Hi, I have been reading airline reviews of flights to Rome. Most are getting 1.4 -1.8 some 2.0 out of 5. Not good. (airquality.com) So my question is I fly from Boston to Rome....what airlines do you recommend? Any you would not fly again no matter what the price? Thanks
That is such a tough and highly marginal question. We try to avoid US Air, have liked Lufthansa and British Air in the past but BA is now charging for seat reservations. Of the US airlines our current, slight preference is for Delta but have no exposure to AA. Although our last flight with Lufthansa was PACKED and service not as good as in the past, I think I would pick Lufthansa first and Delta second if those choices were available. And United is OK.
I've been satisfied with Delta, AA, British Airways (flew them in 2008 before they started charging for seat reservations), and Continental. I will NEVER fly US Airways again, not even if they offer flights for $1.
I tried to access the website you say you are getting your reviews from and I get a generic website about air quality. What is the actual website you are using? Please keep in mind that many times only those who have something to complain about take the time to write such reviews, so it's not surprising that the numbers would be low. Any airline can have a good or a bad flight at any time, and oftentimes peoples' perceptions about a particular airline are based on a single experience or flight. I have flown with many different airlines over the years and really haven't had a bad experience with any of them, even those that some people complain about. Maybe I have just been lucky, or maybe I'm not as picky as some, as long as it gets me where I want to go.
There is a good website at www.airlinequality.com. That's Airline quality, not Airlin Equality.
I agree 100% with Nancy. I've been flying back and forth to Europe for years, and the very few "bad" flights I've had have had mostly to do with bad behavior by other passengers, not with the airline.
I do fly American Airlines a lot. This mostly because business travel has made me gold for life. ; ) That does get me some perks and so it makes sense for me. It might not make sense for you. You might want to check out the forum on airlines on tripadvisor. http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i10702-Air_Travel.html Pam
I know I'm not the originator of this question but was curious about something. (Please keep in mind my flight is already booked and paid for so I can't make any changes now). What is wrong with US Airways? I've flown them domestic but never international and I'm leaving for Rome from DCA via PHL Nov 11th (carryon going and checking baggage on return). The international flight is an A330-300.
My experience is that the airline matters little in that problems are more due to random equipment failures, weather, or congestion. In the end, the best airline? the one that is the cheapest.
The more you fly, the more I think you start to believe that there is (unfortunately) not that much difference in quality. It is a good flight if you arrive on time, get your choice of seat, and your bag arrives on the same flight with you. I've flown at least a dozen different airlines on international flights and none of them were particularly memorable. My best recent flight was a United flight to Brussels that was not full where I got a whole row of seats to myself. I usually go for the best routing. I will pick a direct flight over one with a connection even if it costs a bit more. If I have to connect, I prefer to change in Europe over changing in the U.S. The main reason for this is if I get stuck en route, I'd rather be stuck in Europe. I do avoid connections at CDG like the plague, but don't mind changing at LHR; others feel differently. I think Munich and Amsterdam are both very user-friendly for connections. If all things are equal, I usually fly Star Alliance carriers on my own dime because I live near a United hub and I want the points. A lot of people complain about Alitalia. I've only flown them within Europe and my only negative with them was that my luggage was delayed (it showed up the next day). However, Lufthansa, SAS, and Air France have also lost my luggage so if you used my experience as an anecdote, you wouldn't fly any of these other airlines either. I have a friend who refuses to fly Lufthansa because they kept her on a plane on the runway for 8 hours before cancelling a flight due to weather. However, others swear that Lufthansa is one of the best. I guess my point is that air travel is somewhat unpredictable. I'd narrow your choices down to the best combinations of price and route and then go from there ... and don't worry too much.
Andrea, USAir is going to be better internationally than on domestic flights. You get your own entertainment system, something they don't do domestically. PHL ground staff, a legacy of USAir before the merge with America West, are snotty. For international I think everything is just a little substandard compared to other carriers. Delta and Cont make you feel like a little special. USAir is kind of like a big, stinky, dirty bus to Europe. Since they are based in PHX I use them for work a lot and have status which improves things a bit. Upgrade odds domestically are good and cutting the security lines here and abroad is nice too. If they offered $1 flights, I would buy them day and night, it isn't THAT bad!
