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I'll be flying to Europe for the second time early next year. It will be a 9-hour trip...no one's idea of a good time, I'm sure. Can anyone comment on the comfort levels in coach class among these airlines:

British Airways (I've heard bad things)
Air France
Air Canada
Italy's main airline (that I can't recall the name of)

Thanks!

-jeff
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I have had no problem with BA in the last 10 years. In fact I think they have improved over the years. Alitalia is pretty bad comfort wise.

Charlie
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I flew BA Denver to Heathrow nonstop about 2 years ago. It was a 777. Personal screen and choice of movie, food was fine and for a total price of $300, I had no complaints. I have no other international travel for comparison.

rad
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I believe it depends totally on aircraft/configuration for comfort and airline for service. Here are some stats:

http://www.cheapflights.co.uk/misc/legroom_report.html

This would suggest a DC-10 for the most legroom but honestly, I don't remember the last time I saw one airborne.

Try http://seatguru.com for an entire listing of legroom (pitch) and seat width.

We have most recently flown the A=320s to Central America on TACA, Continental, and Copa and the legroom was awful and the seats were like a board.

Ivan, 6'2" and regrets it only when flying
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I haven't flown any of those but when I'm in doubt, I check out the airline ratings:

http://www.airlinequality.com/

Most of them seem to be 4 star airlines:
http://www.airlinequality.com/StarRanking/4star.htm

except for Air Canada (3 stars)
http://www.airlinequality.com/Airlines/AC.htm

but they all might be similar for economy. Have a look.

Good luck and have a good trip.

Durian Boy
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I just flew with British Airways but it was only a hop from Heathrow to Amsterdam. The plane was fine and the food was good.

Keep in mind British Airways has a notorious 6kg economy carry-on limit so make your luggage look light and only take one bag for heaven's sake on the plane. Enforcement is totally random it seems so just make it look like you're not struggling with the bag, avoid using a rollaboard and you should be "ok".

I'm sure you're aware there's plenty of things you can do to make your life more pleasant: comfortable layered clothing, do not dehydrate yourself (i.e. no coffee, caffeinated soft drinks, alcohol, etc.) especially on the plane, drink plenty of water, bring an inflatable neck pillow (the U shaped ones), inflatable hangers can be used as a lumbar support, alternatively just ask for another pillow, bring ear plugs and a comfortable blindfold so you can sleep

Request a special type of meal, i.e. low fat/cholesterol, low salt, gluten-free, etc. so you can get fed first, etc.
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British Airways

I've done the Vancouver-London route twice on BA (10 hrs eastbound, 10.5 hrs return, IIRC), in 1998 and 2000. I thought it was fine -- good food, friendly crew. Plus they gave everyone socks -- I still have mine and wear them often in summer.

Air Canada

My only Trans-Atlantic (Frankfurt-Calgary, 10.5 hrs) experience with AC came in October 2001. The crew was excellent. This was just after 9/11 and AC's already shaky financial situation was worsening, but the cabin crew came through with lots of gallows humour. They handed out peanuts just after take-off, with the announcement, "This will be the entire meal service on this flight. If you're still hungry, you'll find vending machines at the back of the aircraft." But the service was perfectly fine. The only glitch came when I went to the washroom just after take-off and the door came off its hinges. I motioned to one of the crew and waved the door at him. He grinned and replied, "Have you been working out or something?"

Cody
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I haven't had any real problems with BA or Air France, other than the fact that they route you through Heathrow & DeGaulle, respectively. Those are two of my least favorite airports.

I've never flown Air Canada or Alitalia.

If you have the option, I'd investigate Austrian Air, Lufthansa, and United (in that order). I've had excellent luck with them.

Grue
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I'll be flying to Europe for the second time early next year. It will be a 9-hour trip...no one's idea of a good time, I'm sure. Can anyone comment on the comfort levels in coach class among these airlines:

British Airways (I've heard bad things)
Air France
Air Canada
Italy's main airline (that I can't recall the name of)


Italy's main carrier is Alitalia.


I really haven't found that much difference between the various airlines when flying coach. The seat pitch is going to be about 31-32 inches for all of them. You can try and make some good seat choices based on the carrier and airline by using SeatGuru.

A couple of things that I will point out. Airline that offer PTV's will have a control box under the at least some of the seats in each row, so that may limit your leg room. Some people love the PTV's, while others could care less.

As Grue pointed out, aside from flight comfort, look at where you have to change planes. CDG and LHR can be a real hassle, especially at the peak times when all the planes are arriving from the US. I've never done a transfer with Alitalia in Milan, so I have no idea what that is like. The best airport to transfer through these days in Munich. You can do a international to domestic connection in less than 40 mins.

BTW, Where are you headed to?





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If you have the option, I'd investigate Austrian Air, Lufthansa, and United (in that order). I've had excellent luck with them.

I would second that and probably throw in SAS into that list. (Funny, how they are all Star Alliance carriers)

I've had great luck with SAS and doing a transfer in Copenhagen is really nice since it's not a huge airport, plus there is some nice shopping airside.

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"BTW, Where are you headed to?"

--I'll be going to Rome from Washington, DC in March. -jk
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I really haven't found that much difference between the various airlines when flying coach. The seat pitch is going to be about 31-32 inches for all of them. You can try and make some good seat choices based on the carrier and airline by using SeatGuru.

I agree on all counts. If you have an airline where you get mileage, go for the miles as JPLenny has advised me in the past.

RBS
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I agree on all counts. If you have an airline where you get mileage, go for the miles as JPLenny has advised me in the past.

