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

Please help me choose best airline for Phila-Istanbul

Please help me choose best airline for Phila-Istanbul

Sep 18th, 2009, 12:36 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,220
Please help me choose best airline for Phila-Istanbul

Not being a frequent flyer, I have no sense of which airlines (or planes for that matter) are "better" than others. (Except that we have loved KLM and SAS.) We'll be flying to Istanbul next June (back from Rome) and there are several airlines that have 1-stop service. One flight I'm considering is a Delta flight that changes in JFK. The other is a US Airways flight that connects to Lufthansa in Frankfurt. Prices and times aren't terribly different.

This is a special 80th birthday trip for my husband, so we're going to splurge on business class. (I know that the Phila-JFK portion would be coach if we go that route.) Especially since this is a BIG splurge for us, I want to be sure to try to choose the "correct" flight. I'm hoping that experienced travelers can guide me. Thanks very much.

(Only non-stop return is a US Airways flight from Rome-Phila.)
poss is offline  
Sep 18th, 2009, 01:52 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 669
I've done this on DL and AF in business class. I preferred DL purely for the fact that I did not have to change planes in Europe. It was a straight shot from IST to JFK, which allowed me to settle in and enjoy the flight. I like DL Business Elite and find the new seats to be an improvement.

How fantastic to be jet setting at 80! I hope you do it when you're 90 as well.
mjz_kc is offline  
Sep 18th, 2009, 01:55 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,147
there is also a Lufthansa flight PHL-FRA and I would choose that flight over US Airways PHL-FRA. So we did last april and we enjoyed their business class very much, then you connect to IST. The intra-european LH business class is a coach seat with the next seat blocked to give more space, but the interkont is much better than US Airways.

US700 at 4:15pm sharecoded also as LH1411
LH427
Fabio is offline  
Sep 18th, 2009, 01:59 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,147
US700 at 4:15pm codeshare LH1411 but US aircraft
LH427 at 6:15pm codeshare US5600 but LH aircraft
US702 at 8:20pm codesrare LH1415 but US aircraft
Fabio is offline  
Sep 18th, 2009, 02:02 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 669
I also meant to mention that with DL, you get to enjoy more time in business class from the JFK to FCO and then from IST to JFK.
mjz_kc is offline  
Sep 18th, 2009, 04:03 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,220
Thank you both very much for your replies. And mjz-- thanks for the giggles you gave us about our being jet setters. Had never thought of that. I like it!

Mjz: If we do Delta over to Istanbul, it's true that we won't have to connect in Europe, only in JFK. But isn't JFK a "difficult" airport? (I always hear that.) Also what about the fact that from Phila to JFK, we miss out on business (but are kind of paying for it)? And what is "business elite"? Also: I think I learned that the Delta flight (#6708) is a 767-300. I know nothing about the various planes. Is that a "good" one?

Fabio: Do you know anything about those Delta planes? And what do you think about changing in NY rather than in Europe? I just don't know which makes more sense. Mainly: The flight you mention (LH427) isn't so good for us because it gets to Istanbul way later than the other flights that I mention. We'd like to be there earlier in the day if possible. I'm sorry to hear btw that the intra-Europe on LH isn't a "real" business class.
Also: I'm sorry to hear that US Airways isn't so great. It will for sure be US Airways on the return since that's the only non-stop flight (from Rome). The US Air plane is an Airbus 330 I believe. (I know these things could change.) Is that airbus a nice plane?
What am I forgetting to ask? What am I not taking into consideration? I really am pretty much a "youngster" when it comes to these things. (Also a bit of a white-knuckle flier.)
Thank you so much!
poss is offline  
Sep 18th, 2009, 04:34 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 669
The flight from PHL to JFK is a short one, if first class is not offered because you're flying a regional jet, you're not missing much....just a bigger seat and more leg room. You should have no problems with changing planes at JFK, especially since you'd be flying on DL the entire journey. Enjoy you time in between flight while relaxing at the Business Elite Lounge, have a snack, perhaps a drink. Business Elite is how Delta markets their business class product. Since they don't have first class on international flights, it's a step up from business, but not as exclusive as first. I'm flown 767's on DL to Europe many times with no issues. Business Elite is comfortable, coach is coach. By the way, Istanbul is an amazing city to visit. I can't wait to return...
mjz_kc is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 02:17 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,147
LH and US Airways are both members of the same Star Alliance, so both airlines have codeshared flights. This alliance also includes SAS, Swiss, United Airlines, Air Canada etc.... www.staralliance.com
Have you checked the US Air flight PHL-MUC, instead o FRA ? This could be another option.
I wrote that we choosed LH business class over US Air busines class but I have never flown US Air business class intercont. It was just a feeling that LH would have been better....
LH intra-Europe business class is not a real wider business class seat but business class service is better than coach service, better food and free drinks alchool etc...BTW also LH intra-EU coach provides snaks, free drinks, wine, spirits etc.....
The reason is that LH intra-european flight are usually very short, from 30 minutes to max 2-3 hours, being Germany right in the centre of Europe, so the priority is given to food and service rathe than seat width and legroom for a so short time.
I am from EU and I usually fly LH through FRA (which is very big but not impossible) or MUC.
I do not have enough experience with DL except for a coach flight from Houston to Salt lake City and a first class flight from Salt Lake City to San Francisco. The impression was not that great and a bit disappointing for the first class flight: yes, a wider seat but almost no service on board for an almost 2 hours flight!!

