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Flying oneworld around Europe - worth it?

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Bajar

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Hi all,

I am off to Europe for a month on a family trip. I am travelling with my aged (not necessarily elderly) mother. We are eyeing off some short trips ex. Geneva & Paris. I have done a bit of research and found that some of the oneworld carriers (e.g. Airberlin) are massively over-priced compared to others such as Easyjet. Is the price difference really worth it or not so much?

Also - if we book through the Qantas website, does that mean we are able to use our Qantas Club membership there as well?
 

RooFlyer

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Haven't done airBerlin, but EasyJet is a low cost carrier and will have a LCC cost structure - low fares up front, but everything will cost extra - bags etc. The cost difference by the time you finish the trip may not be as large as it appears at first. But yes, in theory they will be cheaper.

I understand that as a QFF you will want to travel OneWorld, but your points and status credit earns will be low and you won't get lounge access without status on QF (not just Qantas Club).

When I gadded around Europe earlier this year, I flew Star Alliance on their Europe AirPass (but this necessitated flying to/from Europe also on Star Alliance) - much better network intra Europe.
 

docjames

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I would happily fly airBerlin - but not at a substantial price premium. They felt a bit like the old virgin blue (prior to the "upgrade" to Virgin Australia!)

But beware with the LCCs (and all airlines nowdays) all the ancilliary charges, and cabin baggage / luggage limitations and be sure to follow or the cost can be eye-watering.
 

dajop

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Easyjet has been fine for me. The only extra cost you need to worry about is the cost of luggage, unless you want to eat/drink a lot on the plane. From memory, luggage can be added to fare once you choose the flight, so very easy to work out total cost. Also they charge a per booking admin fee - so if you do all flights on the one booking this reduces the cost of each sector compared to booking each one separately (you just keep adding flights until done like online shopping, and then pay, no multi sector booking engine).

Also if hand luggage only they are very strict in allowing only 1 bag - no handbags, laptop bags etc extra. However they only have dimension limit on that one piece, no weight limit.
 

sergeyvzn

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The only lounges in Europe you will be able to use with your Qantas Club membership are British Airways lounges in London Heathrow

To be able to use other OneWorld lounges in Europe you must have a status with OneWorld (sapphire or emerald)

For intra-European shorthaul flights I would looking at whatever airline is flying between A and B at the lowest price if the cost is a priority for you as these airlines in Europe all pretty much the same. Even former legacy carriers like SAS or Air France won't give you any food for free, will ask you to pay for luggage and in this respect are low cost as well. So if it's EasyJet or Air Berlin and EasyJet is cheaper - go with EasyJet. Air Berlin does not have any lounges (they've got so called "premium waiting areas" but even if you have a OneWorld status, you won't get in there as you must be a member of Air Berlin's own FF program

What will definitely make a big difference for you and your mum is not to fly with those low cost airlines that fly out of/into secondary airports. Avoid Ryanair as they will fly you into Paris Beauvais for example which is like 80km from Paris and 1.5 hr from the city by bus; or Frankfurt Hahn which is 120 km from Frankfurt.
 

jpk

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Easyjet will be fine, I often fly them when in EU as the price difference to fly a "full service" carrier is never worth it. Your Qantas Club card won't do anything for you intra-EU.
Look into high speed rail options - often cheaper than flying, go from city centre to centre, and a much more enjoyable experience overall. It will be much easier on your mother also.
 

dajop

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The other thing with European flights on "traditional" carriers, often one way fares are ludicrous but return or multisector fares are reasonable. For example we did London-Barcelona/Madrid-Zurich on IB earlier this year, and fare for these flights booked together in total was 1/3 of just booking Madrid-Zurich alone! Same a couple of years ago with Lufthansa family airlines Milan-Porto/London-Zurich.
 

kermatu

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My recent experience is with Air Berlin and BA. Good airlines, comfortable, professional, reliable. But no real benefits for a QFF (even with higher status) that would be worth a premium fare if that is a big consideration. Minimal FF points earned, status credits low but OK, and if of status you'll get priority check-in, access to often empty front rows (Air Berlin) and your bags out first, but that's about it. No lounge access at all for AB - yes for BA if they have a lounge or an association.

The other consideration might be use of stairs and buses to access the aircraft (can be a consideration for me at times). But best I can tell there's no guarantee even the more expensive airlines (BA, AB, Lufthansa) will get a gate rather than have to park at a stand. Others will have more knowledge of this if it is a factor for you or your mum.

