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Canadians, , west coast to Paris, which airline.?

Hi,, I am finally booking my summer trip to Paris.
I am west coast ( actually on the island) but will fly out of Vancouver.

Not alot of choices,, but there is Air Canada,, for which
I can get economy seats for about 1500.00 , or I can fly with Air Transat,, in ecomony plus( it is a LONG flight) for about 1700 (if I fly one way there in E+) or 2100 for both ways E+.
Air Transat in ecomony looks rather miserable,, having even smaller seats then Air Canada..

I don't really know what to do,, I am a bit of a comfort hound,( bad back etc) but, has anyone done both and have any opinions.

Posted by
31325 posts

pat,

I generally base my flight decisions on timing and costs, rather than which airline to use. I've flown with both airlines out of Vancouver, although lately I try to use Calgary as much as possible as it's a bit shorter in my circumstances.

I haven't noticed too much of a difference between economy seats in Air Canada vs. Air Transat. They ALL feel cramped! I try to get up and walk around at periodic intervals during the flight to help alleviate the discomfort of the "flying bus". As I recall, Air Transat offers a type of "premium" service which is not first class but provides slightly better seating and a few other perks. I used the same type of seating on Zoom before they went bankrupt, and these were a bit more comfortable.

I used Air Canada on my flight to Paris last May, and I'm booked with them again into Rome this year. They usually seem to have the timing that fits my schedule, and their code share connections are quite useful. On the trip home last year, I found that I was assigned to Lufthansa flights out of MXP, rather than Air Canada.

One thing I've noticed is that the tickets are considerably more expensive this year. I waited for awhile hoping there would be a "sale", but unfortunately no such luck so I had to pay.

Virgin Atlantic is reportedly looking at routes into Canada, and WestJet is starting code share with several other airlines, so hopefully we'll have more choices in future.

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by
11450 posts

Thanks Ken for info,, Yes, I flew E+ with Zoom too, and quite liked it,, darn them going under!

I have the additional pain($$) of considering the extra costs of staying over night in Vancouver, sometimes before and after the flights,, as some flight times do not work with ferry schedules at all. It can add up to a few hundred extra,, since there is then hotel night(x2 sometimes) ( even a cheapo by the airport) and a meal or two plus transport to hotel then to airport( free shuttles if I can get them to airport, but there are no free shuttles from ferries!).

My travel bug is quite an addiction ,, since I definately will spend hours obsessing on best deals, versus a certain amount of conveneince and/or comfort.

It would be nice to have a few more choices. I think I will look at Virgin anyways.

Posted by
2297 posts

Actually, there is a difference in seating for transatlantic flights between AC and Air Transat. On the same type of plane where AC places seats 2-4-2 in a row Air Transat does 3-3-3.

Have you considered Lufthansa? They fly Vancouver-Frankfurt-Paris CDG. My husband takes LH regularly from Calgary to Paris. With the exception of this winter when Frankfurt was just utter chaos due to the weather he's had good experiences. And I love it because he always brings back some Milka chocolate from the Duty Free shop in Frankfurt ;-)

I think that in terms of comfort there is not much difference between economy in AC and LH. But definitely a difference compared to Air Transat. Though I'm not familiar with Air Transat's E+

Posted by
2297 posts

Pat,

have you considered to fly from the Victoria sea harbor to Vancouver? My brother-in-law has done it and love it and when we there a couple of months ago for a lunch in the lounge (very good actually and affordable) the prices were fairly competetive with the ferry and the schedule quite frequent.

Posted by
11450 posts

Beatrix,, the seaplane doesn't go to Vancouver International but to downtown Vancouver , so there is travel time and extra expense there( to get to YVR), plus they cancel easily for fog or bad weather.
As for price being competative with ferry,, no way,, bus and foot passage on ferry to YVR is about 30 dollars,, where as taxi / bus JUST to get to YVR from seaplane harbour will run more then 30 dollars. Its a businessmans treat( taking the seaplane)

Living on the island has its limatations,,but I wouldn't trade it for anywhere else.

Posted by
11450 posts

Beatrix or Ken,, any preferences going through Montreal or Toronto,, I have only done Toronto,, any disadvantage to flying through Montreal?

Posted by
4555 posts

Pat.,...flying from Ottawa, I always seem to get stuck going thru either Toronto or Montreal. For my money, Montreal's far less confusing.

Posted by
11450 posts

Thanks for input Norm, every bit counts.

Posted by
990 posts

How about a Vancouver-Seattle-Paris option? Air France has non-stops from Seattle. I haven't flown them myself, but my husband has and he thought the service was better than average on that flight.

Downside is that the carry-on regulations from Canada to the US, though relaxed a bit, are still a pain in the neck. I'm flying to Beijing later this summer on a Seattle-vancouver-Beijing routing adn I'm trying to figure out if I will be forced to check my bag on the way back.

Posted by
11450 posts

Yes,, I should definately look into flying out of Seattle,, still have to weight cost effectiveness though, Seattle usually means an overnight too. Drats.

I agree the carryon restrictions are a bit of a drag now,, I usually do travel carryon only, but will be checking a bag on my flight to LAX next week.

