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Old 06.02.2011, 21:37
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Best airline to the states?

I'm planning a family holiday to California (for 2012 around autumn break time) Am looking into flight options to LA. So far it's either Swiss from Zurich, BA from Basel via London - or perhaps Virgin from London.

Has anyone flown Swiss long haul and how was that? I use them all the time to hop over to the UK, but long haul is something quite different. Would love to hear which airline people recommend to the US West Coast.
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Old 06.02.2011, 21:40
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Re: Best airline to the states?

I thoroughly enjoyed Swiss Airlines long haul Seattle to Zurich ( initially it was to be AA ) - they took good care of me during several delays last winter. Seats in Economy were profoundly better than AA.
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Old 06.02.2011, 21:43
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Re: Best airline to the states?

swiss is currently upgrading the cabins so you might get lucky. One thing I noticed in eco with swiss is they do tend to ignore the call button and switch it off.
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Old 06.02.2011, 22:07
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Re: Best airline to the states?

I cannot comment on Swiss long haul as I have only used them on the London City route.
You said that you are taking the family. I have done the LA route from London with Virgin several times and for little ones they are occupied most of the time - games consoles, coming round with ice-creams , fun packs, kids films etc etc. It really takes the pressure off
It is a long route but they always seem to make it bearable and easier if you have little ones with you.
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Old 06.02.2011, 22:43
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Re: Best airline to the states?

I'm partial to Aer Lingus - if only because it means any delays will leave me 'stranded' in Dublin rather than London, Paris or some other ghastly airport town.
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Old 06.02.2011, 22:57
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Re: Best airline to the states?

Just off a Swiss long haul today SFO ZRH, would defo recommend it over BA, as you do not have to deal with London either,

Good luck and have fun
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Old 06.02.2011, 22:58
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Re: Best airline to the states?

I've done the long haul probably 30 times. Lufthansa is the way to go, hands down. (You know Swiss Air is owned by Lufthansa, right?)

There's no question. Food, drinks, service, lounges, etc. Nothing compares except for the Middle Eastern airlines.
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Old 06.02.2011, 23:01
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Re: Best airline to the states?

I always think that AA has the best pilots in the business along with the cheapest flights. Now in terms of service and comfort I'd bet on any other European Airline.

Last edited by lost_inbroad; 06.02.2011 at 23:28.
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Old 06.02.2011, 23:26
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Re: Best airline to the states?

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I always think that AA has the best pilots in the business along with the cheapest flights.
Wot, like this "AA" pilot?


"We're American Airlines, drinking's what we do best.", "Something special in the beer" and of course " "We know how they fly" n all that
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Old 06.02.2011, 23:58
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Re: Best airline to the states?

For the east coast, I prefer Continental from Geneva. They fly direct to Newark (so rail connections work in case of bad weather) and they connect to all over the place. Plus if price is an issue, transiting in the US is *much* cheaper than in Europe.
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Old 06.02.2011, 23:59
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Re: Best airline to the states?

I've never done Swiss but if you're going to use BA or Virgin via Heathrow then BA wins as the transfer is easy as it's in and out via terminal 5.

The number of times I've had to run for the Virgin flight due to an accumulation of minor delays here and there.....

To be honest though, if you've got a big family, I'd give Heathrow a miss and fly direct.

But if there's a big price differential then both BA and Virgin are fine - I'd just avoid any of the U.S. airlines as others have also said.
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Old 07.02.2011, 00:05
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Re: Best airline to the states?

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I've never done Swiss but if you're going to use BA or Virgin via Heathrow then BA wins as the transfer is easy as it's in and out via terminal 5.

The number of times I've had to run for the Virgin flight due to an accumulation of minor delays here and there.....

To be honest though, if you've got a big family, I'd give Heathrow a miss and fly direct.

But if there's a big price differential then both BA and Virgin are fine - I'd just avoid any of the U.S. airlines as others have also said.
Last Autumn I did Boston with BA business & it was very comfortable; great lounges in Heathrow terminal 5.
With children I would go for the quickest direct flight.
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Old 07.02.2011, 02:13
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Re: Best airline to the states?

