USAir vs. AF/Delta: Worth the savings?

Feb 16th, 2012, 08:44 AM
  #1  
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USAir vs. AF/Delta: Worth the savings?

I'm planning a relatively last-minute trip to Paris at the end of March. This opportunity came up a bit out of the blue so I'm planning much more quickly than usual, which means my flight options are a little more limited and are getting more so by the day! My brother is going for work and I'm tagging along for kicks, but need to wait to get the green light from him to buy tickets in case his travel doesn't get approved. Hopefully I'll be able to buy in the next day or two.

In the meantime, of course I'm doing some searching. Right now my best options seem to be either a USAir itinerary for around $815, or a combo Delta/Air France itinerary for about $920. (This is after taking into account too-short or too-long layovers, etc.) With the latter, the overnight from Atlanta to CDG would be an AF flight, and the CDG-ATL return would be a Delta flight. My one experience with USAir in 2007 was okay, in that they got us there and back, but not memorable. I've heard Air France is very good. My question: Would you pay the $100 and enjoy the overnight flight, or is the moral of the story "let's face it: you're in economy class and won't sleep well regardless, so put your money toward something else"? Basically - is AF that much better? If they are, I'd be willing to shell out the money, but as it's a surprise trip the cost is definitely a consideration. If they're equivalent, I'd rather put that money toward experiences.

Thanks in advance for your input!
jent103 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 09:12 AM
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What about the timing of the flights? Are they both about the same? Where do you connect with each one? If one is significantly better than the other, I'd pay a little more for it, to save a few hours or avoid a lousy connection. But I'd probably not pay more for AF myself if it departed and arrived at the same time as the USAir flights.
Andrew is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 09:18 AM
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I agree - I don't find AF any better than any of the rest, if you're in economy. I would base the decision on the timing, rather than focusing on AF. I haven't really noticed much difference.
dunia123 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 09:20 AM
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Deciding factor for me would be which one would we have the two seats (only) rather than 3 x 3 x 3 type of configuration?
Also, we paid the little extra fee on Delta last Sept to get the 'comfort' row, with the extra 4 inches legroom and the extra bit you could lean back your seat. The price varies according to timing and availability - we paid about $100 each.
Travelnut is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 09:30 AM
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Yeah, I would look at the aircraft and seat plans. I've flown USAir and AF and Delta to CDG, all economy. My favorite flight was on AF but that's because it was nonstop SFO-CDG in 2 x 4 x 2 (I think), and I was on the aisle in one of the two-seat spots.
Leely2 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 09:31 AM
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Another factor (alluded to by Travelnut) is the type of airplane. I prefer bigger planes with two aisles for overseas flights vs say a 757 with only one aisle. You can also look at SeatGuru.com to see what kind of leg room each plane might have on each airline (assuming you can tell the type of plane to be used for each flight).
Andrew is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 09:49 AM
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Agree to look at seat plans of the flights. Of course, then if they switch planes, which happens more than you think, you can get the short end.

Poster Denisea might have an opinion. She had a rather bad experience with AF in late 2011:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...g-in-paris.cfm

Joan (poster name, GraceJoan3)likes Delta, I believe, because she has the option for "Comfort Seats", which while not Business Class, do give you a bit more room.

Good luck. I'm happy that you are getting to go! Enjoy
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 09:55 AM
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The USAir schedule is actually a tad better, and connects through PHL on the way there and Charlotte on the way back (3:40 layover). Those transatlantic flights are on Airbus A330s with 2-4-2 configurations. The Delta itinerary connects through Atlanta on the way there and JFK on the way back (2:47 layover); it's on a 777 with 2-4-2 on the way there and a 767 with 2-3-2 on the way back. I don't really want to connect at a northeast airport, just based on previous experiences at Philly and Newark, but I think I'll have to so I'll deal! I can't tell from ITA or the airline sites what the entertainment options are, but I'll look at SeatGuru when I get back from a meeting (not that I'm posting at work, of course ).

It's sounding like USAir might be the winner. I really appreciate your input!
jent103 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 09:57 AM
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I prefer AF myself, but for reasons not specifically related to seat comfort, which isn't that different. You can check those thing online and try to find out (seat width, pitch, and configuration). I also have certain planes I prefer in terms of models/brands (I prefer Airbus to Boeing, for example). But ultimately I'd choose by price if the timing and connections were similar.

I don't understand your comparison, however. The AF costs $100 more but you refer to that as the "overnight flight." Well what's the other one if not overnight? I have never "enjoyed" an overnight flight on any airline, but that's because I cannot afford to pay for anything other than coach. I prefer AF for their prices, amenities, and the fact that sometimes I am transferring at CDG to another French city, and given they are the French airline, I don't worry about missing the connection much as I know there are plenty of flights and they are responsble for getting my luggage to me and they do that pretty well (as due to a short connection, my luggage didn't make it twice on AF and they had it delivered within the same day to my hotels which in one case were many miles away and not even in the same city).
Christina is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 11:12 AM
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Oooh...Philly...that would do it for me in choosing the Delta/AF flight - and I never choose the more expensive option!

