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Which transatlantic airline would you fly on, or not?

Looking flights for a December vacation in Paris or Barcelona. Which trans-atlantic airlines do you put on the top, and the bottom of your list to fly with. (i.e. as I'm on Delta website, they use Delta, Luftansa, etc). Thanks!

Posted by
13448 posts

I generally put on top the airline that gets me to my destination with the minimum amount of stops at a reasonable price. My preference goes to the airline that gets me to Europe directly non stop from my home airport (SFO) without stopping first somewhere else in the US. Since you are in Indianapolis, you are forced to stop somewhere in the US first, because there are no non stop flights from IND to Europe. Your best choices are therefore with one of the major US airlines (United, Delta, American, US Airways) or their European code share partners part of the same alliance. Another option is also AirCanada via Toronto. American is allied to British-Iberia (One world alliance) United is allied to Lufthansa (Star Alliance) Delta is allied to AirFrance-KLM (SkyTeam)
US Airways generally codeshares with Star alliance. Any of the above that can get you to either CDG or BCN with one stop only is a good candidate. Just check their respective prices for your time of travel. Other than that, there is no better or worse airline among the choices above.

Posted by
18527 posts

I've flown Lufthansa, United, Delta, and USAir. Of those, in terms of service, I'd rank Lufthansa first and USAir last. Check the SkyTracs ratings on www.airlinequality.com. Lufthansa has a 4-star rating (as does Air France and British Air, but I go to Germany, so I don't use AF or BA). Delta, United, and USAir have a 3-star rating. Based on my own experience, I'd tend to agree with SkyTracs.

Posted by
9110 posts

Cheapest. Within the cheapest group, the one with the best arrival time without regard to journey duration.

Posted by
2349 posts

Delta has direct flights to Paris from Cincinnati (CVG) if you're willing to drive 2 hours to avoid flight connections. No direct ones to Barcelona.

Posted by
1994 posts

The only one I'd avoid, and it's probably not an issue with your destinations, is Alitalia, based on a remarkably bad experience on one of their codeshares with Delta last year. My actual ticket was with Delta.

Posted by
12040 posts

I avoid USAir whenever possible. Beyond that, I only consider price, number of layovers and duration of layovers.

Posted by
8302 posts

Flew Air Canada last time when going to Ohio. Loved it. Really comfy seats for economy, good food, and great entertainment system. I liked the only 8 hour flight from Frankfurt to Toronto and then the short 1 hour commuter flight to Columbus. Check their flights to see if it works for you.

Posted by
501 posts

I agree strongly with Lee and Tom. I've had two horrible experiences with Delta ; no mas! The key I think, is early flight and and no connections in USA. Lufthansa is no. 1 in our experiences!

Posted by
30 posts

As others have said, I feel Lufthansa is #1. I will be flying them next year when we go to Germany. I would avoid American and USAir at all cost. I like to go with the less expensive, but if I have to pay an extra $100 for Lufthansa, that's a no brainer for me. My husband calls USAir, US Scare. And it is scary.

Posted by
10 posts

I'm with Ed - cheapest airline price. You're going to spend probably over $1100 or more for the ticket - that's pricey anyway you look at it. I took US Airways, had one stop in the evening at Charlotte, NC, then flew overnight to London and arrived in morning around 8 am. It was a typical flight - no delays, incidents, drama - pretty standard and I've flown hundreds of flights (domestic) over the years. The plane was very large, and the seat/leg room seemed to be a tiny bit better, but since I snoozed for the better part of the trip, what else mattered? The flight is always expensive so why pay even more? Yes if I flew first class as opposed to coach I'd have still snoozed in my leather bucket seat, but the added expense wasn't worth it. I will fly on the best priced ticket (and airline) next time I go overseas, no regrets.

Posted by
74 posts

I'm also with Ed. The only other consideration, providing the cost is equal, is the width of the aircraft. I will always go with a wide-body if I have a choice. (may even pay a little more for that option) To me the 3-isle-3 seat configuration on the narrow body jets seem more confining and claustrophobic. The 2-isle-4-isle-2 seat configuration is optimum, and 2-5-2 ok, unless you are stuck in the middle of the 5! For me, it is more likely to have uninterupted sleep on the wide body 2 seat arrangement. If you get stuck on a narrow body, the window seat is still the best if you hope to catch a catnap! rvflyer

Posted by
435 posts

I would choose Lufthansa first, Alitalia last, and avoid any flights with a transfer at Heathrow.

Posted by
14217 posts

Does not matter cause you are going to Paris and the Chucky D airport will wreck even the best transatlantic experience.