I can only quote from my website. This was written while still on the aircraft, USAir, approaching Munich, on my 2007 trip to Germany. "Remind me not to fly a US airline again. They rented the earphones for the movie for $5 (or €5!), then sold wine and beer for $5. "Breakfast" was a doughnut and the coffee was definitely not up to German standards." We came back to the US at PHL, which is a hub for USAir flights to/from Europe. I don't ever want to see PHL again! They have to have the most passenger-hostile TSA in the country. (I have since modified that opinion. Newark rivals them for TSA hostility.) On the other hand, I have flown Lufthansa to/from Germany 5 out of 8 times. I've never had a bad experience. I've also flown Delta and NWA without a major complaint.
In order, my two favorite European airlines are Swiss and Icelandair. Swiss won Skytrax Best Airline in Europe award for 2009, so they're certainly worth a look. Both of these carriers fly from Logan...check them out (although I think Icelandair may only service Milan and not Rome...you'll have to check).
Thanks for your input everyone. This is our first international flight. Domestic I have no problem with. I just thought before I book, I would get opinions from people who have flown international airlines. By the way, not all the reviews were negative, that is the problem, who do you believe? I value your opinions here.
US Airways lost my luggage and was incapable of returning it to me in a timely manner during my 2-week trip in Europe. Their customer service is also very poor, as every person we spoke to on the phone told us a different story about where our luggage was and when we might receive it. I realize that any airline can lose a passenger's luggage; the difference to me is what they do after that happens. Until all that BS happened, I was satisfied with them - I liked their entertainment system, despite the fact that I had to buy headphones from them, and I have no complaints about their service onboard the plane.
Thanks Michael that is what I was looking for in a response. I have been watching Swiss Air closly for flights and your correct on Iceland Air they only fly into Milan from Boston. Many thanks
Teresa, I took a quick look at the options from Logan to FCO and these 3 would be my top choices: Swiss Air via Zurich
Lufthansa via Munich (but not Frankfurt) KLM via Amsterdam I'd look at price and connection time to narrow it down to one. I've had good experiences on all of these airlines and all of these airports are quite manageable for connections. Swiss Air did cancel a flight I had once from Dulles due to a mechanical issue (I found out on arrival to the airport), BUT they got me on a flight that same night on United and I arrived less than an hour late. The only downside was that I got stuck in the dreaded middle seat since I was last minute standby and it was over Christmas holidays. Nevertheless, I considered it a good experience because I was very pleased with how SwissAir handled the problem and transferred me to another carrier.
I agree that many times the quality of the flight depends on many factors including just plain old good luck. Cost is usually the main consideration for me so a lot of time I rely a lot on luck (and finding a way to get the best possible seat location). Best flights: Swiss Air and United. Swiss Air's customer service is the best I ever experienced on a plane and I found my seats to be very comfortable.
United because the seats seem less cramped. Average: Air France and Aer Lingus I had an awful experience with Lufthansa but that may have been because I flew with them into Frankfurt right after 9/11. The plane was packed and we had to endure an almost two hour delay just sitting in our very cramped seats.
IMHO, Continental is the best of the US brands. Then I'd go SwissAir or KLM. Or most any non-US carrier (though I have heard bad things about Airitalia--I have no personal experience with them. And avoid Virgin Atlantic unless you're in business class). BA used to be great, but quality has slipped in recent years.
That probably makes sense. Continental won the Skytrax award for best North American airline...also in 2009. I've never flown with them transatlantic but have on domestic flights. Very clean and newer equipment...good service...professional. After flying with Swiss last winter, I would pay a little more to fly with them again over other carriers, all other things being equal.
Good question, and one that I have been thinking about in recent days since I just booked flights for an October 2011 trip. Going over, we are flying out of Houston on Lufthansa to Frankfurt for a connecting flight to Venice. Returning, we have a flight on Continental from Rome to Newark. My guess is that the differences in economy class quality between the major airlines with European flights are marginal. I have flown Continental before to Europe and had no problems. Any legroom differences for those flying economy are doubtless small and related to the type of aircraft used. I have read both good and bad about Lufthansa. The bad comments include lack of back-of-the-seat in-flight entertainment monitors (though Lufthansa has advised that this has been rectified because of upgrading to its aircraft) and attendants who are more efficient than pleasant. However, let me note that I have not yet had any personal experience with Lufthansa and that admittedly Internet forum negative comments should be normally viewed with skepticism (unless the number of such comments provide some confirmation of an underlying problem). To the more experienced travelers, I would ask that anyone having a strong preference between Lufthansa and Continental to let me know.
