flavio340
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 4:10 am

AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Fri May 25, 2007 8:17 am

I have had the privilege of flying the three largest US carriers across the Atlantic, specifically to FRA. This has allowed me to make several comparisons that I would like to share with you fellow readers. I have taken AA from ORD-FRA (763) and FRA-DFW (777). UA was from ORD-FRA (777) and FRA-IAD (747). DL was from JFK-FRA (763) and FRA-ATL (777). These trips have all been made in the past eight months, the trips over have been in coach, and back have been in business class.

(1) First off I want to say that the food service for all the airlines is the same. The coach, and business food was almost identical in taste and quality. The airlines had almost the exact same choices for both economy and business. This is not to say the food was bad, but if put to a blind taste test I could not tell the difference. In the business class all had metal cutlery, which I was glad to see.
(2) As for the F/A I want to say that these are all the same, each trip had a nice mix of good looking, happy, angry, it was like the snow white and the seven dwarfs. They were all professional and did their jobs as one would expect.
(3) The seats again I felt where all the same even in business class, my body was sore in all the same places regardless of class or airline.
(4) The inflight entertainment on the flights over on all the airlines where the same, United a little better with channel 9. On the way back UA, AA identical DL had the AVOD (very nice).
(5) Amenity kits on the airlines are standard, I am sorry but what ever happened to the combs. Eyeshades, and earplugs do me no good when my hair looks like it was blown dry by the engines.

Now for some differences:
DL: the free alcoholic beverage in coach is fantastic I love to have a bloody marry with my meal and then I can sleep much better. I also tried the new signature drinks (Big Apple Martini) I found it refreshing and very tasty (No martini glass but that just in the details). One thing that surprised me was amount of meals DL puts on their flight in business. I have no status and I am use to getting the last choice, but DL had 61 business class meals for 40 something passenger, WOW. The F/A uniforms I really like especially when you got a flight attendant that looked good in the red dress, my trip over on DL was when they could still were the healed boots, and man those looked fantastic. I liked the AVOD flight entertainment; it looks really cool, and is great expect it had to be reset once on each flight. Also on the games they have: inflight trivia, head-to-head chess and poker. I was really excited for the 777 I thought with 230 something people this will be cool, but no one played the chess or poker and the trivia only had two other players. What good is AVOD games if no one else wants to play.

AA/UA: For being the US two premier carriers the ones we want to go head to head against the flag carriers of other countries. I thought the service was on par or sub par with DL. I know that improvements are on the way and in the business class they are equal to DL. The F/A uniforms could use a little updating, I heard that DL hired a designer for their uniforms and that AA/UA had their uniforms made in-house. What ever happened to the glory days when a new uniform unveiling was meet with a great parties and designer competed for the chance to show their talent. They place they fall behind is in the economy class, the dinner/lunch service are great (for economy). The second meal breakfast/lunch are deplorable, but were they really lose out on is the no free drink, no snack trolley in the back (I have heard that this has changed),

In conclusion if your only choice in economy then try DL they really try to make you feel a little extra special for the money you pay. If you can only choose between UA/AA then it really does not matter. If you have the option of business class all three are neck and neck. In the end the airlines accomplished what they said they would; get me from point A to B safely and in a timely matter. All flights were on time and landed a little early what more could I ask for. I do belief though that the adventure is in the journey not the destination. Thank you for reading I would like to read you response and own thoughts/experiences. I apologize for not giving CO/NW/US any evaluation, as I have not flown them over the Atlantic. Also I have not flown any “overseas” carriers and therefore cannot compare AA/DL/UA to them.
 
AA737-823
Posts: 4888
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 11:10 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Fri May 25, 2007 10:00 am

Try CO next time, EWR-FRA. I am curious as to how they would compare with your other experiences, since they're my favorite. No AVOD though, can tell you that much. PTVs for now, avod on the way.
 
worldtraveler
Posts: 3417
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 6:18 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Fri May 25, 2007 10:54 am

While your assessment is encouraging for DL, remember that DL had the forethought to start its service rework in BK, UA started it a year out of BK (and their aicrafts took a beating during the 3 year BK stint), and AA is investing because they were on the verge of having the most dated product despite having never been in BK.

