US Air Carriers Way Behind their International Peers

September 16, 2009

My current trip to Europe started off vasty different than my previous trip. You see this time, I am flying to Lisbon first, then I will travel through the rest of my itinerary in Europe. As you may or may not know, getting a direct flight from Los Angeles to Lisbon is not possible. In fact, most European destinations are not accessible via a direct flight from Los Angeles. In any case, last year, I flew direct to London and started my trip there. But even more importantly, I flew Air New Zealand versus this time when I flew US Airways.

Let me just say, the difference between the two carriers is night and day. Now. Don’t know how Air NZ’s local flights within Kiwiland are, but I am comparing my international Los Angeles to Europe experience.

Basic differences:

1) Air NZ was a Boeing 777 compared to US Airways smaller Boeing 757.

2) NZ had a personal TV for each passenger. US had no TV on the first leg from LA to Philly and a cental TV or the second leg to Lisbon. The entertainment? Try the worst movie I have seen this year; Duplicity!

3) Meals – sigh. NZ had gourmet meals served free of charge. US charged for meals during the first leg, and the complimentary meal on the second was worse than stale fast food. I mean surely they try this food before signing on the contract chef? It would be cheaper for them to serve McDonalds. And I promise you, that would have tasted better even if you are not a fan of McDobalds. So why the faccad with a lame excuse for gourmet food. Spare me the tray and the butter.

4) Every international airline I have traveled in the past has provided at least free wine with and after dinner. Not this US carrier. $7 for a small cheap bottle of local wine. And I am not even a wine snob.

5) NZ had much more leg room. These guys did not.

Now why did I take this flight? Well it not like they were cheaper than the BA flight I almost booked a couple of days before, but it had the dates of travel I preferred. Knowing what I know now, I can promise you one thing. My future international trips will not involve an American carrier. And I dont think this is just a US Airways problem. I think it’s more of a culture thing that all US carriers have gone through and while the stingy attitude is acceptable on kcal flights, they need to do a much better job on international flights if they want to compete with any of their international peers.

Avoid all US carriers for international routes. Lesson learnt!

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