Long Haul flights when connecting in Europe is necessary: a reviewCreate Topic


Home Forums Airlines All airlines Long Haul flights when connecting in Europe is necessary: a review

This topic contains 26 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Swissdiver 4 years, 1 month ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 27 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #522144

    Anonymous
    #522145

    Swissdiver
    Participant

    As someone who must connect somewhere for most of my long haul flights, I follow carefully the developments on two criteria: The hub and the airline. I have mostly 5 choices: LHR, AMS, CDG, ZRH and FRA.

    Some thoughts (when travelling business class):

    FRA: definitively the one I try to avoid by all mean: Worse hub in Europe (by any criteria when travelling business class – when in First, the story is very different) and worse seat (the old one). Will the new one change my mind? And as you can see from my B747-8 review (http://www.businesstraveller.com/discussion/topic/Lufthansa-B747-8-(Config.-2)-Business), the answer is No! And Miles & More is the worst program! So unless forced (only for one of my regular destinations so far), it is a no go.

    ZRH: I don’t like the hub. And I don’t like A330s and A340s. And Swiss is having only a limited number of destinations. And terrible M&M program. That said, great seat and attentive service. So, while I look forward to see LX B777s in the skiew, so far it only comes as a second choice.

    CDG: Contrarily to many I am all right with the hub. And I like AF for daily flights. The seat, while far better than LH’s, is not very good though. But I have fun though with their crews (probably because I share their language). Bottom line: It only comes ahead LH…

    AMS: Nice hub, although very average lounges. Poor European flights. Average long haul Business class seats (so far). Nice crew in general. Great Twitter support team. After my latest LX experience, it comes probably only third now, after BA and LX. But when the new seat will be up there (I mean with a decent chance to have it on board), the story might well be different…

    LHR: T5 is by very far the best hub in Europe. And BA lounges, the best ones. BA long haul business class seats are also the best ones in Europe, with a guarantee to get a fully flat bed. Now of course, hot food is in general horrendous, and there is no Wow effect. But at least you know what you’ll get. And often it is aboard the lovely Queen of the Skies! For me then, it is a no brainier: BA is the best option.

    NB: I know the love and hate relationship Brits tend to have with BA! This is however the opinion of a neutral Swiss frequent flyer!

    #522146

    MartynSinclair
    Moderator

    Swissdiver, I find FRA a great airport, especially T1. The only drag is having to transfer from T1 when flying in on BA but as a hub, its easy to connect.

    I also use the Milan airports, either back to London or straight off to the Far East. Again, very easy to get through. Only concern I have though with Milan is the security operatives are very laid back…

    #522147

    AllOverTheGaff
    Participant

    Interestingly, like you I also have to connect to go long-haul and at all costs I avoid LHR like the plague. Awful security goons, bags that take forever (if you are flying to London) and lounges which are overcrowded all the time.

    CDG is not the nicest place in the world either to be fair, I tend to avoid if I can.

    I have no issues with Schipol, not too bad at all, and I’ve not been to Frankfurt in forever.

    As for BA having ‘by far the best business class seat’, if we are comparing lie-flat with lie-flat, I’d say that by far BA has by far the worst, the ying-yang thing doesn’t do it for me and clamouring over people and a rubbish IFE with poor quality picture also add to my general displeasure. Throw into that sour-mix a crew which on the last 3 BA flights I’ve been on have been awful, it is my choice to no longer fly with them.

    I honestly think the LH seat looks an awful lot better than the BA one, albeit I’ve not tried it, from the 747-8 web-page it looks light years ahead.

    #522148

    Swissdiver
    Participant

    AOTG,
    “I honestly think the LH seat looks an awful lot better than the BA one, albeit I’ve not tried it, from the 747-8 web-page it looks light years ahead.”
    … Until when sleeping in those new LH seats, your feet are in contact with those of the total stranger next to you, and your knees are hitting him and vice-versa during your sleep…

    #522149

    AllOverTheGaff
    Participant

    Swissdiver – 03/08/2013 15:50 GMT
    … Until when sleeping in those new LH seats, your feet are in contact with those of the total stranger next to you, and your knees are hitting him and vice-versa during your sleep…

    Yeah, I see what you mean now, had another look at LH and can see how that would be an issue.

