Any comments on Czech Airlines?

Old Jan 21st, 2008, 03:28 PM
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Any comments on Czech Airlines?

Would really appreciate hearing any recent comments about this airline. I'm considering going to Prague this summer, and they offer the only nonstop from the New York area. Thanks!
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:22 PM
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Flew them last summer from Bucharest to Prague, a two hour flight.
We had a nice, friendly atmosphere, don't remember anything bad about the flight.

I wrote a trip report for the 11 days we spent in Prague, Dresden and Berlin, if you're interested.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=35093170
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 05:50 AM
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Haven't flown Czech across the Atlantic, but we did fly Amsterdam to Prague in November 2006. Seats were crammed in--very tight; aisle very narrow. Food inedible. But it was a relatively short haul, so maybe the longer flights with larger aircraft are better.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 06:19 AM
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Thanks so much for the replies! I think I'm going to pass on them and connect through Amsterdam-Prague. Looking forward to reading your trip report, gabrieltraian. Thanks!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 06:38 AM
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CSA is just okay. The problem with them for this flight is that they fly the A310, which doesn't have a reputation for comfort. Certainly, the in-flight entertainment will be old school.

Also, the departure time is a rough one. It leaves New York at 4:10 pm and lands in Prague early in the morning. Such an early departure is usually a recipe for jet lag. I usually try to leave the US as late as possible.

If you insist upon flying non-stop, then CSA will be alright, but I wouldn't go out of my way to fly them.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 09:48 AM
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Thanks, travelgourmet. You pretty much echo what I found on Flyertalk. I think I'll look for a Continental flight from Newark to Amsterdam, then use CSA just for the short haul flight to Prague.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 04:14 PM
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CSA is a little old school but CO flies 757s between EWR and AMS. Within the space of a month, I flew on both CSA and Co across the Atlantic: EWR-AMS: and that was the most uncomfortable I have ever been in a civilian aircraft. CSA at least does not skimp on the food. And you will be in Prague right away instead of taking a long flight across the ocean and then having to wait for yet another flight, although AMS is the best place in Europe to connect.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 05:16 PM
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Franto,

Thanks for your help. I'm a little confused by your post, however. Did you mean that CSA was the most uncomfortable plane you'd flown in from EWR-Amsterdam, or Continental? Would love to know since we're probably going to book in a few days. Thanks so much!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 05:50 PM
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I've flown the round-trip from JFK to Prague, and I found Czech Airlines to be better than most American airlines and as good as most European airlines. If you're flying in coach, you're always going to be uncomfortable, and CSA is certainly no worse than any other airline I've ever flown. The plane I flew on had rather old-fashioned entertainment systems (2 years ago), but the food was acceptable. For the nonstop flight, I'd happily leave at 4pm.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 05:53 PM
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Thanks very much for the info, Doug.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 12:28 AM
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Weadles: I think the post by Franto was stating that the CO 757 is the least comfortable flight they have been on, and I can see why. The seating is very tight and just plain uncomfortable. No free booze and the IFE is nothing to write home about. If it is on the 767, then CO improves, with slightly better seat pitch and in-seat video (not on-demand, though).

If I were looking to maximize comfort, I would probably look into Northwest, connecting to KLM in AMS. The Airbus A330 is a very nice plane, with AVOD, decent legroom, and power ports in the front. I would even give their version of the 757 a long look, as they have taken out rows of coach seats, so that you get 34" of seat pitch, which is about the best you will find (by 2-3") for a trans-Atlantic trip in coach. Note that the Northwest planes fly out of Newark and that the flights from JFK are on KLM. The KLM planes are not as nice, particularly the 747, and I try to avoid them.

Air France would be another carrier with a reputation for a relatively comfortable coach product, though CDG is not as easy of a transfer as AMS. But, they offer some very late departures during the summer, including a 11 pm and 1 am departure. As I noted, I love these late departures because it maximizes my ability to sleep on the plane and puts me into my European destination around dinner time. I check-in to the hotel, grab dinner, and can get to bed early. Voila, jet-lag is largely defeated.

But again, if you feel more comfortable with the non-stop, then CSA will not be a bad choice, I just greatly prefer a late departure. Your mileage may vary.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 12:47 AM
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According to AEA (Association of European Airlines) for 2007, 3rd quarter:
- rank 12 on 25 for delayed luggage (14.1 bags / 1000 pax).
- rank 9 on 25 for flight regularity.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 02:39 AM
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Thanks so much for all the great advice. Just found out the itinerary has changed a bit. Going to Athens for business, then Prague, Amsterdam, back to New York. How is CO in business class?
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 03:13 AM
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CO in business class is pretty good. I don't think they rate with some of the better carriers, but they aren't chicken feed.

The seats are old-style. Not as good as a flat bed for sleeping, but they are decently comfortable, and good for lounging. The pitch is a little tight when the person in front is reclined, so I would try for a bulkhead. Also, the tight pitch makes climbing over someone to get out a challenge - try to get aisle access, unless you really love the window.

The food is decent enough for airline food, but not up to the standards of an Asian carrier. The wine list is pretty dire, filled with stuff that ranges from ordinary plonk to genuinely awful. Bar list is better, but not exactly top-shelf.

Their lounges in Newark are nice enough, but nothing special. Definitely none of the bells and whistles like full meals or spa treatments. Free wifi is a plus. I assume that they provide some sort of arrival service in Athens, but this is likely at an off-site hotel and probably not worth the trip. In Amsterdam, I assume that they will have you use the KLM lounges, which are also just okay. There are 2 in the international section, but one always seems full, so I have only been in one. Again, not up to the standards of a BA, Virgin, or an Asian carrier.

The biggest plus will be that CO can get you from Newark to Athens non-stop. Athens is 3+ hours from Paris or Amsterdam and 4 or so from London. And, no matter whether I think CO matches someone like BA for the long-haul product, CO's international business product is surely much better than any intra-European business class, so they win the overall battle against any connection. If the connecting flight were less than 2 hours, then my opinion would change.

Back to Czech Air, their international business product is, by all accounts, not up to international standards, and I would go with your noted itinerary and connect through Amsterdam on the return.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 04:58 AM
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Thank you so much, travelgourmet for your detailed response! It's very helpful. A final question on this: How do you think Delta business class compares internationally to CO? We can obviously fly out of JFK-Athens, too. Thanks again!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 06:21 AM
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I haven't had a chance to fly Delta in biz recently, so I'm probably not the best person to ask. From what I have read, there are some who like it as much/better than CO, and some who don't.

The most oft-cited criticisms vis-a-vis CO seem to be about seat width and layout. On the 767, Delta's biz seats are 18.5" wide, which is not much better than some coach seats. Also, the layout is 2-2-2, rather than the 2-1-2 on a CO 767. There are also those who think CO has really good food, but I just don't get it - though they do give you a LOT of it.

Delta's defenders tend to cite the 5 extra inches of pitch over CO, as well as the dedicated biz class lounge in JFK. I've also seen some claim that the wine list is better on Delta, but I don't think it rises to the level of vintage champagne or anything. You are also likely to get AVOD. Some of the Delta planes haven't been converted, but that beats CO, where none of the 767s have AVOD.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 08:10 AM
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travelgourmet,

Again, many thanks for your advice!
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