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Old 08-15-2014, 10:39 PM
60 posts, read 55,014 times
Reputation: 39


Hello world!

This is sort of a follow up to my previous forum about the longest flight you've ever been on (please leave your comment there too!). I recently traveled Emirates from SFO to Dubai, which was an amazing experience. Turns out, Etihad plans to make SFO a destination in the near future too. It will also fly to the UAE, but to Abu Dhabi. So, assuming I don't care about where in the UAE I go to, I can fly either Emirates or Etihad starting sometime towards the end of this year. So which one is better? I'll have to wait until Etihad actually comes to SF, but that leads us into the topic of which airline to choose if the country you're flying to has more than one airline to choose from. SFO, for example, offers flights to the UK via BA or VA, Japan via ANA or JAL, Korea via Korean Air or Asiana, etc. I've also flown both Qantas and Virgin Australia (out of LA), as well as all the major American carriers (though I'm usually stuck with United). I can list from my own experiences the airlines I prefer, though you are welcome to object to my preferences via your comments:

British Airways or Virgin Atlantic: Virgin Atlantic (though I've only had one experience on each, and the guy sitting next to me on BA was pretty annoying)
ANA or Japan Airlines: ANA is amazing, I only flew Japan Airlines once but it was a little rougher than ANA at least for me
Asiana or Korean Air: Korean Air, Asiana didn't impress me as much and the crash, which happened at my home airport, sort of turned me off.
Qantas or Virgin Australia: Virgin Australia by a little bit, yes I am a huge Virgin fan, not that Qantas wasn't any good, but it just wasn't on the same level
The US carriers: If I had to decide among the major US carriers, I'd have to say US Airways was my best experience, with Delta coming in at a close second. US Airways wasn't impressive in any ways, but it didn't stink either. Same with Delta, and unlike United or American (I've experienced United enough to say that it's a horrible airline). However, I flew Virgin America once, and that ranks as the best American airline I've flown (no regional bias shown, honest).
The Chinese carriers: I've never flown Hainan Airlines, so I can't speak for that, but China Southern (out of LA) was an acceptable experience, more so than China Eastern and Air China (don't fly Air China!).
Bonus: Air Canada is OK, but my best experience on a Canadian carrier actually goes to Porter Airlines. I was in New York for business and needed to hop over to Toronto real quick, Porter Airlines accommodated me last minute and the service was great for a regional airline. And flying into Toronto City Centre Airport is an experience I'll never forget.

Well, there you have it. Like I said, feel free to comment, or protest. After all, none of my choices in any way reflect cost considerations and other quirks (such as upgrading and stuff like that). And please leave comments about the following comparisons as well:

Iberia or Air Europa: Never flown Air Europa, but Iberia was a pretty unpleasant experience.
Lufthansa or Air Berlin: Lufthansa was nice, except for one thing: they lost my luggage. Don't know about Air Berlin but you'll have to tell me about it.
Aeroflot or Transaero: I hadn't even heard about Transaero until two months ago (let alone it had services from the US). I flew Aeroflot once but that was a long, long time ago so my info is pretty outdated.
Air India or Jet Airways: Don't know about either one
Emirates or Etihad: Hey, a heads up would be appreciated! Or you can just make me wait until Etihad comes to SFO.

P.S. Actually, the best airline to go to Korea is Singapore Airlines, via SF. But you'd be better off taking Cathay Pacific from SF to Hong Kong. I also heard Thai operated a flight from LA to Tokyo but I don't know if it still operates.
Also, several American carriers offer flights internationally, but they're usually not as good as the services the country you're going to offers. Unless you're flying in business or first class, in which case I can't say because I've only ever flown economy (I don't really need the extra amenities). Of course, I didn't take cost into consideration.
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Old 08-16-2014, 05:30 AM
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I choose based on the alliances that my US carrier of choice has in order to maximize miles and upgrade benefits.
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Old 08-16-2014, 05:48 AM
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
3,402 posts, read 4,459,175 times
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I choose based on which is the cheapest only. I have no idea who flies where and I don't care either. I haven't had a carrier bad enough to avoid it in favour of others, plus I don't mind layovers. My favourite so far has been either Etihad or KLM. Worst has been Air Transat, but only because it has no entertainment system, or at least the last time I flew with them in 2012 they didn't.
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Old 08-16-2014, 06:05 AM
32,176 posts, read 33,090,513 times
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I too usually choose based on the cheapest flights available. If 2 carriers have similarly priced flights I will choose the one that I can accumulate/add frequent miles to ones I already have.
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Old 08-16-2014, 11:10 AM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,696 posts, read 16,148,308 times
Reputation: 7721
I live in an area with pretty limited airline options, so usually default to Delta because they use 717s (aka MD-something or others) out of VPS and have decent east coast and European connection options when the other carriers that fly out of there use tiny regional planes and usually require me to connect through Texas to get from Florida to Boston. Have tried Southwest out of another local airport because I had some gift cards for them, and if you're okay with their cattle pen-like boarding procedure, they're reasonably decent for mid-range flights and no better or worse than the US legacy carriers for economy service, though I don't really get the cult surrounding them.

