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Transatlantic Service

Wed May 14, 2003 11:03 pm

From experience, which North American carrier has the best transatlantic service? How do they all rank? Your answer could be based on personal experience, or experiences you heard someone relate....
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RE: Transatlantic Service

Wed May 14, 2003 11:08 pm

Well for comfort I would say AA with the more room through coach. Also the trip reports I have read usually give AA good marks for quality of food and also the 777's have PTV's as well.
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RE: Transatlantic Service

Thu May 15, 2003 2:07 am

I would agree on that, just on the legroom and ptvs alone on AA 777, they are the best. However, I believe their 767-300s do not have ptvs, making it slightly less enjoyable. Continental is good in coach because all their widebody aircraft have ptvs and their planes are all very new. United offers ptvs on all its widebody international flights. Delta and US Airways offer ptvs only on select aircraft (DL on 777s and US on A330s). Northwest is awful. No winged headrests, cramped rows, no ptvs, and very little entertainment. Food wise, I can only speak for Continental, which was good but is cutting back. However, from other posts it sounds like there will be an improvement when the A330s come on line.

In terms of traditional Business class, United, American and US Airways (only on A330s) have three-class layouts. United's busines class seats are nice, don't know about US Airways. However, all three look basically the same in terms of space, features, and comfort.

Delta, Northwest, and Continental, meanwhile, offer premium business class seats and do not offer first class. Northwest's World Business Class has lots of leg room but their current seats are in serious need of redesign. Their seats have very little features and entertaintment/IFE system is getting old. Delta's seats are a little better, although i hear they are somewhat cramped. Continental has be the best right now in this category, at least in their 777s. ON the 777, they have installed sleeper seats (well, they are completely flat on a sligth incline) with new IFEs and such. I have heard good things from my Dad who flies them frequently. From what I hear, Northwest is going to adopt a similar configuration on their A330s and later on their 747-400s. Continental's 767s have the old-style seats which are big, but are roughly equivalent to Northwest's current seats with better IFE. Food wise, I have heard that Continental is best and Northwest is very average. Delta, I cannot comment on.

In terms of full First Class, American and United have to be the best. Both offer full lie flat sleepers aka British Airways. On transatlantic flights, American's 777 sleeper seat has a unique swivel feature that allows you to eat face to face with ther person next to you in the center seats. US Airways offers sleeper seats in its very small first class on the A330s only, but I have heard people say they are not worth full price as they do not have the same features as AA and UA.
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RE: Transatlantic Service

Thu May 15, 2003 4:03 am

I tried all airlines in all classes:
Here are my quotes:

American Airlines
Couch: Nice on 777`s, but just average on the 767/AB6`s !
Business: Average service on all aircrafts, nothing special
First: Good on 777`s, average first on 767`S !

Continental Airlines
Couch: Best Economy Class on Transatlantic in all aircrafts!
Business (called BusinessFirst!): Best Business Class on Transatlantic on all
US Airlines!

Delta Air Lines:
Couch: I would say just bad, 777`s are ok! Just average, nothing special at all!
Business (Business Elite): OK on 777/M11`s, bad on 767`s (not much room)

Northwest Airlines:
Couch: I think there is nothing worse!
Business (WorldBusiness Class): Nothing special at all!

US Airways:
Couch: Good on 330`s, average on 767`s!
Business: Nothing to talk about, compared with NW! Less room than other`s!

United Airlines
Couch: Was very good in the beginning of 90`s, now just average!
Business: I would always choose Continental, but slightly better than couch!
First: I wouldn`t pay for it again, not better than CO`s BusinessFirst!

American Trans Air (Ad-Hoc Charter and military)
One Class Cabin called Couch: Bad, just bad, but a lot of fun in the air!

- - - gone but not forgotten:

Pan Am
Couch: Just average, but I still miss it!
Clipper Class (Business): I really liked it back in the 80`s!
First Class: was always better than Lufthansa`s First Class

Couch (Comfort Class): Just average but the nicest flight grandma`s in the air.
There was just something special about TWA
Business (Trans World One): Was always my favorite Business Class, always booked my Tickets from Swizerland or Germany via Paris/CDG or London/Gatwick just to fly them (After they stopped serving Zurich, Munich and Frankfurt). A lot of Room, and just the best inflight crew!
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RE: Transatlantic Service

Thu May 15, 2003 4:07 am

AA has the edge if you're talking about coach, although I would say that as a general rule the American carriers across the Atlantic all tend the sap the glory of travel out of the experience, to a certain extent. On the other side of the ocean, Virgin has a flair and British a professionalism that none of the American carriers match, in my opinion. But, anyway, AA has comfortable seats, ample room, decent food, and about as much service as I would expect to get for 400 dollars. My main complaint is that, while they may have PTVs, IFE quality on the 777s tends to be way below acceptable. Who's choosing these movies and music? I often get frustrated when I realize that someone is getting paid to recommend them.

