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Please help me select an airline - international travel

Please help me select an airline - international travel

Old Mar 10th, 2010, 06:53 AM
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Please help me select an airline - international travel

I am a relative newbie to international travel having only done it once before. That time we flew Delta, but we were in business class. This time we will be flying coach with our two teenage daughters. We are flying to Venice and home from Rome.

If all things were equal as far as price, number of stops, duration of flight, which of the following would you choose for the outgoing flight?

Lufthansa that connects through Frankfurt
Delta through Paris
Air France through Paris
Delta through Amsterdam
British Airways through Heathrow

Also, what does it mean when you see something like this: KLM Royal Dutch (operated by Delta) or Lufthansa (operated by United)

Thanks so much!
viaggiatrice is offline  
Old Mar 10th, 2010, 07:49 AM
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'KLM Royal Dutch (operated by Delta) or Lufthansa (operated by United)' These indicate codeshare arrangements in which you purchase the ticket from one airline (here KLM and Lufthansa) but fly on the metal of the other. At the gate you'll see both flight numbers listed on the board but only one airplane.

As for your choices of connection airports, Paris (a mess) and Heathrow (just huge) are generally thought to be more chaotic than Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Though Paris may be OK if you are on an AirFrance plane because T1, where airlines from the US and third world land, is just awful, but I'm told AirFrance passengers get a much nicer experience because they use a newer terminal.

How to chose? Price, convenience of schedule, connection airport? The airlines themselves are pretty much alike, I think -- they all have good and bad days.
kayd is offline  
Old Mar 10th, 2010, 07:58 AM
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All your examples have connections in Europe. You may be more comfortable with connections in the US. Delta, for one, has nonstop flights to both Venice and Rome from the US. I'm sure some others do, too. That way, depending on where you are originating, you may only have one domestic connection.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Old Mar 10th, 2010, 08:28 AM
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Of the four overseas airports you mention, I have found the Amsterdam airport, Schiphol, to be the easiest in which to make a transfer. Heathrow and DeGaulle are very large in both air traffic and land area and Lufthansa is often a difficult airline to deal with. Also, my experience is that it is easier to transfer at an international airport than a domestic east coast one, as these airports like JFK, Newark, and Dulles are often overcrowded and subject to delays.
therenaissanceman is offline  
Old Mar 10th, 2010, 08:30 AM
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At least for the return flight to the US, I would choose a European connection over a US connection, every day of the week and twice on Sunday, provided that my EU to US flight landed at my destination.

As to the various airports:
- Frankfurt. Big and somewhat confusing. Incredibly dull, but moderately efficient. An okay choice, but nothing special.
- Paris CDG. Big and can be exceedingly confusing. It can feature some brutally long walks, but they have improved things with some bus services that can make short work of connections. If you are flying Delta or Air France, the terminal for the long-haul flights is very nice. This can become an okay choice once you get to know it, but the first trip through can be infuriating.
- Amsterdam. Great airport. Efficient, clean, and well laid-out. An excellent place to connect. Only downsides are the lousy food and the potentially long walks.
- Heathrow. Anyone who hasn't flown through T5 recently cannot comment intelligently about Heathrow. The rest of the airport may be a dump, but T5 is absolutely gorgeous. Bright, airy, spacious, clean. Fantastic shopping and many good food choices. A connection that is strictly within T5 (as yours will be) is very easy and usually pleasant.

So, strictly from an airport perspective, I would go with either Amsterdam or Heathrow, with a nod toward Heathrow. My tie-breaker would be the particular plane and any frequent flier considerations.
travelgourmet is offline  
Old Mar 10th, 2010, 10:04 AM
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If you fly with Lufthansa be sure it does not say (united) under flight #. that means you will be flying with their partner and service is much much better on the Lufthansa operated flights. JMHO
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Old Mar 11th, 2010, 08:18 PM
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I agree with JoanneH. Lufthansa is good, but IMO don't get stuck on a United flight for the Transatlantic portion of your flight. I normally like British Airways but am a bit wary of them right now, due to strike talks.
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Old Mar 11th, 2010, 10:41 PM
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Where are you flying from in the states? I agree with NO FLY ZONE that flying nonstop from the states is so much easier.Have you looked into the Delta nonstops? The open jaw ticket is perfect for that in regards to your flying into one city and out of the other.
dutyfree is offline  
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