I am price-sensitive, but if it's within about $150 and the routing is reasonable, I'll usually try to stick with a Sky Team option so I can credit the miles to Delta.
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Old 08-16-2014, 01:44 PM
2,988 posts, read 2,715,919 times
Reputation: 5637
You want to know which airline if the country has more than one airline flying the same route, but you aren't even considering any US based carriers.

You say Lufthansa lost your luggage; they didn't lose my luggage, but they screwed me out of a ticket during a snowstorm and I may have to take them to small claims court to get my money back. Besides, their North American call center personnel are very rude. My luggage has been lost three times on overseas trips, but never by a US based carrier.

I wouldn't write off British Airways just because they sold a ticket to an annoying person. Besides, he might not have been annoying when they sold him the ticket.

The crash turned you off to Asiana? What turned me off about Asiana was that the pilots in that SFO crash were so inexperienced that they had never even landed the type of plane that they were flying before, anywhere!!! As if that isn't enough, those pilots (if you can call them that) had never landed any plane at SFO before. I wouldn't fly Asiana if they gave me the ticket for free.
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Old 08-16-2014, 01:56 PM
Location: Sunrise
10,868 posts, read 14,280,311 times
Reputation: 9017
The short answer is it really does depend.

For instance, flying from LAS to FRA, I have Condor as a non-stop option, where most people do not. Roundtrip is around $1,200. While I can certainly beat that using other carriers, the value of not having a lengthy layover (or two) is worth it to me.

I look at each flight differently based on the route and the nature of the trip. Sometimes, I just want to get there as fast as possible. Other times I'm OK with a layover if it means significant savings.
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Old 08-16-2014, 02:08 PM
60 posts, read 55,014 times
Reputation: 39
@james777 yeah, interesting, a US carrier has never lost my luggage either, though one time after flying United my luggage ended up with a minor dent. I guess we complain too much about our carriers. Sorry about Lufthansa cheating you out of a ticket. I'll take your advice about trying out British Airways again. And, since Asiana 214 hit way too close to home, there is definitely some regional bias against Asiana simply because of the crash. Several of my local friends are also guilty of ditching Asiana just because of the crash. I guess it's just human nature.
I guess I'm just a bit too picky about airlines.
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Old 08-16-2014, 02:37 PM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,696 posts, read 16,148,308 times
Reputation: 7721
I've had NorthwestDelta delay my luggage, I think, three different times, but it's always reached me within 24 hours after scheduled arrival so I've been able to deal without breaking out the emergency underwear. (Schlep baggage from T to F terminal at ATL enough times and a 'only bring carry on bags' mantra starts to lose its appeal, so I'm inclined to check a bag a fair amount of time.)

I've got no complaints with British Airways, and actually give them props for reasonable hold baggage charges. On a recent trip, that made them the cheaper option than easyjet or Virgin would have been, even though base ticket price was slightly higher.

As for the Asiana crash, it's actually rather kind of impressive how few people died considering how many mistakes were made. If it weren't for the three dead people, you could call it a comedy of errors. NTSB final report here:

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Old 08-16-2014, 02:57 PM
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
10,437 posts, read 12,461,832 times
Reputation: 4861
The World's Top Airlines - Ranking 1 to 20 | 2014

The World's Best Airlines in 2014

2014 ----------- 2013
1 Cathay Pacific 6
2 Qatar Airways 2
3 Singapore Airlines 3
4 Emirates 1
5 Turkish Airlines 9
6 ANA All Nippon Airways 4
7 Garuda Indonesia 8
8 Asiana Airlines 5
9 Etihad Airways 7
10 Lufthansa 11
11 Qantas Airways 10
12 EVA Air 12
13 Swiss 16
14 Thai Airways 15
15 Virgin Australia 13
16 Air New Zealand 18
17 British Airways 27
18 Malaysia Airlines 14
19 Hainan Airlines 19
20 Bangkok Airways 31
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