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Best Airlines for fastest, economy and comfort long haul flts

I am about to make reservations for multi-city flt, from JFK to Milan (outbound) Rome to JFK two weeks later. I was hoping to fly Lufthansa as my son flew them a couple times and said it was awesome! but the return flt would be a stop over and I am not wanting to book 3 or 4 more hours of sitting on a plane no matter what. So that leaves me with only two choices that I know of, if anyone knows another direct flt airline please let me know. (I am flying in from PHX to meet travel companion at JFK so alrady 5.5 hours travel time to and from)..

The two airlines I am considering that have direct flts are Alitalia and Delta. Only problem is Delta recently in the news with problems and I have read a lot of complaints about both airlines not honoring the premium economy seats, etc. I am a little large and need that extra comfort so I am not smashed up against someone for 8-10 hours. Yikes....

Thanks in advance for any suggestions, Francine

Posted by
16171 posts

It is only 3 hours by train from Rome to Milan. Fly roundtrip from JFK on Delta. Regular Economy seats are under $600, but the Premium Economy seats have limited availability and are going for $1800.

Posted by
21346 posts

First off, I do not believe that there is any really "Best" airlines between the US and Europe. At one time Lufthansa was my choice but the last two flights had not been great - same for British Air. But Lufthansa was never awesome by any definition. I think it is now the luck of the draw. Two years ago had an excellent flight between NY and Rome on Alitalia (code share Delta) and returned on Delta. Actually thought the Alitalia was touch better. Delta is now our preferred choice but that is not say that it is terrific. We do book Economy Plus/Premium when available and have always received it. So I am not sure what you are referencing about the complaints you have heard. The seats are not wider in premium, just little more leg room.

Posted by
8659 posts

My experience has been similar to Frank's with Delta. It is my preferred carrier as it is the main choice out of my tiny departure airport and can easily get me to a Delta hub for international flights. And yes, seats are not wider. If you need wider do not book the bulkhead seats as they are slightly narrower with the tray tables being stowed in the armrest. Do book Premium/Economy comfort/whatever for the extra space in front of you.

I've not had problem with them not honoring my choice BUT it is in the Terms and conditions that they can make a change. I did have an issue when I booked with KLM on a Delta codeshare and the plane type was changed. Do check your booking at least every 2 weeks to make sure things are still the same including your seat assignment. I did not and when the plane type changed the seat assignments were dropped and when I realized that there were not enough Economy comfort seats available.

Posted by
5664 posts

http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Delta_Airlines/information.php

Delta's Comfort Plus seats are the same WIDTH as Economy. The Plus increases pitch and recline. Other airlines are similar so the up price seat will not solve a body width issue.

Seatgaru says:

Delta introduced their Delta Comfort+ branded product on their
long-haul international fleet in the first half of 2011 and it is
installed on this aircraft. The Delta Comfort+ section is located at
the front of Delta’s economy class cabin and features up to four
inches of extra legroom and 50% more recline.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you all so much for your prompt response and advice, it is very useful in making my flight plans as I plan on leaving the first part of April I need to get it done now. I was waiting for my travel companion to get her passport and I am finally able to make the arrangements as she will have it before we leave.

I will post my airline experience when I can.

Grazie mille, Francine

Posted by
6772 posts

Can you try Emirates? They had a great sale to Milan recently. Much better service than a US based airline (Delta is a pretty average 3-star airline like Alitalia). For ratings, see Skytrax. I wouldn't worry too much over negative reviews - they're everywhere. Most people have a middle-of-the-road experience but that doesn't get captured in reviews, which skew toward very positive or very negative.
http://www.airlinequality.com/ratings/

Posted by
21346 posts

You are really pushing this pretty late - six weeks? Book it now while might still have some seat choices available other than been stuck in the middle seat. You do not need a passport to book it - just at check in.

Posted by
8055 posts

Question for you all... Per Sam's info (which I trust) ... Economy Seats are $600 and Economy Plus are $1800... So, for an additional $1200 all you get is 4" more legroom and more recline? That doesn't seem worth it to me. Am I missing something?

Posted by
8 posts

Dear Anges,
Yes I did check Emirates, though they fly direct to Milan, there is one stop on the return from Rome, which adds a few hours to my time and Rome is my departure city and last on my list. Going to visit Milan, then LaSpezia/Portovenere then train to Naples/Amalfi costal area and visit Ischia island, final couple days in Rome, if there is time. I will take train from Naples to Rome.

I live in Phoenix, AZ, I still have to fly home from JFK, which is another 5-6 hours, so just trying to minimize travel time.

Also I kinda have to agree with Sam at this point on the seating, it probably doesn't make a lot of sense to book premium economy if Im not getting more seat space. I may save money on that end, thanks again everyone. Going to start booking! Excited/nervous and determined... Caio Francine

Posted by
33 posts

My wife and I were very happy with Swiss although there is a short stopover in Zurich inbound and outbound. From Zurich to Rome our plane actually had Recaro seats.

