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Travel Tuesday question of the week – What is your favorite airline?

September 27, 2010
tags: ,
by budgettravelsac

Southwest is my choice - photo by David Bailey (Flickr)

Airlines, airfares, holidays, Fall, cheap flights, travel deals.  Yes, all of this has been on my mind lately.  Call me crazy but I actually like researching airfares to find good deals.  Now, there is news that Southwest is buying AirTran, Karen Bryan and Kash Bhattacharya’s 15 hour easyJet challenge, and all the Fall and holiday travel deals.  So with that in mind, what is your favorite airline?

For me, the easy answer would be Delta since that is where I accumulate all my miles with.  However, the seats are cramped, the experiences have been fine, but the deals are hit and miss.  That begs another question – what makes a good airline?  Customer service?  Good deals?  Comfortable flight?  Upgrades?

Being the budget traveler I am, I go with good deals so I have to choose Southwest.  Now that they will be flying into my home state (SC) and will have more of a presence in the South, I am even more excited about them.  I wish the US had more budget options like those in Europe.  It would make competition stronger and airfares lower.  However, with only a few airlines in the US, there is more of an oligarchy.  When one airline has an airfare sale, the others are soon to follow.  Southwest, jetBlue, and Frontier seem to have the best airfares but they are still much higher than what you find in Europe.

My most comfortable flying experience has been on Lufthansa.  Granted, it has been many years since I have flown them but what a great airline. In Europe, I have also flown budget airlines easyJet and other smaller airlines and those worked for me as well because of bargain prices.

So with airlines in the news, what matters to you – cheap flights, customer service, traveling in style and comfort?  What is your favorite airline?

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 28, 2010 12:07 am

    You know my answer! Thai airways. They have the best service and food. In fact, any Asian airline wins hands down for this. Except maybe Garuda. I don’t like Delta, although I recently had free business class tickets from LA to Oz thanks to my lovely husband who worked for them, so I guess I have to say in gratitude that I do like them. I find their service pretty poor and their hostesses rude.

    I used to love QANTAS but I think their standards have dropped lately. I also used to like BA until recently. I have been reading Richard Bransons biography and have learned the dirty tricks they employed to try and put him out of business. No more flying BA for me.

    I have only flown Australian domestic Virgin and I love them. Great and fun service. For me anything with Richard Branson behind it is a winner and I’m going to go with them more often.
    So I basically rate an airline based on service and comfort.

  2. waitinginthedark permalink
    September 28, 2010 2:17 am

    Well… it depends on the destination and how long the flight is.

    In Europe, Easyjet and Ryanair can be good options if you book well in advance and travel light.

    In the last two years, my favorite option to fly in Europe has been Lufthansa. They started operating several flights from Milan to the main European capitals and if you book a little in advance and avoid week-ends and peak periods you can find out excellent fares.

    For long-haul flights, my favourite airlines are Singapore Airlines and Emirates. Excellent ratio between price and service. And Singapore Airlines offers free upgrade to a 30kg baggage allowance for scuba divers (which is absolutely great!).

  3. September 28, 2010 5:24 am

    I would like to be able to travel without flying. It is not my favoured mode of transport and it is certainly not the most sustainable mode. How come travel sites ask questions like the above? I never see – “What is your favourite train company?” or even “What is the best coach or bus company?”
    As Michael O’Leary of Ryanair, points out frequently, passenger aircraft are no more than flying buses. Why is it that jetting off somewhere is deemed to be glamorous, while taking the bus is considered to be anything but? Is it down to the fact that air travel was the domain of the very rich (jet-set) until recently? Is it down to marketing?

    • September 28, 2010 11:35 am

      You make a very good point. One of the reasons bus or rail gets no consideration in the US is due to the fact that it is not very good. Buses here in the US like Greyhound are not very nice like European buses and in many cities, the bus stations have bad reputations. As for trains, we have Amtrak but train travel here is NOT fast at all. For example, it can take 8 hours to drive to Los Angeles from here in Sacramento. It can take 12 hours by train and is more expensive than driving. The US is looking at high speed rail options here in the US (see California high speed rail plans for the San Francisco Bay area).

      Unlike Europe, trains and buses are not good options at all here in the US for long trips. Within the cities, there are some good transit options. However, the US is WAY WAY behind Europe in both bus and train travel. Not only are the options for bus and train travel not that desirable, they can also be expensive and time consuming. I’ve taken trains and buses in Europe and love it but just not a realistic option for most people although these options do work better on the east coast in the US.

      • September 29, 2010 8:11 am

        It is a shame the US is so far behind with rail and bus provision. Thirty years ago I spent a week on Greyhound buses touring New England, Ontario and Quebec. At that time Greyhound buses were way ahead of anything we had in Europe.

  4. September 28, 2010 2:13 pm

    I would have to say that British Airways are my current favourite with good prices, reliability and reasonably good service. The so called low fares airlines in europe are not so low fare any more especially with all the hidden charges. I cannot book months in advance and I quite often find that BA are cheaper and more convenient than any of the so called low fare operators.

    flying in Europe is changing with the old established airlines bring thier cost bases and fares down, while the low cost end of the market are trying every trick in the book to take money from you, it is going to be interesting to see how things pan out over the next couple of years.

    Just a note to say I have no idea how Air France and KLM have any passengers in Europe as thier prices are just so high. Other favourites of mine are Finnair and Singapore airlines though I have not flown either for a long time now.


    • September 29, 2010 10:32 am

      I have never flown BA so I don’t know much about it. On my trips to Europe, I have flown Continental, Air France, Lufthansa, and others. I have not spent any time in the UK so that is why I have not had the chance to fly BA. I understand your concerns with prices though. Seems the budget airlines are not as cheap as their price indicates as they are using fees to get money so bigger airlines like BA might be a better bargain. I will say this in terms of flights in Europe – it’s nice to have so many choices!

  5. September 28, 2010 7:57 pm

    Domestically and to Mexico I really like Continental. Maybe I’m biased because I just got elite and they are pretty good at upgrading me. haha

    However – I’m not so sure about this upcoming merger with United.

    • September 29, 2010 10:29 am

      I have flown Continental a lot and except for one experience where they purposefully wanted people to miss the flight, I have enjoyed my experiences on there. However, now Continental is joining all the other airlines in charging for their meals on flights so that is a bummer.

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