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United Airlines 757 or Lufthansa 747-400 to Amsterdam

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Aug 5th, 2015, 09:19 AM
  #1
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United Airlines 757 or Lufthansa 747-400 to Amsterdam

We're getting ready to get tickets for our trip next summer using frequent flyer. We'll be flying into Amsterdam and out of Prague. Right now I have the following options:

- fly to Newark and then Amsterdam on a United Airlines 757 - flight to Newark leaves at 11:30am and flight from Newark to Amsterdam on the 757 is from 5:45pm to 7:45am

- fly directly to Frankfurt on Lufthansa 747-400 from 7:55pm to 10:50am and then short flight to Amsterdam from 12:05pm to 1:15pm

My main question is, taking flight times out of the equation...which international flight would you prefer? I've never been on Lufthansa. Is it a cattle car, similar to United 757 or roomier? I'm 6'-4" so tight planes aren't my favorite. Does one have better coach class amenities over the other? While the destination is the goal...a little fun on the way can't hurt.

As for the flight times...I like United getting us there 6 hours earlier. So that's in the 757's favor.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 09:29 AM
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While I can't be definitive, I'd pick LH over UA. The 757 is single-aisle. LH service has been excellent on each of our LH flights; service seems to be hit-and-miss on UA. Put your specific flight numbers into www.seatguru to see the specs to help you decide.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 09:30 AM
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You're 6'4", so all economy class sucks. There's no such thing as comfortable base-economy class for you. The only question is if the flight will have economy-plus or similar that gives a bit more room. If so, then that can be livable. Otherwise, you're screwed unless you're in a luxury class (biz, first).

Go to seatguru.com and compare the United 757 with the Lufthansa. Last check (which was a while ago), the United 757 sucked even compared to other horrific economy classes. But it may have upgraded the amenities.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 09:32 AM
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See if you can fly thru Washington Dulles instead of Newark. United operates a 767 out of Dulles which will get you into AMS early morning.

The Frankfurt connection is rather tight since you will have to go thru immigration.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 09:38 AM
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Lufthansa (depending on which model 744) will have 10-across seating in coach, a narrower seat than United, and may or may not have individual in-seat video. Both have the same legroom in coach (terrible); United offers "economy plus" (more legroom) but that might not be available using award tickets.

Also, 1h 15m transfer (including Schengen immigration and getting to a Schengen gate) at FRA after sitting on a plane all night wouldn't be my first choice at all. Doable, but FRA is huge and after immigration you might find yourselves hustling to the AMS gate.

Although I hate Newark, I'd probably go with the United alternative and see if I could get into E+. Or better, buy a bunch of FF miles from United and redeem them for business class seats.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 09:43 AM
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This is picky, but Lufthansa doesn't have any games on their entertainments system. They have movies and similar programs--TV shows, etc. I don't especially like movies, especially on airplanes, and I'd prefer to spend some of my time playing solitaire or free cell when I'm tired of reading.

I usually fly Lufthansa because they have a non-stop flight from Seattle to Frankfurt, but I'm not crazy about them.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 09:44 AM
  #7
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"Or better, buy a bunch of FF miles from United and redeem them for business class seats." My 13 year old son said the same thing, to which I replied..."all our extra trip cash went to bringing YOU along"

I will check seatguru. Somehow with all the scheduling, I missed the tight turn-around in Frank. I agree that's probably not what we'd want to do with a group of 8 including 4 children (2 families).

Thanks for the advice
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Aug 5th, 2015, 09:45 AM
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I would always pick a 747 over a single aisle plane. And since there seem to be some questions about United I would stay away from it. But I would not take such a short transfer in FRA - I would go for a later plane to AMS.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 09:45 AM
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An add-on: Unlike the US carriers, which are unique in their high level of suck, the European, Asian, Aussie carriers generally have decent amenities that include personal video/audio options and power ports for everyone (our last flight on QANTAS had better offerings than some business class flights I've had). Entirely too many US carriers (including its namesakes, UScAir and American, and the former Continental fleet that is not part of United) run 767 and 757 from the East Coast or even the center of the US to Europe and have only overhead monitors running one movie. Compare: in 2011, we took a flight to Madrid on a AA 767-300 that had overhead monitors only; in 2001, TEN years earlier, we flew to Athens on Olympus (not known for service, quality or amenities) and had personal video.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 09:54 AM
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The seat maps are as follows:
Lufthansa
http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Luf..._747-400_C.php

United
http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Uni...7-200_Flat.php
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Aug 5th, 2015, 10:10 AM
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I consider a long distance 757 flight to be a flight from the hell especially on a "my profit is all that matters" domestic carrier. It is a big single aisle plane. Longer the aisle, more chance it is perennially clogged. The seat position matters, however. Among the legacy domestic carriers, UA has been the worst in allowing us to sit together.

