Georgia to France: which flight would you choose?

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cgichard

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At the end of June next year I plan to travel from TBS (Tbilisi), Georgia to MRS (Marseille). According to Rome2Rio.com (an excellent resource for this type of query), my options would be:

LH via MUC 10 hrs 34 min total flight time with an 5 hr layover in MUC leaves TBS at 4.05 am arr. MRS 12.40

KLM via AMS 8 hrs 20 min with a 1 hr 50 min layover in AMS leaves TBS at 5.10 am arr MRS 11.30

On the face of it, the KILM flight is preferable BUT according to that website it costs US$690 more AND I am a KrisFlyer member (no status) and KLM is not a *Alliance member whereas LH is. I do have a dormant and virtually unused QF membership but I don't think KLM points can be converted to QFF points (which I could perhaps use for Woolworths gift cards).

Subject to advice here, I'm inclined to go with KLM, but could I book that directly with KLM from Australia? I haven't used a travel agent for ages (all my travel has been booked SQ online). I do have an ANZ Platinum Visa/AmEx account: is this where the Platinum Concierge service could help, or so they only do flight information?
 

sergeyvzn

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if you are looking at going with the cheapest option, I'd fly Pegasus Airlines via Istanbul for $150 all for all. It does take 11 h 35 min but for the price...:)

and are you serious about asking how you book with KLM? of course via their website directly
 

docjames

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What about Aegean Airlines (*A I believe) via ATH , total time 7h, 1h10m layover in ATH. I dont believe it's daily so will depend on how inflexible your departure date is.

eg.
Jun 18
A3 983 TBS 5:15AM ATH 7:15AM 3h 0m Airbus A320 Economy (P)
Layover in ATH 1h 10m
A3 630 ATH 8:25AM MRS 10:15AM 2h 50m Airbus A320 Economy (P)

GEL314.00

Looks to be about half the price of TK and 1/6th to 1/10th the price of LH/KL!
 
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cgichard

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I took one look at the reviews of Pegasus on airlinequality.com and decided definitely no - however good the price. And I have onward travel by bus and/or train from MRS so the earlier I arrive the better.

That Aegean connection via ATH looks excellent but it runs only on Thursdays. I'm tied into a booked tour in Georgia; while I could skip the final day and leave on Friday rather than Saturday, we don't get back to TBS until late afternoon on Thursday, so that's out.
 

sergeyvzn

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There are other options, TK via Istanbul (best food on all intra-European flights in my experience), Air Baltic + Brussels Airlines...I've never seen the search engine you use, I use either skyscanner or kayak and they are good at picking lots of options that you can sort either by price or duration...so I'm sure it's not only those two initial options you quote you can look at
 

cgichard

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I tried both Skyscanner and Kayak. One of hem linked to expedia which revealed that the "KLM" flight is actually operated by Georgian Airways to AMS and by AirFrance AMS-MRS. How does that get listed at KLM except that it is via AMS? And curiously they are both listed as business class, hence the price. Why no economy?

TK via Istanbul means a 5 hr layover in IST: I already have one of those on my outward flight MEL-SIN-IST (SQ award), 5 hrs layover, then IST-TBS on TK. If I have to wait 5 hrs I'd rather do it in MUC than IST.

Air Baltic / Brussels means 2 changes of plane with tight connections = too much scope for delays causing major problems.

All this is clarifying that now in my 70s I rate reliability and ability to communicate with aircrew and ground staff much more highly than cost.
 

A330

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Fares for one-way flights in Europe are usually painfully high unless you fly with a LCC. The discount Y one-way pricing we are so used to in Australia has only been embraced by BA. LH / IB / AF / KL etc only offer full fare Y when flying one way, hence the massively higher fare on LH compared to that offered by TK.
Having said that, if you have anywhere else to fly to within Europe it can bring down the cost of the fare if you do a multi-city booking. So TBS-MRS and MRS-LHR may end up cheaper than just TBS-MRS.

If you can leave on a Friday, you can fly AZ via FCO with a shorter 2.5 hour connection. However the fare is much higher than TK. Another option is to fly to LYS and then get the TGV to MRS. LYS is only 1.5 hours from MRS on the TGV and the station is at LYS airport. There's more one stop options from TBS to LYS than there is to MRS.
 

cgichard

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Many thanks for the additional ideas, A330.
Having said that, if you have anywhere else to fly to within Europe it can bring down the cost of the fare if you do a multi-city booking. So TBS-MRS and MRS-LHR may end up cheaper than just TBS-MRS.

If you can leave on a Friday, you can fly AZ via FCO with a shorter 2.5 hour connection. However the fare is much higher than TK. Another option is to fly to LYS and then get the TGV to MRS. LYS is only 1.5 hours from MRS on the TGV and the station is at LYS airport. There's more one stop options from TBS to LYS than there is to MRS.
I do go on from MRS to LHR just 6 days later so I'll look at the options for TBS-MRS and MRS-LHR.
Will also check out LYS.

In another thread, I've asked about lounges that don't require status for the 5 hours layovers, but since then have done some searching for myself. On the outward leg, I might use the HSBC lounge at IST for a fee as I do have an HSBC card (just not a premuim for free entry.) And at MUC the napcabs look like a great option (again for a fairly modest fee). Given that possibility, I'm feeling more inclined to trust myself to LH than to the Georgian/AF combo marketed as KLM.
 
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