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West Coast USA>France Routes

Old May 30th, 2017, 11:22 AM
  #1  
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West Coast USA>France Routes

Posting this here in addition to Air Travel Forum...

What is your typical flight structure when flying from west coast USA to France? Do you fly non-stop, or break it up with a stop?

We will be going to Paris 2nd week in September, Lot region 3rd week, and hoping to do Antibes area end of month.

I don't sleep on planes, and am generally uncomfortable on long-haul flights (we do Premium Economy not first class) so rather than fly direct from southern California, I prefer to break it up by flying somewhere east, spend the night, then do a non-stop flight next day.

This makes things a bit complicated if we do open jaw - fly into Paris, and maybe out of Nice. That calls for 5 or so different flights. Though DH says he doesn't mind and finds it easier in terms of booking, I think flying in and out of the same airport might involve too much driving.

Just wondering what you seasoned travelers do when flying to Europe from west coast USA when your trip encompasses multiple destinations?

Boots
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Old May 30th, 2017, 11:30 AM
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I fly non-stop if I can. I find that a layover somewhere doesn't help with jet lag and it just means it will take longer for you to adjust to the new time zone. You are better off doing it all at once, and just expect you will be jet lagged your first day there. If you are a melatonin-responder, you can use melatonin to help you adjust to the new time zone.

I also don't sleep on planes and find that I do best of I can take a flight that arrives at my destination in the evening or at night. I can take a shower, take a melatonin, and go to bed. I will typically awaken very early in the morning. I get out into the daylight early and do the things I want to do (I do try for a light schedule on my first day), take a melatonin at bedtime that night and I am in the new timezone when I wake up in the morning..
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Old May 30th, 2017, 11:48 AM
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Have flown LAX-CDG. Sometimes stop in NYC for a few days.
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Old May 30th, 2017, 11:56 AM
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We take 2-3 trips to Europe every year from SFO. We fly non-stop & purchase extra legroom seats. Both United & Air France have mid-afternoon flights. We get to the airport 3 1/4 hrs before our flight, check in, pass security, then have a big multi-course lunch with a bottle of wine for the 2 of us. About 2-3 hrs after departure, we'll have 2 ambien each, pop in ear plugs, an eye mask, and go to sleep. Upon arrival, we'll either drive no more than 2 hrs, take a train, or a short inter-Europe flight to our destination (if not Paris). We gave up 2-leg flights to Europe about 10 years ago.

When we return home, we almost always take a train back to Paris, stay at a hotel near the train station, have dinner at either Train Bleu (Gare de Lyon) or Le Dome (Montparnasse or Austerlitz), taxi to the airport the next morning, & take a non-stop back to SFO. We stopped multi leg flights back home about 3 years ago. We stay awake on the way home and multi-leg flights make the day too long & adds too much stress.

Stu Dudley
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Old May 30th, 2017, 12:05 PM
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I don't think there is such a thing as "typical flight structure." People start from different parts of the West Coast to different parts of Europe. Some West Coast cities have different flights to selected European cities and some don't. It is not always up to the passengers to decide direct flight or not.

I don't do what you are describing, that is via East Coast. I see all negatives and no benefits.

It takes more time. A direct flight to Western Europe is about 10 hours. I would not want to make it 5+ hours to do a sardine can cross country flight, check-in/out. Go through TSA all over again, then another 7+ hours. Longer wall clock time, longer flight time.

It adds risks. If it is during snow or storm season, chances of get stuck at the East Coast airport.

It is usually more expensive if done as one reservation. If you try to save by doing as multiple reservations, you assume all the connection foul up risks.
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Old May 30th, 2017, 12:10 PM
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Instead of driving, you could take the train back to Paris. But there are one stop flights from Nice to the West Coast leaving in the morning and arriving the same day in the afternoon.
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Old May 30th, 2017, 12:12 PM
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There should be no problem whatsoever with an open-jaw itinerary.

Ditto Greg on what he wrote:

If you fly to the East Coast and spend the night... flights to Europe typically leave in the evening, so you'd be spending an entire day in New York, Boston, wherever.

Going back to the airport the next day is an avoidable pain-in-the-neck. You'll have the expense of a round-trip airport transfer. You'll have to check in and go through security again.

It's maybe 10 hours from the west coast to Paris. If you split it up, it's a 5 hour flight followed by a layover, transfers, checking in again, going through security again, followed by a 7 hour flight.

