Air France vs. Continental to Paris

Oct 31st, 2000, 01:15 PM
  #1  
Donna
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Air France vs. Continental to Paris

I will be traveling to Paris with my husband and 17-year old daughter in June 2001. I had originally decided to fly Air France because (1) they fly non-stop to Paris from Houston and (2) they offered a slightly better rate than Continental. After reading a few negative posts about Air France, I am wondering if Continental would be a better choice. I am 5'11" with a medium build, and my husband is 5'10", also with a medium build. I realize that tourist class is pretty much the same on any airline, but do any of you have opinions regarding comfort with respect to either of these carriers? You all have been very helpful and I do appreciate your time.
 
Oct 31st, 2000, 01:21 PM
  #2  
Royboy
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Air France in a heartbeat!!
 
Oct 31st, 2000, 01:26 PM
  #3  
DIANE
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I disagree--I flew to Paris this summer--outbound on a Air France 747, and inbound on a Continental 777. The Continental 777 was newer and superior to the Air France leg. Check which kind of plane it is--Air France and Continental code share from Newark. (My tix were actually Air France--which was cheaper--but it was a Continental jet on the way home)
 
Oct 31st, 2000, 01:40 PM
  #4  
Diane
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We flew Air France and loved it. The food was delightful "even" in coach.
 
Oct 31st, 2000, 01:42 PM
  #5  
kk
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I have flown Continental to Frankfurt three times from Houston and once into London and never had any kind of problems at all. Flown with FF miles in tourist class. As long as you get in outside seats, no matter what the plane configuration, it is just fine, and my husband's and my sizes are about the same as you and your husband, Donna.
I couldn't get FF tickets this spring with Continental due to their hugely increased popularity, drat it, and have to use the FF points on Northwest, which I absolutely dread. They have had some notorious customer disasters.
Anyway, bottom line, Continental from Houston to Paris will be just fine. I have no experience with Air France so I cannot make that comparison, however.
 
Oct 31st, 2000, 02:06 PM
  #6  
Bob Brown
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Let me suggest that you consult the Air France web site at www.airfrance.com and check the schedule between Houston Intercontinental and Charles De Gaulle airport.
In my reading of the schedule, there is an Air France (true Air France) flight on an Airbus A340. There is a Continental/Air France code share on a Boeing 777. In the summer of 1999, we flew back from CDG to Atlanta on the Airbus 340. This summer we flew round trip on the Air France Boeing 777.
I do not know now the Continental Boeing 777 is configured. If is 3 - 3- 3 like the Air France Beoing 777 we flew this past September, I would slightly recommend taking the Airbus, if you can sit on the "2" side. It is a little less uncomfortable comfortable, but not by much. (The September issue of Consumer Reports Travel Letter says that the Continental 777 is configured 3 -3 - 3 in coach class.)
The A340 configuration we flew was 2 - 4 - 2.
If you can get on the 2 side, at least you have a little more leeway to push on each other as opposed to a total stranger.
I found the Air France 777 to be pretty uncomfortable. I am about 6 feet 1 inch, and the leg room was the pits; most uncomfortable. I could not get out of the seat if the seat in front of me was reclined. I spent a lot of the trip standing by the rest room door which was close to the galley and hence there was a little "free" space.

The B777 is more modern and has a TV screen on the back of the seat in front of you. (excluding bulkhead and exit rows), and the cabin is quieter by quite a bit in my opinion. So if quietness counts highly in your scale of values, then the B777 is the better choice.
(I did notice that the row just behind the galley had more leg room; so if you know somebody who can get you into those seats, then you can ride like a king. How I envied those guys!!)

Neither of aircraft is a comfort bargin, however. And you must realize of course that it is a judgement call as to which one of the two is the least uncomfortable.
 
Oct 31st, 2000, 02:10 PM
  #7  
Christina
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I'm confused -- aren't those the exact same flights? I thought CO and AF codeshared and if you take CO to Paris you are, in fact, flying Air France or vice versa. If you do not take AF nonstop from Houston (which is also numbered as a CO flight, I thought), you may take CO domestically to Newark whereupon you will then end up on an AF plane, probably, only that route will take you a lot longer than going nonstop from Houston. Coming back I think it is more possible to get a CO flight rather than AF if you want to got through JFK or Newark. Anyway, that's what I thought, I would check that out. I think you should just check the plane if you have preferences there, as AF frequently flies Airbus 340s to Europe, not 747s, and AF flights also use 777s; personally, I greatly dislike 777s so would not consider that a positive. I would just choose based on convenient times and cost, as the longer you are traveling, the worse it will be, I think that will affect your comfort most.
 
Oct 31st, 2000, 02:17 PM
  #8  
Ed
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Between those two carriers? The quickest, most convenient routing. Neither is going to underwhelm or overwhelm you with service or comfort. Get the trip over with as quickly as possible.

Ed
 
Oct 31st, 2000, 02:36 PM
  #9  
Miane
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Air France! Better service, more fun. You'll still be in coach tough, but at least you won't experience the typical american airline "boot-camp" syndrome.
 