Posted by
527 posts

Always Lufthansa for us...we have miles to always upgrade to Business class and the difference is wunderbar. Last two times we slept like logs on the reclining seats and arrvied uncramped and well rested from DEN-FRA and back. They also adore our Jack Russell who goes in-cabin with us.
We have flown econ with them as well and found the service above the usual.

Posted by
13391 posts

That depends what my destination is from SFO, depends on the trip. If I am flying to London, then it's Br Airways, very professional, helpful, no problems when I've flown with Br Air. If my destination is Paris CDG from SFO, then it's Air France to get that full French flavour. Better Air France than United. If I am flying to Frankfurt or Munich, then it's Lufthansa. Regardless, any of these direct flights from SFO will be ca 10 hrs. That means I've got to get to sleep after the meal is served. Still, Air France offers the best food.

Posted by
13448 posts

I also would vote for Lufthansa group (which includes Swiss) as my top choice over any other airline, HANDS DOWN. In fact I fly from SFO to Europe nearly exclusively with them, even if I have to pay more. However from IND to either BCN or CDG, Lufthansa is not a great choice, because it would entail 2 stops for you. One somewhere in the US with United (ORD, EWR or IAD most likely) and one in Germany (FRA or MUC). That would greatly prolong your trip. I'm afraid you are stuck with a US based airline through one of their hubs in the USA. Or, alternatively, you could opt for Air Canada via Toronto-Pearson. I can tell you that from IND for Paris your options are greatest with Delta and, second, with United. To Barcelona I'm afraid that Delta, likely via ATL, might be your best choice (with American maybe as second option).

Posted by
1356 posts

From Indy, where I live, we always fly Iberia to Spain. This is a code share with American.

Posted by
2779 posts

My rule of thumb also is: If your destination isn't Paris avoid CDG airport! And if your destination is Paris take the train from BRU, CGN, FRA or LON. From ORD you could fly KLM via AMS to BCN, Lufthansa via FRA and/or MUC to BCN. If you're willing to change at IAD airport you could be on Lufthansa's brand-new Boeing 747-8.

Posted by
8302 posts

Heading off to Cal. in Nov. and have started looking at Iceland Air. The connections look short, but the journey of just 7.5 hours from Iceland to Seattle looks attractive. They then have a good connection to Sacramento using Alaskan Air. If anyone has any feedback about this route, would be happy to hear it. I do know from another thread that I should either order or bring my own food along. Biggest concern is the 40 min. connection in Iceland between my Frankfurt and Seattle flight.

Posted by
5926 posts

I think you're asking the wrong question. It's not which airline. It's what kind of seat. Sure, look at different airlines and routes. Then look at the actual flights and the seats on those flights. It's generally true that major non-US airlines provide better service. But you will not care about the service much if you are in a very cramped, uncomfortable seat. I would pick a bigger, less cramped seat on an airline that provided no service at all, over a tiny, uncomfortable seat on an airline with smiling flight attendants. On my last flight to Europe, I chose Lufthansa due to its reputation. I was in coach, and the seats were horrible, the most cramped I have ever experienced. Big mistake. Tastes vary and some don't mind the Lufthansa coach seats, but I'll never subject myself to that again. Seatguru.com is your friend - use it to find out what kind of a seat you might be stuck in.

Posted by
2788 posts

I fly from Seattle to Europe every summer for the last 12 years and have almost always flown on European airlines non-stop. I have flown SAS, AirFrance, BA, and for the last 2 years, Lufthansa. At 6'3" I have no complaints about the coach seating on Lufthansa although I do put a blanket down to sit on and take a blow-up neck pillow. I like their food and service and will most likely will fly them again in 2014. And I do not drink their "spirits".

Posted by
216 posts

Lufthansa is tops, but Condor is the worst (flies directly to Germany from several locations and is a long-time charter airline that now is expanding abroad). Lufthansa does have a very strict carry-aboard weight limit, though.

Posted by
13536 posts

Charlie modestly omits the fact that he is a very lean 6'3", so seat width on Lufthansa is not an issue for him. (Nor for me, so I don't judge airlines by that criterion, more by service and reliability.)

Posted by
2788 posts

I also helps to get the 2 seat side and have your wife sitting next to you so you can put up the arm rest (if both are available). It also helps me to book months and months ahead of time since we always tie into a tour in Europe so we have travel dates already planned out.

Posted by
180 posts

I fly London to Seattle roundtrip several times a year. My priority is a non-stop. BA is the only airline to fly nonstop from SEA to LHR. I could use Air Canada which goes from SEA to Vancouver but involves a 4 hour layover. I could drive to Vancouver to avoid the layover but it costs about $300 more to fly from VAN to London than to fly from Sea to Vancouver to London!