OK, I think I might want to go to Amsterdam when my brother is going over there in a couple weeks. March 14-19.
My options are:
Delta ORD-JFK in a CRJ
JFK-AMS in a 767-300
AMS-ATL in a MD-11
ATL-ORD in a MD-80
AMS-CDG in an Air France A321
CDG-ORD in an Air France A340-300
Continental MDW-EWR in a 737-500
EWR-AMS in a 767-200
same on the return
They're both in the $620-$630 range. The only other options I have really that's cheaper is Iberia ORD-MAD-BRU (A340) or American ORD-BRU (763) or United ORD-IAD-BRU (763). Flying to Brussels would be significantly cheaper, like up to $200 so I'm considering it, but I don't know how to go about getting from BRU to AMS or how much it costs.
There are a couple of possibilities to get from BRU to AMS:
1/ Fly. KLM has daily flights, however this will quickly consume your 200 $ you had left ...
2/ Rent a car. But be aware that it will take you around 3 hours without traffic jams to get from BRU to AMS. Unless you are travelling in the weekend traffic jams between these two cities are a certainty and you will find them at least three times on your way. This can easily stratch the driving time to over 4 hours. Also, after a long distance flight you might not feel up to such a long drive.
3/ Take the train. A return ticket will cost about 100 to 150 euro. It is an extension of the high speed train between BRU and Paris. Only, the Thalys (that's how the train is called) uses the normal tracks so he doesn't really travel at high speed. Will take you from Brussels Midi railway station to AMS central station in about 2 hours. Problem is you have to get from BRU to Brussels Midi first. Easiest and cheepest is taking a ... train yes. It will cost you around 4 euro and it will take you about 30 minutes. Do not take a taxi from BRU to Brussels Midi because that is horribly expensive and can take you easily twice the time if it is rush hour.
I would personally lover to fly one of CO´s 762s because I have never been on that version.
Also Continental will offer you solid service and good inflight entertainment so I suggest, you choose to fly over EWR!
I definately reccomend CO. My older brother flew Air France and hated it. Just said that the service was crap and he didn't exactly enjoy the A340. The experiences I've had with Continental have quickly turned them into my favorite airline by far. I see that some of our members aren't too quick here. We are to pick from the list provided, not give other more expensive choices. I also know someone who flew coach with Virgin Atlantic and thought it sucked. I hear they have great first class, but coach sucks. Less leg room than other airlines.
I would go for Virgin Atlantic, but they dropped Chicago and they don't fly to Amsterdam. Plus, after a couple flights I think they're overrated. Good, but overrated.
If I fly to AMS I'm leaning towards CO because 1. I can pick my own seats (I can't on Delta), 2. The IFE and the new 767-200s, and 3. I don't like the CRJ and for the price I can't get around it on Delta.
But I'm really leaning towards flying to BRU since it's so much cheaper. I would be going on United....... I'll have this figured out by the end of the day.
MLS: My advice would be to take whatever gets you there the quickest. Remember, you're effectively losing a night by flying over. So if you leave the 14th, you'll get there the 15th.. leaving you with just 4 days without travel. If you fly to BRU, you can pretty much count on losing the first half of the 15th getting to AMS. That's time I personally like to use to nap so I'm not dead to the world for the rest of the day.
My suggestion would be to take DL or CO to AMS. Make your connections in the US so that you have as much time as possible in AMS. As for which one between the two: you might find CO more comfortable and with better inflight entertainment, from what I've been reading. But, a ride in an MD-11 would be nice too.. Another thing to keep in mind is FF miles.. make sure you join the FF program of whichever airline you take. MDW-EWR-AMS-EWR-MDW will get you about 8700 miles on CO. ORD-JFK-AMS-ATL-ORD will earn you almost 9400. Make that trip three times on either airline and you've got yourself a free domestic ticket.
I recently flew KLM on a NW codeshare from SFO to AMS and the plane was old, uncomfortable and the food was not fit for a dog. Lucky for me my return flight was delayed and I got transferred to Premium Economy on BA from LHR to SFO.
I'd fly with bmi british midland via Manchester, England. You'll get to fly their fairly new A330s and considering they're a reasonably small airline the novelty factor might make it interesting for you!
From what I've heard the long haul service is very good, and i've flown short haul with them and had a great time.
I cross the pond often and I would take either CO or Delta. Avoid Iberia,by far the worst I have ever been on! Unless you speak French I would stay away from AF also! BA also would be a good choice,great service! Have a good flight!
Thank you for all of your replies. It's UA ORD-IAD-BRU and a train BRU-AMS. UA and the train were about $155 less than flying straight to AMS. I'll get a 777 out to IAD and 763s the rest of the way unless there's a substitution.
I might get stuck in some bad seats on the way over but it's windows on the way back.
I'm looking forward to trying UA's longhaul product.
Take Continental. Air France is great too, but you'd have to cross the pond with Delta on an MD-11 or 763, and those are torturous. CO's 762's are like mini-777's. They have the new interior, and PTV's for every passenger. However, don't base your opinion solely on PTV's, as I found them to be overrated on my IAH-CDG-IAH trip back in December/January.
Cba how often have you flown on Delta's MD-11's or 763's? Why do you call them torturous? I have flown both many times and am 6ft.2in.at 240lb! I have always found both quite comfortable and roomey.Just wonder how you arrived at that statement? I agree CO's 762 are great!