Meanwhile, I've experienced business class on AA, and the seats are terrible. The room is great, but I found myself often thinking I might be better off in coach. The headrest is so poorly designed that anyone of an average height (just around 6 feet or under) has their neck pushed forward severely unless they take some extreme steps, using pillows and blankets, to avoid the headrest altogether. Once again, someone got paid to design these seats, and AA probably paid them a lot. It's truly frustrating. Also, the IFE is exactly the same as in coach, including size of the screen, which is unacceptable in my opinion.

Just one opinion out of many though...

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RE: Transatlantic Service

Thu May 15, 2003 4:50 am

TranStar: US Airways has removed First Class on the A330's, leaving Envoy and Economy classes on Transatlantic flights.

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RE: Transatlantic Service

Thu May 15, 2003 5:11 am

I have only flown transatlantic with NW, CO, and VS. This was all in Y class and all my flights were about the same. But I think CO stands out with the best overall service. I flew VS twice last year from the states to LHR and back so four segments and don't really understand what the hype is all about. It felt more like a cattle car with a high tech IFE system. I'd take a few more inches of legroom in turn for the IFE!

I think BA's introduction of Traveller Plus and VS's more intense marketing of Premium Economy shows that on long haul flight what really counts is room!
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RE: Transatlantic Service

Thu May 15, 2003 5:27 am

I have flown transatlantic on just three flights with Delta (2 MD-11, 1 777) and they were good, in fact the 777 flight was my best flight ever! The service is average, as is the food. The entertainment is fine and the comfort is fine too. I, unlike a lot of people though, find the 777 seats on DL very comfortable. They are wide and have good legroom. The other three transatlantic flights have been with European airlines (SR and BA) and Delta cannot even begin to compare to the service of SR. Delta is still good though and I would recommend them if you are planning on flying a transatlantic soon and they are a viable option.
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RE: Transatlantic Service

Thu May 15, 2003 7:49 am

If we are talking about US carriers, then I must say they are pretty much the same in Y Class as far as service goes (food, FA's). The differences are with the physical product itself - AA is tops for legroom, CO for food, and a mixed bag for IFE. The topic is asking about transatlantic service in general, so if you ask me, none of the North American carriers (AC included) comes out on top, because you've also got SQ doing transatlantic, and the premium airlines of Europe like BA and LX. Don't forget that flights from Europe to South America are also transatlantic, so LanChile can be considered a serious player. I think the question could have been more specific, like North Atlantic crossings, or UK - US or Canada only, or continental Europe - North America. If you ask me, BA is certainly tops - unmatched number of destinations from London to the US, Canada, Mexico, Carribean, South America (all transatlantic routes), fairly consistent service, great IFE, good quality of lounges, etc, etc, etc.......
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RE: Transatlantic Service

Thu May 15, 2003 7:39 pm

How are the US carriers relative to European carriers ? For next month's travel I have the choice between United's Boeing 777-200 and 767-300 and Lufthansa's Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A340-300 (or possibly one of Lufty's ex SR/SN A330-200s). My understanding is that I would have a PTV on United, while on Lufthansa they would be available on the A330-200 ? How about food service on United Airlines ?
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RE: Transatlantic Service

Thu May 15, 2003 11:35 pm

A lot of people at my work fly Star Alliance carriers from IAD to Frankfurt. They have all stated that they prefer the United legs better than the Lufthansas legs.

I'm flying United from IAD to LHR in June. Unfortunately, it's on a 767-300ER not a 777. However, I flew the 767 international configuration last year from LAX to IAD. All in all, I like the 767's 2X3X2 configuration over the 777's 3X3x3 or 2X5X2 configuration. The IFE was nice. I also like United's coach seat. It has a great, gelpack adjustable headrest, with a headrest cloth attached, and the cloth they use on their seat is particularly soft. Continental has headrest and IFE. But the cloth they use for their seats is a little too rough.

At least on United's transpacific flights they gave eye shades and ear plugs in coach. They also hand out menus. Don't know if they do that on transatlantic flights. It's always a small, but nice touch to a flight. European airlines continue to do that, but a lot of US carriers have dropped the practice.
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RE: Transatlantic Service

Fri May 16, 2003 12:37 am

Remember, US is the only carrier with on-demand PTV video in their A330s, which serve all destinations via the brand-new terminal @ PHL at least once daily except MUC, SNN, AMS, and DUB
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RE: Transatlantic Service

Fri May 16, 2003 1:04 am

I crossed the pond on Northwest's DC10 from BOS to Amsterdam in coach class. I will never fly that route again with NW unless they get a new plane with modern IFE. I was lucky enough to get a seat at the door so I had plenty of leg room. The service was pretty good though, to Northwest's credit.
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RE: Transatlantic Service

Fri May 16, 2003 1:27 am

I must admit I am looking for the folks who have good things to say about US Airways transatlantic service on the A330. I am planning PHL/FRA later this year on US... I want to be able to look forward to the experience. I heard that the seat pitch was pretty good in ecomony. Is that true? How does it compare to the other members of the big six?
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