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Old 01-04-2013, 08:56 AM   #1
Earning My Ears
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International Flights US Air vs American/British Air

We are headed to BCN via LHR in June. As everyone knows, high season airfare is brutal. As a family of 4, we must fly economy (even premium economy is out of the budget).

Our best options (time/expense/schedule) are US Air out of BNA or British Air out of STL (American between STL and ORD). US Air out of BNA is more direct and slightly cheaper.

However, the general consensus seems to be European carriers provide better transatlantic service, even in coach. What are your recent experiences? Is it worth driving farther to STL and paying slightly more for British Air?
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:06 AM   #2
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British Airways a year ago out of ORD....they were OK, but nothing special. The frustrating part was that I couldn't complete the 24 hour ahead check in on line (kept getting a message that this flight was not eligible for advance check in). Called BA and success. So, flew from local airport to Chicago for plane change and had to check in again...and was told that I might not get on the plane SINCE I DIDN"T DO THE ADVANCED CHECK IN. The agent proceeded to advise me of my rights if they bumped me from the flight.

Didn't get bumped, all was well....but it was frustrating. The flight itself was fine, but nothing to write home about. Not really different than a domestic airline recently--they have all decreased in quality over the years.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:28 AM   #3
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We live just an hour from BNA, so I consider that our "home" airport and for domestic flights it's always cheaper than surrounding ones, but for international flights, I find flying out of ORD much less. Is that an option for you? We have found a very fair-priced Holiday Inn Express near ORD where you book a park and fly package and they bring you and pick you up at the airport and you leave your car at the hotel. We have done this two summers in a row and while it does add one night to our trip to get to Chicago, it has saved us over $1,000 both times.

Just a thought! We fly American Airlines 99% of the time, so while I can't comment on your actual question I just wanted to give you another option to save some money! As a family of 5, I know how expensive flying gets...especially internationally.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:32 AM   #4

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If you are flying economy the US carriers and European carriers will be very similar. The major difference seems to be that European carriers still serve complementary wine and spirits in economy on international flights. Seating and leg room seems to be about the same, though.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:19 AM   #5
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I have always had much better experiences flying on international carriers to Europe. The complimentary wine, spirits and after-dinner cordials are a nice touch. The food still isn't great but it is a tad better than domestic. We've also gotten hot towels after dinner too. I find the service to be nicer as well. That said, I wouldn't book a less-direct and/or more expensive flight just to be on a foreign carrier instead of domestic. I was really hoping to be back on Air France or Lufthansa for our Med cruise this summer but surprisingly their 1-connection flights were priced higher than the direct flight on USairways from Philly, our home airport. So, of course we booked USAir. At those outrageous prices no matter which airline you choose, you need to be conscious of every dollar and not pay even a little more for slightly better service and drinks, IMO.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:02 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the quick feedback! I really appreciate your input. I actually did price out of ORD since we have family there, but with our flights, it was actually only $15 cheaper per person than out of STL! Since last night a new option has popped up out of BNA...KLM (but really Delta) through ATL. Thoughts on Delta vs US Air (through CLT)?
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