Your First Trip to Paris June 6 -13, 2016

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Flying to Paris

So I'm starting my hunt for a great flight at a decent price for my fall trip to France. Can't start too early, at least the fare watching part.

The two main things I definitely consider when choosing my flight are the carrier and the stops. I always recommend taking using a European airline even though the fee may be a little higher. I've found that the level of service is astonishingly better than any domestic carrier when flying coach, the planes are nicer. Air France (and others) serve real champagne and Lufthansa's restrooms are discreetly located downstairs where there is also a little snack area .

The food is generally better too, although I try to make sure I eat enough that I won't really need to eat much plane food. I am just not that much of an experimenter when it comes to food, and have found myself being very hungry when I didn't go for island cuisine on Air Tahiti Nui. I did not touch the fish egg salad . Yes, fish egg, as in roe. The young woman next to me gobbled down the food, no problem, but then again she was Tahitian. I was just thankful that my friend at the hotel packed a couple of croissants for my flight.

As for the customer service issue, let me share with you that for some reason my last trip I used United. I waited too long to buy the ticket and was stuck with it. Not only did I have the horror of flying domestic and changing planes at Dulles (ie with plastic bag o' food on the overseas part or paying $10 for a snack box during the domestic part) , but needless to say my suitcase didn't make it to Paris with me. Sure I planned ahead, and had some extra items with me so there wouldn't be an issue. One of my guests flew American on her frequent flyer miles, and her suitcase made it.

Unfortunately we weren't staying in Paris, but taking the train to the Loire valley. After several phone calls to UNITED, and a promise of a $25 travel voucher for the inconvenience, my suitcase arrived. It showed up three days later, the afternoon before we headed back to Paris.

Now, a few weeks ago, a client came home on Air France. She won't fly anything else. So let me juxtapose her scenario with mine. At the airport, they asked for voluntary bumps, and she took it. They gave her a voucher good for $200 on her next flight, money to eat while she waited, and bumped her to business class for the direct flight home. All this for waiting three hours and catching the next flight.

Needless to say, I'm taking my own advice and choosing an international airline. The search starts now.

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