Most comfortable airline to Europe

May 9th, 2005, 01:43 PM
Original Poster
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Most comfortable airline to Europe

We are flying from Tampa to London, then Paris back to Tampa in November 2005. We would like to be comfortable for this long of a flight.
Any suggestions on the best airlines.
British Airways has a special - use the BA credit card and get a free companion ticket for free. The catch-you have to buy a Club or First class ticket. Club = $3,800
These seats fully recline/20 inches wide.
Continential has a special for $2,300 each first class.
The coach fares on these are around $680+ each.
Any suggestions on any other airlines. Are there any airlines with comfortable seats in Coach? Is the extra $$$ worth it.
One advantage to BAirways - nonstop flights making travel time less.
rahjmh is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 01:48 PM
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I have flown BA several times and have loved it! Definitely worth the extra cash.
May 9th, 2005, 01:50 PM
Original Poster
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Did you fly coach, first, club???
Thanks for the fast response.
rahjmh is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 02:31 PM
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Flew BA Club World on a Decmember trip to London last year. We were fortunate to get upgraded to those seats so I can't speak to price/value; however, I can tell you that it was great. On the return flight, it was the first time my wife and I actually looked forward to a 9 hour flight. The BA staff were great and being able to fully recline made a world of difference. We will fly BA on future trips.
AndyP is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 02:46 PM
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I like British Air because of non-stop flights, good times and routings, decent food and service, but I believe their coach seats are among the smallest in the skies or so I've been told.

<Are there any airlines with comfortable seats in Coach?> No.

<Is the extra $$$ worth it.> Only you can decide.
suze is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 02:49 PM
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Can't comment on BA but can say that Continental's BusinessFirst is consistently voted the best in the business, and I have been very pleased with their service.
Seamus is online now  
May 9th, 2005, 03:29 PM
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I'd have to second the vote for Continental-they have fantastic first class service, and BA is excellent as well. I've also had very pleasant flights on US Airways to Paris.

As far as I'm concerned, it's easier to say which airlines are NOT the most comfortable. And the current number 1 on my negative hit parade of airlines has GOT to be Lufthansa-particularly awful in coach, followed by Virgin Atlantic, but at least Virgin Atlantic has planes with the latest cutting edge technology - the V port, for inflight seat entertainment, which is pretty impressive-however you're squeezed like sardines in coach.

Lufthansa, on the other hand, has brand new 747s with no seat-back video, poorly designed layouts, and the service is awful.
spygirl1 is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 04:30 PM
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If you're traveling coach class, I wouldn't count on comfort on any airline. It's tolerable if you're lucky. I've flown BA, NW and AA to London and I'd rate BA first, AA a close second and NW third.

BA has a premium economy class which is a little better. Same food and amentities as coach, but seats are a bit more spacious. It's not nearly as expensive as business or first class.
Kayb95 is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 04:37 PM
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rahj-do you know about the website I think it's a great source of information on airports and airlines, pax opinions, pictures, polls by pax as to which airport/airline they like and why, trip reports JUST on the flights, etc. You might want to spend some time checking out the wealth of information there.
spygirl1 is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 04:58 PM
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BA's business and first class sections often win praise. Most recently, my husband got upgraded to first class from South Africa to London, and claims it was hands down the best experience he's ever had -- flat beds, really good food (and he is very picky), a bar made in heaven, etc. When on business, he usually travels business class internationally, or better when he gets a good price or upgrade, so he has a lot of "data points" to compare.

Often, the non-U.S. carriers do a better job of service on trans-ocean flights, even in coach, i.e. better food, nicer service people, etc. I know this is an over-generalization, but I feel more and more like cattle when I fly coach on a U.S. carrier. My recent experiences on American are indicative -- the plane wasn't particularly clean, we were served probably the skimpiest dinner I've ever had on board that they called "dinner," and after an 8-hour flight, all we got for breakfast was juice and coffee. I'm a small person -- I ca imagine that the big guys were starving. Many passengers were happy to see a McDonald's open early at the terminal.

I think even the coach class in Virgin Atlantic is a step above the others, with all the snazzy on-board entertainment, and nice amenities even in coach.

