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Old 01-04-2013, 08:56 AM   #1
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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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Old 01-04-2013, 12:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by small6no0 View Post
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)?
I have found that every time I book with Delta, the flight I end up flying bears very little resemblance to the flight I actually bought. They cancel flights, change times, change planes, etc, etc, constantly. I've lost & had to re-do my seat assignments multiple times. I've had flights that I spent extra for to get a non-stop changed to a stopover that added 6 hours to my travel time (the non-stop was canceled). I've had them change things so I had ten minutes between flight legs. And most of these changes, I was not informed about. I only found out because I've become obsessive about checking my reservations with them after being burnt. I only fly Delta if there's no other reasonable option available, or they are WAY cheaper. If you can deal with the frustration pre-flight, the actual flights have not been bad.


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Old 01-04-2013, 12:36 PM   #8
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Thanks for the (unfortunate) Delta feedback. I have had those experiences with them domestically as well. My primary hesitation at this point with US Air is we depart BCN at 10:45 am. We have booked airport transfers through DCL... will they get us there for that early a flight if the air is not booked through DCL?
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:06 PM   #9
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My last experience on US Air was in 2004 and it was SO AWFUL I will never fly them again (it was a domestic flight). I had a friend on a flight with US Air from Florida to STL who got a migraine mid flight and the flight attendent refused to bring her water! I would be very wary of that airline. ( I will add I flew them internationally to Europe in 1997 and it was fine, but that was nearly 16 years ago and a lot has changed since then in all aspects of air travel).

We flew Delta to Japan and it was fine. They had free beer and wine in coach and the food was ok (they at least had a gluten free option for me). But given the choice I would fly an international airline over domestic.
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