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Flying the Pacific in J.

mel-world

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I'm just about to complete a North American holiday flying J into and out of SFO with NZ via AKL from MEL. I have found that the NZ J seat is getting quite 'tired' and cramped compared to some of the offerings flying to Europe via the Middle East or Asia. Its hard to share the experience with a companion, you get very little privacy and cannot even look out the window easily. Their service levels are still good, if a little quirky, and their catering is okay but not spectacular.

Without travelling via Asia (on SQ, JL, CX etc), I can find the following airlines flying the Pacific from Australia - QF, VA, UA, NZ, AA, DL, AC and even HA via HNL.

So my question is who is offering the best J product at the moment? I know many of us choose an airline based on its Alliance, timing or the price, but if you were to choose to fly for the overall experience, which carrier would you currently book?
 

MEL_Traveller

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Apr 27, 2005
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So many variables with all of those carriers. Each has their pros and cons. I'd probably be swinging for AA. Reverse herringbone. Comfort food. And I like USA based crews.

It also depends which seats airlines are flying and when they intend to bring their new product. Delta and Air Canadia had/still have similar seats to NZ for example. But that will change when DL brings their Delta One service to Australia. QF's new business suites are better than the old Skybed II, but service can be inconsistent.

HA can often have good fares. So can other airlines. But QF is one of the few that allows you top cancel 'cheaper' business class fares (albeit for $600 or whatever). When I was looking at other carriers, UA for example was entirely non-refundable.

It's a constantly changing field, with research required before booking to determine fares and seating.
 

leadman

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I'm on my fourth trip to the States this year, ensconced in Reno for two weeks now, but i have used three carriers, EVA, JL and NZ. It simply come down to price as the direct flights are just unbelievable. Because I cannot book early I'm booking around a week out from travel, the direct flights by all carriers are just too expensive. For example i booked a week out and picked up the $4400 NZ fares which was wonderful.

EVA is a good flight from TPE to LAX, but the BNE to TPE is a bit of a pain as they are using older 330's and the seat is the old one where you slide down the seat and seem to end up in the foot-weld. The benefit is the flight kit which is the Rimowa case (i picked up the blue one last trip). There are plenty of flights from TPE > LAX > TPE but the TPE > BNE are limited. Then there is the cost of getting to BNE.

JL is very nice with the 787's out of MEL, but you have a bit of a stay in Tokyo of around 10 hours. But i have found that time great to catch the Kensai Express into Tokyo to spend the day there. JL does give you the option to fly AA but i personally recommend don't take it. Old staff and the service does not endear me to the airline. JL uses 777 to LAX et al.

NZ; I've done the 1/2 leg now i found them very good. The config of J seems to be strange with the low seats, but when you sit in them, they are not bad. Food and wine is fine.

Overall, i don't mind any of them and really price dictates, but I cannot agree about AA. Last trip they stuffed up too many simple things, like drinks and dinner, but when you see the stewardess unfolding her packed lunch on her jump-seat and telling me its better than airline food, it makes you think.
 

trooper

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If all those other carriers had a mattress anything like NZ's it would be an easier choice....
 

TomVexille

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Nov 12, 2013
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VA would be my pick of the ones you've listed. Their lounge situation is carp at the moment but they have the best overall flight experience IMO, and 14-15 hours in the air is more important than 1-2 hours in an airport.

AA has nice seats, and I seem to get along with their crews so get good service as often as I do on QF, but I will acknowledge that not everyone seems to.

I'm intrigued by the DL One seat soon to be coming with the doors in J, but I keep reminding myself that it's the same base seat that QF have put in their a330s and 789s and that I can never seem to get comfortable in the seat, which puts me off.
 

ozjuice

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Jan 6, 2016
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VA Direct in one of the best J seats around. Win, win! Bonus as well if you have *A Gold for lounges.
 

Sludge321

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VA Direct in one of the best J seats around. Win, win! Bonus as well if you have *A Gold for lounges.
I haven't flow it (yet - will do in September), but I believe the Air Canada 787 seat is pretty much the same as VA (maybe not quite as much privacy). I'm a big fan of the VA product (have yet to fly J with another carrier that beats it), so it will be interesting to compare.
 

mel-world

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That's about the shortest reply you could give. Being based in MEL, any airline flying direct from here is attractive for me rather than having to change terminals in SYD. I see that AC is now flying direct to YVR from here so may try them again soon. An easier transfer at the other end as well with reasonable connections to other NA east coast destinations.
 

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