I'm really like the star alliance airlines hub airports when coming into Europe. Munich, Vienna, and Copenhagen are all really easy. I know a lot of people don't like Frankfurt because it is so big, but for me I've been there so many time that I pretty much know my way around.

I've done both LHR and CDG and I wasn't thrilled about the experiance. LHR involved long lines waiting at the Flight Connections center. CDG was hard to navigate and figure where I was supposed to be going.

Others may have had better experiances.

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I'm really like the star alliance airlines hub airports when coming into Europe. Munich, Vienna, and Copenhagen are all really easy.

I love SAS and Copehagen. They are currently offering a Bus seat for $2,200 from Bangkok to any city in Germany, Brussels, Geneva and Helsinki. It is very tempting but still too pricey.

We'll survive in coach...it's a vacation trip!

rbs
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I've done both LHR and CDG and I wasn't thrilled about the experiance. LHR involved long lines waiting at the Flight Connections center. CDG was hard to navigate and figure where I was supposed to be going.



CDG is really a nightmare if your plane doesn't get a gate. They bring all of the busses into a single area for passport control. It's even worse than the wait at Dulles. If you've got a tight connection, forget it. However, there are some shortcuts through the parking areas that cut down the walking times if you don't get lost.

LHR is big, busy, and confusing. The lines can really be a bummer.

Grue
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We'll survive in coach...it's a vacation trip!


Have I mentioned lately that Vienna is the jewel of Europe?

Grue
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It's even worse than the wait at Dulles.

I've never had a problem at Dulles, but then again I usally take the 5:00pm out of Frankfurt that doesn't get there until around 8:00pm


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LHR is big, busy, and confusing. The lines can really be a bummer.

Grue

I find LHR is a big, sprawling, impossible-to-navigate mess. Is LGW any better? And do any real airlines go there?

cliff
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Have I mentioned lately that Vienna is the jewel of Europe?


Of course I thought of you guys immediately when I saw that...next year for sure...if you are still there :-) DH, the guy who traveled for a living for twenty years (to Africa and Asia) seemed willing to do three stops...four was too much in four weeks.

RBS
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Have I mentioned lately that Vienna is the jewel of Europe?

But, it's always SO cold there when I visit. :-)
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Of course I thought of you guys immediately when I saw that...next year for sure...if you are still there :-)

I'll be here. :-)
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I'll be here. :-)

A European Fool get together would be fantastic!

Let me survive this trip first. :-)
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I've never had a problem at Dulles, but then again I usally take the 5:00pm out of Frankfurt that doesn't get there until around 8:00pm



My worst wait at Dulles was well over an hour, but I seem to always meet someone I know while waiting in line there, so we talk each time we pass each other in the line.

Grue
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Of course I thought of you guys immediately when I saw that...next year for sure...if you are still there :-)


Unfortunately, I will be dragged kicking and screaming back to the US in December of this year. :o(

Grue
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Have I mentioned lately that Vienna is the jewel of Europe?
_________________________________________

But, it's always SO cold there when I visit. :-)



Could we talk you into stopping by in August? We'd probably be glad for a break from the heat about then. :o)

Grue
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I'll be here. :-)
______________________________________________

A European Fool get together would be fantastic!



<sigh>


Let me survive this trip first. :-)


Personally, I'd skip Paris and go to Vienna instead. :o)

Grue
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My worst wait at Dulles was well over an hour, but I seem to always meet someone I know while waiting in line there, so we talk each time we pass each other in the line

I met someone I was in the Army with almost 20 years ago last year at the international baggage claim. :-)
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Personally, I'd skip Paris and go to Vienna instead. :o)

I completely agree but this one is for DD...the next one will be one where I put my foot down:
Copenhagen, Vienna, and beyond. Next summer we may be helping her move into digs in London...oiy.

RBS
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Unfortunately, I will be dragged kicking and screaming back to the US in December of this year. :o(


That is the way we have felt for years and then we made the mistake of doing a Christmas in Tahoe ("oh yeah Mom, where are you going to get a REAL Christmas tree?") since she had completely lost all memory of winters. It was so wonderful that we then wound up double tripping every year.

That was insanely expensive...and tiring with moving all our household things out of storage for three weeks including a big holiday.

Now we can just go for short trips to see DD. It's been a long time coming and it is wonderful.

RBS
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Next summer we may be helping her move into digs in London...oiy.

I hire out for moving folks :-)

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I hire out for moving folks :-)


And you're in the neighborhood! How is your handing healing? Hope it is better.

rbs
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And you're in the neighborhood! How is your handing healing? Hope it is better.

It's doing OK. This stiches don't bother me anymore. The only problem I have is I can't lift or grab anything yet. If I try, I get a shooting pain from the part of my index finger that is numb down past my wrist. That is supposed to improved once the stiches are removed.

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part of my index finger that is numb down past my wrist. That is supposed to improved once the stiches are removed.



When I've had surgery, it sometimes takes months before the nerves grow back and I get the feeling back. Have patience, it'll get better.

Glad to hear that you're doing so well.

Grue
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That is supposed to improved once the stiches are removed.

Hope all goes well...you are doing a great job typing!

RBS
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Hope all goes well...you are doing a great job typing!

Typing is the one thing that does not bother it, but lifting up the keyboard with me left hand, not a chance.
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I find LHR is a big, sprawling, impossible-to-navigate mess. Is LGW any better? And do any real airlines go there?

Continental & Virgin does and I love LGW 30 min connection for German wings flight into Cologne, Germany. I can get the Germany Wings flight for about 5 Euros, at the most 2 day advance notice about 50 Euros.
Sincerely, Greg
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