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29 replies
Best Airline to Europe & Why
Jupi
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Hi everybody

I want to tap into thousands of flight hours experience and know what airlines you think is the best to Europe and on what you base that recommendation

Germany 2006 here we comeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Buckley
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I always fly with British Airways, even if it costs more than the others (though they’re usually the cheapest from the west coast). If I have to be stuck in a plane for 10 hours straight, I want to be sure I’m receiving good food and service, good entertainment, comfortable seats, and puntuality. I’ve flown with several different carriers, and they are the best.

lakinm1
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I agree with Buckley

British Airways hands down. The worst for me was Lufthansa.

But of course, if you will be going to Germany, Lufthansa might have better deals for ya

Don
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I have been on United, Icelandair, Citybird, KLM, Northwest, Continental, and British Airways transatlantic. I like KLM best for price (to/from northeast USA), comfort, ease of connection, staff courtesy and helpfulness, and Worldperx miles.

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Jupi, you’ll have hard time sorting out all the responses to your query. "Which airline is the best" is not likely to be an issue on which all the Eurotrippers are likely to agree unanimously. We all seem to have bad and good stories to share. The top of my list would be Air France (excellent food and service) and Lufthansa (overall reliability), the bottom belongs to British Airways (for destroyed pieces of luggage), Continental (for least comfortable flights), and KLM (least accommodating agents on the ground).
However, mileage considerations notwithstanding, I’m more likely to chose an airline based on convenience (fewer stops, more convenient connections) and price, then on previous experience me and other people have had.

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i only flew to europe once years ago on delta and it was alright. the people on my plane clapped when we finally arrived back at jfk because we had the WORST turbulances ever and had 1 giant one (i thought that was going to be my last minute on earth). you cant blame an airline on that though i just did a search on icelandair and found that i can have a roundtrip flight from one of their desintations in the usa including san fran (convienent for me but damn thats a long flight!)to their airport for less than 500 during september. one thing is, the max. amount of time you could spend in europe is 30 days. im pretty sure im flying on american next summer with my family from jfk to lhr because they had the cheapest rates thus far. anyone travel with them to europe?

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Just tossing in one vote for Aer Lingus. Almost always the cheapest way to get from the West Coast to Europe, and then take Ryanair to any other city. Great service, good in-flight stuff, comfortable…except for the full Irish breakfast they serve on arrival. <shudder>

Jennifer&Chester
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I have travelled on a few, from the west coast (on route from NZ) Air New Zealand, Qantas, BA, United and from the East Coast, Virgin, and I still give a thumbs up for Virgin, they were 1st with the brilliant in-flight entertainment, the crew were not up themselves and you have more chances of being upgraded

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From the Eastern U.S. coast… I have flown about the same air acrriers as previously listed by Don… I would say that I like the following three:

1. Virgin Atlantic to U.K. (Great service)

2. United & U.S. Airways to Germany

3. KLM from Detroit (DTW) to most places (Amsterdam, Frankfurt, etc.)

I am leaving from EWR with $4000 for 9 days

MunichBeerBoy

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I would go with KLM or British Airways. I did not like US Airways because there were only a few movies available (half were a couple years old) whereas I have been offered lots of choices on other airline companies as well as being able to watch the movie and pause it whenever.

I am leaving from Denver, CO and traveling for 18 days
Frankfurt, Prague, Wrocław, Paris, Lisbon, Donostia, Barcelona

London, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Dublin, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Marrakech, London

London, Gothenburg, Oslo, Frankfurt, Paris, Rome, Venice, Barcelona

Amsterdam, Bruges, Interlaken, Nice, Cannes, Paris, Glasgow, Edinburgh, London
Sunskin
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I put US Air on the price for only one reason – PRICE! ! ! They are always pretty cheap, and direct to Munchen(MUC) out of PHL or CLT… Also, I find the flight att’s pretty friendly much of the time..

I am leaving from EWR with $4000 for 9 days

MunichBeerBoy

Don
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I know I already posted my answer (KLM).

But really, the best airline to Europe is whoever is cheapest and with an empty seat beside mine!

