This is the first post for me, so I'm still trying to figure this all out. If this is the wrong forum, please bear with me. My questions are regarding which airline would be recommended for a trip from YVR to LGW and a return from CDG to YVR in late April or early May of 2004.
I am a SkyTeam member, and barring using SQ to AMS or FRA and then going on via rail, it appears my choices are DL and AF. Even using DL, two connections from YVR are necessary, so travel to an AF or SQ gateway is not an issue. Actually, come to think of it, for purposes of discussion, SQ won't be much in the plan unless someone can offer me a really convincing hard sell. Apparently they have legendary service.
Does AF offer first class? If so, is it worth the 80,000 required miles per person in lieu of DL's requisite 60,000 required miles per person (for BizElite, I'm assuming)? I guess it might make a difference if I use a West Coast gateway and have a 11 or 12 hour long-haul from SFO or LAX versus the proverbial "hop across the pond" from the eastern seaboard of the US.
I did fly AF on a DL codeshare from JFK to CDG in December of 1999, but aside from some vague memories of the flight attendant greeting me with "bon soir" and my brusque reply of, "Uh...yes" immediately followed by the not so subtle realization that I should have learned a little elementary French before vacationing in France, I don't recall much. Actually, suddenly a rush of memories of JFK and AF come to mind, all of which are titillating and dramatic, but none of them have any bearing on this current query of mine.
I've rambled too long, but the bottom line is this: I do not qualify as a hard-core frequent flyer or mileage runner, so this is probably a once, twice, and maybe if I'm lucky thrice in a lifetime opportunity for me to spring a surprise vacation to Europe for my spouse. Is it better for me to use 120,000 miles and use DL all the way, or is there an appreciable enough difference in service to cash in 160,000 miles and use AF or possibly SQ?
I value everyone's opinion, but I'm not so interested in specific nightmare stories of this flight or that flight. Every airline sooner or later flubs up, and sometimes in a big way; but rather, I'm interested in hearing generalities from persons who actually have experience and knowledge and can make some recommendations.
As an aside, I'm sad to be letting SkyTeam go when I use up all my mileage, but since moving to Vancouver three years ago, I can't really use them. DL uses Delta Connection to Vancouver, and for some reason they generally are double to triple to even quadruple the fares offered by other carriers. In addition, since they only offer YVR - SLC service (to my knowledge), and I travel mostly YVR-MEM, YVR-Canada, and YVR-West Coast, either three connections are required, they don't offer service to where I need to go, or else as previously mentioned, AS or UA offers non-stop service to West Coast destinations at a fraction of the cost.