If you are concerned, rightly about leg room, get Economy Plus seats especilly 8D,8E,8F with extra leg room, if they are still available. These kind of seats on any carrier get snatched up first. The Economy Plus type of seats on domestic carriers are usually not counted as a part of airfare, if you can imagine that, and would not carry over to another, flight=lost, if you are the one initiating the flight change.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 10:19 AM
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I agree that's probably not what we'd want to do with a group of 8 including 4 children (2 families).

I think that's a deal-breaker for FRA; imagine having to go through passport control, 8 potty breaks, then navigating an enormous airport while the countdown clock is ticking, vs. having what sounds like a couple of hours at EWR where all you have to do is get from one gate to another - no security checks, no luggage wrangling...

You might look at eastbound on United and westbound on Lufthansa. As uncomfortable as coach is, eastbound transatlantic flights are very quick due to tailwinds, and AMS is a breeze for arrivals. As an overnight flight the time will feel like it flies.

Coming back, the same approach would be possible - connect through FRA with no luggage hassles, then immigration and customs when you arrive home. Westbound TATL takes longer (headwinds this time) so combining the longer flights with the immigration/passport scrum at EWR, followed by another flight home... sucks. I'd try, however, to make sure the Lufthansa flight has in-seat video, or else load up on tablets or other entertainment means for the kids.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 10:21 AM
  #13
 
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wekiva:

You might want to check an itinerary with Swiss (which is a subsidiary of Lufthansa), for which United miles should be valid:

xxx to ORD; ORD-ZRH; ZRH-AMS
xxx to EWR; EWR-ZRH; ZRH-AMS

Economy on Swiss aircraft (A330-300 on both transatlantic routes) is no worse than any other and you may secure seat 23D for yourself: There is no seat in front of it.

Good luck

raspberry7
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Aug 5th, 2015, 10:34 AM
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<< especially on a "my profit is all that matters" domestic carrier.>>

That's one of the dumber statements you'll see here. Considering their LACK of profits, high overhead costs, and high operating costs are why every domestic US carrier (other than Southwest) has gone through bankruptcy since 2001, and UScAir, Northwest and Continental have all been absorbed, that concept contains no understanding of economics or the airline industry. Unlike large scale non-US carriers (see: the major Gulf State carriers), the US carriers are not subsidized by their governments.

All that said, the United seats on paper are no worse than the Lufthansa seats - they both suck about the same and contain the same amenities.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 07:55 PM
  #15
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I've been doing more research and found one other option. I've checked all the alternate airlines that are offered for my frequent flyer tickets and they're all United or Lufthansa. But there is one other option thru Houston that gets us on a United 777 plane (but the long flight is 10 hours vs. the 8 from Newark). I also found a Frankfurt version that allows 2 hour connection, but it gets us in too late in the day. The options are:

- fly to Newark and then Amsterdam on a United Airlines 757 - flight to Newark leaves at 11:30am and flight from Newark to Amsterdam on the 757 is from 5:45pm to 7:45am
http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Uni...7-200_Flat.php

- fly directly to Frankfurt on Lufthansa 747-400 from 7:55pm to 10:50am and then short flight to Amsterdam from 12:05pm to 1:15pm
http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Luf..._747-400_C.php

New option:
- fly to Houston and then Amsterdam on a United Airlines 777 - flight to Houston leaves at 1:00pm and flight from Houston to Amsterdam on the 777 is from 4:40pm-9:20am.
http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Uni...-200_2_New.php

The new option is on the newer 777 airline that has 2 aisles. I agree the Newark 757's one aisle is unappealing. My wife gets antsy and likes to walk in circles to calm nerves. But is it worth adding 2 hours to the international flight.

I know in the big scheme of things this isn't the biggest decision in the trip, but for a planner it's just part of the fun.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 08:11 PM
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United but pay for Economy Plus. Lufthansa cabin crews leave much to be desired.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 10:04 PM
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Economy Plus rocks. I am only 5'8", but it's all in my legs, and I can't deal with routine economy for more than 4 or 5 hours. Plus, even if the person in front puts their seat back, you don't have their head in your lap and you can still open your laptop all the way. It's a very worthwhile investment.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 10:29 PM
  #18
 
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If your wife gets antsy and needs to stand up and walk around I would stay off a 757 as there is no room for people to walk around. I do not like a 757 even going between a couple states in the USA. I agree with those who say you should try to pay for economy plus seating. It is well worth the price.
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