Of course empty seats are rare on transatlantic flights. I usually try to reserve aisle seats in the center section. No one wants to be stuck dead-middle, so there is a slightly better chance of empty seat next to mine.

I know some prefer window seats so they can lean against it and try to sleep.

Knic
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Don, I think come the New Year I will be agreeing with you on booking an aisle or a window seat. My travel agent booked my son and I for one aisle and one window seat with the hopes that no one will take the seat in the middle. Not much of a chance of that happening I know. I guess even if someone does sit in the middle seat it will work out as my son and I can switch midflight if need be. I have long legs so hoping I have enough room, otherwise I’ll have to walk the aisles a bit now and then to stretch out! Traveling on Air France so will report back once we return.

nivid
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In my 2 trips over to Europe i’ve flown on Air Canada and Zoom. It’s pretty unlikely that you would want to choose either one of those, but if you want a good cheap airline and you don’t mind coming up to Canada first, then Zoom was definitly a good one.

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Hello

I also go with those who have stated Virgin.
WHy?
—The entertainment is excellent
—They feed you continually (I am seriously stuffed after a Virgin flight)
—Pretty reasonably priced airline overall
—friendly staff (in the airport and on the plane)

Happy travels

Sunskin
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Singapore Airlines has finished at the top of almost every Travel Mag & Web site’s listing of "Best Service" for years.. They fly more flights to the Orient from the Western U.S. than anything… However, I did fly a Singapore Air 747 (MegaTop) from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt(FRA) in 2003… Loved it! All the women are in their 20’s, and gorgeous! They all wear beautiful silk geisha’s, and the service & wine selection are great…

I am leaving from EWR with $4000 for 9 days

MunichBeerBoy

luv_the_beach
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They’re all the same. People will judge airlines based on individual experiences, unique experiences, or on the particular aircraft they were on. If, for example, you were on an older aircraft that the particular airline is phasing out, you might draw the conclusion that all of the airline’s aircraft are like that. Likewise, if you happen to travel on a brand new aircraft. There’s also issues of turbulence, or delays due to weather or mechanical issues, baggage issues, and so on. Some airlines change, they improve their service or get worse over time, although with regards to European airlines, the former is more common in the past 10 years. Others will judge an airline by its hub airport. New terminals are added, old ones are either torn down or renovated, or entire new airports are built and old ones closed down. Note the major differences in the ways people perceive British Airways. I flew with them on a transatlatic flight when I was 6, so I don’t remember much other than the food being bad, and the loud Concordes at London Heathrow. That was in 1987.

Today, most new aircraft have individual TV screens, but it takes time for airlines to phase these in, and they’re only on long-haul and sometomes medium-haul aircraft, not short-haul -through my experience.

My experiences:

For all the raves and reviews on Lufthansa, their aircraft and crew on flights within Europe are not something to write home about. Plus, there’s a couple disgruntled passengers above. But who gives a fuck? Lufthansa’s great, and gets me to where I’m going. Frankfurt am Main airport could use better food choice, though. The airport has no restaurants (am I missing someting folks?) besides the small food shops that sell stale sandwhiches.

Alitalia’s food is excellent, and that’s the one memory that stands out most for this airline. I flew with them several times as a teenager in the 1990s, and remember reading either in the in-flight magazine or in the menu that Alitalia’s caterer is nationally (in Italy) known. I remember once this HOT flight attendant, but she was assigned the next aisle. I had this chubby angry FA working in my aisle. Alitalia has two hubs, Milano Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino (Da Vinci).

Swiss International Airlines, formerly Swissair, (although Swiss is supposedly a separate airline formed after Swissair went out of business, but really, is the same aircraft, same management, same employees, just a slightly different name and logo) is, like all the others, a decent airline. I wasn’t happy that I had to pay for my meal on a short intra-European flight, and it looked nothing like the juicy sandwhich in the picture. Like Frankfurt am Main, Zurich Kloten doesn’t have much of a fod selection, except for [excellent] chocolates.

