Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Air Travel
Reload this Page >

Favorite airline to Europe? nn SFO-BUD/ AMS-SFO

Favorite airline to Europe? nn SFO-BUD/ AMS-SFO

Feb 23rd, 2010, 07:51 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 315
Favorite airline to Europe? nn SFO-BUD/ AMS-SFO

We need air end of Sept 2010 SFO-BUD / AMS-SFO
The last two summers we have traveled happily with United SFO-LHR-SFO,
they were on time and our luggage arrived (that's all I ask for these days!).

I have checked 1800FlyEurope, Kayak, Trip Advisor,Travelocity, Orbitz, etc etc
Best fare is coming in about $1076 on British Air (directly on their website).
Booking this far out, with possible schedule changes, is it better to book directly
with the airline?

It's our 30th anniversary and we don't mind paying a little more for peace of mind and ease of travel and luggage. Would love to hear who you would recommend on these routes.
Thanks!
lovetotravel2 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 01:06 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,291
Yes, book directly with the airline. They will have your E-mail address and can let you know of changes to the flights.

I had a bad experience in Dublin, Ireland, two summers ago. I arrived at the airport at 2:00 p.m. for my 4:30 p.m. flight. The flight had left at 9:00 a.m. due to a schedule change. The company I booked with never told me of the flight change.

BA is good, but make sure they give you time in London. Flying in economy, they will only give you 25% of the miles in their FF program.
wally34949 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 04:18 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,003
Happy Anniversary!

To maximize the likelihood of your luggage not getting misplaced, the best course of action is to use a single airline if you need to change planes. Swiss would be a very good choice: they fly from SFO to Zurich, and they have connections from ZRH to both Budapest and Amsterdam. Swiss is a top-notch airline with reliable service, their efficient is excellent, and Zurich is an especially easy airport in which to connect.

Another reasonable choice is KLM. They fly non-stop from Amsterdam to SFO, so you would not need to change planes on your return flight. They do have a connection in AMS to Budapest, for your outbound trip. KLM's economy service is probably not as good as that of Swiss, but there's really not a whole lot to differentiate economy travel as long as the flights aren't canceled, etc.

I would avoid United. Many people do have ok experiences with them, and the Economy Plus seats that they offer to their elite members is more comfortable than their standard, cramped seating. However, their service is vastly inferior to that of most other carriers, they are especially bad if the flights are canceled or delayed, and they do not operate flights to Budapest.
DonTopaz is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 08:30 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 315
I do like the idea of the KLM nonstop AMS-SFO. On the outbound they connect with Hungarian Airlines AMS-BUD. Hubby doesn't like the sound of that. The Swiss Air website is not user friendly for open jaw flights. I will try to call them later. I guess the advantage to BA is it is the same airline all the way. Thanks for the suggestions!
lovetotravel2 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 09:33 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 315
I just got the Swiss Air schedule via Kayak and they connect to Helvetic Airlines (Fokker 100)
ZRH-BUD. I think British Air is looking like the best option both fare wise and schedule wise.
lovetotravel2 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2010, 03:29 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,936
Not sure what the problem is with taking Malev on AMS-BUD. They aren't the world's best airline, but they are decent enough. It all depends how much you care about the non-stop for the return.

Another option would be to fly SFO-CDG-BUD for the outbound, which would be all on Air France. You could combine this with the KLM flight back. For some random dates, though, this seems to price out pretty high.

Still, BA isn't a bad option, particularly if they come out the cheapest and with a good schedule. T5 is an excellent place to connect and the BA in-flight product is pretty decent. The only downside is the abysmal mileage earning rates, if that matters to you. Might be worth pricing out a premium economy ticket, too.
travelgourmet is online now  
Feb 25th, 2010, 06:04 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 315
Regarding BA, I tried to verify on their website that we would stay in Terminal 5 for the connection but couldn't figure it out. Is that true? We are not interested in the miles. Looking for convenience, bags to arrive and decent fare. Thanks!
lovetotravel2 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2010, 06:42 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,936
Yes, you will be in T5 for the entire trip. The only BA flights not at T5 are some to Spain, Singapore/Bangkok/Australia, and a couple of other random places.

You can check the terminal on the LHR website:

http://www.heathrowairport.com/portal/page/Heathrow^General^Flight+information^Which+terminal ?/
travelgourmet is online now  
Mar 1st, 2010, 05:11 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 315
I just found on Delta website a great fare and I think a mighty fine schedule!
SFO/JFK/BUD - Delta all the way with 2hr 20 min. change JFK
AMS/SFO - nonstop KLM (DL codeshare)
$1094 for end of Sept
Since we have to change planes somewhere enroute to BUD this doesn't seem that bad.
And I can get seat assignments at time of booking on the outbound DL flights.
British Air is pricing at $1072 but have to connect LHR and can't get seats until day before I think.
Also was looking at KLM outbound via AMS but that is pricing at $1289.00.
Swiss Air via ZRH is $1381.00
I'm still not sure if I should book yet for late fall. Not so worried about fare but rather about schedule changes. Any thoughts on Delta out to Budapest?
lovetotravel2 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 01:07 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,291
They probably use a 767 which means no individual seat video. Correct me if I'm wrong. San Francisco to JFK in economy isn't a lot of fun, IMO. Delta flight attendants can be very talkative. They have no problem making a loud announcement if people are sleeping.
wally34949 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 03:14 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,936
They probably use a 767 which means no individual seat video. Correct me if I'm wrong.

