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Good Experiences About North American Carriers

Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:15 pm

Perhaps this will get a little debate going but I just wanted to write a post about the North American carriers. I notice that many of these large companies get quite a bad press compared to European or Asian companies. However, I would like to just say that I have always had really good experiences on American carriers. I have flow CO from Gatwick - Newark, Newark - Toronto, Vancouver - Houston, Houston - Gatwick. I have also flown AA a number of times - Heathrow - Miami - Lima (return) and also Heathrow - JFK and domestic. On both airlines, I have always had nothing but positive experiences and the crew have always been lovely! Yes, some of them are older but I don't mind that. On CO from Houston - Gatwick we experienced bad turbulence (which was pretty scary) and the crew did everything to reassure people! OK, my experiences may be limited and I have only flown economy but all of them have been great! All of these trips are also within the last five years. I have also flown long haul on BA, KL, SQ, LX and EK. While EK is my favourite, I also loved AA. Anyway, just wanted to write something nice about these carriers and see what other people think?
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RE: Good Experiences About North American Carriers

Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:40 pm

I've had pleasant experiences flying AA and DL transatlantic, and the domestic flights I've been on with those carriers (and two domestic flights on CO, btw, courtesy of non-reving with my step-uncle) have always been good. Most memorable would be my flight from ORD to MAN on a AA 763 on New Years Eve a few years ago. Half-empty plane, happy and boisterous cabin crew, decent food. Excellent, from a Y-standpoint.  bigthumbsup 

Having flown both UA and United Express (Air Wisconsin and Skywest), the mainline flights have also been good, but the Express ones just feel like a bus-ride. Perhaps it's just the fact that the planes are smaller and feel more crowded, but the F-concourse in ORD for example, what a zoo!

My flights with NW, and TW (way back when) have been less pleasant. While I'll jump at the chance to fly a DC-9, the crews and the service on NW's longhauls have been a little dissapointing (haven't had the chance to experience NW's longhaul products since the introduction of the A330s, but I hear it's decent), not to mention the geriatric crews on TW's 762/763-operated transatlantics in the late 90's. The food generally sucked too. Still, a flight that holds a special place in my heart is TW flight from LGW to JFK, which was my first ever flight on a 747, and a -100 no less, just months before the type's retirement from the fleet!

Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
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RE: Good Experiences About North American Carriers

Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:45 pm

It is always about the cabin crew on board. They are humans and they are all different. Nice people, nice flight. Idiots, nichtmare flight. Of course at some airline food is sometimes better. In premium classes seats are often very different, but, once more, it is mostly a personal thing.

I flew DUS-ATL some month ago with DL Class C and was really impressed by the friendliness of the cabin crew. A friend of mine returned yesterday from JFK to FRA ( C, too ) and told me, Service was a complete nightmare. Even worse than in coach at most airlines.

However, and this is true: The "dragons" which you have very often onboard US carriers are anything, but not a guarantee for good and fiendly service.
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RE: Good Experiences About North American Carriers

Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:49 pm

Quoting Doona (Reply 1):
My flights with NW, and TW (way back when) have been less pleasant.

Hmm NW fixed us an upgrade on our long haul honeymoon trip (both ways)

I was exhausted & had jet leg after some long days: TWA gave me a cheap last minute ticket to get to NY & the DC9 captain allowed a reconnected to the gate to let me aboard.. a worn old DC9 but lots of legroom, nice crew & a beautifull night flight over lightened cities, one of my most memorable flights..
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
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RE: Good Experiences About North American Carriers

Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:51 pm

If you ask me, U.S. carriers (and the U.S. flying experience) in general isn't quite as bad as it's made out to be sometimes.

Sure, service on U.S. carriers is more basic - especially in Coach - and within the domestic U.S., it's now a rarity to find things that are considered standard in other parts of the world (hot meals, free liquor, etc.). However, that being said, I don't think it's as clear cut "always a horrible experience" as some make it out to be. Hit-and-miss, maybe, but then again, it is also important to remember that the vast majority of the people flying in the U.S. are flying on one of seven airlines, all of which are absolutely massive and dwarf all but a handful of other carriers around the world in size. In that context, I personally don't think its realistic to expect consistently fantastic service every time.

As for the U.S. flying experience, sure, it may not always be wine and roses, but again, I don't think it's quite as bad as it's sometimes made out to be. Personally, I like that U.S. carriers basically allow you to carry on everything but the kitchen sink (and, sometimes, on flights to the Caribbean, that's allowed too!). I like that, on 99.99% of flights in the U.S., you know sometimes up to a day in advance exactly what gate you're leaving from, whereas in some places you have to do the "departure gate shuffle" 15 minutes before departure when everyone makes a mad dash for the gate like idiots. I like how in the U.S, you go through security once, and that's it. You don't have to go into a big departure lounge (i.e., "shopping mall") and then have to go through another security screening just to go to the gate, and how inevitably there are few to no seats to sit on outside that little secure gate area, to supposedly encourage you to go shop more.

So yeah, I am biased as I've done about 90% of my flying in my lifetime within the U.S., and yeah, flying can be a pain in the U.S., but honestly, I'll happily deal with most of the things that others complain about when it comes to flying in the U.S. so that I don't have to deal with some of the incredibly inconvenient pain in the a** bullsh*t that one has to put up with when flying in some other places.
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RE: Good Experiences About North American Carriers

Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:58 pm

Oh, and another thing - perhaps more important than all the others:

Precisely because you can occasionally encounter a disinterested, surly, or bitchy airline employee (hardly unique to the U.S., as we all well know) whose first priority is definitely not delivering great service to you, I also love how in the U.S., if you don't want to, there is almost no reason to ever actually come in real contact with anyone. You can transact 90% of your business with the airline without ever having to deal with a live person (and thus not have to take the risk of getting a "less-than-stellar" representative).

Especially if you are flying domestically, and not checking bags, you can literally go for virtually your entire travel experience - from booking to check-in to departure to flying to arrival - without ever having to deal with an employee, beyond perhaps telling them if you want coffee or a soft drink.

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