But as you said, you know the (potential) pitfalls and you'll deal. I think it'll all work out fine.

Have a great trip!
YankyGal is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 11:12 AM
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We flew USAir last summer, connecting both ways in Charlotte. Had no difficulties, flights were fine, entertainment good since I can't really sleep on those red-eyes. We did have a very small plane on the return from CLT to Nashville (I think you live here too) and that was unnerving. I always feel safer in a big tin can as compared to a sardine tin!
trvlgirlmq is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 12:31 PM
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YankyGal, I don't either, but I really do hate Philly! I got stuck there once and ended up getting "home" at 3am to a city three hours away... rough end to a fun trip. Maybe this would give me a good experience to counteract it!

Christina, I was comparing the overnight AF flight from Atlanta-CDG vs. the daytime transatlantic flight back, that one on Delta. Sorry for any confusion. I'm ending in Paris and hope to do carryon only, so hopefully luggage won't be a major issue (crossing my fingers!).

trvlgirlmq, I am indeed in Nashville - I don't think I realized you are as well! I've gotten pretty used to the tiny planes, but they are a little unnerving sometimes.
jent103 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 12:46 PM
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oh, I thought you meant USAir was flying in the day time over, which I was surprised. I wouldn't expect the flight to be that different, but you might check the baggage policies in your case to see if they differ.
Christina is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 12:48 PM
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jent103: I was comparing the overnight AF flight from Atlanta-CDG vs. the daytime transatlantic flight back, that one on Delta. Sorry for any confusion. I'm ending in Paris and hope to do carryon only, so hopefully luggage won't be a major issue (crossing my fingers!).

FYI, I flew Delta in September to/from Amsterdam and had no issues flying with just carry-ons. (Same two years earlier on same flights.) The trick is to make sure you get on the plane early enough to snag overhead bin space near your seat. The only issue I had flying within Europe was on a KLM flight from Milan back to Amsterdam, where there was a sports team on our completely full flight and they all had big carry-on bags with them. I was asked to check my carry-on bag even though my "personal item" (camera bag) would fit under my seat, and technically it was the first leg of an international flight. Otherwise, I've done fine with just carry-ons. Avoiding checked luggage flying to/from Europe has saved a lot of hassle since I started doing it.

I can't speak to how Air France handles carry-ons, though - only Delta.
Andrew is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 12:57 PM
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I've been a carry-on only convert for awhile now, but I usually travel when it's warm out and can pack skirts, sandals, and no worry about jackets. Since average temps in Paris in March are around 50, it'll be a little more of a challenge, if for no other reason than my pants and shoes will take up more room! I would really love to do it, though. I've never had any issues with storage space but I know it could happen. I wouldn't mind gate checking; I just don't want to deal with the mysteries of the luggage system!

I think I'll have to check a bag on the way back, unfortunately, because I'll have my knitting with me and French security apparently considers knitting needles "dangerous items." As dangerous as a sharpened pencil, maybe.
jent103 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 02:16 PM
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I would choose US Air based on having to go through Atlanta and JFK. Charlotte is much easier to connect thru. I don't like Philadelphia that much either,but much better than the other 2 very large airports. There is a direct flight on USAir from CLT to Paris that I took in Oct. Not sure if it is still the same. I really liked that and not sure of the cost at this time. I would definitely check on that as it was a very good flight.
maryanne1 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 02:22 PM
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Not sure of your dates in March,but there is a direct flight from CLT to Paris,but Philadelphia to CLT returning.
maryanne1 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 02:38 PM
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Thanks, maryanne1. For the dates I'm checking, the direct CLT-CDG flight isn't showing up - it might be sold out. That's a shame, since I'd love to connect through CLT! I've never flown through JFK, but despite the horror stories I've never had major issues in Atlanta. Must be lucky, I guess.

Thanks again for the input, everyone. I think I'm ready to go on these USAir flights as soon as I get the go-ahead from my brother - hopefully tomorrow.
jent103 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2012, 04:01 PM
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I picked USAIR because of the seating 2x4x2 and they got me home, Orlando at 6:00pm. We are going mco-phl but it is worth a Philly cheese steak. They actually make a good one in the airport. Coming home we are going through CLT. I will not use USAIR out of my local airport, DAB, because it is Mesa and they have lousy service.
flpab is offline  
Feb 17th, 2012, 03:59 AM
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Jent103 The USAirways flight from CLT-CDG is not showing up for your dates because I don't think it is scheduled every day in the week. I doubt if is sold out. We are flying CLT-CDG next month and have done so before. Also have flown PHL-CDG on US. I think CLT is a little better but there is not a lot of difference
waterdog is offline  

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