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Old 26.04.2014, 13:58
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

From personal experience I would avoid Air France and anything passing through CDG like the plague.
Not overly impressed by any of the US carriers either especially United or American Airlines.

Have had good experiences with Swiss, Lufthansa, KLM and BA. If it wasn't for the PITA that is London Heathrow BA would win hands down.
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  #42  
Old 26.04.2014, 14:04
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

It depends on whether you're flying coach or business. In my opinion, they're all more or less the same in coach so buy on price & convenience but there are big difference in biz class (and the Swiss seats are behind the times in that respect). If you can get an AA plane with the new 'Cathay Pacific layout', those are the best.
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  #43  
Old 26.04.2014, 15:35
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

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It depends on whether you're flying coach or business. In my opinion, they're all more or less the same in coach so buy on price & convenience but there are big difference in biz class (and the Swiss seats are behind the times in that respect). If you can get an AA plane with the new 'Cathay Pacific layout', those are the best.
Its not the planes with AA that are the issue its their total lack of caring or service. Few years back had an experience flying through NY where AA admitted to causing the missed connection.

The next bits were what highlighted their incompetence. They told the entire flight to CDG that they might get a flight the next day but overnight accomodation was the passenger responsibility and no help in sorting it out. Totally refused to communicate on the subject. Organised hotel overnight at own expense and eventually got a flight the next day.

Arrived in Paris and got to the TGV ticket office who bent over backwards to help with accomodation and finding a suitable replacement train service. And TGV were not even at fault unlike AA

Comparison in service between them is chalk and cheese with the french end making AA service look like it was in the dinasour age

Last edited by Wallabies; 26.04.2014 at 15:47.
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  #44  
Old 26.04.2014, 15:45
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

AA and US Airlways are merging... this might may or may not improve things. That and US Airways switching airline alliance to Oneworld (the one BA/Iberian dominate with AA) may improve customer care a bit. Prices will go up though, just for a change...

The couple of times I missed or had my connection flat out cancelled because of weather with United in Dulles, they either put me in a 3 hour cab ride at their cost with two other passengers down to Richmond, or put me in the airport Hilton, which was justified as they'd lost half the luggage somehow. It's not ideal but at least I wasn't stuck.
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  #45  
Old 26.04.2014, 15:58
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

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Do you book on SWISS or United? Sometimes it is cheaper to book with the codeshare airline for the same flight. Plus the Mileage Plus program is superior to the SWISS program, and you generally earn full miles on UMP even if you fly SWISS.
Good to know, thanks!

I book through Swiss, but now that Swiss has cut their mileage awards I might not stay such a loyal customer.
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Old 26.04.2014, 16:02
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

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AA and US Airlways are merging... this might may or may not improve things. That and US Airways switching airline alliance to Oneworld (the one BA/Iberian dominate with AA) may improve customer care a bit. Prices will go up though, just for a change...

The couple of times I missed or had my connection flat out cancelled because of weather with United in Dulles, they either put me in a 3 hour cab ride at their cost with two other passengers down to Richmond, or put me in the airport Hilton, which was justified as they'd lost half the luggage somehow. It's not ideal but at least I wasn't stuck.
2 american based airlines merging does not equal any potential improvement in customer service. It will be a cost saving based merger as the US has already lost the war in service excellence to asia, arab and european airlines.
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  #47  
Old 26.04.2014, 16:54
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

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2 american based airlines merging does not equal any potential improvement in customer service. It will be a cost saving based merger as the US has already lost the war in service excellence to asia, arab and european airlines.
Except to Air France of course...
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  #48  
Old 26.04.2014, 17:20
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

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Do you book on SWISS or United? Sometimes it is cheaper to book with the codeshare airline for the same flight. Plus the Mileage Plus program is superior to the SWISS program, and you generally earn full miles on UMP even if you fly SWISS.

I would second this strategy, booking a Swiss code share flight through United is almost always cheaper. The only downside is that you may have difficulty selecting your seat in advance.

Also, avoid US Airways at all costs, their planes are very outdated and uncomfortable. I doubt merging with AA will change that very soon.
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  #49  
Old 26.04.2014, 17:49
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Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

I understand that if you book a flight through a European carrier and the connection is missed/canceled due to weather, the airline will find you accommodation. Same flight booked through a US
carrier, no such luck. This was our experience in January -flew to Chicago on British, American canceled the connection and BA paid for our hotel.

I'm an aberration, I don't mind
LHR.

Years ago, when USAir was based in Pittsburgh, they were a decent airline. Now, I fly Jet Blue in the US if I can, though many of my connections are via American.
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  #50  
Old 26.04.2014, 17:51
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

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I would second this strategy, booking a Swiss code share flight through United is almost always cheaper. The only downside is that you may have difficulty selecting your seat in advance.

Also, avoid US Airways at all costs, their planes are very outdated and uncomfortable. I doubt merging with AA will change that very soon.
Yes, US Air is terrible... but if anyone out there needs to fly into Philly, the US Air flight (direct Zürich to Philly) is a cheap ticket and almost always completely empty. Though the seats are not that comfortable, you can take up three of them if you want. There will be no crying babies next to you. But the flight attendants will be morons, guaranteed...and no free gin and tonics!
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  #51  
Old 26.04.2014, 18:07
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

My rule is sort of this: for flights of less than 4 hours, I don't care which airline it is. For flights longer than 4 hours, I take Swiss. I used to fly a lot, now it's a bit less, but towards West, I always flew Swiss, hardly any exception (OK I'm Swiss Senator, so it makes sense for me anyway). Swiss for me has always been a good experience, both in economy and business.

