Best airline to america?

Discussion in 'Your Questions' started by cbyte, Mar 22, 2007.

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  1. cbyte

    cbyte Newbie

    Mar 22, 2007
    1
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    Hi guys,

    Ive got a bit of a basic question, but was unable to search for the right answer. I recently flew from Gold Coast to L.A with United (gold coast, to Sydney to L.A to Chicago to West Palm Beach to be exact) The smaller connecting flights were OK, but the Syd to L.A was a killer (same with return) flying economy. I was at least hoping for a small TV screen to keep me distracted from the all over body pain of being cramped in between two people and having the front seat dig into my knees :D

    Does anyone have a preferred airline that they like to travel economy to the states :?: Or is it all pretty much the same? As I am returning there quite soon. Thanks guys.
     

  2. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
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    Welcome to AFF cbyte :)

    Currently Air NZ has the best economy product between Australia and USA. On 747 aircraft (a/c) and 34" pitch seats (32" on 777 a/c). Pitch is a measure of the distance from a point on one seat to the same point on the seat in front, thus an indicator of legroom. NZ's pitch is a few inches more than both UA & QF, oh yeah seats are slim as well to improve legroom. Good personal tv and avod (audio video on demand). NZ recently announced expansion to about 450 hours of programming.

    Plus get nice food and drink (all free), and a chance to stretch the legs in Auckland. AKL-LAX is a shorter flight than SYD-LAX.

    Air NZ flies from BNE (as well as CNS/SYD/MEL/ADL/PER) to AKL, with schedules aligned for US connections. Their subsidiary Freedom Air flies from Gold Coast - this is low frills service in A320 a/c.

    United doesn't have PTVs, avod or as nice food and drink. You can however, pay some extra to get economy plus (higher fare or an annual US$200 payment).

    Air NZ also has a premium economy cabin, a cross between economy and business class. Fare is considerably higher than economy, but get much better seat and better food, drink and service.
     
  3. d15.in.oz

    d15.in.oz Member

    Nov 28, 2006
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    And yet, given these “Origin” enhancements, NZ decided to stay off the SYD-LAX route –

    http://www.airnz.co.nz/aboutus/mediacentre/pressreleases_2003/airnz_suspends_syd_to_lax_services.htm

    So, the way Aussies define “the best airline to America” would appear to be a very complex question.
     
  4. QF WP

    Moderator

    Jun 20, 2002
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    Sacrilegious for somebody not to stick up for Qantas - well, it's the only airline I've ever flown to the US and I've always been happy with the service - although I'll admit that it's been a while since I had to ensure Economy class, as I've been fortunate to access point upgrades to Business.
     
  5. spe18z

    spe18z Newbie

    Mar 25, 2007
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    KTA
    We flew Qantas, Syd -Lax in November last year. Ok it was cattle class, however it was one of the best flights we have had. Qantas went the extra mile and there was plenty of room on the plane as it was a midweek trip.

    Well done Qantas:cool:
     
  6. Kremmen

    Kremmen Intern

    Mar 25, 2007
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    Assuming you accrued UA M+ miles on that trip, you're less than 5k away from Premier. One more flight from SYD and you can shift yourself into economy plus for all your remaining UA flights for the next year. With more leg room and the middle seats blocked off (unless needed), I'd say keep with UA.

    (Actually, if I were you, I'd have tried to re-route less optimally, say via IAD, last time and try to squeeze that extra 5k miles in, so as to be Premier already and never have to be in the very back again.)
     
  7. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    That assumes the rules won't change again. Not hard to imagine UA dropping Y+ seating for their own elites (they already have for non UA *G & *S), or restricting to say 1K & UGS.
     
  8. Kremmen

    Kremmen Intern

    Mar 25, 2007
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    Actually, that's very hard to imagine. It's totally understandable that they drop it for non-UA elites, when other Star airlines don't (officially) give UA elites any similar benefit. It's been a long-standing benefit of using UA's scheme and flying UA and works to encourage people such as the OP to fly UA.

    Not only that, but dropping it for their own elites would, on most routes, fill up the plane at the back, and they'd simply have to move 1/3 of the pax into E+ anyhow! It'd be a logistical nightmare, as well as all the other downsides.
     
  9. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    5,453
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    Not true. Preferred seating for elites is offered across *A. On some airlines (eg Air NZ) it isn't necessarily marketed well but it is a benefit that is most definitely applied.

    Not necessarily. If UA can convince more people to pay for Y+ that would allow them to change the rules for free "upgrades". Dropping the benefit for *G and *S is just one step of many. I'm not implying UA will make the change tomorrow, or necessarily drop for all their elites at once. But I do expect they will make further incremental changes reducing the numbers who get Y+ for "free".
     
  10. dajop

    dajop Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2002
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    Regardless of whether or not UA are likely to drop access or not for elites, how does Y+ compare to NZ? Sounds like to me the trade off is 32" or 34" seat pitch with AVOD (NZ), or extra ", a blocked out seat (possibly) & main screen entertainment(UA).
     
  11. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    UA Y+ gets 34-36" pitch (varies). Further forward therefore quicker deplaning. Same food, ife etc as economy. Ife is mainscreen.