I personally go for coach to save hundreds of dollars, but sometimes get an upgrade or cash in frequent flyer points for an upgrade or free ticket. Coach class usually means that I'm fighting jet lag on the day I land in Europe. The nicer business class and first class planes have seats that allow for better sleep on board -- nice when you don't want to feel so bummed out when you land. But again, I'd still put that day in terms of cost-benefit of avoiding jet lag and feeling like you're living the high life. Personally, I can have A LOT of fun for that extra $3100 when I'm in Europe...but you might feel crummy the first day there.
madameX is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 05:03 PM
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'Should mention that dear hubby speaks well of KLM and Air France for trans-Atlantic flights.
madameX is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 05:14 PM
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Twice I've been fortuante enough to be upgraded to biz class on BA, and it's like airplane nirvana. Loved the flat bed seats, good food, and the Buck's Fizz. Also you get to use the lounge before your flights where you can get free food, drinks, and bar drinks.
P_M is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 05:18 PM
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For coach, I'd have to put a vote in for little Austrian Airlines. Good service, good and plentiful food, reasonably comfortable seats, very organized in booking/seat assignments/boarding.
platzman is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 06:54 PM
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I would think that World Traveler Plus on BA would be your best choice. Wider seats and about 6 or 7 inches more legroom than in World Traveler (Minus); same food as in coach but BA's coach food is pretty good.

BA often has fare sales that begin sometime around October and run until the middle of December (everybody's sales end well before Christmas/New Years). Sometimes you can get discounted Club World (business) seats for decent prices, but the sales also apply to other classes like WT+.

This is one case where I would not book now but wait until later in the summer. I know there's a risk with that, but the airlines are building up so much capacity across the Atlantic this year that when the demand droops in the autumn I'm guessing there will be good prices to be had, especially in the timeframe you're planning. After the first of the year the Florida/Caribbean demand from Europe (cruises, Disney etc.) will start pushing prices back up.

Monitor the fares in the meantime. They're very high right now but may well start coming down; be ready to pounce when they do.
Gardyloo is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 07:53 PM
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I have often done the Washington, DC (IAD) - Paris (CDG) night flight on AirFrance, in both coach and business, and have to say it is not too bad.

And the airline food on Air France (in coach) was better than most. In business, it is fantastic.

I did not like British Airways (WashDC - London) in coach at all. Cramped and uncomfortable the entire way there (and back).

Continental (Washington- Newark - London) was surprisingly comfortable even in coach. Food terrible, but who really cares nowadays.

Just my personal observations.

Rick in Maryland
Rick_EMT is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 08:00 PM
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Hi rahjmh, unless a person has flown on every airline that goes to Europe I do not know how they would be able to advise "most comfortable airline to Europe". I don't mean that to be sarcastic, please believe me. But it is the same as the question "the best restaurants in the world" or "the best hotels in the world" etc.

I think all one can expect is to hear from fellow travellers about their experiences on various airlines. But to expect most travellers to know what is the best, or the most comfortable, is not realistic in my opinion.
LoveItaly is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 10:13 PM
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Whatever airline, whatever class you travel, it's still a flight, and in my opinion something that is best over as quickly as possible.

It depends on who's footing the bill I suppose, if you're flying club/first and no other part of your trip suffers then book it, but for a 6-8 hour flight I'd rather save a couple of thousand dollars and spend it on a suite at the other end....something that will last far longer than the flight itself.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 10:21 PM
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I took a transatlantic flight on an airline known for its horrible seat pitch (29") and narrow seats (16"). But I had the whole row to myself! So this was one of my most comfortable flights ever, and it was strictly luck.

Getting an empty seat next to you is the next best thing, and sometimes elite status on an airline can help assure this.
WillTravel is offline  
May 9th, 2005, 10:31 PM
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MK2, I agree whole heartly with your comments. Any flight leaves a lot to be desired. But there is nothing like having wonderful accomodations after you arrive.
LoveItaly is offline  
May 11th, 2005, 09:23 AM
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I would avoid American. Can't speak to the others but we've had Citibank cards tied to American for some time now and have used miles to fly first class.
Our last trip (Oct) was unpleasant: could not eat the food NY-London, the good entrees had been offered to bus class first (!), very bad service. IChicago-SF on return seemed to be mostly full of vacationing stews who gossiped in the galley & didn't answer calls ... people had to get up & interrupt their gab sessions. I can't say they were rude, excatly, but they were definitely not attentive to passenger's requests. I agree w/other posters that the U.S. airlines don't measure up (sadly). If we'd had to pay thousands of dollars for that experience (which we did in a way, of course), we'd have been mighty p.o.'d.
swenska99 is offline  

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