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Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 7:24 pm

First Time Across The Pacific

Thu May 11, 2006 7:52 pm

I'm hoping all you experienced travellers can help us first time long haul travellers. We are looking to fly in Y from MEL to LAX in the future to take our 7 & 10 year old kids to Disneyland and want to know which airline is best in this category. We will be returning SFO to Mel. We have QF,ANZ and UA direct from Mel (NZ stop over in AKL) and a range of Asian airlines from Mel with one stop over. Friends of ours have gone to SYD and flown Air Tahiti Nui which they said was fantastic. Which would you recommend flying with kids? Also, as flights are long, which seats would give peace and quiet for family of 4 (ie not next to toilets or galleys etc) and best leg room if flying 747 or A340 (I am 6'1"). Is it worth paying extra for Premium Economy? Do we need to book special meals for kids (they eat everything anyway). We have flown short haul many times, but this is first long trip. Have found NZ better than QF on trans Tasman routes.
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RE: First Time Across The Pacific

Thu May 11, 2006 8:54 pm

I know how you feel im 6'3 and thats my worry every time.

Well Air New Zealand flys to LAX as does United Airlines and they are part of the star alliance and after all the mileage points you get for you and your family you would almost get a free flight.
Its a 14 hour flight from Melbourne, I live there but am in London for a few years for work and travel.

Qantas also flys but i have always been sceptical about their service etc as they often get very mixed opinions, but then again you might have a great flight.
I would go Air New Zealand and you would probably be stopping in NZ for a few hours which might be good to give the kids a breather and minimize the long flight time ahead.

Go to this link below and have a look for ANZ boeing 747 and it shows all the seat configs of their different aircraft. You will highly likely be flying the 747-400.

For a family of 4 the middle seats might be the best if you want to stick together although right down near the back there are 2 rows of 2 seats which might be perfect for you, your wife and kids. seats 57, 58 H & J. when you look on the website link i have given you then it will make more sense. Ignore the "be aware" if the kids sit on the window side they can get up and walk around to the other seat without going into the isle and you also have a feeling of more room, mind you the window is a little further away.
These configurations are on all 747's and most 777's

Dont pay extra for premium economy, you may aswell fly business and let the kids go economy. Its all part of the experience anyway and you might want to look into kids meals aswell even if they eat anything, they might get some toys with it and its keeps them occupied for that much longer.

have a great trip, Your family will love Disney land, go on the "soaring" ride which is in the california dreaming fun park attached to disney land. Its fantastic and worth the wait.
Sometime in easter 10 .... yet to book :)
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RE: First Time Across The Pacific

Fri May 12, 2006 12:26 am

Don't mean to scare you but If I was you I would consider Disney World(Orlando,Florida) not Land. Last time I flew long haul with a child which was my sister which was around 5, I remember that there is a section of open space between the Premium Economy and Economy (over wings) in the 747 where kids usually can walk around and maybe talk with the other kids around the seating area, that really made the flight go quick because my sister would just go to that area and play with the other kids, I don't remember her actually sitting for more than 2 hours at a time, great for me.

Don't know if sitting at the back of the aircraft is a good thing, first the back shakes a lot in turbulence and you will be served last. But don't worry that 14 hours will go by real quick. I would say choose United, no need to add another stop to this long flight plus United has old IFE but it's actually pretty good.
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RE: First Time Across The Pacific

Fri May 12, 2006 12:13 pm

From Melbourne, QF will go direct to LAX
ANZ will go via Auckland, and i am sure it will be a 744
UA will go via SYD

I think you might want to avoid UA as there will be no PTV for the kids on their 744 fleet.

QF over IFE in all classes and AVOD will come soon.