For shorter hauls I'd also suggest looking into rail.
 

cmon0005

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Couldn't a QF SG or WP access a Oneworld operated lounge (if available) whilst on a AB flight, for example Geneva has a BA lounge, and Paris has an AA and CX lounge. Even TXL has a BA lounge. ?
 

sergeyvzn

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Couldn't a QF SG or WP access a Oneworld operated lounge (if available) whilst on a AB flight, for example Geneva has a BA lounge, and Paris has an AA and CX lounge. Even TXL has a BA lounge. ?
Yes they could but it wouldn't be an AB "premium waiting area". It would have to be a proper lounge. Air Berlin doesn't allow anyone other than their own frequent flyers into these "areas" because they are not "lounges" in their eyes. And they are not really
 

Bajar

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Thanks for the feedback, folk. The only reason why I suggest flight over train is the push 'n' shove inside rail stations - as Mum does get a bit claustrophobic in crowds.

It seems Easyjet is the best option - I'll keep an eye on the drip pricing, do some comparisons and let you know the results once we've settled on the itinerary.
 

sergeyvzn

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Thanks for the feedback, folk. The only reason why I suggest flight over train is the push 'n' shove inside rail stations - as Mum does get a bit claustrophobic in crowds.

It seems Easyjet is the best option - I'll keep an eye on the drip pricing, do some comparisons and let you know the results once we've settled on the itinerary.
Take a train

There isn't really push'n'shove in European train stations, they are much better organized than some airports
 

docjames

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I think depending on the cities then train may actually be easier. Factor in an hour or so to the airport etc at each end and the train is often easier (and cheaper).

I've never found "push and shove" to be a real issue. Closest to an "issue" was the carriage we had booked for Milan-Ventimiglia was no longer on train and after some confusion a staff member / conductor showed up and reallocated us to equivalent seats in an available carriage.
 

jpk

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Thanks for the feedback, folk. The only reason why I suggest flight over train is the push 'n' shove inside rail stations - as Mum does get a bit claustrophobic in crowds.
I can guarantee there will be less push n shove in a train station than there will be at an EU airport. Check in, security, buying food, line up for boarding, bus transfer to plane, run from bus to steps = mostly push n shove. Plus you have the transit to the airport - either an expensive taxi or a not very cheap train, or a cheap train that will also be push n shove.
 

deejo77

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I like air berlin - they give out nice chocolate :) however in berlin (which we went through 3 times in Oct/Nov) they depart from their own terminal and "waiting area" is definately on Air Berlin FF....if you wanted a OW lounge you had to walk to the other terminal (10mins or so) but you were in the Public area so you needed to leave plenty of time to get back to the correct terminal and go through security points. I used QFF points on some of the flights and this brought the cost down considerably but I had points to burn as we all know long haul in J or F is best
 

jpk

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PS: one other thing, the Air Berlin group of companies have one of the worst reputations in EU for losing bags. And if they do lose your bags, good luck - you won't find anyone to talk to or help you. They may show up in a week, or never. Lots of complaints about them on all the flyer & airline sites. They are great in the air - but on the ground a different story.
 

TripleB

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Curiously for my trip earlier in the year AB were by far and away the cheapest option for the 2 (admittedly) unusual routes I was after - BUD-MUC (via TXL) and SZG-ARN (again via TXL). Connecting at TXL was a breeze and we (and our luggage) even made a scheduled 55 minute connection at TXL between the BUD and MUC flights notwithstanding that the flight ex BUD was 45 minutes late.

I chose based on price - had another airline (maybe with the exception of FR) been cheaper I would probably have gone with them.

I agree though - for shorter routes the train is generally a much better option (even if it is more expensive).
 

timster

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The only lounges in Europe you will be able to use with your Qantas Club membership are British Airways lounges in London Heathrow
No ... QP no longer gets you into any BA lounges, anywhere. Not since the EK marriage and end of the JSA with BA.

At LHR, QP members only have access to the AA lounge in T3, and only if on QF/EK metal with a QF flight number. Why AA ? Who knows ?
Qantas Club Lounges | Qantas

Curiously to many, there is also no access to any EK lounges in continental Europe, even when flying on QF flight numbers. BA of course used to offer this to QP, with some restrictions.

So QP is now next to useless in Europe.
 

notsure

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Personally I'd just book on price & convienience, and definitely look at trains - with the whole security rigmarole plus getting too/from airports, the trains can often be cheaper, more convienient and depending where you are going too, can be a great way to see the scenery.


My only other advice is avoid Ryanair like the plague - they are barely tolerable when everything goes right - should anything go wrong you are basically on your own....
 
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Timba-Jet

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From limited experience, I found Air Berlin quite expensive for last minute, make up your itinerary as you go type travel, especially for direct flights into TXL or DUS. However I've seen my friend who lives in Berlin get bargain flights by planning ahead and taking lots of long weekends away to other parts of Europe.
 
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