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Airline Comparison

Reviewing airline tickets for April-May 2015. The costs between the different airlines is only $50. So my question is which airline would you prefer to use Delta, US Airways, or United? I know some things happen but for travelers that have flown a bit (definitely more than me) I would like to know your opinion on which airline you use. In making my decision I will include the time of flights, layover times, number of stops, and other things but it would help if I had some idea on the quality of these airlines. Thanks for any information.

Posted by
2799 posts

My answer is none of the above. We like the European airlines,specifically British Airways. We much prefer a non-stop flight to Europe and most of the US carriers from the West Coast stop in the US before going to Europe. But you are starting in Florida so have different options. Where are you trying to go?

Posted by
177 posts

I am flying from Jacksonville, FL to Amsterdam then Paris back to Jacksonville.

Posted by
1501 posts

I would choose the one with no stops. Or one stop. Fewest stops. It's tiring flying over there, and I think the quality of the airlines are about the same.

Posted by
16878 posts

I also prefer to fly direct to Europe before making any flight connection. From Seattle, we have several route options that do that, and most work with my mileage plan, too.

Posted by
6185 posts

I have flown all three of the majors to Europe, and there is no significant difference in service. They all can have something screw up. Inside the cabin, it depends on getting a good seat location, a science it itself. It helps to study the flight details (when looking at Orbitz for example) and see who actually operates the overseas flight segment. For example, on American/US Airways, it could be British Airways; for Delta it might be KLM or Alitalia; for United it could be Lufthansa. Complicates the decision-making. I would choose based on the most convenient schedule, avoiding bad connecting airports.

Posted by
2799 posts

OK, you will have to make one stop in the US. I checked on the ITA Matrix and they are all about the same price. The Delta/KLM flights via either Atlanta or JFK have the shortest overall flight time. I would choose one of those. I didn't check the actual plane but it could be Delta to the US airport and a KLM plane from there.

A benefit of Delta is that their Economy Comfort class is not much more than regular economy, and apparently well worth it.

I would never fly United again but that's just me.

Posted by
2081 posts

Carole,

This is how im wired.

I choose to do the less stops as much as possible. I found out on my first trip to Europe in 2012 that i could save 100 USD by adding 2 stops into my trip. Since that was my "learning" how to fly trip and just about everything else was a learning experience, i found out that by saving that 100 bucks, it added 6+ hours to my travel time. So, was it "worth it" ? No. I tossed 6 hours out the window. ALso, during any one of those legs, anything could have happened to cause a delay that could have affected the next flight.

One other thing i found out by adding stops, depending on where they are. If i get a direct flight and if my flight is delayed here it can affect the next connection, if any. Also the same goes for any flights. But what i like about direct flights is that once you get over there, its somewhat easy to get around. I like Amsterdam as my "hub" since i can take a train out if i need to, depending on where i need to go. Also, my flights from PDX to AMS usually have me arriving around 0830, so again, if anything happens, chances are i can find a flight out since its still early.

you need to do the homework and weigh your options and do what fits your way of travel. I dont fly out of FL so i dont know whats available to you, but i can guess you have more options. Also, you are about 4 hours closer too. You may not want to put much thought into it and just go with the flow, but thats up to you too.

happy trails.

Posted by
16171 posts

Look at the actual planes they are flying and check the seat dimensions on www.seatguru.com.
FI on US Airconnecting through Philly, the flight to Ams is on a 757, a narrow body with 17" seat width.
Ditto United connecting through Newark. Delta through Atlanta is an Airbus 330 with 18" wide seats. The A-330 is about as good as it gets when it comes to flying coach.

Posted by
83 posts

Two additional things guided my choice:

  1. Flying from Mpls gave me the option of short flight to the coast then the overseas longer flight or long flight to Europe and short flight into Italy destination. Picked the first option, wIth more chance if my being coherent to navigate the layover to the second flight since it was early evening and the long portion overnight and ending at final destination.
  2. Picked a carrier and plane that offered extra room for $90. Best money spent of the whole trip! (Well, smartest anyway)

Peg

Posted by
16171 posts

Look at flying out of Orlando. Aer Lingus has direct flights to Dublin from there with connections to/from Amsterdam and Paris. Save about $200 as well. Transatlantic is A-330.

Posted by
527 posts

Carole, I would suggest Delta, through Atlanta. There are multiple options, depending on how many hours you want in Atlanta (I'd do 2-3 hrs) and when you want to arrive in Amsterdam. The return connections from CDG look pretty good, too. I opted for Economy Comfort on the way to Amsterdam in September and I definitely felt it was worth the extra $$. I didn't on the way home, and I wish I had.
And, if you need to call Delta for questions, etc., I have found their Customer Service to be amazingly helpful in the past year or so.

Posted by
3659 posts

I remember from your previous thread that you are planning on arriving a few days in advance of your tour. This is such a good idea. It not only gives you time to adjust to the time change, but also gives you a little leeway in case something unexpected does come up with your flight which can happen on any airline.