DELTA is part of another airline alliance called SkyTeam, (www.skyteam.com) with following partner airlines: Air France, KLM, Alitalia, Continental and others..

I am afraid tht if you consider the ongoing flight with DL and the return with US Air the price will be much higher. better to choose all flights among airlines of the same alliance.

As regards changing in JFK rather than in EU I think it is more or less the same. You will find people who prefer US airports, others UE airports. All depends on own experiences which often lead to opposite evaluations, comments and statements...
Fabio is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 03:49 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,147
you can see seat configuration of each aircraft of eac airline on www.seatguru.com and comments and reviews on ww.airlinequality.com just to have a better idea.... but it could be you will be then more confused by reading all posts and all kind of different comments, positive AND negative on the same airline. I would say: choose the best schedule and fare for your trip !
Fabio is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 11:43 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 849
We took Turkish Airlines non-stop from ORD to IST several years ago. I believe they also fly JFK or EWR non-stop to IST. Despite seat designs that do not allow for floor storage, the service was far better than DL and US business class. The seating was more spacious and the food was substantially better, excepting the Nescafe.
Jeff801 is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 12:54 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,147
poss

Turkish airlines is a good idea !! It is another member of Star Alliance so you can combine it with the flight Istanbul to Rome and then US Air back home !!
Fabio is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 03:15 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,220
I believe I'm making some headway. Thanks so much. I'll probably be back with more questions.
poss is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 01:55 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,147
As far as I can see, if your priority is an earliest arrival in the day at IST, good options would be:

US700 PHL-FRA + TK1598 FRA-IST arr. at 11:25, a bit earlier than LH (arr. 13:00 with LH427 PHL-FRA + LH FRA-IST)
US758 PHL-ATH + TK1846 ATH-IST arr. at 11:50

US Air also flies to many other EU airports but with later connections to IST.

*****

TK002 JFK-IST dep 16:45 arr. 09:25am next day (!!) which is very good but US Air connects PHL to LGA (La Guardia), not JFK, so an uncomfortable surface transfer LGA to JFK would be necessary. !!!
Fabio is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 06:52 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,220
Thanks for all the input.
Fabio: That Turkish flight that gets in so nice and early is an impossible connecting time. Airlines won't book it (but even if they would, I'd not cut things that close). I think the Athens flight gets into IST much later than 11:50.
I think that US Air flight 700 is probably our best bet. Or 706 through Munich if we don't mind getting in that late. (I'd rather do Munich.)
I think it'd be fun to fly Turkish Air-- too bad it doesn't work for us. (I'll look again and see if it's possible, but I don't think so from PHila.)
poss is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 07:33 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,046
I'd definitely look into the nonstop Chicago-Istanbul flight on Turkish; there's an easy connection off a US Air flight from PHL at ORD. IMO it makes much more sense than fussing with LGA-JFK transfers in NYC. You'd be in FC on the domestic portion as well.

Turkish's (new-ish) business class service is reportedly pretty good. Lie-flat (but not horizontal) seats, excellent food and bev, and very pleasant service. Istanbul airport is pretty easy to navigate.

Here's a picture of the TK business class cabin from a poster at Flyertalk.com - http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a1...9/IMG_6042.jpg
Gardyloo is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 09:20 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,220
???? But can one ticket from Phila to Istanbul through CHICAGO? US Airways didn't mention this flight at all. Nor did I see it on Travelocity (tho may not have looked carefully enough). These other flights I've been looking at are all around 13 hrs + or -. And they get to IST by 3:00. Would that be true for the Chicago connection as well? (I'd prefer to be in IST as early as possible without having to leave too horribly early from Phila.)
Thanks.
poss is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 09:56 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,046
No the Chicago - Istanbul flight leaves much later in the evening than the others and therefore arrives later into Istanbul.

US Air 701 leaves PHL at 5:55 PM, gets into ORD at 7:25 PM. Turkish Flt. 6 leaves ORD at 10:20 PM, arrives at IST at 7:25 PM local time. If traveling business class they'd have access to whatever lounge TK uses at ORD for the layover.

It's a little more travel time overall, but in business class Chicago - Istanbul ought to be pretty comfortable (longer flight over the water hence more sleep time) plus arriving in Istanbul in the evening would allow a straight transfer to the hotel rather than wandering around in a jet-lagged funk for several hours, which would be the case with an earlier arrival. We prefer evening arrivals in Europe; it seems (for us at least) to minimize jetlag.

Anyway, just a thought.
Gardyloo is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 04:11 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,147
Hi poss

sorry for the ATH wrong connection time. You are right.

I had also checked the TK ORD-IST flight but had seen that it has a late arrival in IST so I did not mention it to you as I knew you prefer earlier arrival in IST.

The only flight PHL-JFK is DL6708, (operated by Comair) dep 1330 arr 1441 then connecting to TK002 JFK-IST dep 1645 arr 0925 next day. (altern. DL072 JFK-IST dep 1630 arr 0955 next day). If you stay within the mentioned Star Alliance airlines, other US Air options:

US700 PHLFRA 1615 - 0610
TK1598 FRAIST 0725 - 1125

US706 PHLMUC 1840 - 0900
TK1630 MUCIST 1030 - 1410

US716 PHLMXP 1550 - 0600
TK1878 MXPIST 0835 - 1220

US710 PHLZRH 1815 - 0825
LX1800 ZRHIST 0950 - 1335

other US Air options via OSL ARN MAN DUB FCO etc.. have later arrivals in IST.
Fabio is offline  

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 08:48 PM.