Oct 31st, 2000, 08:34 PM
  #10  
mk
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ditto Christina's comment
There will be people with Air France tickets and Continental tickets on the same flight. It might be an Air France plane or it might be a Continental plane. People with the same type of seats will have paid very diff. amts. for their seats and some will have AF ticket, some CO. Each flight will have two flight #s, but the # that goes with the airline that owns the plane will be the official #. (I think)
 
Oct 31st, 2000, 09:03 PM
  #11  
Tricia
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Try Air New Zealand ( I know they just had their first accident in 28 years) but they are excellent- most all travel agents I have talked to say their wonderful and they have seats in economy usually reserved for business and 2" more leg room in econ.
book them at a discount at www.rebeltours.com and get a free stopover in UK
 
Nov 1st, 2000, 05:35 AM
  #12  
Kim
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I've flown both AF and Continental transatlantic-- AF to Paris (on a 747) from JFK in 1994 and Continental to Zurich from Newark on a DC-10 earlier this month(I would assume their service to Paris would be very similar albeit different planes). From what I remember from the AF flight, I was very surprised at how good the food was (for airplane food). They served cognac after dinner and even left out the liquor cart to help yourself. Overall, the flights both ways were fun, although we were two hours late leaving Paris on the way home. I did not have any problems with my luggage, although some people on this board have had problems with getting their bags on AF. The seating was cramped (3-4-3 on a 747), but what coach section isn't? I was with my dad , and I had a window and he had an aisle on the side. I would definitely fly them again.

As for Continental (I fly them very frequently in the US), their transatlantic service was fine. Nothing spectacular. On the way to Zurich they came by several times with the drink cart. On the way back, they did not. All I could remember was how parched I was! My husband & I were on a DC-10 with the 2 seats on the side, I had the window & he had the aisle. Legroom was pretty cramped. On the way back from Zurich, we were delayed for 3 hours on the taxiway, but they were very good at giving us updates and explaining what happened. We would fly Continental on a transatlantic route again, but would prefer to fly either AF or any other European carrier (with the exception of a few) before flying an American airline. Just my opinion. Either way, you will have agreat trip!

Kim
 
Nov 1st, 2000, 05:54 AM
  #13  
Bob Brown
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Christina. I think I understand what you are saying/asking. Most European airlines do indeed code share with an American line.
Both air lines have the flight listed in their computers and both sell seats on the same air plane. (And sometimes both sell the same seat to different people!!)
E.g. Delta and Air France share as do KLM and Northwest. But one airline operates the flight.
In the case of Air France, Flight AF 036 Paris to Houston, using an A340 Airbus, is run by Air France while AF 034 Paris to Houston is actually a Continental flight -- usually with an American crew and an airplane with Continental painted on the tail.
Between Paris and Atlanta, AF 300 and AF 316 are flights with Air France crews and equipment, but AF 044 is a Delta crew and a Delta B777.
Yes it makes a difference. I have had seat assignments messed up because I made the reservation through the "wrong" airline, e.g. I went through Air France for a Delta operated flight. In Atlanta, it also makes a difference which counter you use to check luggage and get your boarding pass. For the Delta flight to Paris, even though it shares an Air France code number, you check in at the Delta counter; for the "true" Air France flights, you go to the Air France check-in facility, even though you might have bought your ticket through Delta. You even talk to a French speaking employee!!
By the time it all gets sorted out, people are on the same air plane who paid all kinds of different prices.
I just wish I could find a cheap way to fly business class. But about the best prices I have seen through consolidators are still in the $4,000 range per person. If anybody knows how to get a cheap business class ride, please tell me.
 
Nov 1st, 2000, 10:17 AM
  #14  
Carol
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I've flown both and all I can say is that if you do fly Continental, make sure you order vegetarian meals in advance (that way at least you'll get fresh fruits and maybe veggies)--the regular food is the worst airline food I've ever encountered! Air France food is among the best.
 
Nov 1st, 2000, 11:41 AM
  #15  
elvira
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As sardine class is about the same in every airline, I pick the airline that (and this is in descending order) 1] is not threatening any sort of job action; 2)has the better price; 3)flies non-stop - or with the fewest stops/changes; 4) offers the better ff benefits.

I've flown AF and Continental; AirFrance has better food, but not that good that I'd fly them if their fare was higher than someone else's. If AF flies non-stop from Houston, and is cheaper, take 'em. Nice inflight magazine, too.
 
Nov 1st, 2000, 12:05 PM
  #16  
Donna
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Once again, you all have been very helpful. Thank you so much! I appreciate all the advice. Since we are not leaving until June, you will be seeing posts from me from time to time. I have done extensive searches on the internet, read many travel books and watched countless travel programs; however, I like to speak with people who have been to the places I am planning to see for their own unique points of view. I appreciate everyone's graciousness and assistance.
 
Nov 1st, 2000, 12:26 PM
  #17  
happyflyer
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Tricia: Thank you for a wonderful suggestion, but I'm really having trouble deciding which of the many flights on Air New Zealand to take from Houston to Paris with stopover in London. Which one would you suggest??
 
Nov 2nd, 2000, 12:05 PM
  #18  
topper
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To the top so Tricia can answer that last question.
 
Nov 2nd, 2000, 12:25 PM
  #19  
Angela
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Tricia
What Air New Zealand accident??
Angela
 
Nov 2nd, 2000, 01:38 PM
  #20  
Brian in Atlanta
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She got it mixed up with Singapore Air
 

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