    Nevertheless, just a few of the better-than-BA-business-class seats I’d vote for:

    Airlines I’ve personally flown with:
    – Qantas
    – Emirates
    – Singapore
    – Etihad
    – Virgin’s Upper Class
    – United (On a par with BA rather than ahead)

    Airlines I’ve not flown with but will soon: (which from my research look better)
    – AA’s new seat flying in Nov
    – Delta’s new seat poss flying in Dec
    – KLM’s new seat will fly asap

    Airlines whose seats look more appealing from their websites (and based on comments on this board)
    – Cathay
    – JAL
    – Qatar

    All these airlines are connectible in Europe, so should meet the criteria.

    #522150

    StandingThemUp
    Participant

    Easiest to use hub in Europe?

    Munich, in my experience.

    #522151

    CXDiamond
    Participant

    Well of course each to their own but I couldn’t disagree more than with Swissdiver.

    ZRH is an excellent place to connect and much rather LX than BA on any route.

    MUC is also excellent and stress free.

    FRA is not perfect but IME a very easy place to connect.

    Then again, as I usually travel in F I probably have a superior experience to a traveler in C and of course LH, LX and AF all offer a far superior experience in F to BA.

    #522152

    Swissdiver
    Participant

    @CXD: I wrote at the very beginning of this thread “when travelling business class”! In First, I agree, FRA is nice thanks to the First lounge and the limo service. As soon though you have to walk in the terminal (which happens even in First when the feeding flight arrives directly to the terminal), it is a nightmare. In addition, too often you are bussed their in business class. Really an awful airport when not travelling First.

    MUC is all right, but not many connections are available and it means flying LH. No thank you.

    ZRH looks like an empty mall. The only packed places there are the business class lounges! And there are really average, in all aspects.

    None of these three are coming even close to LHR T5.

    #522153

    Swissdiver
    Participant

    @AOTG: Hold on… You are here opening the discussion to the world… I stuck to European airlines because it is usually my starting point.

    In general I find the Middle Eastern (EY, EK and QR) a bit overstated, particularly QR, and inconsistent. In addition, so far, they do not belong to any of the three alliances.

    In SE Asia you have a sense of service that is quite unique. That said, I wasn’t particularly impressed by CX last time I flew with them (old Business class, i.e. herringbone on the upper-deck). JAL was good, although I last flew with them several years ago. Never had the chance flying on SQ or QF.

    #522154

    AllOverTheGaff
    Participant

    Swissdiver – 03/08/2013 23:20 GMT
    @AOTG: Hold on… You are here opening the discussion to the world… I stuck to European airlines because it is usually my starting point.

    You titled the thread; “Long Haul flights when connecting in Europe”. All the airlines I mentioned are connectible in Europe, in actual fact, as far as EK go, for me, they are one of the more convenient options to fly long-haul (East) as I can fly from GLA to DXB then connect from there by which time I’ve completed around half my journey. I can connect AA in LHR, Delta in AMS, Singapore in MAN – so these are all viable European hub connection carriers.

    If you only want to compare European airlines, then yes, BA are the best of a bad bunch – at the moment, I’d suggest KLM have changed that game quite significantly with their new offering which is simply stunning. The other airlines you mention I wouldn’t even consider as their starting point is no lie flat beds (LH/AF/KLM) which for me is a pre-requisite of even considering the airline. A great example of that being Aer Lingus who have a good reputation on this board, and are easily connectible for me with pre-clearance at Dublin, but they don’t enter into my own travel plans as their seat isn’t lie-flat, it is an angle-flat. (I flew home from SIN on board a replacement old 747 with Qantas and didn’t sleep a wink, hence my reluctance to use them now)

    The only truly bad experiences I’ve had when connecting at hubs is at LHR, and it has been a consistent issue so I avoid it as often as I can, indeed also now using the train to London instead of flying. The lounges being ‘the best’, well, firstly I don’t bother too much about the lounge in the first instance to be honest, it isn’t one of my hotspots, but if BA’s is considered “the best”, then I am truly glad I don’t spend a lot of time fretting about who has the best to offer on the lounge front.