Another time I had to pay for my meal was on Delta Airlines, on a domestic (but cross-country) flight. The meal was much more decent, though. No qualms here either. Just another airlines. It got me from place to place, didn’t it? Their hub airport at Atlanta Hartsfield has a very decent food selection.

Olympic Airlines is a roller coaster of an airline, once world-renonwed, ran into bad management in the 1980s, earned a reputation for bad service in the 1990s, but is now a normal airline again, with very nice employees. The food’s good, and one thing they really have going for them is their excellent safety record. They have no inflight magazine. Who reads those anyways, huh? I do, because in-flight movies are always bad, so I browse the network map and airline fleet sections. Their hub airport, Athens Eleftherios Venizelos, is really impressive, though, and a huge improvement from the old one it replaced in 2001.

Air France. Air France’s hub at CDG needs a major overhaul. Granted, Air France uses the relatively user-friendly, massive Terminal 2 complex. What this massive airport needs is for the Terminal 1 complex to, just, go away. Burn it down and rebuild from scratch…very, very user-unfriendly design, but this doesn’t affect purely Air France passngers who use the Terminal 2 complex. And CDG also needs easier transportation (hint, a train system) between terminals. I was hoping Paris would get the 2012 Olympics so there can be a reason to realize these projects at CDG. The airline itself is just another airline, which is a good thing. Nothing from my experience with them stands out enough to write about.

Malev Hungarian Airlines, again, just another airline, nothing stands out. My luggage once missed its connection, they made sure I got it, even if it was a month later, they delivered it to me. Of course, I also had to do my part, and register with baggage services (and hang on to your baggage claim checks, folks), and all was good. Kudos.

American Airlines. Very good airline. Very decent. Again, nothing stands out, nothing to write home about. Their main hub at Dallas/Ft. Worth is a massive airport, and Texas being the epitomy of stereotpyes that the world has for America is littered with junk-fast-food like KFC and other fattening eateries that make the airport like like a mall food court, with loooong walking distances between gates.

United Airlines. I’m a United frequent flyer, not that I use the miles. They always expire, and I can’t always stick to one airline if it’s not in my financial interests. Like any airline, you might get an older or newer aircraft, which is no fucking deal. I’ve flown on both their B777s and B767s on transatlantic flights. Very decent airline. Their hub airport, Chciago O’Hare, is user friendly.

KLM. Again, I was very young, 8 years old, so I barely rememeber flying with this airline. Some memories that do stand out are the toys that hand out to children, and the icecream that was part of everyone’s meal. But you can run into the ice cream on any airline, seems like a hit-or-miss (I think Olympic had ice cream too.)

Which airline do I choose? Whichever the internet-flight search engines (like travelocity) give me for the cheapest cost, even if it’s a 3-leg journey (unless I don’t have much time).


beach-lunch-siesta-beach-shower-dinner-nightlife-repeat

CanYouDigIt13
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Air Canada is just hot, hot, hot!

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Found a cheap flight on Lufthansa which I think is the best, onhttp://www.discountair.comsays they are only wholesale international airfares.

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Let’s face it; y’all are gonna fly whoever is cheapest.

I hate to say it, but for Transatlantic flights, as much as I’d love to see you fly on any American carrier, the foreign flags are probably going to give you better service in economy. American airlines have cut flight attendants down to minimum staffing, to start with. Every time I fly Air France, it seems like there are twice as many flight attendants and so many gate staff they’re tripping over each other. Even though AF staff at the airport have a rep for being surly, many are quite nice and I have yet to encounter an AF f/a who was anything less than outstanding.

Had a nice experience with KLM staff, but damn, does KLM have a tendency to lose all baggage going through A’dam or what?!!!

I truly miss the old Swissair; great staff and Zurich was such a great place to connect.

Look at the entertainment system before you book a long flight—*that* may seriously be the most important thing next to price.