I never take US-based airlines except for US-domestic flights, simply for lack of alternative. From the US airlines, United is imo the best. I will never step foot into Delta again other than maybe for a two-hours flight if there's absolutely no alternative - that airline is a disgrace, sorry. AA is a close second to Delta in terms of "worst ever". Seriously, there's local crappy airlines in South America and Asia that are better than those.

I used to fly to Philly quite a lot and usually took Swiss to Newark and then Amtrak from there. Still better than flying long-haul on US Airways

I try to avoid AF and BA for long-haul as I thoroughly despise Heathrow and Charles-de-Gaulle. LH I only take if there's no alternative, but out of Switzerland, there's usually plenty of options so I see no reason why I should waste time on an unnecessary layover in Germany. I'd rather spend a little more money for a non-stop flight.
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  #52  
Old 26.04.2014, 18:24
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

The option of Amtrak at Newark isn't to be underestimated, I've often looked at it as a solution in case of major flight disruption.

I'm testing Delta via Amsterdam and Boston to Richmond this summer... It was 300CHF cheaper and upgrading to economy plus is a lot less than United. My expectances are very low though, I know Delta can be awful, and KLM have nothing to crow about... Oh well.

I tolerate Heathrow with Swiss though. Of course I fly from Geneva exclusively, not spending another 100CHF on a return train ride to Kloten, so my options aren't as broad but I favour direct flights as much as possible. Ever since ridiculous security standards became the norm, flying is just so much hassle, so the less I cross hubs the better.
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  #53  
Old 26.04.2014, 20:41
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

ow! Thank you all for your answers. Really appreciated!
After thinking long and hard I now went with the direct flight to DC with United. Swiss does unfortunately not fly on the date that I need. It might not be great but the price was really good (CHF 650) and at least it is direct.
I will get back to you after I have done the trip but that will be later in the year. Thank you all once again for the good advice - EF never seizes to amaze me
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Old 26.04.2014, 23:27
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

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I am flying to the US for the first time after more than 10 years. I had a really unpleasant experience flying US-based airlines back then and vowed never to fly another US-based airline again. Given that things might have changed, would you suggest flying Delta / American / United from Zurich or is it better to fly Swiss / KLM / Lufthansa? Air France and Iberia as well as others are also not an option. Do Delta and United offer a good Service and good planes from Zurich to Washington or New York (airport does not matter).

I am looking for a reasonable price and a good connection. Preferably non-stop but one stop might be an option.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
If you're flying to NY area then I highly recommend taking Swiss and avoiding the American carriers. I've been flying back and forth for years and there always seem to be delays, poor service, outdated equipment when I take the American carriers. I'd love to say they were better being an American, but the Swiss really offer a better all around service and are very timely (no surprise there). It's worth any extra francs that you pay. If you're looking to save some francs, one alternative which my family has given good comments about is taking Air Berlin connecting through Dusseldorf. Enjoy your time in the states!
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  #55  
Old 27.04.2014, 10:03
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

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ow! Thank you all for your answers. Really appreciated!
After thinking long and hard I now went with the direct flight to DC with United. Swiss does unfortunately not fly on the date that I need. It might not be great but the price was really good (CHF 650) and at least it is direct.
I will get back to you after I have done the trip but that will be later in the year. Thank you all once again for the good advice - EF never seizes to amaze me
Have you thought about upgrading to Economy Plus? It`s generally not so expensive and the United economy seats are some of the worst (legroom). It used to be about $80 each way to upgrade and it is well worth it. I am not that tall but the economy seats are really crammed. The economy plus seats have more room than a Swiss economy seat, regular United economy are more cramped than Swiss economy imo.
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  #56  
Old 27.04.2014, 11:19
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

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Have you thought about upgrading to Economy Plus? It`s generally not so expensive and the United economy seats are some of the worst (legroom). It used to be about $80 each way to upgrade and it is well worth it. I am not that tall but the economy seats are really crammed. The economy plus seats have more room than a Swiss economy seat, regular United economy are more cramped than Swiss economy imo.

My husband is very tall and I'm a very creaky when I first stand up, so we find premium economy to be worth the extra cash. I don't know if you can upgrade from every ticket type, but it's worth investigating.
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Old 27.04.2014, 22:29
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

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My husband is very tall and I'm a very creaky when I first stand up, so we find premium economy to be worth the extra cash. I don't know if you can upgrade from every ticket type, but it's worth investigating.
I think you can but United premium economy is cheaper and not as nice as say BA Premium Economy. It should be called "Reasonable Economy"
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  #58  
Old 27.04.2014, 23:09
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

Not been mentioned...

I would recommend Turkish airline. I always have great service with them.
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Old 28.04.2014, 14:08
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

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Have you thought about upgrading to Economy Plus? It`s generally not so expensive and the United economy seats are some of the worst (legroom). It used to be about $80 each way to upgrade and it is well worth it. I am not that tall but the economy seats are really crammed. The economy plus seats have more room than a Swiss economy seat, regular United economy are more cramped than Swiss economy imo.
I thought about it but it's 99 USD if I remember correctly. This seemed a bit steep. Don't you agree? I will think about this again. I am no big fan of flying anyway. At least it's not 15 hours...
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Old 28.04.2014, 14:13
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Re: Flights to the US - which airlines (not) to choose?

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Have you thought about upgrading to Economy Plus?
Just wondering if anyone has experimented a bit...is it cheaper to book a regular economy ticket and then pay an upgrade fee vs. booking economy plus from the get-go? Kind of seems that way with my recent searches...
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