You're overthinking this!
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Old May 30th, 2017, 01:11 PM
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I don't live on the West Coast although I used to. I have never had a nonstop flight from California to France, there just aren't hardly any, so that isn't really an option for most people. I think there are a couple in summer, but aren't they mainly from SFO? Anyway, I never had the option so couldn't have even if I wanted to. I usually changed at JFK, just worked out that way.

Now if I had a choice, I do prefer nonstop now from East Coast, but I don't think I would if I had to do a 12 hours flight from the West Coast, unless I had megabucks and could do it first or business class. That will never happen for me, so I don't think I would.

You make it sound like you can do anything you want and money is no problem nor flight availability? that's amazing, but I really don't understand why you think an open-jaw flight is so complicated, I do it most of the time I go to Europe. It doesn't require 5 flights, I'm not following you, it should be 4 and for each way, the airline handles it and shows you the layover choices anyway, it isn't really complicated exactly. Yes, you do need to make the choice of where you want to layover and how long, though.

Someone above says it is 10 hrs from west coat to Paris. I don't know how that could be possible as it's 7 hours from where I live on the East Coast. I think it's more like 11 hrs. That is a long time in a flight to me, but I hate flying.
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Old May 30th, 2017, 01:40 PM
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The OP described an open jaw flight WITH a layover (on US east coast). It is my understanding that this is not a "normal" fare structure. Open jaw + layover was "illegal" when flying on Frequent Flyer tickets. It is 5 flights if she flys from LAX to JFK (layover) to CDG to Toulouse (Lot), and home from NCE to JFK (or CDG) to LAX.

It is 10 hrs 40 mins from SFO to CDG. Longer returning. It's 10 hrs 8 mins from Seattle to CDG. There are 3 non-stops in summer & 2 in winter from SFO to CDG.

Stu Dudley
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Old May 30th, 2017, 02:08 PM
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I recently flew to Venice (and then home from Paris) using an Alaska Airlines award ticket - partners with AA and (until recently) Delta. I flew from Portland to Philadelphia for a few days (to visit family), then got a direct flight to Venice from PHL (AA). I flew a nearly direct flight home on Delta, from Paris back to Seattle where I was supposed to connect on to Portland, but my flight got changed to a connection via Salt Lake City the morning of departure, due to a long delay on Delta's Seattle flight.

This was all one ticket. Alaska allows for one stop-over for free on award tickets.

Still, I used my stop-over in the beginning as a way to stop and see family for a few days, not to break up the first day of travel. But it was nice having a direct flight to Europe from PHL. In fact, I greatly prefer the direct flight over to Europe if I can - I've taken the direct Portland to Amsterdam flight several times. I can't sleep on a plane either, but I would much rather get the flying over with and not have to fly two days in a row. Yes, I'm very tired my first day in Europe, but after that I do fine. I'd be just as tired if I split up the flying over two days.

A downside of connecting in the US in my opinion is the risk of a weather delay and getting to Europe a day late (or getting home a day late). I've been stuck too many times in Chicago etc. due to weather on domestic connections - don't want to risk that in an overseas vacation where a day's delay could ruin the early trip plans.
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Old May 30th, 2017, 03:20 PM
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I fly Air France , L.A. to Paris, non-stop, and in Premium Economy. I'll be flying it soon again. I have also taken that flight, many times in regular Economy, but switched over to Premium Economy class some years ago. I absolutely detest not taking non-stop flights and will only take ones where I have to change planes, if there is no other way of getting to my destination. When Thai Air had their non-stop, 18-hour flights from L.A. to Bangkok, I took the non-stop ones over the ones with stops although now, after about 12 hours in the air, I feel like I need to land. But, those 18-hour ones used to leave at around 10:30PM so it wasn't that bad as passengers/kids were quiet late at night.

Happy Travels!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2017, 04:20 PM
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(copied from the AirTravel thread...)

It turns out that my mom in Canada will be joining us on this trip to France. She's almost 80 so rather than her fly alone into a foreign airport w/o a cell phone, we will meet her in Toronto so that we can be on the same flight.

It's actually fine in this instance because I wasn't finding an affordable non-stop R/T flight from SoCal for September travel (we normally book more in advance). We were hoping for a SNA or SAN departure but the better deals were from LAX, a 2.5 hr drive that we would rather avoid. And Premium Economy seats were filling fast.

At any rate, thank you for your insights. We will def try to fly direct a la prochaine fois.

Boots

ps- I'd forgotten about the merits of melatonin - thanks for the reminder.
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