We recently flew Lufthansa for the first time; and having heard good things about them, I was quite disappointed. First of all, the space was extremely cramped, even for me, a short person. On the SFO to Frankfurt leg of our journey, the my seat and the one in front of me seemed to be broken and went almost flat when reclined. Out of consideration for the person behind me, I tried to not go all the way back; but the mechanism slipped a couple of times. The person in front of me had no such qualms about my comfort. I had to ask him to adjust his seat in order to get out to go to the bathroom. The food was mediocre, even for airplane food, especially on the Munich to SFO leg.
To date my best flight was on BA, but I've heard they are going downhill. My worst flight was on AA, but that was mostly because I had a last minute chance to fly to Europe and my seat was in the last row and didn't recline (not really the airlines fault). KLM, Delta and Lufthansa were fine. I flew SAS this summer and was surprised how close the seat in front of me was - the service was really good though. It took off on time and landed a little early - by my standards that's a good flight. It's probably worth checking out the plane options and checking Seatguru.com for more information about the seat. The flight is always the worst part of my vacation. In addition to price, I always look for the shortest possible route. If it gets me to Europe on time and in one piece - I'm happy.
The only flights we have actually enjoyed have been Virgin Atlantic premium economy SFO to LHR. We were comfortable and were fed decent food. (June, 2008)
Other than the charter airline on my first trip, I've flown BA, Air France, Condor, Lufthansa, United, and TWA (remember that one?). Apart from the price, always economy, I liked Air France the best. Luckily, the other carriers were also good: twice on Lufthansa, just pure chance, my seat was upgraded...who is going to turn that down, when your seat is more roomy and with the leg space, which means you're bound to sleep most of the ten hour flight. As posted above, I agreed what's more important is that your immediate travelers are pleasant, if not that, at least not a nuisance, the luggage arrives, and your flight is without incident. I hate to be the last 5% still waiting for luggage to come out. Still, you know some one has got to be first in retrieving his/her luggage and someone is going to be last. I've been through that once (in Frankfurt with Condor) and it was almost panic time...luckily the bag came out as was the case for the remaining few still waiting for theirs.
I would not fly US Air if the tickets were free - actually, I would not fly US Air if they paid me. That said, I think a good rule of thumb is avoid any domestic (US) airlines, and try to fly a foreign national carrier (Lufthansa, Air France, British Airways, etc.). This is a very general guideline, though, you can have a terrible experience on most airlines, and I've had OK flights on some of the domestics. Honestly, my best advice is to just lower your expectations about flying. You'll survive, and you can start enjoying your trip once you arrive.
"...TWA (remember that one?)" Yes. Even better was Pan Am......
Maureen, to answer your question, the airlines configure the seats as they choose. If you look at seatguru, you will see some of the various configurations.
Yes, that's right...Pan Am, and also Eastern, both of which I never flew.
Some people have posted about different airlines having more/less room in coach than others. Pardon my stupidity on this, but won't the same planes be uniform, regardless of airlines? Won't the space in a 777 be the same in coach, or does each airline have them custom made with a designated number of seats?
I really like Continental, and I like Delta, particularly those flights which connect thru MinneapolisStPaul which are still mostly the Northwest planes and flight attendants. KLM was efficient, not particularly friendly. Lufthansa handled ground services for one flight and inquired whi I didnt book LH- blunt but not rude. I took United back from Amsterdam a week ago and tho the staff was very nice, I thought Continental was better. If you can upgrade, Continental's Business First is great.
I loved PanAm and went to Europe the first 5 times on them.... Anyone remember ( or mourn) Braniff?
Delta to Spain: no problem, a bit late coming back home. USAir to London: No problem, got a whole row to myself, good inflight intertainment. Continental to Germany: Hell on wheels. Delayed from TPA-Newark, had to run to catch plane to Germany. Terrible inflight entertainment, movies were 5 years old and awful. United to AMS, Paris to TPA: Fine going there. I do not remember inflight entertainment. A toddler did however, fly us home. First time I have ever thrown up on a plane. Major delay in DC, I wished flight was just cancelled, but was delayed for 6 hours. We got back home at like 2am, and I was still sick and throwing up. USAir to Germany: no problems there except seat kickers (thats what we call small children when boarding a plane), good inflight entertainment. Good vegetarian meal there and back. Flight attendants were calloused and grumpy. Major delay on way back in Philly, without explanation for hours. Delta to Italy: No trouble, delay, except farting teenagers in seat ahead of us. Free wine and beer. Good vegetarian meal there and back. Inflight enterainment was better domestically than internationally. There will be good days and bad days with airlines. I myself would fly on USAir if it were the cheapest option.