meghad23
Contributor Level: Captain

Airline of preference

When you have to go to a port, what is your airline of choice? 

I try and stick with Southwest, but I know they do not go to every airport near the cruise port. I have their reward points, and like that they don't charge for their 1st 2 bags. But again, it can limit the ports we go to....

Tags: Airlines Flights Travel

11 Answers

askeegan
Contributor Level: Cruise Director

Being from the east coast of Canada we are very limited as Air (Scare) Canada has a strangle hold on the market.  So we either use them or drive, LOL.

JusMe
Moderator
Contributor Level: Captain

For international flights I do prefer some of the non US airlines,   better food and free wine and beer.   I was very impressed with Air New Zealand from London to LAX non stop with very good food (even seconds,  I was hungry) free wine and great crew.  It was worlds apart from American Airlines that I had used the prior year to Europe.

Bubba54
Contributor Level: Captain

We book by the cheapest fare usually. My favorites are Alaska, Jet Blue and southwest

Kennicott
Contributor Level: Captain

We usually book our local carrier, Alaska, since their perks are great and they do have a good reputation. We travel to Hawaii at least once a year and they have lots of flights there from Anchorage including non-stops to most of the outer islands. Also, Alaska has ample flights to Florida, New York and Texas and even more coming up since they bought Virgin.



However, when we travel international we usually look toward the cruise air programs and pretty much have had good luck so far in doing that. Unfortunately, trying to originate in Anchorage is difficult since they want to use other carriers with long haul connections but have few flights to Anchorage. For instance, United, where we have to get on their one flight per day which departs around midnight, then make connections at Seattle for over seas. If the one United flight is canceled or delayed we have a big problem, so we usually tell the Cruise Air departments we will get back and forth to Seattle on our own. What do you have from there?



As we have gotten older it is important that on our flights we don't get stressed out due such things as long wait queues in terminals, both security and immigrations, claustrophobic seating on aircraft (the dreaded middle seat) and messed up connections at airports due poor ticketing, distant terminal connects where you have to leave then reenter security and terrible booking coordination. So, we usually book business class for overseas, which helps but man is it expensive.



One thing I watch closely with Cruise Air arrangements are that we don't get connected up with one of these carriers that have done away with seat assignments. Southwest is one of those. They have an unique arrangement where you board in three different waves. Wave A, B  or C and you get a "boarding assignment number" for the wave you are in, but you don't get that number before the 24 hour Internet check in process begins and you better be fast using the internet at that time. You can, for an extra fee, 36 hours before get an A wave guarantee. In each wave they assign boarding numbers, like 1, 2, 3, etc. But you never get a seat assignment, it is every man for himself once on board and the cheat practices some use are legendary in order to get ahead of others. Anyway, maybe when I was young I could cope with something like that on their short haul segments, taking a gamble on getting stuffed into a seat along side a cute chick. But not anymore, besides the A wave does you no good, if say, picture yourself having a connecting flight with Southwest after getting off a 17 hour flight from somewhere overseas, you have only 25 minutes (legal connection) left after you find their gate, you will almost for certain get a middle seat in back with all the overheads stuffed full already.



I was in the aviation game all my professional life. I recall the airline days when there was no such thing as "assigned seats". As time went by airlines tried many gimmicks to assign seats but the practice wasn't very effective until computers came along. After that the airlines were able to assign seats well in advance and any seating conflicts were greatly minimized. It was like a huge breath of fresh air for air travelers to be comfortable with the realization that a decent seat awaited them, particularly when close connections were involved. No guaranteed seat assignments are a giant step backwards, in my opinion.             



 



 



 



 



 



 



I used to fly US Airways for any and all of my domestic flights. I have flown with American Airlines Internationally, so when they merged I didn't see a problem as I was a member of both airlines frequent flyer programs. Last year, when we had to travel from PHL to SFO on American Airlines, it was horrible. A 6 hour flight, no inflight entertainment unless you brought your own cell phone (free WI-FI) and boxed (for a fee) lunches. I looked up the aircraft info and was reassured that there would be movies etc. Very disappointing. As we hadn't flown to the west coast in a while and was not aware of all those little changes. Just was hearing a lot about baggage fees-which we were prepared for. We were going to Tokyo and had to fly with Singapore Airlines. Their economy seating and service which was well needed after the cross county nightmare we had. Now, we fly Jet Blue to go to Florida or to ports when necessary and I stick to Virgin Atlantic when international.

askeegan
Contributor Level: Cruise Director

I will add this though, we are 1 hr from the US border and 3 hours away from a larger US city so we have been know to drive down there and fly with US Airways but my preference out of the States is Jet Blue, based on price and comfort!

Greys0n
Contributor Level: Third Mate

I prefer cheap airline. This summer I am going to Europe and I know that it's important to book tickets ahead. So I did it, I used this service http://lowcost.club/ and found affordable tickets. I am a bit nervous. My flight day is 16 June.

BDRebel
Contributor Level: Captain

In most cases, I would rather drive than fly, but discovered an Alaska Air flight from San Antonio to Seattle at an extremely reasonable price -- cheaper for four to fly than to drive.

 

Going to Florida, though, I will drive.

Goldenfox
Contributor Level: Deck Hand

We always use Southwest.  However we're doing a Canada/New England cruise that leaves out of Quebec City and I booked Canada Air.  Never been on Canada Air before so we'll see.  We're flying home from Ft. Lauderdale on Southwest.

meghad23
Contributor Level: Captain

With some of these ports, I can not fathom driving to them... I'll consider B-more (because thats like 20 min), Jersey is about 3 hrs or so... and Boston is about 6....But like Galveston or New Orleans... I'd rather spend the extra time on the cruise than in a car :)

 

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