Posted by
1313 posts

I was going to suggest Pat think about Seattle as well. You could train from Vancouver if you didn't want to fly. There is a direct Air France flight, SEA-CDG.

However, with the border crossing hassles, I'm not sure if you would want to bother.

Posted by
2297 posts

Pat,

sorry, I forgot about the transfer costs from downtown to the airport.

Montreal vs. Toronto:

we've done both for transfers and they worked equally well. However, if you have any delays and miss your connecting flight I think you would have more flights to switch to in Toronto than in Montreal.

Posted by
11450 posts

Liz going out of Seattle via Vancouver would be way too expensive for me( I live in Victoria) !! I would have to find a great deal out of Seattle, and a good deal to fly to Seattle to pick up that flight.. It would be SO much easier to live on the mainland and just drive over the border, I would deal with the hassle and wait of a border crossing to save money( and now that I do not have to travel with small children! LOL)

Iv'e spent some time on the net today,, and AirTransat is coming up cheapest, but I just think Air Canada may be better deal since it will be at least marginally more comfy in economy.

I do enjoy the hunt,, but I always worry the "great deal" is getting away. I don't know why I am so obbessed about it,, I think I will just have smack myself upside the head and book something, and then NOT look at airfares again till I return!

Posted by
11450 posts

OMGoodness,, I just went back on AC and prices have gone up for my dates,, only about 200 dollars, but heck this is since yesterday!

Posted by
67 posts

Hi Pat

The times that we have gone to Europe, most recently to Paris, our trip went Victoria to Toronto to Paris. There is a direct Victoria to Toronto AC flight leaving about 6:30 am with a connection to Paris or Frankfurt. If that is not an option, and rather than riding the ferry, why not cost out the Victoria to Vancouver connection (just plug in Victoria as your starting point rather than Vancouver). It may be about the same price as riding the ferry/bus to the airport. The advantage, especially coming home, is that you do not have to get a bus to Tsw. then a ferry ride. Victoria to Seattle is possible via Horizon/Alaska with a connection to Air France.

Posted by
1313 posts

D'oh! I read fly out of Vancouver and didn't think about the fact that you're in Victoria.

In that case, if you can find a good price out of Seattle, how about taking the boat (Victoria Clipper) down here? It's not the cheapest thing in the world (I got USD $85 one-way in early June) but it might be worth it in terms of time and cost to cut out a trip over to Vancouver?

Posted by
11450 posts

I am looking at late July early August,, already have ( refundable) hotel booked! LOL

Steve, yes, maybe finding a deal to Toronto then a flight to Paris may work. I will look.

David,, you are right, it is by far the easiest to fly out Victoria,, it does limit me to AC, but the pay back in terms of time saved,, and ferry and hotel expenses may make it worth it.

Liz,, good deal to get the Clipper for that price, I will continue to look at Seattle as an option.

Posted by
881 posts

I second Seattle real quick, Pat. A couple of airlines are adding routes from Seattle to Europe (Iceland Air is back, Luthansa, BA now has two flights a day) - so theoretically the prices in Seattle may go down. theoretically.

Posted by
881 posts

I second Seattle real quick, Pat. A couple of airlines are adding routes from Seattle to Europe (Iceland Air is back, Luthansa, BA now has two flights a day) - so theoretically the prices in Seattle may go down. theoretically.

Posted by
31325 posts

pat,

If you can tolerate the cramped seating on Air Transat, one option might be to use Air Canada Jazz from YYJ to YVR. They have numerous flights every day, so you should be able to find a flight that works with your timing. You should be able to find some good flight options from YVR.

Air Transat seems to have two departure times for flights to Paris - 12:15 and 23:50 (Flights TS-708 or TS-408, depending on which date you'll be travelling).

One point to note is that the flights departing at 23:50 are shorter at 9H:35M as they're direct. The 12:15 flights have a two-hour layover (probably Calgary, as I've done that route before), so they're 11H:35M.

For me that would be preferable to Seattle due to all the "hassles" with increased security on getting to the U.S. I find YVR to be a bit easier to get around, as it's not as large (the small Subways to get around the various terminals at SEA work reasonably well, but I'd still prefer YVR).

Cheers!

Posted by
188 posts

Going back to the harbour seaplane option: the new skytrain line takes you from downtown Vancouver to YVR in 26 minutes. The cost of the seaplane MAY even out the ferry plus hotel costs IF the timing of the flights work out.

Posted by
73 posts

Since we've traveled on all the major airlines my preferred airline is Lufthansa when ever possible. They serve HOT meals and the seats are oh so comfy. I have back problems and they have been the only one that has great seats and really good service in economy.

Posted by
40 posts

Hi Pat
My husband I flew from Toronto Munich several years ago on Air Transat and will never fly with them again. The plane stopped in the east coast for 2 hours to refuel and we were not allow off the plane to stretch. An extra 2 hours make for an extremely long and uncomfortable flight. We are also comfort hounds and found Air Transat seats uncomfortable with limited leg room (both of us are tall and appreciate having a bit of extra room).

Two years ago we flew from Toronto to Frankfurt with Air Canada and were happy.

My recommendation would be to go with Air Canada, the price is better and I think you'll have a better flight!
Good luck with whatever you choose and enjoy your trip!