Also, remember that US airlines have basically decided to spend relatively little on new aircraft and instead focus on refurbishing what they have and adding winglets etc. The US airlines can compete with global carriers if for no other reason because they move such a large amount of traffic through their huge networks and have such great connectivity through their hubs. Plus,, US airlines typically use smaller aircraft than their European counterparts so it is easier to fill the planes.
 
chgoflyer
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 11:16 pm

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Fri May 25, 2007 11:18 am

Terrific observations. I like hearing what you actually experienced without all the political/Bankruptcy spin we hear about so often.
Will someone please wake me up in 4 years
 
RDUDDJI
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Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2004 4:42 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Fri May 25, 2007 11:38 am

As a coach pax, I would choose whatever carrier had AVOD. Personally, I've never gotten a sore back from any business class seat?! I have had some coach seats that could've used some more padding...

Unfortunately, U.S. carriers will lag behind their Euro/Asian counterparts for the foreseeable future as far as IFE goes. U.S. carriers just can't afford to spend the money. People in this country don't care about quality, they care about cheap.
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
UAL777UK
Posts: 2107
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 1:16 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Fri May 25, 2007 4:03 pm

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 4):
Unfortunately, U.S. carriers will lag behind their Euro/Asian counterparts for the foreseeable future as far as IFE goes. U.S. carriers just can't afford to spend the money. People in this country don't care about quality, they care about cheap.

You are so very right although, AA and UA are upgrading the cabins on their fleets albeit they are concentrating on F & J class where the money is. UA start at the end of the year.

Flavio340, great observations, well done.
 
LH417AF025
Posts: 181
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:56 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Fri May 25, 2007 9:41 pm

i fly UA all the time mostly in biz. to say that the meals in biz and in economy are hardly different is a little far fetched in my opinion.
 
bobnwa
Posts: 4460
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2000 12:10 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Fri May 25, 2007 9:47 pm

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 4):
Unfortunately, U.S. carriers will lag behind their Euro/Asian counterparts for the foreseeable future as far as IFE goes. U.S. carriers just can't afford to spend the money. People in this country don't care about quality, they care about cheap.

What about NW with all trans-atlantic flights in new A330's and all with AVOD?
 
flavio340
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 4:10 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Fri May 25, 2007 10:15 pm

Quoting LH417AF025 (Reply 6):

What I was saying is that UA economy and business class meals are the same as DL and AA. Not that the economy meals are the same as the business meals.
 
UAL777UK
Posts: 2107
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 1:16 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Fri May 25, 2007 11:25 pm

Quoting Bobnwa (Reply 7):
What about NW with all trans-atlantic flights in new A330's and all with AVOD?

Good point, NW were way behind on fleet renewel compared to the likes of say UA and AA with there wide body 777's joining the fleet, in UA's case over 10 years ago!. Now one could argue that NW has raised the bar with IFE, but as sure as eggs in time they will be overtaken by AA, UA and the others when they update their products.
 
atlflyer
Posts: 567
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:13 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Fri May 25, 2007 11:27 pm

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 4):
As a coach pax, I would choose whatever carrier had AVOD. Personally, I've never gotten a sore back from any business class seat?! I have had some coach seats that could've used some more padding...

Unfortunately, U.S. carriers will lag behind their Euro/Asian counterparts for the foreseeable future as far as IFE goes. U.S. carriers just can't afford to spend the money. People in this country don't care about quality, they care about cheap.

Delta, Northwest and Continental all have or are in the process of installing great AVOD systems. Also, Delta has said its Economy on its 777LRs will all have 9''+ PTVs...not lagging behind.
 
georgiaame
Posts: 949
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2005 7:55 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Fri May 25, 2007 11:44 pm

I can't comment on UA or AA re business class, but in my experience, the wines served by DL up front are superior to AF or CO when flying internationally. ( As is the glassware, and for those prices, I expect the fine points) Would that we lived in a world where my choice of airlines for international (or heaven forbid, domestic) travel could be based on the wine selection... And speaking of booze, I haven't seen Glenmorangie single malt on DL in years. When the choice is Dewars, order the gingerale.
"Trust, but verify!" An old Russian proverb, quoted often by a modern American hero
 
db373
Posts: 228
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2005 12:01 pm

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Sat May 26, 2007 12:28 am

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 4):
Unfortunately, U.S. carriers will lag behind their Euro/Asian counterparts for the foreseeable future as far as IFE goes. U.S. carriers just can't afford to spend the money. People in this country don't care about quality, they care about cheap.

