Best airlines from US to France

Old Nov 18th, 2015, 07:45 AM
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Best airlines from US to France

We are flying to Paris in 2016 using our credit card points. Which airlines have you flown to Paris from the US and had the best experience with? Our choices so far are United, Air Canada or Air France, but we are open to suggestion re. others.

I realize there are lots of variables, but overall, considering reliability, food, comfort and service (not price) which would you recommend and why? Thank you very much for taking time to respond. This forum is always so helpful. MAP
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 08:26 AM
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Which airline can you get seats on using points for your departure and return dates?
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 08:30 AM
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I'm not that picky, there isn't really that much service I even require on a plane. What does one need? They serve the food/beverages, remove the garbage, that's about it. Service on the phone when booking. or even at the desk in the airport (which I can't recall every using) isn't the same as service on the plane itself IME.

Same with food, it doesn't really matter to me much at all, I would never choose a plane based on airline food. I don't care about what that is for a few hours on a flight. COmfort depends on what you pay for your seat, essentially. They are all about the same in coach as far as I'm concerned, and obviously better if you pay more (never flown AC, however).

You can just go on and find out the seat/leg size for any airline and type of plane.

I like Air France for the entertainment system and free wine in coach, food a tad better quality than US coach fare airlines. Seats about the same in comfort. Even with them, I prefer Airbus to B777s.

I haven't flown reliability much different for those big international flights, either.

United's okay but not crazy about T1 in CDG. I do like United for its Economy Plus seats with more legroom as they don't cost that much extra (about $100 each way). Other airlines charge a lot more for the bump-up in legroom that I've considered.
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 08:37 AM
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I think a lot would depend on where you are coming from and the convenience of the flights for each airline.

We don't do connections unless there is no other option - but that may not be an option for you.
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 08:41 AM
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You can get into a whole, and huge, discussion about which airline has the best flatbed seats to and from Europe before you even start to think about other service issues. When it's MY money then every single thing the airline does and does not provide is quite important but to each their very own and enjoy your trip.
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 08:52 AM
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I would also add to the lack of crucial info pointed out by the previous poster.

Comfort: The paramount factor is the cabin class available on your route with the points you have. An ordinary cattle class seat, if that is what you are looking for, are largely the same with you having little control on who sits in front of you and recline their seats all the way for the entire flight. However, where in the cabin these seats are located is crucial. You can probe this by using However, with airlines that don't let you pick seats, you get potluck seats at check-in time = dreaded seats.

Food: I would give a little bit, I mean little, edge to Air France.

Service: If you are in the cattle class, I think it depends on what side of the bed the cabin crew woke up that morning. For my routes, I don't like UA or AC. While AF is more favorable, but with recent incidents, they might be more prone to this kind of issues which are not necessarily tied to AF but to whichever the country the most recent event took place:

I also consider the time of the year, which you have not indicated, into the equation. I want to minimize using layover airports with higher likelihood of delays at certain times of the year: snow and hurricane seasons. I also look at which airline can offer more acceptable alternative routing if flights don't operate as planned.
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 09:08 AM
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Air France goes on strike more frequently than United does. We were "stuck" in Paris last year for 2 extra nights. Through some clever communications on our part, the AF "office" (in NYC - not France) put us on a United non-stop flight home (SFO). Communicating with AF in France or going on-line accomplished nothing. We purchased "plus" seats on AF - which, of course, we were not able to "transfer" to United at that late of a date. While we were having dinner on one of the two added nights, we were talking to some French people who live in Montpellier and they said they never fly AF if alternatives are available (TGV/other airlines). We fly to France twice a year and try to go on United if the connections (if any) are convenient.

Food is bad on both/any airline. If it was not for the AF strikes - we would prefer AF.

joannyc - the OP is flying on credit card points (like we do) not specific airline miles - so she is free to use any airline.

Stu Dudley
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 11:37 AM
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We flew on Delta from NY to Paris and had a great experience. We purchased the "premium economy" seats (not sure if they still call them that) for about $100 additional per seat and it was well worth it...front of plane, tons of movies/TV shows available and decent leg room. The food wasn't awful; in fact we were pleasantly surprised by how much was offered, for example a small sorbet between meals. And how bad can sorbet be anyway?

Additional bonus, when flying out of Paris our Delta flight was leaving from the newly renovated and gorgeous terminal, with comfortable waiting areas and good dining options. It made the departure that much more pleasant.
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 11:57 AM
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AF premium economy has most of the seats in a separate section which I find much quieter, but frankly I save miles and go biz when I can -- I think those cabins are pretty comparable at least on AF and United. Have only flown coach in AC so can't comment there.
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Old Nov 19th, 2015, 08:07 AM
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<< frankly I save miles and go biz when I can>>

This is the miles/points distinction - if you have a miles card you can save for biz or first and spend just 2-3x the rewards; if you have a points card, a biz class ticket will likely be 4-5x the cattle class ducat for the same flight and first class will be double that.
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Old Nov 19th, 2015, 09:21 AM
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Air France has announced that you'll have to pay for pre-flight seat selection in economy. This will be introduced in phases, beginning Dec 1st for certain flights (mostly to Asia or the Caribbean). No timetable yet for flights to/from No America.

Info (in French):
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Old Nov 21st, 2015, 06:23 AM
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I recognize most of you as long-time contributors to Fodor's. Your advice is very much appreciated and helpful. I will be contacting the travel agency to book our flight using points in a few weeks, and your ideas give me needed info to ask the right questions. Thank you! MAP
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Old Nov 21st, 2015, 07:10 AM
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I've been flying from MIA to CDG on American for years with no problems, with return. I use the same flights all the time, mainly because they're non-stop and the scheduling works for me, and especially because I have the miles for that airline.
I've never had problems with reservations, service on plane, food just OK (but I don't care about that). For the past 15 years of using those flights, they have always been on time - and never lost baggage. I'll continue to fly American to Europe, unless things change drastically with the recent merger.
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Old Nov 21st, 2015, 07:22 AM
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I usually fly American across the Atlantic, as that is where I accumulate FF miles. The food was SO bad in economy last year that I thought about changing allegiance, despite the direct flight to LHR out of my local airport. However, I flew Barcelona-Philly last month, and was pleasantly surprised by the significant improvement in the food - the flight attendant looked SO pleased when I complimented her on the improvement! They've gone back to free wine in economy, too. However, going in the other direction I will spend the miles for biz if possible as I can't sleep sitting up.
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Old Nov 21st, 2015, 08:56 AM
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As for flights to Paris, from the U.S., selecting an airline depends on where I'm flying from as far as I'm concerned. I like to fly non-stop, but since I live in L.A., there are only two airlines that fly non-stop; Air France and Air Tahiti Nui. If I've selected a non-stop flight, then I end up on Air France although, over the decades, I've taken a lot of other airlines that made stops.

If I fly Air France, which is connected with Delta, then I can also get my frequent flyer miles. I select Air France only for convenience of non-stop flights and frequent flyer miles that can go into my Delta account.

However, starting June 2016, an airline called XL is supposed to be starting non-stop service out of L.A. to Paris. I've personally never heard of them.

Although all of my flights for this upcoming summer (2 European countries) are booked on Air France and in Premium Economy, I'm always concerned about Air France possibly going on strike. But, since the flights are booked, I'll just have to hope for the best.

Happy Travels!
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