    NZ Y 34" pitch on 747, 32" pitch on 777. If *G or *S then can access preferred seating (exit rows, bulkhead, forward rows), and blocked seating if there is space. PTVs with avod. 450 hours programming. Games etc. Food and drink quite reasonable for economy. Great service - no matrons! Flight length is shorter although total travel time slightly longer. Uses RCC as lounge in SFO, but much nicer own lounge in LAX (RCC has no real food and pay for drinks, no computers, no showers - NZ lounge has real food, free booze, computers and very nice showers).
     
  12. d15.in.oz

    d15.in.oz Member

    Nov 28, 2006
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    A quick look at some REALLY ROUGH TansPac figures! (I have to question some of the govt supplied data validity, but here are a few of my calculated observations.)

    The analysis is based on most of last year for HA, JQ, NZ, QF, UA –

    % of total operated flights ~ % of total passengers
    • HA 5 ~ 3
    • JQ 0 ~ 0
    • NZ 8 ~ 7
    • QF 66 ~ 66
    • UA 21 ~ 24
    % Average Passenger Load (most of) ’06
    • HA = 66
    • JQ = 27
    • NZ = 63
    • QF = 78
    • UA = 85
    Some interesting points –
    • UA load factors significantly improved as the year progressed.
    • JQ only had 4 flights in ‘06
    • NZ – how the govt determines seat availability via AKL is beyond me (e.g. when is an empty seat LAX-AKL, considered an empty seat LAX-AKL-SYD and when it is just an empty seat LAX-AKL?)
    • HA operates 767’s so while they do 5% of the flights, they only get 3% of the customers, but they aren’t full flights!
    • I don’t take into account freight, but for QF this is HUGE! It appears to allow QF to get away with lighter passenger load factors than UA.
    Now, let’s take into account the comments in this thread about the superiority of in-air product from NZ & UA over QF…AND still 2 out of 3 people choose to fly QF across the pacific!
     
  13. Kremmen

    Kremmen Intern

    Mar 25, 2007
    51
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    Yep. I'm tall and a take a laptop with me (video on a 14" screen is better anyhow), so up to 36" and a seat free next to me is a much better deal. It'll depend on your priorities. I almost always fly midweek, because I consider the space next to me and primary and everything else below that. If I knew I'd be in a packed plane either way, the decision would be much harder ... and I'd go for UA because I'd get double miles and on the basis that NZ's frequent flyer scheme sucks.
     
  14. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    I don't know but assume the figures you refer to are Oz->US vv. Further, I assume the figures for Air NZ include only the same flight number services booked as a single flight (without stopover in NZ). Given there are very few such single flight number services on Air NZ, relative to all the possibilities for trans-tasman connecting to NZ->US vv, with or without stopover, not surprising the figures are very low.

    Of course onboard amenities and service is only part of the equation each customer makes when choosing flights. Fare, schedule (mostly favours QF), convenience (QF or UA), upgrade chances (favours UA), frequent flyer points (favours QF since far more OW members than *A in Australia), nationalism (favours QF), etc, all play a part. And different people place different weighting on all these aspects.
     
  15. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    You don't have to credit to NZ airpoints if flying on NZ (except on the very cheapest fare classes which don't credit to any other program at the moment).
     
  16. d15.in.oz

    d15.in.oz Member

    Nov 28, 2006
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    I don't trust the NZ data, and to respond to the above, you simply can't tell from the spreadsheets I was looking at. :)

    Main point being, I think the 2 out of 3 people choosing QF on AUS-USA is a reasonable ball park!
     
  17. Kremmen

    Kremmen Intern

    Mar 25, 2007
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    That issue over cheap fares is a big one, since that means paying more for a points-earning fare. Plus, it's easy to get to 1P and get 100% bonus with UA, which wouldn't count on NZ. (... and also would mean not accruing 500-milers and CR1s.)

    BTW, addressing a few other points on this thread: freight is a big deal to UA too across the Pacific. One of the UA folks in LAX told me they used to bump pax from the plane rather than cut freight, though I've not heard of it happening recently.

    Also, I believe that the "obvious" or default choice for many occasional flyers is simply their home carrier, which makes it hard to discuss the effects of the actual products. About 5 years ago, QF was still running main-screen only video, spirits only for liquor, etc, to SIN, while SQ was offering Krisworld, liqueurs and vastly better service in Y. Yet in times when Aussies were going on holidays, SQ was cheaper and had more seats available! Personally, I'd have paid a significant premium to fly SQ, but this market often works irrationally.
     
  18. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    Likely the biggest factor - which I alluded to in the nationalism factor, but really goes beyond pure nationalism. Some don't even know other airlines exist and just ask for Qantas (either directly or through TA). Others blindly trust their TA to give them the best option, and care not how that is being influenced by commissions and other funding. Some will fly Qantas just because their aunt Mabel flew Qantas on her trip 5 years ago and said it was alright. Etc.
     
  19. drron

    drron Enthusiast

    Jul 4, 2002
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    All these figures forget those of us that fly to the USA via Asia.From BNE it is viable and cheaper in J to fly via NRT.
     
  20. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    That routing often cheaper in Y as well.
     
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