What about Hawaiian airlines via HNL?
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RE: First Time Across The Pacific

Fri May 12, 2006 4:32 pm

I would fly NZ. NZ6 is definitely a new config 744, and I can say from personal experience that is comfortable and the entertainment sufficient to keep kids amused for the duration. Seats are 34" rather than the 31" in QF/UA, and if you can afford it the Premium Economy is definitely worth the extra money every time
Flown to 126 Airports in 47 Countries on 80 Operators. Visited 56 Countries and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
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RE: First Time Across The Pacific

Sat May 13, 2006 8:51 pm

Speaking from exprience, with 7 & 10 y.o's I would go for non stop long hauls! In other word, if you have to make a connection do it beore the long haul, not after. So from MEL, QF is the go to LAX. On the return I would go via LAX so I could return LAX-MEL non stop, rather than from SFO and make connections in SYD or AKL (UNLESS you can say a few days, thats different!)

Making connections in strange, busy airports with tired, cranky and pissed off 7 & 10 y.o's is NOT something you want to subject yourself to, BELIVE ME!!!

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RE: First Time Across The Pacific

Sat May 13, 2006 9:31 pm

Hello; going to LA and Disneyland will really be a great trip.

There are 3 options.

Each of these airlines will allow you to fly into LAX and then fly out of SFO.

QF can fly you direct to LAX from Melbourne, each seat will have your own Personal TeleVision. Helps on those long flights.
QF gives you 2 options from Melbourne to LAX direct 14 hours or a short stop over in Auckland. The stop over adds a bit of time but its a nice break.
Qantas may have AVOD "Audio Visual On Demand" available so that means you will be able to watch a movie any time you want; pause; stop, start change channel which is really nice. The leg room on Qantas is only 31 inch so I find it a bit tight. The trip back on Qantas will require a stop in Sydney unless you fly American Airlines first to LAX to connect to a direct flight to Melbourne. SFO is a nice new modern airport LAX is a dump in comparision.

UA has daily flight from Melbourne to LAX or SFO with a stop over in Sydney.
No PTVs are available in economy. United probably offers the best prices. One good thing about UA is that your American holiday starts the time you step aboard the aircraft and the LAX terminal is better for UA.

NZ Fly the 747-400 from Melbourne to Los Angeles via Auckland daily. The 747s on Air NZ have 34 inch seat pitch and have PTVs with AVOD. You will get a lunch service out of Melbourne to Auckland; Then dinner and breakfast on the flight to Los Angeles. The flight times leave MEL about 12;00pm and arrive LAX at 12:40pm. QF flights leave at 10;25am. Air NZ fly the 777 out of SFO to Auckland, and then a 777 or 747 to Melbourne. The 777 has the same AVOD as the 747 but the pitch is only 32 inch. better than Qantas but not as good as the 747.

The 747 offers the best seating arrangement for a famly of 4 as the 4 centre seats are good for this.

The 777 only offers 3 x 3 x 3 so not as good for a family of 4.

My choice Air NZ.
Why fly non stop when you can connect
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RE: First Time Across The Pacific

Sun May 14, 2006 7:05 pm

In terms of legrook I'd go for Air NZ. On the 744 they have 34' instead of the common 32', which makes a huge difference. As you said, I feel that NZ is better than QF. But I must admit I haven' flow QF long haul for quite some time, so it might have changed. If you consider Economy Plus, then Air NZ has it on offer now as well. But UA offers this as well, and nonstop from Australia to LAX.
Like you, I haven't been on Air Tahiti Nui, but have heard they are just fantastic. They fly the A340, and I love that bird. Even with the standard seat pitch I always have the feeling it is roomier and quiter.

No matter how you decide, it can be a long stretch for the kids. But different kids react different to long flights, and even if they get a bit grumpy, the time at Disney will make up for it anyway  Smile

Enjoy your trip!
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RE: First Time Across The Pacific

Sun May 14, 2006 8:29 pm

Quoting Gemuser (Reply 5):
Making connections in strange, busy airports with tired, cranky and pissed off 7 & 10 y.o's is NOT something you want to subject yourself to, BELIVE ME!!!

Well if you are flying NZ then no need to worry about AKL as it is not a large or indeed busy airport. 10 Airbridge gates plus some layover gates for smaller aircraft. NZ 5/6 MEL-AKL-LAX stops off for about 2 hours, good chance for the kids to run around, have some space before the night flight up to LAX.
Also NZ has 34" legroom and much better IFE than either UA or QF.  Smile
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