Posted by
11613 posts

I fly Delta economy comfort often and have never paid more than $100 for economy comfort.

Posted by
1985 posts

I recently bought Economy Comfort for a trip to China in September. It was $139 each way. I've never purchased it for a flight to Europe as I don't take Delta to Europe generally so I can't speak to how they price it for those flights.

Posted by
101 posts

Yes, $100 was the extra cost for economy plus on my two recent flights booked, Delta and Swiss. I myself have not tried it yet, but it's tempting. My strategy on long flights is to pay extra, if there is a charge, for a normal coach seat that is not larger in size, but is better-positioned: for example, a seat in a 2 configuration rather than 4 abreast, and a window seat if I might want to sleep. For me, it makes a difference in my comfort on long flights, and costs $30-$50.

Posted by
796 posts

I agree with Agnes. We've made this same trip on Emirates in 1st class and it is very spacious and the service is excellent.

Posted by
3649 posts

I just upgraded to economy comfort for $125 one way to Europe on KLM. Check directly with the airline.

Posted by
21346 posts

...

Question for you all... Per Sam's info (which I trust) ... Economy
Seats are $600 and Economy Plus are $1800... So, for an additional
$1200 all you get is 4" more legroom and more recline? That doesn't
seem worth it to me. Am I missing something? ......

Sam may be missing something. That made absolutely no sense to me. I have never encountered anything like that. I have booked several Delta flights. I book the regular econ ticket and then am offered an upgrade to Econ Comfort for additional fee of a hundred to $150. I have never seen Econ Plus as a separate registration but always as an upgrade offer. While the 4" doesn't sound like much for me at 6-2", it is a big deal and appreciated.

Posted by
8055 posts

Thank you Frank, you cleared that up for me. I agree with you, 4" does make a difference and is worth a bit more. Just not $1200 more.

Posted by
8 posts

Hi All, finally booked my flights to Italy on Delta, found it was a little more cost effective to book all the way to Milan from Phoenix, which allowed me to pick my seats, and coordinate my flts to meet up with travel companion at JFK. I was able to pick Delta Comfort (4" more leg room) on the longest flts from JFK to Milan and back, it was $109 each way, which I purchase because I know I will be squirming the last couple hours, I have never been on a flt that is more than 6 hrs and its hard for me to keep still that long. I do plan on sleeping part of the way and do not want to have someone's head in my lap, its uncomfortable trying to get out when you need a bathroom break. Interestingly, it was about $39 extra to upgrade to Comfort from Detroit to JFK for my travel companion, which isn't a long flight but still over 4 hours.

Thanks and happy travels. I may come back for hotel advice next! :).

Posted by
2013 posts

As I noted on another thread, it's not which airline you choose, it's which AIRCRAFT they are flying, on your day, on your route. Check Seatguru to find the best seats on YOUR particular plane. And then keep in mind that planes are substituted all the time, so it may not even matter.

Posted by
244 posts

I just spent a couple of hours with Delta today. They changed my flight Sacramento to Atlanta to Paris. The connection time for Atlanta to Paris was changed to under 30 minutes. So I was able to change my flight. I had purchased Premium Economy seats for the AirFrance portion of the flight. I tried to purchase Economy Comfort seats for the leg from Atlanta to Sacramento. I was not able to. This is what they told me: as of May 1 you cannot purchase the economy comfort seats separate, they must be purchased as part of your original ticket. She spent 30 minutes trying to find out how much it would cost me to purchase the upgrade. The upgrade would be $600!!! So if your ticket is pre- May 1 you can buy the $90 upgrade. After May 1 beware! Looks like we will be in sardine class on our flight home! Ugh!

Posted by
7863 posts

fresh3 ran into Delta's new 3-class system for domestic flights starting May 15. . Under "My Trips" on the Delta website, it tells you how to upgrade legs you've already purchased. International flights stay the same...for now.

Posted by
117 posts

We flew on Delta on our first trip to Europe in the Fall of 2014 and had a very nice flight. We flew Economy Comfort and felt it made all the difference (my husband is 6'2" and needs the extra room for sure)! We also flew on their partner airline KLM once we were in Europe and our flight on the way home was cancelled. I was impressed with both KLM and Delta on how they handled the issue. We mentioned to the KLM agent that we had paid for Econ plus seats and they made sure we got seats equivalent on their plane. Once we arrived in the US, Delta agents were there with vouchers and instructions to stay the night at the airport hotel. We felt Delta made this unplanned way home much easier to take. When planning our flights for our upcoming European travel, I did not hesitate to again book with Delta. Although I agree with many that flying and travel can be a hassle and exhausting, this really is a first world problem and I try to put flying issues into perspective. We recently had an Alaska flight cancelled on the last leg of our trip, again a hassle, but in the end we ended up safely home...the best result I always hope for!