That's a blanket statement that can be applied anywhere, not just here in the U.S. I believe our US carriers don't come close to RyanAir, and last time I checked, Ryanair was a Euro carrier....
Keep Delta My Delta
 
MCOflyer
Posts: 7069
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 5:51 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Sat May 26, 2007 5:46 am

I'd try the US 330 experience into FRA. Compare it to NW.

Hunter
Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
 
vegas005
Posts: 263
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2005 12:25 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Sat May 26, 2007 6:13 am

For the most part the AA flight attendants are tired, overweight, snots that should be sent back to flying domestic for a spin to remember what it is like. Flame me if you like, but I have been there 20+ times in the last 4 years on International flights and they suck!
 
ManchesterMAN
Posts: 1040
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2003 10:57 pm

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Sat May 26, 2007 6:40 am

I've flown with CO, US, UA, AA, NW across the pond in recent times (in Y) and I have to say they are much of a muchness. If I am to ignore E+ on UA and compare the standard economy comfort, service, entertainment etc. of the 5 carriers I'd have to rank them and I do so based on their flagship int'l aircraft as comfort often differs between models.

1/ NW (A330)
2/ CO (777/767)
3/ UA (777/763ER)
4/ AA (777)
5/ US (A330)

NW A330s are very comfortable with good entertainment and the service (whilst not usually delivered with much of a smile) is generally pretty good.

CO is pretty good as well and I like flying their 767s but the seats on the widebodies are a little too hard for my liking and they don't have AVOD. However the service is very professional and the aircraft are always imaculately presented in terms of clenliness (and I love the smell of CO jets too).

I have flown UA more than any other airline (which as a Brit is quite strange) and I love Ch9 and the crews are generally very nice. However the video entertainment doesn't always work and is very old. Plus the aircraft are not in the best condition on the inside.

As for AA for some reason I just don't like them that much. What really annoys me about the 777 Y seats is having the handset on the top of the arm rest which means when the selfish person next to you decides to hog it they can often adjust the volume on your TV by accident (a big problem if they fall asleep). I also don't find the seats too comfortable for my back. Again service is standard. They score highly for the pizza snack but the IFE is simply lacking options on a long flight.

US aren't that bad and I think are much better than some people say. And whilst the entertainment is pretty good, although it is a crime they do not have an airshow, I think the service is lacking, and the A330 interior is beginning to look worn out. Perhaps my biggest gripe is that on recent Eastbound trips from PHL they have not served a breakfast snack as other carriers do just before landing.

Haven't flown DL over the pond yet as I couldn't bring myself to sit in one of their 763 aircraft for 8 hours having just about managed it from ATL to Florida and LAX a few times. However they seem to be getting their act together and I look forward to flying them TA once they have revamped the interiors of their TA fleet.
Flown: A300,A319,A320,A321,A330,A340.A380,717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC9,DC10,MD11,MD80,F100,F50,ERJ,E190,CRJ,BAe146,Da
 
worldtraveler
Posts: 3417
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 6:18 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Sat May 26, 2007 6:45 am

while it doesn't necessarily affect the service, the A333 is one of the lowest CASM aircraft out there for 4000-4500 mile flights. Given NW's focus on feeding traffic in high volumes to KLM at AMS, it is the perfect aircraft for NW.
 
jfk777
Posts: 5830
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:23 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Sat May 26, 2007 8:10 am

Our airlines are in catchup mode, they need refreshed airplanes or new planes. With 6 years of 9/11unprofitability the big three need to upgrade entertainment and fleets to be competitive.
 
flavio340
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 4:10 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Sat May 26, 2007 11:56 pm

ManchesterMAN Thank you for you review I find it very interesting about CO and US. I have to agree with you about AA I love that airline until I have to fly them. There is never one thing in particular I do not like about them or I can find to gripe about, but it just seems that moral is low and everyone just does the bare minimum of their job. I have experienced this on every carrier I have flown it just seems more noticeable on AA then the others.

In regards to Vegas005 comments I have to agree although I think an new uniform might change that a little, like the aircraft interiors the AA uniforms are due for a little updating. I think that would help out that airline a lot.
 
