American Transatlantic Flights

Sat Jun 12, 1999 10:19 am

Is it uncomfortable to fly in American's Economy Class Transatlantic? Are the seats the same color and type as American's smaller planes, such as the 727? Also, do you eat off china or plastic?

Colin Kumpunen
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RE: American Transatlantic Flights

Sat Jun 12, 1999 4:45 pm

Hi Colin

You ask a lot of questions, which is good, but, maybe you should try reading some books(oh god - i sound like my mother, lol) In my opinion, no american carrier i have flone internationally, (united, and pan am) is up to the same standard as others. I know americans hate to hear it, and i am not trying to snob them, its just that outside the US, people never say anything great about american carriers. This is basically to do with the culture of aviation in other places. Here in australia, we have two world class domestic carriers. I mean, you name, you get it domestically. Everything except alcohol is served complements of Ansett and Qantas. And its great to be able to fly like this, however, by world standards, its very expensive, especially by US standards. The same goes in most of asia, where for short haul 2 hours flights you will find yourself onboard 747-400s or 777s or A330s/A340s. There is no discount carriers about. I have to say, as much i love being pampered, is it really worth it just for 1 or 2 hours? Long haul, yes, i demand it, but i think we'll all live fine for an hour or two. So, is what happans is some carrier like southwest comes along and makes this a reality. fares drop big time. The others still try to maintain their full service image, but, they can't because as much as a lot of people like those little extras, they chose not to spend the money for what ever reason. So, then, the full service carriers really can no longer offer full service in order to stay profitable, as they had to discound to avoid loosing about 90% of their customers on challenged routes. So, full service becomes crappy service made out to be full service. Now, in the usa, this culture has sort of spilled over into international operations. that is, the full service not really delivering. Except there really are not any discount international carriers - there are fare to many international bilateral agreements between countrys and life isn't all that easy for such carriers on those routes. Its far easier to make a small profit on each passenger a few times a day then fly them all half way across the world. and your markets bigger - far more people can afford $100 than $1500. Not even mentioning the time factor - people can afford a day or 2 away in many cases, and not a second longer. So discount carriers tend to stay away from international routes.

Anyway, on international routes, US major carriers are staffed by people who have been trained, educated and have their expirence in this environment i talked about. The trouble is, their competitors are not. Avaition in Europe Asia and the South pacific is a different story. Basically, because long haul really is a long time and those little extras to make a big difference. So, when these carriers fly to the US, they do the same thing they would do everywhere else. The result is carriers like British Airways making a killing on they're US routes. And, a very important foreign market not being very impressed with US carriers. As my travel adjent says "nobody ever says anything great about American carriers - nothing to write home about". In a lot of these markets, the foriegn customers have higher living standards and more disposible imcome than the average American. I know this for certain, having lived in Great Britain, Germany and Australia. This means, a lot of the travelers onboard are not american, and thus not accustom to the american aviation culture. The prices on contested routes are generally very similar. And, these people are not satisfied with the product, where many americans would expect little more.

Having more disposiable income means, that in many cases, the any carrier is chasing after that market more than the others - they simply can afford to pay. I only have to look at flights to Australia from the US - its much cheaper than buying a return ticket from australia. ie syd-lax-syd is a lot more expensive than lax-syd-lax. On japanese routes, its not uncommon for the price to be literally thousands of dollars higher. So, when they get on board a US carrier, and the service is less than what they are used to, they are not satisfied. The US carriers, believe, since this is they're culture, that what they give IS full service, because its a little better than they're domestic product. But as somebody else once pointed out to me, BA's shuttle is better than certain US carriers internation economy class.

So, to answer the question, the service on american carriers international service is good for americans, (those not used to traveling on foreign carriers - i have seen many americans complain about it too that are used to traveling on certain foreign carriers) but, you do have a choice, and, if it were me, i would avoid using an american carrier for international long haul flights. Now, i always give Qantas a hard time, but, my last flight to the US was Syd-SFO-Syd in febuary, and it was UAL. I do wish that i had used Qantas to LAX instead now, looking back. If you get a substancially lower price, go on the us carrier, but, if you don't, let yourself be pampered a tad more, and fly a Europian carrier or an asian or South Pacific carrier. The favourites are well known and obvious - just look out for the ones who have won the most accolaides, and maintain profitablity thoughout they're lives - they is a reason why people keep on comming back to chose these companies, allowing them to stay profitable, or very close to it, even in bad times.
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RE: American Transatlantic Flights