    You base your review on how you perceive hubs, I tend to base mines on the seat. Transatlantic has moved on now with AA’s new business seat with Delta too having almost the same config from AMS or LHR (I wouldn’t choose LHR), your comment about BA having the best seat is genuinely so far off from my experience, there is little about the seat I like other than lie-flat.

    So, only offering my own opinion on your review, BA for the moment don’t feature in my planning, perhaps if they have a sale and the flights are very competitively priced I’d consider it, but to be honest, I’d more likely go with one of their partner airlines.

    #522155

    Bullfrog
    Participant

    I am London based, and fortunately BA First is my first option, and then Virgin Upper. BA Club aka ‘sardine configuration’ does not feature on my wish list. I am tall and broad …

    Lounges don’t fuss me, food helps, but mainly it is the hard product that counts.

    I have connected in Paris for AF Premiere & was most impressed, and would choose Swiss, if and when the opportunity arises.

    #522156

    Swissdiver
    Participant

    @AOTG: Your first paragraph: fair enough!

    “If you only want to compare European airlines, then yes, BA are the best of a bad bunch – at the moment, I’d suggest KLM have changed that game quite significantly with their new offering which is simply stunning.” May-be but we would first have to try it in real…

    EK: not all the seats are fully flat. On A340’s for instance, they are angled.

    US Airlines: so far I only see on paper the improvement and still have to try it. That said, I am not often going to the US.

    Lounges: when I have to spend 3 hours somewhere, it does matter. And the wines at LHR are quite good, the First lounge (for Gold members) has in general either one Champagne Grande Cuvée or one Bordeaux Grand Cru red wine.

    Finally, I am first looking at the hard product, then the hub, then the service. Perception comes only then. Now to be fully honest, there is a bias to that approach, when I have to maintain a status in one of the programs.

    #522157

    AllOverTheGaff
    Participant

    Swissdiver – 04/08/2013 12:35 GMT
    EK: not all the seats are fully flat. On A340’s for instance, they are angled.

    Yeah, that one is bandied about quite a lot, but having looked around EK’s site, you’ll find most of their A340’s do now feature lie-flats. I have to say, EK’s business class IMO is so far ahead of BA’s, and their lounges in Dubai are considerably better than BA’s @ LHR. (EKs 1st lounge is stunning) If you factor in, as I do, that I can more-often-than-not fly 1st with EK for a few hundred pounds more than BA Club, it is an absolute no-brainer to fly with them

    Your other points about trying the product is fair, but from the reviews I’ve read and from what I can see from the ‘sites of these airlines, they do very much appear on the face of it to be offering a far superior product. Interestingly, AA & KLM have both introduced exciting new product at the same time as BA are introducing new aircraft. To me, it matters not what metal I am on (sans 787) but when I get on board, it matters a lot as to what I am experiencing. AA & Delta currently offering direct aisle access and what looks like a very comfy seat works for me, and KLM’s upper deck on the 747 looks like a first class experience for business class money. I do not knock the people on this forum for flying BA, it is a choice made for reasons convenient to the customer, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find many who would agree with your assertion that BA currently offer the best seat in business class when you peruse how other airlines are innovating space and seating.

    Now to be fully honest, there is a bias to that approach, when I have to maintain a status in one of the programs.

    I used to be ‘a slave’ to the BA programme to be fair, and I do believe this is what keeps an awful lot of people loyal to the airline. I am enrolled in several airline programmes but again, I don’t choose my flights based on who gives me the best points, I always choose on comfort, price and schedule. Everything thereafter is ‘filler’ for me, and yes, sometimes I too spend 3 hours in a lounge, but I can’t think of one I’ve been in which I would describe as “awful”. One I was in recently which served average wines and poor food was BA’s first lounge in BKK! It wasn’t awful though, it was just somewhere to have some wine, fiddle about with my laptop and graze on some food.

    By this time next year I will hopefully have tried all the aforementioned airlines in either Business or First, will relook at this thread and see if my proffering’s are accurate!

    #522158

    scott72
    Participant

    AOTG….ok we get it, you don’t like BA.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 27 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.