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I agree with Sailor, to a point.. I think that is true 75% of the time. However, I also look at the number of stops, layover time, the aircraft type, and I consider level of service, etc. If it’s only $39 to $50 more to fly a direct or one-stop flight from the Eastern U.S. to Central Europe, I will pay the lil extra, and save sometimes as much as 10 hours (round trip) travel time, and airport layover time, etc. As far as domestic flights go, I have always preferred Delta and NWA from Florida to Detroit(DTW) – to visit my family, even though Southwest and/or Airtran or United might be a few ($10, $19, perhaps $29) less… Why? NWA has a direct, 1 hr, 59 min. flight, and I like the DC-9 aircraft. I have alot of Skymiles on Delta, so I would often choose them – connecting in ATL or CVG..

I am leaving from EWR with $4000 for 9 days

MunichBeerBoy

Sailor
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You like flying the Diesel-9?!!!!!

Damn! Those things are older than you are!

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Hey Sailor, a little respect here darnit! Ain’t too many things OLDER than me!!! With the strict FAA rules & reg’s, I am fairly certain the DC-9’s all have new somewhat newer engines and key parts. Besides, they have had a much better safety record than their (3-engine) bigger brother, the MD DC-10 has.

Perhaps it’s mere coincidence due to inclement weather & bad air, but I have never encountered a really bumpy, turbulent flight on a DC-9. I would say that I have flown the 900-mile trek from DTW to Florida and many other spots, and vice/versa, perhaps as many as 65 to 70 one-way trips… I have flown the 737 probably 20 to 30 times, and my worst (old washing machine bumpy) flights have been on those babies! In fact; the Canadair Regional jet (at least 25 legs on it) seems smoother than a Boeing 737…

I am leaving from EWR with $4000 for 9 days

MunichBeerBoy

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hi nivid, I am curious, how is Zoom? I may consider them for the next time..

quote:
In my 2 trips over to Europe i’ve flown on Air Canada and Zoom. It’s pretty unlikely that you would want to choose either one of those, but if you want a good cheap airline and you don’t mind coming up to Canada first, then Zoom was definitly a good one.

I am leaving from Toronto with $3000 for 16 days
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bailey
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i’ve only flown air canada once, but it wasn’t the best of experiences. The layover was terribly unorganized and we consequently almost missed our flight (we were given wrong directions from the flight attendants and it was just chaos). On the way back from London, we weren’t even shown a movie b/c it was broken or something, and it was pretty lame, but they did give us a $100 voucher because of that. Needless to say, I didn’t use it. Also, they lost my friend’s luggage, but it was found and delivered to her a couple weeks later. The food wasn’t so bad, though.

I fly American Airlines now, but not necessarily b/c i’m crazy about it, b/c i’m not, but because of frequent flyer miles. The food is usually pretty grotesque and the staff are many times big jerks, not really sure why. But I live in Boston, so the flights to Europe can be super, super cheap and it’s worth it.

I want to try Virgin and British Airways a lot, but i am too poor :O

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My money is on AirIndia for the drinks..

Unlimited alcohol and even more to take home……

Kuwait is not bad either.

Favorite is still Virgin specially when they upgrade all the time…

My frequent flier miles are with Northwest/KLM…so always the first preference….

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Now I know why I always prefer other airlines than Air New Zealand, they are just so stuck up.
Rang up yesterday to change my parents flight, and it was like talking to a machine, no emotion at all.
I flew them home back from London (the only reason cause they would take my cat on the same flight), business class, food was ok, entertainment system was CRAP, and again the flight crew were ‘of no emotion, parading around like robots’ the only nice one, was a male steward whom came from England
Anyway that’s my ‘bitch’ for the day
still raving about Virgin though

CanYouDigIt13
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I miss good ol’ Canadian Airlines =(

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quote: hi nivid, I am curious, how is Zoom? I may consider them for the next time..

Hey capistrano,

I really thought that Zoom was a great airline. There was lots of legroom even in the economy seats and they also have premium seats. We watched 3 movies on each flight, and the staff was really friendly. For the price difference, it’s definitly worth going on Zoom over Air Canada if that’s your other option. I flew from Halifax into Glasgow and returned from London Gatwick. I will definitly be using them again, unless Westjet starts flying to Europe

Jupi
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thank you everybody for your great feedback

see you in germany 2006