Sat Jun 12, 1999 8:34 pm

Very well put. It's funny cos in most other arenas Americans are the most demanding of good service etc (look how well America runs, and how consumer-orientated it is), but when it comes to airline service it all goes terribly wrong. Fly anything but US carriers (although I used to find USAir's trans-Atlantic service more in line with European service levels). Not sure about your statement about Europeans having more disposable income than Americans, maybe more in $ terms but the cost of living here is twice that of the US so as for "disposable", I disagree vehemently. America's standard of living for the greatest possible % of it's people is the best in the world.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz

RE: American Transatlantic Flights

Sun Jun 13, 1999 12:19 am

I think 'American MD-80' meant service on "American Airlines"(AA), not on all american carriers. I have not flown internationally on AA so I cannot tell you much. Sorry

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Joined: Thu May 20, 1999 6:04 am

Cedarjet - Look It Up

Sun Jun 13, 1999 2:43 am

go and do your homework - unfortunately you will find the average aussie, the average brit and the average german have a higher living standard than the average american. I wouldn't have thought so at first, it was a surprise to me too. But, its fact. Look up taxation documents in all countries - they speak for themselves. My experiences in california do back this up. In reality, the average american doesn't live in some hudge house and doesn't live like people do on 90210 beveraly hills, etc - or melrose place. A lot of people who have never been to america think this is what life is like in the USA.
What i saw in the suburbs where a lot of sad looking tired homes, with little garden or none and not very appealling. I saw heap and heaps of fat overweight kids and an substandard health system. in a lot of places, even owning a house is beyond the reach of most and the lived in crampted appartments too small for their needs. Sure, they are some people who live very well, but i am talking about the average person. Remember the cost of living may be a lot lower, but so are the wages for the average person.
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RE: Beverly Hills 90210

Sun Jun 13, 1999 3:59 am

I agree I live in Beverly hills and its nothing like the tv show. Most people don't know this and it bugs me.
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RE: American Transatlantic Flights

Sun Jun 13, 1999 4:16 am

since it seems as if everyone is gatting off the topic i'll try to answer. As for Americans (AA) economy seating it think it's pretty much standard thru out the airline. I usually fly AA on flight which average 4 hours and 3 1/2 hours is about the comfort limit in economy seating. My flights were mainly on 727, 757, and A300's and all three has similar seat dimensions. I hope that helps.
I reject your reality and subsitute my own

RE: American Transatlantic Flights

Sun Jun 13, 1999 6:45 am

I have not flown internationally, so I can't attest to the service on those routes, but the seats I have flown in. AA uses the same economy seats throughout the fleet, but the old seats seem a little more padded in the long range aircraft (DC-10's, 767's, MD-11's) that I've been in. The new seats, if you are on a plane with the new interior, are very comfortable. The headrests are nice if you're trying to sleep or hold your head at a certain angle to see the movies, and the seat itself is more comfortable. One note to anyone flying AA - they now have two blankets on the planes... old blue ones and new red ones to coordinate with the new interior. TAKE THE RED ONES! They are much more comfortable - softer and nicer! Only take the blue ones as spares or if nothing is left.
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RE: American Transatlantic Flights

Mon Jun 14, 1999 7:30 am

AA's transatlantic service is excellent. The intl fleet has much more space than the domestic fleet. AA's 767s are the most comfortable in the world. The Intl. A300s and the new 777s both have great legroom and interactive entertainment for every passenger. If possible try to book on on of these a/c. DC-10s no longer operate transatlantic flights for AA.
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American 767
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RE: American Transatlantic Flights

Mon Jun 14, 1999 8:48 am

Well done FlyAA757. You are absolutely right.
I agree with you. Yes, American's transatlantic service is excellent, that's what I always fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
If you fly American transatlantic, chances are it's a 767.

Ben Soriano
Brussels Belgium
Ben Soriano

RE: American Transatlantic Flights

Tue Jun 15, 1999 1:49 am

Coach seats are pretty much the same in every airlines and the main difference is the existence of individual TV sets. (there are some exceptions like Air New Zealand where Economy seats have legrests!) Now some airlines started installing seats with headrests and American is one of them. I think compared to other airlines, American's transatlantic coach service is fairly good. I dont recall eating in china though. Delta is one airline where meals are served in china. Even though most American carriers are rated inferior for their longhaul services compared to say, Swissair, Singapore or British, improvements have been made....Specially I think American carriers have been very successful in introducing traditionnal first call services at Business Class rates (Continental, US Airways and specially Delta's new BusinessElite which I find to be 5-star...)

If your flight is on an American A300-600R, your coach seat will probably be equipped with an individual TV.

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