PGNCS
Posts: 2249
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:07 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Sun May 27, 2007 1:22 am

Quoting Flavio340 (Thread starter):
I am sorry but what ever happened to the combs. Eyeshades, and earplugs do me no good when my hair looks like it was blown dry by the engines.

If you know you are going to need one, maybe you could find room in your carry on for a comb...Just a thought!  Wink

Quoting Flavio340 (Thread starter):
What good is AVOD games if no one else wants to play.

This is a GREAT observation. Many many people, especially on business routes, do not care about IFE; I am not surprised by this showing, and it reveals why airlines in financial disarray have been slow to embrace expensive IFE. You may care about it, as do plenty of people on this board, but it doesn't enter the travel decisions of most people; for most people the movies are the only part of the IFE package that has any appeal to them.

Quoting Flavio340 (Thread starter):
In conclusion if your only choice in economy then try DL they really try to make you feel a little extra special for the money you pay. If you can only choose between UA/AA then it really does not matter. If you have the option of business class all three are neck and neck. In the end the airlines accomplished what they said they would; get me from point A to B safely and in a timely matter. All flights were on time and landed a little early what more could I ask for. I do belief though that the adventure is in the journey not the destination.

I thought you wrote a really interesting post. It was well reasoned, and I appreciated your analysis. Just next time, try to remember your comb!  bigthumbsup 

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 4):
Unfortunately, U.S. carriers will lag behind their Euro/Asian counterparts for the foreseeable future as far as IFE goes. U.S. carriers just can't afford to spend the money.

It hasn't been a prudent investment in the past. Going forward, it is becoming the norm and you can expect further advances where it makes financial sense. Remember that what a multimillion dollar AVOD deal is done, that money is coming from somewhere, and that somewhere is your ticket price. In the past airlines have not been willing to spend on state of the art IFE because passengers wouldn't pay for it. The full potential of AVOD is still largely unappreciated by the average passenger. If you post on this board, you are not an average passenger.

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 4):
As a coach pax, I would choose whatever carrier had AVOD.

Like I said, this is not a thought that enters most passenger's minds when they purchase. You know more about the inflight product than the average passenger, and will adjust your flying schedule accordingly. Flavio340 made a great point about the relative lack of participation (especially on business routes) with these systems. I have no real stake in the argument (I'll take whatever flight suits my schedule best that is on a carrier I can tolerate) as I don't use the IFE onboard, but am glad when people do as it keeps them quiet around me. I think for the foreseeable future that the movies are the only major IFE function that will be used by the average traveler, certainly that's my perception from a lot of long range flying in all parts of the aircraft.
 
aviaction
Posts: 253
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 6:21 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Sun May 27, 2007 3:29 am

I've passed the big pond many times. Mostly on Lufthansa, many flights on United, Delta, Condor - and only one return-trip on NWA (less than 2 months ago).

Aircraft-wise my winner is NWA. I really liked the 330. Perfect aircraft! Clean, comfortable, excellent IFE. Alas, I have never ever seen lazier, less caring crews on any my flights. They did everything possible to make the flight a comfy one - for themselves. Passengers obviously only were a nuisance. I was barked at by one of the elderly f/a's "Blind down. Now! The light annoys me!". And told off by the purser who was chatting to a fellow crew-member "Can't you see we are talking?!" when asking for a drink of water. And no, they were not talking shop, they were exchanging shopping recommendations.

On the return flight DTW-FRA not a single water round was made during the night flight. After serving dinner (or should I say throwing the trays at the passengers?), the crew disappeared, only to re-appear shortly before landing, leaving behind only a night watch in the galleys. As the economy cabin was 100 per cent full, 50 per cent of the passengers had to disturb their neighbours to get out into the aisle to get themselves a drink, as none was offered by the f/a's.

There were quite a number of people travelling with children: assistance offered by the crew to stow things, to give a helping hand: nil, nada, none at all. As I said, the laziest crews I've come across in more than 25 years of extensive flying.

Service-wise my winner is - surprise - United. Always cheerful, helpful and friendly crews.

But best overall performance is very clearly Lufthansa. Good, clean aircraft. Good meals. Good punctuality. Good crews. Not perfect. Just good.

Good flying to all of us.

Aviaction


Edited for typos

[Edited 2007-05-26 20:51:40]
German by nationality, European by heart!
 