They are currently upgrading, but no guarantees for that time frame. Still, I don't find this a huge issue for overnight flights, where I am doing all I can to sleep.

San Francisco to JFK in economy isn't a lot of fun, IMO.

Neither is SFO-LHR... On the plus side, SFO-JFK is on one of their internationally-configured 757s, which have AVOD and power ports in the front of coach. I believe they are adding internet, as well.

They have no problem making a loud announcement if people are sleeping.

That is what headphones are for.

All in all, I think this is a trip that you should prepare to endure, not one that you should prepare to enjoy. It is just a long time stuck in a metal tube. I don't think booking on Swiss (which is rather ordinary for long-haul) or BA, rather than DL, is going to dramatically change that.

As to the pricing, I'm not crazy about it, but pricing has been stubborn lately and coach prices have really risen. Still... I'm not sure I would jump on this. Not sure it will go down, but I'm also not convinced that prices will go up between now and September, either. Personally, I don't sweat schedule changes - if it is too onerous, then you can always get a refund. At the end of the day, the AMS-SFO flight ain't going anywhere and neither is SFO-JFK. JFK-BUD might see a change, but they have a monopoly on this route, so I doubt it gets completely chopped. Even if it did, just push for them to accomodate you through Paris or AMS.

can't get seats until day before I think.

You can now pre-assign on BA, but it will cost you extra, unless you have status.
travelgourmet is online now  
Mar 2nd, 2010, 12:17 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 315
Thank you for all the great insights travelgourmet. I laughed over your comment about "enduring" the flight - that is all we expect - we certainly don't expect to "enjoy" it! All we ask is that we arrive and our bags arrive with us!!! The other thing I really like about the Delta conx thru JFK is we arrive BUD 10:45am whereas the other flights that conx in Europe arrive early evening. Since we have locked in land arrangements already in Europe I may just go with the Delta now, booking thru Delta website and be done with it.
lovetotravel2 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2010, 06:54 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 315
I still have not booked this air yet - have been watching Kayak daily. Delta SFO-JFK-BUD/ AMS-SFO (KLM) is now pricing at 1329.00. KLM SFO/AMS/BUD-AMS/SFO is 1289.00. British Air is $1072.00. I guess in the back of my mind I am wondering if British Air will come out with some super fares after the strike? I am leaning toward the KLM for $1289 at the moment.
lovetotravel2 is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 08:42 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,879
Good luck! I've been watching the fares for August SFO-CPH, and every time it's either bad schedule (fixed dates, flying on Sunday) or "your rate is no longer available".

I got KLM/Delta for $1,300 - now they start from $1,500.
Dayenu is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 04:42 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,049
Not sure if it is the usual thing, but Delta lost my children's luggage both ways on their last trip with Delta. Have heard this has happened to a lot of travelers with Delta. Another thing is you can check out the star ratings on airlnes. British Air I think it 4 star along with Lufthansa and others. Delta, Continental, are 3 star. They are all listed.

We are looking for flights now too. Icelandair was one of the cheapest if you happen to live in a city where they fly out of. The only problem is there was a volcano eruption in Iceland last week and not sure how serious that was.
bratsandbeer is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 06:56 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 38
If you wait until after Easter, all airlines should be announcing some fare sales I think...
wildbird1275 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 09:58 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,879
Brats, I read about this volcano - it was off-shore, and some towns or villages were evacuated as a precaution of possible flooding - they thought the iceberg over that vulcano could melt.

Now, don't shoot the messenger I only repeat what I read.
Dayenu is offline  
Mar 25th, 2010, 04:00 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
Just a note. I fly over 100,000 miles a year on Delta and check luggage about 50 percent of the time. I can't recall the last time my luggage didn't arrive with me so.... I am not sure they are any worse then anyone else. (Actually the only luggage "horror" story I have is on SW which has a great reputation for luggage )
CarolA is offline  
Mar 25th, 2010, 05:10 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 315
I finally did it. I booked the British Air for $1072 because on Kayak the other airlines kept going up and up. But then my savings was eaten up when I paid $120 to preassign our seats on the transatlantic flights ($30 pp per flight). I'll wait on the seats for the inter-European flights til 24 hour checkin. Anyway, so I probably won't be checking back on this thread since decision has been made but thanks for the help and good luck to all of you still needing to book! Happy Travels!
lovetotravel2 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2010, 06:51 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17,549
ONE HUNDRED TWENTY DOLLARS for pre-assigned SEATS???? I am sorry but THAT is a rip-off!!!
Dukey is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
ChicagoDallasGirl
United States
4
Jul 28th, 2011 09:53 PM
Images2
Europe
15
May 27th, 2011 03:26 PM
Katye
Australia & the Pacific
8
Nov 21st, 2007 02:59 PM
eak123
United States
7
Aug 20th, 2005 06:35 PM
pilgrim
Europe
15
Apr 16th, 2004 11:40 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:34 PM.