My advice is to choose the airline and routing that meets your personal needs/priorities the most. The previous posts have talked about the value of getting some extra space, the value to a good seat location,the value of fewer connections, and the value of lower ticket prices. You will know which of these features are the most important to you. I do want to advise you that after you make your decision and buy your tickets, don't keep second guessing yourself or wondering if you should have done something differently. Make your best choice at the time and then be happy with it. You are going to have a great time on your vacation and I hope you will post back how everything worked out for you.

Posted by
41 posts

Does anyone use the carry-on restrictions as part of the decision making for your flights? I was starting to do this and decided that I was being a bit too much of a Virgo.

Posted by
3937 posts

Of the airlines you've selected I definitely prefer Delta. And, Amsterdam & Paris are major hubs for KLM & Air France - partners of Delta, so you should have some backup options if something happens to a schedule. We like Air France better than Delta, so it the flight shows a Delta number but actually an AF flight, that's a bonus.

Posted by
16171 posts

And If Tallahassee is your home and Delta your decision, why go to Jacksonville? Connecting through Atlanta from Tallahassee is only about $30 more than Jacksonville flights.

Posted by
189 posts

I prefer Delta because I am a long-time member of SkyMiles and I like their Economy Comfort (EC) seats on overseas travel. A couple of caveats: on my last two flights to Europe (Zurich two years ago; Paris this past October), Delta has developed an irritating habit of playing musical seats even if you have made your reservation 3 months in advance as I usually do. On the Zurich flight, my EC seat was changed twice and when I got to the gate to board in Atlanta, I had been kicked out of EC and into a regular coach seat. In October, my EC seat on the outbound flight from CDG had been changed from an aisle seat to a window seat, both times with no notice at all that my seats were being changed. Secondly, the Delta frequent flyer program (SkyMiles) is being changed in 2015 to points based on how much you pay for a seat; not how many miles you are flying. Don't know if this is the same for the other airlines if frequent flyer points are important to you.

Posted by
12391 posts

I'm a Star Alliance fan since SFO is the largest United hub in the West, but in your case, since you are going to AMS and CDG, I would go with a Sky Team option (Delta, AirFrance-KLM) since those are their largest European hubs. Also ATL (SkyTeam largest hub States side) is not too far for you and ATL doesn't have bad weather (=delays and missed connections) like the NorthEast does.

Posted by
703 posts

Carole,
I have done extensive investigation on this too! I had it narrowed down to your three as well....mainly because the carryon weight limit is higher than the European airlines. You have to really look at your flights, though....because even if you are flying Delta, the transatlantic segment may be using one of the European airlines (and I was thinking this would force you to adhere to THAT airline's carryon weight limits). I mean, we are trying to "pack light", right? But we are also trying to limit our bag to one CARRYON. I packed my new bag with what I THINK I'll need and it came to 18 pounds. This could mean trouble if the transatlantic segment had a carryon limit of 17.5 pounds. Like you, this is our first European trip and I would hate to get it started on a bad note.

So for you experienced folks, is Atlanta a hub that would experience fewer delays and how difficult is it to use as a layover? How much time should Carole allow for that Atlanta layover before she flies the European segment?

Posted by
703 posts

Carole,
I forgot to mention that Delta's "comfort class" seating was the cheapest of the three. You need to figure in that cost, too. And I prefer one flight from the US to Amsterdam (realizing we will still have one domestic flight as well). Adding another stop in there just prevents you from enjoying Europe sooner ;)

Posted by
11613 posts

I fly out of Detroit and try to use Amsterdam as my first airport destination. I will pay extra not to go through JFK. I fly Delta, pay for economy comfort. Like Ray, I want to get to Europe on a nonstop flight so I will have more options if I need them.

Posted by
4409 posts

To me, the airline doesn't really matter - it is the # of stops and total flight time that matters to me, aside from cost.

The bottom line is that you will need to fly to somewhere else in the US before getting to Europe. That might be any number of cities on the East Coast which have direct flights to your cities in Europe. I definitely wouldn't drive for 5 hours to get to the Atlanta airport, as some have suggested. Think about when you come back all bleary-eyed on no sleep - would you want to drive 5 hours? That's just reckless.

Posted by
2525 posts

The least number of stops using a unified ticket purchased directly from the airline so if there is a cock-up, head to the service desk to resolve. Also, preference for airlines with multiple flights on the itinerary in case of delays and usually start with a early morning flight, since the plane and crew should be on the ground at the initial airport. Based on several negative experiences, I avoid JFK airport. On the long legs, a few more inches of seating comfort in economy + seats is worth it.

Posted by
177 posts

I appreciate everyone's responses. I have taken the plunge and bought airline tickets last night. We have decided to fly out of our hometown instead of Jacksonville. The layover times is what made the difference. The price was a little more but it is worth the comfort feeling that I have now knowing I will have plenty of time to not miss my connection flight. Even if any original flights run late. We are using Delta going through Atlanta. Thanks again for all your help and responses. Now having to wait the 5 months before we leave.