DALelite
Posts: 1318
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2000 7:00 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Sun May 27, 2007 7:06 am

i personaly have found the UA business class cheap in comparison to DL. Did a few trips domestic trips on AA last year, and i wouldn't to fly them over the pond the way i have experienced the FA's. Even though my dear cousin works as a
FA for AA.

cheers: DALelite
They loved to fly and it showed..
 
mop357
Posts: 109
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:05 pm

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Sun May 27, 2007 4:18 pm

Really interesting topic.
SA)">AA service does not seem bad to me because thats all I know. Maybe if I flew on another carrier I would be blown away. Looking at pictures of some European and Asian carriers first class cabin does look like they blow away American carriers first class cabin. I think Emirate, Virgin, and SA just has so much more style. What is the real difference between economy and business anyway? Is it just a bigger seat and better food?
 
UAL777UK
Posts: 2107
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 1:16 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Sun May 27, 2007 5:08 pm

Quoting Mop357 (Reply 22):
Is it just a bigger seat and better food?

Yep......and a lot more money!!
 
montanaflyer
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2006 3:03 pm

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Sun May 27, 2007 11:37 pm

I just took a transatlantic last week on DL and was blown away by their service, they were actually friendly, seemed as if they were enjoying their jobs and did a great job making the nine hour flight pass by quickly. The plane was spotless which surprised me being that it was an older 763.
not all who wander are lost
 
atlflyer
Posts: 567
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:13 am

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Mon May 28, 2007 2:47 am

Quoting Montanaflyer (Reply 24):
I just took a transatlantic last week on DL and was blown away by their service, they were actually friendly, seemed as if they were enjoying their jobs and did a great job making the nine hour flight pass by quickly. The plane was spotless which surprised me being that it was an older 763.

I agree...I can remember Delta planes being filthy. Now they always seem to be spotless. I was also on an older 763 last week and I was shocked at how clean it was. I love their new deep-cleaning schedule of atleast every 21 days for international flights and 30 days for domestic!
 
cba
Posts: 4228
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2000 2:02 pm

RE: AA, UA, DL, Transatlantic Comparison

Mon May 28, 2007 4:55 am

I've flown transatlantic on AF, VS, CO, KL and AA, and can give the following rankings (all for economy):

1. Virgin: Flew them three legs, IAD-LHR, LHR-BOS and JFK-LHR on both the 346 and 744. Service has always been very professional and fantastic. The seats are comfortable, and V-Port is the best IFE system I've experienced. The 744 cabin was a bit worn, however I like the feel of an older aircraft. The seats and IFE were still in good shape. The Virgin A346's are truly amazing planes to fly and I love what they have done with the configuration. The self-service water fountains between bulkheads in Y are also a nice touch.

2. Air France: Flown them IAH-CDG-IAH on just about every aircraft over the years: 742, 763, 343, 772, 332. All recent flights have been on the 772 and 332. Food service is excellent (love the free champagne post takeoff from CDG). IFE is good on the new aircraft, though nothing near VS's V-port. Service is friendly, and there's never a shortage of snack and drink runs by the FA's during those long flights. The 332's have a great interior, and the newly updated 777 interiors are simply amazing, those were some of the most comfy Y seats I've been in.

3. Continental: IAH-CDG, IAH-LGW-IAH. All 777. All were good flights. Service was friendly, food wasn't bad. I really dislike that you don't get complimentary drinks on intl. flights anymore though. IFE usually has a good selection of shows and movies but is not on-demand. Overall, not quite as good as AF or VS, but the experience is consistently good.

4. KLM: IAH-AMS-IAH, 744. Average experience overall. Food and service wasn't bad, but it was definitely better on the above three. They should also consider updating the 744 cabins. I can live with a lack of PTV's, however this type of service has become the norm and not the exception on transatlantic flights in the past few years. They feed you and get you there on time, not much more.

5. AA: DFW-CDG-DFW, 763. Generally not a great experience. This is the only time that I have flown AA transatlantic and it was several years ago, so it could have been an isolated experience. It wasn't a bad flight, but everything seemed to be on or a little bit sub par. Not a terrible experience, but given that I can usually fly CO, AF or VS for the same price, it's a no-brainer. I also collect OnePass miles, and thus try to restrict my travel when possible to Skyteam carriers and other CO partners.