and had a very positive experience. They were on time and helpful. I will say though, that part of my delight with Delta was that very few people were on the plane to Rome, so the stewardess allowed us to spread out (and sleep!!) on whole rows. I had four empty seats to sleep on - which was just amazing! The trip home from Rome was much more crowded, so there was no stretching out and sleeping. We are flying Delta again to London and then home through Nice in May, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that that trip will go well also.

I am a huge fan of Aer Lingus. We travelled with them several years ago, and there was a baggage handlers' strike in Rome the day we were to return to the States. ALL (and I mean ALL) of the American based airlines simply cancelled their flights, leaving people stranded. But not Aer Lingus! They got their own people to handle the luggage, and though we left a lot later than planned (no fault of theirs), they got us to Dublin for our connecting flight to JFK. But because it was late, the connecting flight was missed (again, not their fault), but they still put us up for the night in a hotel and got us a flight home the next evening. This gave us a full (and unexpected but wonderful) sightseeing day in Dublin (which wasn't even on our schedule, and which our oldest, who was on the trip with us, liked the best). Kudos to Aer Lingus. We also are big fans of Air Canada, basically because their fares our so good, and we have found them to stick pretty close to schedule every time we've flown them. Plus, the Canadian crews have been so nice!

Posted by
6664 posts

If you want a direct flight from Newark your only option is United. But if you are willing to change, there are other options you might consider such as Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, SAS or some other European airline.

Posted by
4630 posts

A small consideration, excluding basic economy for seat costs:

Delta
Free alcohol any kind. Seat selection free.

United and American
Free beer and wine. Seat selection free.

European Airlines
Free alcohol any kind. Seat selection costs. (Exceptions I know of: Icelandair no free food or alcohol but free seat selection; Condor no free alcohol or free seat selection.)

Noting domestically Delta offers seat back entertainment on every Airbus and Boeing jet, the only airline that does.

Also noting that in addition to the huge hub in Atlanta serving much of the South, Delta has hubs across the northern US (which is closest to Europe and Asia looking at a globe) in the NW (Seattle, Portland, SLC) and the North (Minneapolis, Detroit, Boston) which dovetails with much of the geography of the Rick Steves fan base. That explains a lot of Delta’s popularity here.

Posted by
2593 posts

That explains a lot of Delta’s popularity here.

Really?

As I do not work for Delta, I should like to point out that to fly nonstop from EWR to Paris, you have 3 basic choices:

United is the known commodity, it will continue to operate, if there is a problem, you will still be accommodated.
While I greatly prefer ORY to CDG, French Bee and La Compagnie are interesting options. There are risks, as many passengers of WOW, Norwegian, and countless other defunct transatlantic low-cost carriers can attest.

I have flown United from EWR to CDG a number of times, all rather uneventful flights. Ultimately, operational consistency and overall reliability is what I prefer and why, the next time I fly EWR to CDG it will be on a United non-stop.

Posted by
4630 posts

That explains a lot of Delta’s popularity here.

Really?

If you look at the places North American posters are from on this forum it's about 75% Northern US or Canada, so for about half of the RS posters Delta is the most logical choice to Europe (or Asia), and flying United or American means a connection somewhere like Newark, Philly, Dulles, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Charlotte, O'Hare, SFO. There are also New York and Los Angeles Delta Flyers where Delta also has hubs.

Posted by
2593 posts

Tom_MN - all fabulous information, but I believe that ihcal wants to fly from Newark, not Minneapolis.

Posted by
4630 posts

I am responding to the OP's early comment that Delta is a popular choice here, and saying that that is to be expected because the Rick Steves forum population is not representative of the US consumer base. The popular choice here is never going to be American Airlines.

Posted by
195 posts

I have no particular loyalty to United - I will look at all options at this point.

Ideally, I would like a nonstop flight out of Newark - but if we have to leave from JFK we will.

Just -- the added cost of hiring a car to take me to JFK.

So- thank you all for your suggestions ...


Posted by
38 posts

Icelandair has blown all others out of the water after our last trip. If you can get a cheap upgrade to Saga Premium it is 100% worth it.