If I am flying business, then hands down it's BA business class. 180 degree reclining beds, gracious service, and very comfy. Biz lounges at LHR are nothing too write home about, but nice enough, and better than the departure lounge.

Hate to say it, but having flown long haul business to Asia on Lufthansa, in my opinion, they can't even come close to comparing to BA -- gotta believe long haul to the states on Lufthansa is similar to Asia. The plane I was on didn't have fully reclining beds in business.

For leisure, to the east coast, I have flown Open Skies -- www.flyopenskies.com. It's an all business class airline that flies B757s. They fly from Orly into Dulles and Newark. It is also a BA company. Not sure if you can earn BA miles, but you can spend them.

They have business class beds (about 12 of them) and business class seats -- 140 or so degree recliners -- and about 70 of them. They fly two times a day to Newark, and I believe once a day into Dulles.

A return business class seat is about EUR1,100. With an Easyjet ticket from GVA to Orly, and an overnight in the Orly Hilton, it's still half the cost of a business class ticket to the east coast, and only about 30-40% more than the back of the bus. The Orly Hilton has a very convenient shuttle service. You could also fly easyjet out of GVA to Orly in the morning, but with thier reliability, that is not reccomended.

The service and food on Open Skies isn't BA or Lufthansa business class quailty -- just shy of, but not quite. But it is good and I just kept thinking what a great value it was. The lounge at Orly is convenient and well stocked. Didn't have time to check out the lounge in Newark.

Good luck.
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Old 07.02.2011, 06:27
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Re: Best airline to the states?

I have been to Washington DC (Dulles) twice from Basel last year. Once via London (BA) and once via Frankfurt ( Lufthansa).
Personally, I liked Lufthansa because of better service and more comfortable seats (Airbus vs Boeing?).
The worst was United airlines (Chicago-Frankfurt) but that was few years ago..
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Old 07.02.2011, 08:29
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Re: Best airline to the states?

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I've never done Swiss but if you're going to use BA or Virgin via Heathrow then BA wins as the transfer is easy as it's in and out via terminal 5.
.
Except for having to go through security....again.....even though it's an international-to-international transfer and having everyone and their dog asking to see your boarding pass. If I can avoid anything, it's taking BA through LHR.
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Old 07.02.2011, 10:24
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Re: Best airline to the states?

By the middle of this year, all Swiss long-haul aircraft cabins will be upgraded to the new ones.

Economy class will not be much different, but Business will be 180 degrees lie flat and 1 seat per row less than similar aircrafts of BA or Lufthansa, so much more room.

Swiss will continue to have audio-video on demand on the seat backs. All BA long haul aircraft will have the same. Lufthansa is notorious for not having video screens but, they just advertised that 70% of their long-haul aircraft have it and they are still in the process of putting it in, should be done within a year I guess.

Swiss food and service ok for economy class. One main meal and a snack before landing. Generally European airlines are better than American ones, but neither are in the same league as the Asian ones.

I would choose Swiss first of all because you will be travelling half a day so I would rather not have to do a transit with kids.
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Old 07.02.2011, 11:58
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Re: Best airline to the states?

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I would choose Swiss first of all because you will be travelling half a day so I would rather not have to do a transit with kids.
I would choose Quantas.

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Old 07.02.2011, 12:01
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Re: Best airline to the states?

I fly swiss from Zurich to LAX every single time. It's just comfortable.
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Old 07.02.2011, 12:02
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Re: Best airline to the states?

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Economy class will not be much different, but Business will be 180 degrees lie flat
i have flown business long haul quite often with the new cabin and in personal experience the seats are not 180 degree, they still have a slight downward angle and you end up sliding down the bed.
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Old 07.02.2011, 12:20
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Re: Best airline to the states?

BA have a high rate of lost luggage at the moment through terminal 5. Just a warning.

32 days and counting...
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